The Networked Economy. It’s been called the next economic revolution. Some experts believe it can redefine the “American Dream.” But, what does this all mean to us? How will we experience the Networked Economy in our daily lives as employees, consumers, and human beings trying to lead meaningful, purposeful lives?
If you think about it, this new economic revolution is not just devices, sensors, and Big Data. It’s about people. As we continue to use technology and contribute to the world’s ocean of data, the Networked Economy will expand and radically change how we work, live, and function as a global society.
Here are three ways our lives are changing in the Networked Economy now – and will continue to do so in the future.
1. Everything we touch, say, and do is connected
By 2020, there will be an estimated 2.5 billion connections between people on personal and business social networks worldwide. An estimated 75 billion devices will be linked to each other – and we’re not talking about smartphones, but also appliances, lighting, manufacturing equipment, and wearable computers. Combined, all of these connections will drive a staggering $65 trillion of expected global trade between businesses – this will amount to approximately 70% of the gross world product.
Right now, we’re already seeing this transformation at work. Apps for smart homes and smartphones are increasingly used to control appliances, lighting, security, and even our pet feeders. Most of us link our cars to satellites to navigate highways, byways, and city streets with real-time traffic information.
The future will continue to build on these behaviors by making driving safer and reducing commute times with driverless vehicles guided by connected devices, real-time vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and historical route preferences. And maybe one day, using smart glasses during a holiday gathering can bring families closer together – no matter how far or close they are in physical proximity.
2. As a society, we’re becoming more resourceful
As we become more connected on a global level, we have an opportunity to share resources in a more responsible way. This type of global sharing is gaining popularity thanks to startups such as Zipcar, Uber, and Airbnb. When we share resources that are normally purchased, but infrequently used, we learn to use only what we need when we need it. We need less space to store “things” we don’t need on a daily business to survive. More importantly, we’re making better use of our hard-earned dollars, euros or renminbi and increasing the intended value of an item.
Resourcefulness in the Networked Economy is not just about “stuff.” It’s also about putting our time to better use. We now work in a 24×7 business world that is truly global, and it can be difficult to trade time at work for time with family, friends, and loved ones. This is where the Networked Economy helps us balance these demands for our time. By working with business networks that are mobile-enabled and in the cloud, we can help ensure business continued to operate without disruption while we’re present for those who need us most.
3. Bountiful choice is no longer the exception
As a society, we’re beginning to cut out the middle man. We’re removing businesses that have the power to say “no” and deny service. For example, crowdsourcing is lessening consumer reliance on banks for credit and loans. Some of us are generating our own power by using solar panels and building up power grids with surplus energy. Plus, entertainment channels – such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Sony – are changing the rules of traditional media by distributing shows refused by cable providers and now gaining worldwide popularity on our nearest iPads.
Not yet convinced that the Networked Economy will change your life?
Check out this video to get a glimpse at what life in the Networked Economy can look like now: