With the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) upon us, the whole of the technology industry converges for a few days in order to see what’s new and innovative. CES gives us a quick snapshot into technology advancements for 2012, but I believe that the technology industry’s greatest and most innovative years are still ahead.
Frequently, as I have been presenting my firm’s analysis of certain industry topics at summits and executive meetings, I have been sharing why we believe that we are entering one of the most innovative periods in the technology industry’s history. Many factors, like rising economies in parts of the world like China and India, are part of this reason but perhaps the biggest reason is because the battleground for computing has shifted from the enterprise to the pure consumer markets.
The consumer landscape for personal computing is reaching its maturation point. And the broader digital consumer market is a much harder market to compete in due to a wide variety of consumer needs, wants, and desires that are nearly impossible to meet by any one company or any one product.
Consumers are finicky, and purchasing decisions are made with a bit more passion and preference than purchases by enterprise IT buyers. I use this analogy quite a bit, but I believe the automobile industry teaches us many things about what the future of the personal computing landscape will look like. Namely that it is very diversified, and the market does not consist of a one-size-fits-all product; rather it is made up of many different products which enable a healthy amount of consumer choice.
Consumers choose a car based on a number of variables that dovetail with their personal preferences. Now I’m not saying that the PC, smartphone, or tablet markets don’t have a healthy amount of consumer choice, only that I believe there will be even more types of designs and options on the market in the future than are currently available.
So the real question: In what areas will this innovation take place? There are two areas where I see the greatest opportunity. The first is the next billion consumers.
When we give our big picture industry analysis presentations at trade shows, summits and executive off-sites, we start by making the point that for its first 25 years, the industry was focused on bringing computing to the enterprise. However, we believe the next 25+ years will be focused on bringing technology to the masses.
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