“One billion customers’, can anyone catch the cell phone king?”, ten years ago this was the cover text of Forbes Magazine. Subject: Nokia, which was back in 2007 indeed killing everyone on the mobile telephone market. That’s what happened 12 years ago, we all know how the story unfolded. The fundamental nature of mobile human interaction changed and companies like Nokia and Blackberry feel antiquated and their devices are now almost only used as a purpose of vintage expression and tech skepticism.
In 1998 Kodak sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Kodak believed in film development and as their most profitable division, didn’t have any interest in cost heavy R&D for a consumer digital camera. Back in 1998, it was hard for Kodak to see any slump coming. Would you have guessed that in less than three years you would never take paper film pictures again? They should have owned that market, 20 years earlier it was the same company that invented the first digital camera. They owned the IP, but with only 10,000 pixels it wasn’t a consumer product. The digital camera, however, followed exponential improvement (Moore’s law) and, as with all exponential technologies, at some point, it was capable of becoming a mainstream technology.
Often products, services and their underlying technology are disappointing for a long time but then quickly advance. What happened to Kodak, and Nokia will happen again. We have come to a time where technology is developing in such a swift way that most people cannot keep up.
Welcome to the future. Welcome to the 4th industrial Revolution which will alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. Technology is no longer an industry, but rather the underlying driver of change and innovation for every business everywhere. By combining the digital, the physical and the biological systems will not only change what we are doing. It will change us.