Ten tech trends
According to McKinsey1, here are ten technology trends that senior executives should be aware of:

Distributed co-creation moves into the mainstream.
Evolving from sites like Wikipedia, free input from internet users can provide useful technical support, new design ideas, or even viral marketing from bloggers enthusing about a product. Now, the per-contact cost through customer communities can be as low as 10% of traditional call centres.

Making the network the organization.
Through social networking sites, increasingly porous companies can break down the internal barriers between departments, and the external barriers between the company and the business world. This enables us to contact experts in any field immediately, cutting time and increasing quality of results.

‘The Internet of People is now  also the Internet of Things.’

Collaboration at scale. Using video and web-calling nowadays to facilitate large, real-time meetings between employees hundreds of miles away can save your company time and money, and employees stress.

The growing ‘Internet of Things’
The Internet of people is now also the Internet of things. It includes embedded sensors on devices connected over networks--usually wireless--to analytical resources. It’s really incorporating the physical world with the electronic world under two broad categories: information and analysis, mostly around the sensors receiving information; the other around automation and control, where you really close the loop from sensing to actuation.

Experimentation and big data.
The proliferation of automated data tracking means that, at the click of a button, you can see the trends throughout every sector of the company. Taking the time to set up this technology allows for tighter marketing, visualising untapped areas, and innovating strategy based on current trends.

Wiring for a sustainable world.
With the increasing power of technology, so comes greater responsibility to use it effectively. More and more companies are aiming to reduce environmental stress through technological means - whether this be directly via smart power supplies, which limit power at off-peak times, or indirectly through logistical software such as satellite navigation improving the efficiency of freight.

Imagining anything as a service.
Technology has opened a wealth of new opportunities for micromanagement. The sheer quantity and precise nature of available data now means that services that were once considered a whole package can be divided into a number of sub-services. Look to the low-budget airlines; whereas once, the price of an airline flight included baggage and an in-flight meal, now one can pick and choose from the services.

The age of the multi-sided business model.
With the internet as it is, the old uni-directional supplier-distributorcustomer model has begun to unravel. Increasingly businesses are targeting multiple players simultaneously, whilst being supported by web advertising. The proliferation of the “freemium” model, rather, a model under which the standard product is free, with paying premium members is an exciting step (eg. Skype).

Innovating from the bottom of the pyramid.
Recently radical business strategies have emerged from the developing world, as modern technology meets poor infrastructure. In parts of Africa, low incomes and lack of formal ID make it nearly impossible for banks to work on the same model as in the developed world. But Safaricom, a telecoms provider, offers banking services to eight million Africans through its mobile-phone service. The phone acts as the bank account, with members able to access a virtual balance at a network of shops and garages.

Producing public good on the grid.
Given the advantages of technology in the competitive private sector market, it is clear that in the future, we can use this knowledge to assist the infrastructure of our cities. Eg. using cloud computing to provide a real time diagnostic of a “wired city”, where one is able to optimise power, redirect water, and detect faults at the click of a button.

1. McKinsey Quarterly August 2010 by Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika, McKinsey Global Institute.

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