Are we ready for tomorrow

At Accenture’s Global Convergence Forum last month, the consulting company discussed how the high-tech, communications and telecommunications (HCT) industries are in for a 10x growth opportunity in light of an increasingly converging world.

Accenture said it expects the traditionally linear user experience equation will be complicated by new factors in this new converged world: new spaces, faces and places.

Not surprisingly, there will be the digital age user – born between 1978-2006 – who perceives IT as a natural component of their lives. But less obviously, citizens will play a role as they increasingly look to IT for work and recreation. Also, the middle-class will emerge alongside a diminished affluent market. And, markets like China and India will emerge.

But this predicted 10x growth can only be reaped by those businesses that know how to harness that opportunity. In particular, they first need to acknowledge that a converging world creates a new kind of user, and with that user comes a new set of expectations, and even challenges like diminished loyalty.

In theory, that sounds straightforward enough: acknowledge user needs and tailor products and services for those specific needs. But even today, before the linear equation has yet to become overly-complex, user expectations aren’t always met. The mobile market, for instance, often churns out gimmicky gadgets with cool functionality that satiates the hunger of the early adopter and technology enthusiast. But the early adopter and enthusiast form but a niche market. Yet handheld devices are a ubiquitous technology, and the average user is often sidelined by the vendor in an effort to go to market with cool products. Even today’s mobile developers admit the average user is an untapped market yearning for practical functionality for every day use.

If we can’t meet the more basic expectations of the average user in a pre-converged world, harnessing that golden growth opportunity that tomorrow’s world of new markets and new users promises may be trickier than we think. Perhaps figuring out how to conquer existing markets is a good way to prime oneself for a new world of complex emerging markets.

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