Few, if any, executives or managers ever really looks out two decades to shape today’s business decisions. It simply is not rational to do so. Futurists, otten wrong as much as 80 percent of the time, must do so.
“The insurance, transportation, and retail industries will either not exist in 20 years or will have changed completely due to artificial intelligence, innovation, and other factors,” according to Dave Jordan, global head, consulting and services integration at Tata Consultancy Services.
With the caveat that the odds of being substantially correct are perhaps lower than 20 percent, what might today’s communications business look like in 20 more years?
The TCS analysis works something like this: auto insurance will not be needed as much when autonomous vehicles reduce so many accidents, when not so many people own their own personal vehicles, and when 3D printing allows quick and cheaper repairs to vehicles.
3D printing will enable so much personalization and customization that “mass market retailing” is unnecessary, TCS suggests.
Applying the same sort of logic to the telecommunications industry, at least directionally, is not so hard. As the functions of software, firmware or communications often are embedded into the use of product, so larger parts of the “connectivity function” are likely to be subsumed into other products.
As tires are part of the value of a new car, and transmission was embedded in the consumption of over the air TV, so a growing part of the value of tomorrow’s products might include embedded communications, and be purchased as part of some other product.
As the cost of public Wi-Fi (and the cost of the WAN that connects it) is embedded in the cost of goods sold by retailers, as the value of hotel room Wi-Fi (and the cost of the WAN access), so the cost of connectivity might increasingly be bundled with the cost of other products (safety, transportation, content, devices).