Trends Shaping the Future

Keynote Speakers: Rootstech Day 1

Mobility, Cloud Computing, Consumerism, Personalization, & Services

Shane R. Robison, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer of Hewlett-Packard Company, delivered the opening keynote presentation titled: “A World of Information”. Robison identified four macro forces that are shaping the future: (1) population growth; (2) urbanization; (3) globalization; and (4) information explosion. Exemplifying the convergence of these macro forces and emerging as global forces are China, India, and Latin America (led by Brazil). He forecast that by the year 2020, just nine years hence, there would be 25 million apps and 4 billion people online throughout the globe.

Robison predicted that two enabling technology trends, mobility and cloud computing, will direct IT organizations to focus on developing services. Picture a not-too-distant future in which people primarily meet their information needs using mobile appliances (such as smart phones, tablets, and their successors) to access cloud-based services (for example, printing services, location services, or scheduling services.)

Robison characterized future corporate IT operations as shifting their focus to emphasize “Information” versus “Technology”.  He suggested that successful companies will exploit analytics to make sense of the information at their disposal, information about service features, usage patterns, and user characteristics. This will enable companies to improve their competitive positions and revise their market strategies.

In fact, companies will face a good deal of competition going forward and it is expected that “technology disruptors” will find themselves disrupted at a fairly brisk pace. Robison used Netflix as an example. Not long ago Netflix disrupted the come-to-the-store movie rental business model of Blockbuster. Today, the Netflix online movie rental model is being disrupted by streaming video delivery providers. In the future technology disruptions will require companies to continually revise and reinvent their business models.

Following Robison the second opening keynote speaker was Jay Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch International. His presentation was entitled: “Turning Roots, Branches, Trees into Nodes, Links, Graphs”. Verkler identified four key future trends: (1) “as- a-service” technology model, (2) consumerism, (3) personalization, and (4) mobility.

The “as- a-service” business model, or “aaS”, already exists for software applications and infrastructure, such as cloud-based computing resources. Future services will include a range of information-based services, printing services, and many others. He suggested that any company, no matter its size, can build a new service that takes advantage of services offered by others. The second trend is consumerism, which is driving new technology developments. As evidence of this, Verkler stated that the market capitalization of Apple is now larger than Microsoft. The implication is that Apples’ consumer-driven products account for this fact. The third trend is personalization and the fourth is mobility. Exemplifying these trends are applications that are both location-aware and mobile-aware, for example, a smart phone app that suggests possible second cousins living in an area that a family history researcher is visiting.

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