WELCOME TO A BRAVE NEW BUSINESS
DataQuest|January 2022
The future was inevitable, but it is already here, speeded up by the pandemic. While going high-tech was usually an "option", now it is no longer so, becoming part of the very DNA of the business and economy of the world. A look at the complete global transformation that we are entering
Sunil Rajguru

WE WILL LIVE, WORK AND ENTERTAIN OURSELVES IN THE CLOUD There is no cloud that is "out there". There ” is no cloud option that you may or may not be part of. It's not a question of if but when we go on the cloud, "all in". We are the cloud. We are part of the cloud. It is all around us. It is part of us. We work in the cloud. We chat with our friends in the cloud. We entertain ourselves in the cloud. We live in the cloud.

As I have said many times before, today we live in a world where millions of data centers are used by billions of devices to transfer trillions of GBs of data each and every day. For the common man the cloud is Device + Bandwidth. For the techies it's more complicated than that and there's a lot of software and hardware behind the scenes that keeps everything running. Cloud is a very complicated computing model that has to be fine-tuned all the time.

THAT MEANS THE END OF PAPER IS FINALLY HERE

Hyper digitization. Hyper digitalization. Complete Digital Transformation. It's all happening. What that means is that the paperless office we have been hearing about for decades is finally here. In the corporate office, we have already shifted to electronic transmissions for everything and high-end collaboration tools will ensure that remains so.

Earlier key digital data was scanned or converted from its offline form, the latter which was never disposed of. Alternatively digital data was duplicated in the offline world and sometimes even came in triplicates. Now data is being collected digitally with no paper involved. Online banking and mobile money is further reducing paper.

Government was the biggest source of red-tapism and triplicatism. With their offices getting computerized, digitized and e-governance expanding, the need for paper is also coming down. That also applies to all the citizens, companies and organizations dealing with them. There used to be so many documents related to identification. Now it's all online. The mobile has replaced things like film-train tickets and plane boarding passes. Facial recognition is the next step.

WORK FROM ANYWHERE. WORK FROM ANY DEVICE

First you by and large had to Work From Office (WFO) with Work From Home (WFH) being frowned upon. While a lot of people thought WFH would become permanent with the pandemic, that may not be so. That's why the new mantra is Work From Anywhere (WFA), with the bonus: Work From Any Device too. You can work on vacation and be part of the desktop, laptop, mobile workforce or any other device you can think of.

The biggest effect of this will be on real estate and urban planning. The home will become more important and will double up as the office. It will have to be more luxurious as many will spend all their time there. Office spaces will get lesser importance especially large ones. A Smart Home will not be a luxury but a necessity. Everyone will be free to move to the suburbs or B Towns as commuting will not be an issue. The spending power of towns will also go up as it will be flooded by professionals. It will be a WFA economy in more ways than one. In fact the globe will be dotted with Smart Cities of all sizes thanks to this.

FINALLY A DISASTER-PROOF BCP

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) was another option contemplated by many companies but is now being threaded into the very fabric of business. The Cloud. Its backup opportunities. The non-dependence on paper. The WFA culture with any device options. Rich collaboration tools. No-touch technologies. The replacement of the human worker with digital tools. All this means that a BCP is already in place.

Businesses suffered a great deal during the pandemic. For some the disruptions were tough to bear while others went out of business altogether. But through it all, we came out with solutions which will help us go through any disaster of any kind in the future and not just a pandemic.

WE WILL HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTHTECH

While smaller European countries have succeeded with universal healthcare, not so the largest democracies in the world, superpower America and rising power India. This is quite a tricky issue in larger populations. That's where technology steps in, which can drastically bring down costs and operate in remote areas. A complete transition to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) will ensure that every citizen and every doctor will have access to any medical record at any time for anywhere consultation.

Wearables and home testing kits will monitor health and help in early diagnosis and treatment. Telemedicine will be the first stage of consultation. When you finally visit the hospital, you will have robotic receptionists, assistants and maybe even surgeons. Al-ML will help the doctor in diagnosis while XR (VR-AR-MR) will help in simulation training, thereby easing the burden on medical colleges.

A NEW FORM OF TRANSPORTATION

The Rivian IPO was one of the largest in US history, putting its valuation ahead of both Ford and General Motors. This despite Rivian hardly selling anything while the giants sell millions of vehicles regularly. That's because the future is expected to be different. While Electric Vehicles (EVS) are expected to dominate, the truth is that “autonomous connected vehicles" will rule. What they will be powered by is still up in the air.

Autonomous taxis or Robotaxis are plying the roads of America and China. Autonomous trucks are whizzing along highways. Once this becomes commonplace the driver's seat will be removed. Vehicles will become rooms of all sizes which you can use for business, tourism, transportation and what have you. Drones of all sizes will take off and they can be used for almost anything, from transportation to surveillance.

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