Gartner’s Nexus of Forces offers a compelling framework for understanding the total integration and interaction between various key emerging technologies. As defined, “The nexus of forces describes the convergence and mutual reinforcement of four interdependent trends: social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information. The forces combine to empower individuals as they interact with each other and their information through well-designed ubiquitous technology.” Let’s turn now to the first part of the Nexus, namely Social, to understand what this area means for IT business leaders today.
The World of Social Connectivity
One of the biggest effects of the Internet was the “Consumerization of IT,” which signified a new era of transformation as technology proprietorship shifted gradually away from the IT department directly into the hands of the consumer and employee. Through the power of the World Wide Web, and the emergence of open source technologies and free advertising services offered through forums like Twitter and Facebook , we have witnessed in recent years an epic industry-wide shift in how businesses manage technology and innovation.
The world of blog, forums, and numerous other social media channels provided consumers with the power to “talk back” about the products and services that they were using. Suddenly, customers were empowering themselves to speak to businesses about what tools and software services they preferred to use. And companies not only began to listen but soon realized that these consumer insights provided critical business value.
Businesses today must go social or lose out to the competition, plain and simple. Social media analytics is one of the main channels that offer companies a direct link to what people are saying about their brands, products, and services. Most of these platforms offer a wealth of visualization tools that can help business stakeholders gather key 360 degree customer insights and make important adjustments in their marketing strategies.
New forms of telecommunications and VoIP technologies are also serving as a key differentiator for the future of social interactivity. While Skype is an old player in the market by now, founded in 2003, the idea behind it is ground-breaking and continues to spawn new integrations of voice and video collaboration. One such example is a company called UberConference, which has recently gained significant market attention as it promises “simple, visual & free conference calling.”
And lastly, watch out for the robots! Not the creepy Hollywood variety, but those rolling around in your office. The area of Telepresence Robotics is an emerging market that has spawned a lot of interest in recent years. The idea is something like “Skype on wheels.” For instance, say you’re seated with your iPad in Seattle and need to connect with a colleague in London. You just tie into your company’s network and voilà! Before you know it you’re using your tablet to navigate a wheeled robot avatar around an office thousands of miles away. These devices are equipped with built in cameras that allow you to see your surroundings, speak with co-workers, and attend meetings as if actually being in the office.
Telepresence is not by any means limited to robotics. New videoconferencing technologies in this market are also transforming the way people interact and engage with each other in the digital market place.
In the next installment of this series we’ll turn to the second part of the Nexus of Forces – Information, or otherwise known as Big Data – and learn more about how CIOs and CTOs can leverage the latest insights from Big Data to map out their business strategies for the future.