We live in a digital world. Software is increasingly a part of our daily lives. Former ‘brick and mortar’ experiences are all turning ‘digital’ (perhaps except for niche services jobs like care workers, barbers, painters etc). Proliferation of digital economy means we are accustomed to ‘always on’ online digital channels that instantly satisfy our needs to shop (eg: Amazon), entertain (eg: Netflix), book/reserve holidays/flights (ex: Amadeus), bank (ex: Internet Banking) etc.
‘Consumerization’ has accelerated exponentially with easy access to technology channels. It is a breeze to express delight or a complaint on the social media. Brand Management and Marketing now a days derive such a significant feedback from technology that we are now talking about the rise of ‘Marketing technologist’.
Another interesting (but oft neglected) development over the last few years has been the blurring of the traditional industry boundaries. Software firms no longer are just the back-end software manufacturers, but rather the core enablers of business; Hardware (& device manufacturers) are increasingly getting closer to customers (both internal & external) and help derive meaningful insights; Many health insurers are increasingly becoming health providers themselves; Many health providers are looking to explore the market as sellers of technology and so on
A recent announcement that Google (which has a growing stake in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Home Automation etc.) will work with Novartis (whose subsidiary Alcon is a leading developer of eye care products) to further develop a smart contact lens to help diabetics monitor the glucose level, is an interesting case in point. The deal leverages Google’s prototype lens (and all technology capabilities in the ‘wearables’ domain) unveiled in January of this year, along with Novartis’s understanding of the eye care market. Only a few years back, it was tough to imagine such a tie up, where a pharmaceutical giant ties up with a technology company, whose origins lie in ‘Search’.
Similarly Medtronic which is a one of the leading companies to provide medical diagnostic technology and medical devices has tied up with 2 NHS hospitals in the UK, to take over the management of cardiology services. This is a significant move for the company and signals an intent to also explore the ‘services’ side of healthcare delivery (traditionally dominates by hospitals providers or plain services companies themselves); rather than just being the medical device providers. Again, a move we could not have imagined from the medical operational technology providers.
Apple’s partnership with Epic systems is another interesting development. As wearables become popular and healthcare gradually moves to provide a more holistic view (and integrated care view that takes into account both health & social aspects) of the patient (rather than just the clinician and hospital centric view that many Electronic Health Records were originally written to provide); consumer side devices (and the data that they generate) and the hospital (enterprise heavy) side technology providers will need to start connecting with each other. It would have been unthinkable to imagine a partnership of a consumer side mobile device (and computer manufacturer) with a sharp focus on user interface; with a major hospital software provider with a focus on medical records.
Only very few organisations can now afford to work in silos.
The Vertical Industries team at Gartner has extensive discussion points on all aspects of digitisation and verticalisation of various industries (Gartner Scenario for Vertical Industries)
Considering the present momentum, it is not impossible to imagine that your mobile phone will soon diagnose you (and possibly predict it before you fall sick).
What do you think?