Technology: the future is now



Everything from the iPhone completely transforming the world’s idea of what a mobile phone is and what it can do to Wi-Fi helping make us the mobile society that we are today. Something Ofcom recently confirmed with its research revealing 75% of adults use the internet ‘on the go’ on a smartphone, portable computer or handheld device and this rose to 97% for those aged 16 to 24.

It’s safe to say that all technology has evolved beyond what was initially expected of it and this is predominantly down to the fact that we as business owners, consumers and employees are evolving too. We want to do more, faster and better and the breakthroughs of the past decade all show a growing demand for enhanced, more flexible and transparent experiences.

Many of today’s workforces may not even remember the days when a mobile phone was just a phone yet more and more people spend the majority of their time online via their mobile than any other device. This all means that organisations have a growing opportunity not only to connect with their customers and users in a more meaningful way for example through data-driven insight, but can also reach out to new potential customers more effectively.

This is digital disruption and life/work -style evolution. Innovation has and will continue to be constant and it is driven by people and enabled by technology.

Wired founder and author of “What Technology Wants,” Kevin Kelly, summed up the demands this evolution is driving very well, saying: “Technology wants what life wants: Increasing efficiency; Increasing opportunity; Increasing emergence; Increasing complexity; Increasing diversity; Increasing specialisation; Increasing ubiquity; Increasing freedom; Increasing mutualism; Increasing beauty; Increasing sentience; Increasing structure; Increasing evolvability.” This is what’s driving the evolution of business and its environment. People and technology are now intrinsically linked in terms of experience and objective and if they don’t work intuitively together, they won’t work at all.

The problem with tech evolution is that it’s under our control and, unfortunately it’s completely driven by what we want as opposed to what’s adaptive. Tech evolution is driven by what companies decide to sell us based on what they believe we’ll pay for. This is why I believe it’s more important than ever for businesses to understand how and why people, industry and markets are evolving and developing to be able to provide complete outcome focused mobile-led digital services.

The technology industry has a duty to cater to every aspect of our lives rather than just work or personal needs. It has the means to deliver something far more compelling than “ease” and the past few decades of technical evolution have shown a growing trend for increased control with greater flexibility and a decentralised business ethos. Underpinning all of this is connectivity and flexibility. We cannot support tomorrow’s business environment without these essential capabilities.

Without flexible connectivity business evolution is not possible – technology should not be used to do what we’ve always done but instead evolve how we do things and what we do and change our mind-set, much like the way Bitcoin turned the traditional concept of currency on its head. The financial system, free from banks and governments highlights the value in decentralised systems in terms of increased productivity and efficiency, something that today’s businesses are very much aware is central to their longevity.

At the core of this decentralised concept is flexibility and connectivity. Businesses have to be able to change direction and realign to new markets instantly. Traditional ways of doing business are just too slow and too expensive for an increasingly fast paced and digitised world. Because of this, all organisations, big and small, public and private have to be designed specifically for regular change and evolving customer demands. This is the new normal. Those that are flexible and open minded will be able to compete and lead in this new normality where technology is used for new ways of working as opposed to simply putting traditional analogue processes into a digital infrastructure.

All of this reaffirms the importance of digital transformation and its vital role in business evolution. An expert understanding of what people and businesses need to succeed in these challenging times is essential right now. And because our heritage is mobile and our expertise is customer service, we have a valuable understanding of the challenges mobilisation presents for our customers and we can make the digital transformation easier and more effective for them. Digital confidence and competence is fundamental to the success of the UK economy.


About Ben Dowd

Ben Dowd is one of O2’s longest standing directors. Ben has been instrumental in moving the business from solely mobile into the ICT space. His responsibility covers all of the business area and includes SOHO, Small businesses, and Corporate, as well as multinational customers.