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The Connected Game Of Technologies

by Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson Global Services India September-2016
The English county of Leicestershire is known for foxes and fox hunting. It was in 1948 that Filbert Fox, the mascot found its way into the Leicester City’s football club emblem and flag; the club was nicknamed The Foxes. On May Day this year the Foxes were on the verge of history as they took on Manchester City in the English Premier League. The match ended in a one-all draw. The nail biting of the supporters of Leicester did not end that day. Seventy two hours later they were euphoric as another match in the league, between two different teams, also ended in a draw putting The Foxes in an unassailable position in the points table which gave them their first ever League title in their 132-year-old history.

Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City’s coach, had placed his bets not at Ladbrokes but on technology. He made his players wear tracking devices that measured a range of physical metrics, such as distance covered, sprints and high intensity runs. Using GPS he tracked the areas being covered by players. All this wealth of data was fed into the club’s analysis room that housed massively powerful computing devices which spewed analytics that enabled the coach and his team to strategize the next move. Devices were hooked up to the players’ dressing room so these could pick up on all the analysis during half-time. This was then used for informed decision-making in the second half: tactics based on what worked well and what didn’t in the first half.

The club was also able to use the personalization benefits of big data and data analytics to tailor training sessions to individual players through an understanding of what each player needed to improve on and their overall abilities. We often argue that when implementing big data projects a data-driven culture needs to be embedded throughout the organization if they are going to reap the benefits. Leicester City is a clear example of why this is important.

What is happening in the football field is the coming of reality in the world of connected devices and network at play all around us. A wave of transformational change is sweeping across all aspects of industry and societies, rippling through the way we live, learn, work, create, and engage. Competitive advantage of today will be with the organizations, which possess or have access to data, have the power to analyze that data and take rapid decisions to gain competitive advantage. Fundamental changes have taken place in technology primarily due to three interrelated factors; device processing speeds, critical mass of end users with access to ‘computational capacity’ and connectivity between previously closed systems – or use of open APIs. This has enabled the organization to access real time data from hitherto unimaginable sources. Organizations have the power to take real time decisions. This is what is going to determine success or failure in a connected world.  In 2016, 6.4 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use, up 30 percent from 2015, according to Gartner.

With access to data, customers will be able to evaluate products and services in much more critical way and become ever more demanding.  The power is truly shifting to the consumers. According to Ericsson Mobility Report, by 2020, 90 percent of the world’s population will have a mobile phone, with smartphone subscriptions doubling to more than 6 billion.

People in rural and developing regions will come online and enter the global economy, primarily via increasingly affordable smartphones. Each of these individuals will have access to more learning resources, more entrepreneurial networks and potentially more capital than ever before. Such a rapid leap from locally isolated to globally interconnected communities is unprecedented in human history, and it will bring together vast reserves of knowledge, purchasing power and innovative capacity to unleash powerful new network effects.

We are now in a world where billions of people and things are networked in real time across all geographies, markets and industries. This layer of instantly accessible information and relationships is fundamentally biased in favor of active, participatory idea exchange. Incumbents, who attempt to plan, protect and predict their future in this volatile marketplace of ideas will give way to more innovative, responsive organizations that experiment, scale and thrive in the face of increased risk and uncertainty. Corporate longevity will not be a guarantee for future success; organizations have to be winning each match they play. Every point matters in this league table as otherwise a leader like Manchester United can be disrupted by a team which had as much hope of survival as a snowball in hell. But beware; the disrupter too can be disrupted. Welcome to the new world of Disruption Economy! Leaders will be assessed on how well they manage and ride this disruption.