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Technology Trends #5: Invent new industries, set new standards

Businesses are not just creating new products and services; they’re shaping new digital industries.

From technology standards, to ethical norms, to government mandates, in an ecosystemdriven digital economy, one thing is clear: a wide scope of rules still needs to be defined. To fulfill their digital ambitions, companies must take on a leadership role to help shape the new rules of the game. Those who take the lead will find a place at or near the center of their new ecosystem, while those who don’t risk being left behind.

Whether they’re blazing a path to automated driving or precision agriculture, the breakout businesses of today are defining the rules and standards for entirely new digital industries. Participating in the prevailing markets is not enough. In order to grow through their digital strategies and continue to be relevant, companies must work to shape the digital markets of tomorrow.

The early adopters have already started. Tesla’s Silicon Valley approach to building electric vehicles has set them apart within the auto industry, but their plans portend a future as much more than a car company. Tesla’s digital strategies cross multiple existing industries as they look to shape new ones.

The company is expanding their energy storage research into products for the home that upend traditional utility and building approaches, while their upcoming Tesla Network will create a fleet of personally owned Tesla vehicles to be used for self-driving ride-sharing – creating an entirely new model for both car ownership and shared transit. Tesla’s diverse digital strategy puts it in direct competition with legacy companies from myriad industries, while those legacy companies lack the maturity of a digital ecosystem to compete in more than one.

From every angle, it’s apparent that emerging industries like this one are not just ‘version 2.0’ of industries that existed before. The change is much more dramatic: these new digital ecosystems are transcending disparate markets to create new digital industries.

 

 

These changes are happening at every level of business, in every sector. According to Gartner, “by 2020, your company will either lead a digital business industry you have created or be part of one created by someone else…if you are still in business.”

Amazon and Netflix started out, respectively, as e-commerce and DVD rental companies; they now both compete with television production studios and broadcasters through their streaming content, with Netflix getting their largest number of Emmy nominations ever in 2016 and winning a personal-best nine, and Amazon walking away with six. NVIDIA, which built their empire on computer video cards, developed graphics processing units (GPU) to address a host of problems fundamental to video, and have now adapted that technology for applications in supercomputing, the Internet of Things, and automotive. In fact, these are their biggest growth areas, not video.

 

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Communicated by Accenture