The digital revolution: counting down to lift-offSep 19, 2018
This article was first published in OnBoard Magazine.
François Gratton, Executive Vice-President, TELUS and Partner Solutions, and President, Business Solutions East and TELUS Québec discusses the forecasted impact of digital transformation both economically and socially.
Smartphones have become an extension of our hands—and even of ourselves. We’re continually adding new functions and applications that modify our habits. More newspapers are going 100% digital, online banks are multiplying and e-commerce has transformed the retail sector.
We’re experiencing a pace of economic and social transformation that is unprecedented in human history. There’s a level of excitement around technology that’s simply not letting up. Especially not in business, where investments in technology are paying off with massive productivity gains.
However, some say the real technology revolution has only just begun. Over the next seven years, one billion young adults who grew up in the digital era will enter the workforce, while a growing number of Baby Boomers will correspondingly move into the retirement years.
At this new transformational threshold, keeping pace is progressively challenging, and those who fall behind may be in for a rude awakening.
How do such companies plan to face competitors who are integrating robots, facial recognition, and virtual reality into their operational arsenal? According to Standard and Poor’s, 75% of companies listed on the S&P 500 today are set to disappear over the next decade.
It’s clear that businesses must give themselves concrete digital transformation roadmaps. This means a global restructuring of their business model affecting every facet of their operations and involving all aspects of management, publicity, and communications. Digital transformation is first and foremost a human enterprise. To succeed, you must create an environment that leverages culture and integrates your current employees into the process and then recruit talent that, in turn, will also help accelerate the plan.
This foundational transformation will be further driven by the emergence of 5G technology. The industry is currently preparing its networks for the advent of this revolutionary technology by investing billions of dollars in its infrastructures across Canada. 5G will enable a connection speed 200 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE speeds.
Through this speed and its connection viability, 5G technology will truly trigger a revolution with regard to the Internet of Things, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, to name a few. A strong technology backbone will be as crucially important to the Canadian economy as a new bridge would be for a municipality.
We await these new, high capacity 5G networks with growing impatience. By 2025, it’s expected that at least 100 billion objects will be connected worldwide, and this number will continue to rise. This shift will happen very quickly. The first 5G-enabled technological devices are slated for market in late 2019, with 5G networks coming online in 2020. As a result, businesses need to draft and implement a comprehensive digital transformation plan involving everything from operations to corporate culture. How will you seize this potential?
How will you compete against a rival that is planning to cut costs by integrating 5G technology into its operations? How will you train, retrain, and recruit the talent you need? These are survival-level questions that all executives must ask themselves. There is extraordinary potential here for entrepreneurs able to qualify for this new technological era.