Expect ‘a 5G-led revolution in business automation’

5G may not yet have delivered the consumer gains that were promised for it, but CIOs should expect 2022 to be the year when we see a 5G-driven revolution in communications for business automation, a leading consultant has forecast.

 

Raj Shah, North America Lead for Hi-Tech and Telecom with Publicis Sapient, said that the next 12 months will see much innovation in 5G at enterprise level as various industries seek out different ways to leverage its power. But he considers that other heavily hyped technologies, like the metaverse, may have longer to wait for critical use cases to emerge.

 

“Smart businesses will invest in a more joined up fifth generation of communications, an ecosystem of modernized data transfer, connected solutions which combine IoT, AI, and cloud to produce real-time analytics, granular insights, and seamless results,” he predicted.

 

Industries that rely heavily on automation – energy, manufacturing, agriculture – will, he said, be the early adopters, utilizing shrinking sensors to enable data collection from hundreds of thousands of inputs to build ‘digital twins’ of real-world environments: “These will range from robotic assembly lines to power grids, to huge farms,” said Shah. “Using this data, collected over 5G industrial networks, they’ll be able to automatically adjust conditions and sense even the minutest changes. This level of hyper-efficiency should lead to better energy usage, more precise manufacturing and automated repair, and stronger returns on investment.”

 

The metaverse, he predicted, will be useful to consumers and businesses alike, but only once everyone works out exactly what it is: “The metaverse is still too undefined to be able to benefit from it,” noted Shah. “At this point, companies should be exploring what the implications of the metaverse will be, how they want to be positioned in it, and dabbling in proofs of concept. The metaverse is on the way to being huge and will undoubtedly impact the future of marketing and customer engagement.”

 

He picked out AR and VR as likely to become more common in our lives much sooner: “This is mainly because hardware has advanced so that we don’t have to wear 30lbs of gear on our heads to experience it. Early adoption of metaverse will happen as extensions of what we’re already seeing with Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. In commerce, how people buy homes and cars may be much more interactive. Digital twin technologies will merge into the metaverse, allowing for engineering, manufacturing, and other physical world industries to create and work in virtual environments.”

 

Image courtesy of IEEE Innovation At Work

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

 

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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