Looking back at 2018: laptops sales remain sluggish. Mobile markets are saturated. Wearables, AR/VR have failed to deliver on hype. A diverse portfolio of device categories is what consumers choose to access cloud services. All these products competing for a single wallet.
Meanwhile, Cloud providers area gearing up(1) to unleash new value from an AI service called Reinforcement Learning: this enables adaptive AI applications in smart city, enterprise, and personal technologies. Think Waze/Roomba, only better – opening up new services in personal robotics, connecting the digital world of AI with the analog, physical world. Robotic helpers will autonomously learn to adapt to real world environments(2) and be digital/analog helpers, Jetsons-style!
2019 will set the stage for a radical transformation of the tech landscape through 2025:
Devices are relegated to intermediaries, and brands lose differentiation
Five of the top 10 mobile phone companies of 2009 no longer exist in today’s Top 10. By 2024, fewer than five of today’s leaders will remain. The devices landscape will be re-invented as a portfolio, glued together by ecosystems and platforms. There will be few, high volume/low cost hardware OEMs/ODMs and many, many casualties.
Value is created by (Cloud) ecosystems / platforms that deliver compelling experiences
Real money is made by those who create, govern and monetize large ecosystems, managed loosely enough to encourage broad 3rd party participation and tightly enough to create compelling user experiences. An explosion of AI enablers (voice, vision, adaptive robotics) is ignited by democratization of AI components. Voice UIs, computer vision, and adaptive machine learning will become table-stakes for 3rd party devices, applications and services. Cloud AI vendors (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu,…) accelerate adoption through no-CAPEX, free developer tools, and pay-per use.
- Users whose lives are offloaded of chores and enriched by meaningful experiences
- Enterprises that benefit from productivity gains
- Smart cities that benefit from adaptive resource and infrastructure management
- Consumers unable to reconcile innovation with fears over technology, privacy, etc.
- Technology providers unable to transcend boundaries between digital and analog worlds
- Governments with no digital / analog AI strategy, monopolizing access to data, services and innovation
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