A flying visit to the VIA office in Fremont provided a welcome break from the stultifying heat and humidity of Taipei. My only gripe was the staggering cost of hotel accommodation in the area. Thank you, Tesla and Elon Musk.
During the course of our meetings here, we honed in on three key trends that are impacting any business, regardless of what industry it operates in. They may not be particularly new, but they are definitely worth bearing in mind for your future planning.
Glass is eating the world: Screens are already the dominant interface through which we access and interact with information, whether they’re on your phone, PC, TV, or on third-party signage displays. As quality improves and costs go down further, the deployment of screens will continue accelerate as will the applications they are used for. What impact will this trend have on how you collect and deliver information and services to your customers? What opportunities will it open up for you to communicate and engage with them in new ways?
Cameras are the next universal sensor: Image sensors are becoming smarter, cheaper, and capable of capturing ever greater volumes of rich visual data with greater fidelity than ever before. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are making it possible to process the capture data in manifold ways to create new applications and services such as facial recognition and traffic management. What kind of image and video capture systems will you need to deploy to better understand customer behavior or improve the efficiency of your operations? What kind of Machine Learning and AI applications will you need to develop in order to make the most of all this new information?
Cars are the next big computer: The race towards autonomous vehicles is proceeding at a frenetic pace. It’s no longer a question of if but when they will be deployed on a mass scale. My bet is that this will happen in China first, but other countries won’t be far behind. The transition towards autonomous vehicles will of course be a boon to the hi-tech business, but it also threatens to shake up entire industries from auto manufacturing and logistics to gas stations and roadside restaurants. Now’s the time to start thinking about the potential impact that this trend will have on your company and prepare accordingly.
We are living at a time of extremely rapid technological and social change. While it may be tempting to resist or deny it, the best course is to accept and embrace it so that you are ready to take advantage of the new opportunities it will create for you.