We’ve heard about digital disruption and digital transformation. At its core, these phenomena are about doing the same thing, just in a different way. But the next phase is Digital Cohesion, and that’s about much more.
Digital Cohesion is where we take the plethora of diverse apps, platforms, services and data we use on a daily basis and enable them to work together seamlessly, securely and smartly. In the era of Digital Cohesion, predictive, automated, network-based mega-services adapt to user behavior, enabling better decision-making and enriching personal and business lives - and the demand is there.
As a simple example, imagine a single service that makes suggestions for what to have for dinner. Seems basic enough, but this mega-service will take information from your health and fitness device to understand your calorie requirements and dietary restrictions. It will combine this with your cooking app to understand what food you like and then link to your calendar to know when it’s best to eat. It could also tap into your smart fridge to see what ingredients are on hand and/or use your location to determine what local stores or restaurants are available and order if appropriate.
Now take this simple example and expand it to everything from education, personal development, emergency services and beyond.
We recently conducted a 16-country survey to gauge the appetite for Digital Cohesion. The results suggest business and consumer users see Digital Cohesion as an inevitable, positive societal development. Consumers expect it will have wide ranging applications. These range from improved community infrastructure with more responsive, effective emergency services, to more efficient use of personal time, improved education and learning capabilities, lower living costs such as greater home energy efficiency and more informed decision-making.
Similarly, business respondents told us they expect Digital Cohesion to deliver advantages including increased productivity, improved budget efficiency, new workforce management models and business service innovation. Interestingly, the research shows that many prioritize integration and interoperability over specific features or looks.
Both groups see their mobile devices as the portals that drive these mega-services. As a result, telecom service providers will need to re-examine the way they build and deploy their networks in order to support this era.
Of course, this level of integration will not arrive without overcoming some significant networking challenges. Compute resources need to flex to meet demand; services and systems need to be able to interoperate in an open way; automation must be used to deliver economies of scale and there needs to be trust through fully integrated security. Our findings reinforce that trust is non-negotiable for users and a thoughtful, proactive approach to security is paramount. We envision self-driving networks that will help enable these adaptive mega-services.
To this end, it is the advances in all aspects of networking that are driving the push towards Digital Cohesion, transforming enterprise and consumer experiences and connecting them to people, services and information.