Taking time to notice the larger world is essential for midsize business owners and now is the time of year to either get started or catch up. For example, we are learning more and more about IoT, AI and AR every day, it seems. Each of these topics has profound implications regarding competitive conditions across all industrial sectors and across all planning horizons. For those unfamiliar with the terminology:
Internet of Things (IoT) – the inter-networking of physical devices (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), vehicles, buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity, which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. (Wikipedia, 07/27/2017)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a term describing the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. (Wikipedia, 07/27/2017)
Augmented Reality (AR) – a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called computer-mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. Augmented reality enhances one’s current perception of reality, whereas in contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. (Wikipedia, 07/27/2017)
How profound are these implications? Recently, Elon Musk (TESLA) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) have had a very public feud over the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Musk has repeatedly warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence, describing it as a potentially existential threat to the human race. Zuckerberg has a different view; essentially calling Musk’s view fear mongering. The key phrase here is existential threat:
Existential Threat – a threat to a people’s existence or survival. The second phrase, existential questions, references Existentialism, a 20th century philosophy concerned with questions about how and whether life has meaning, and why we exist. (Wikipedia, 07/27/2017)
While, Musk and Zuckerberg argue about AI, Tim Cook (Apple) says, “I think AR is big and profound.” And it’s not just large companies that are taking strong position on technology issues. Now, Three Square Market, a company in Wisconsin, offers employees the opportunity to have a chip injected between their thumb and index finger. With a wave of the hand, employees can open doors and buy soda from a machine – one machine interacting with another, so to speak. At this point, the worker is now a real piece of the much-touted “internet of things” (IoT).
It is hard work running a midsize business in today’s environment. Owners of midsize businesses need a way to notice trends. One way is to examine major factors with the potential to change market and industry norms.
Actions to take Now
Examine opportunities made available by new technologies. Conduct a comprehensive environmental scan. Look for professional help. Read the articles “In the News” and contact firstname.lastname@example.org today.