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BIG THINKER
“A radically different future is coming, where the digitalization of everything leads to a hyperconnected world.”
Tango Matsumoto, CTO and CIO at Fujitsu
The new business dynamics of a hyperconnected world
Image: Enno Kapitza
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The new business dynamics of a hyperconnected world

February 2015

In a hyperconnected world, the way of doing business will fundamentally change, predicts Fujitsu’s CTO and CIO Tango Matsumoto.

A new world of connectivity is emerging. People — and the things around us — are increasingly connected to networks and sharing information, collaborating more across borders and gaining incredibly rich insights from big data. The World Economic Forum calls this the ‘hyperconnected world,’ and it will have a huge impact on the future.

This hyperconnected world is driven by the next generation of the Internet — the Internet of Things (IoT). The number of things connected to the Internet will likely reach 50 billion or more in 2020. Almost everything will be connected — your car, microwave oven, glasses, even your dog.

Massive amounts of information are already being generated by these ‘things.’ For example, a self-driving car generates 3.6 terabytes of data per hour; an aircraft jet engine creates 20 terabytes per hour. By making use of this huge amount of data, new services such as predictive maintenance are already emerging. The combination of IoT and big data analytics is opening up huge potential for economic growth globally.

In parallel with the expansion of the IoT, many kinds of hardware products, processes and services are being digitalized and controlled by intelligent software. Smartphones, home appliances, cars and social infrastructure are all being digitalized, making the phrase ‘software is eating the world’ ring true. Now existing borders between hardware and software, physical and digital, are rapidly fading away.
Different future

Hyperconnectivity also affects how people innovate. One influential venture capitalist in the US pointed out that the cost for starting up a new business has gone down almost 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That’s because cloud and open source give you instant and inexpensive access to an incredible range of resources. You don’t have to own your own assets, but you can share them. All of this means that if you have a few good ideas you can start a new business at significantly lower cost.

This people-led, knowledge-based innovation is not limited to the digital space. ‘Makerspaces’ and new technologies such as 3D printers allow people to create physical products and start businesses quickly.

In a nutshell, this is a radically different future where IoT, big data, the digitalization of everything, the power of people and open innovation all lead to a hyperconnected world, a borderless world where existing boundaries between industries, physical and digital enterprises, and individuals will almost vanish.

This is an era for challengers too: existing business models may not be sustainable tomorrow and have to give way to new entrants from totally different fields. It is imperative that every leader recognizes and understands these fundamental changes and prepares for the future.
New approach to innovation

So in such a different future, what is the key to growing a robust business and building a more prosperous society? Our answer is simple: it is people. How people use technology is the most important thing. Why is that? Previously, the act of holding technologies and assets in a closed way provided advantage. But now such technology is widely accessible through cloud and mobile devices.

It is critical for any organization to leverage the creativity of its people in order to resolve business challenges and realize innovation. It is not just about re-engineering the environment because it is people who innovate and create new value with the power of technology.

Last year Fujitsu announced Human Centric Innovation, a new approach to creating value in the hyperconnected world by bringing together the three dimensions of people, information and infrastructure. This is a way of empowering people and driving their creativity. To this end, enabling three important dimensions is essential:

Human Empowerment The first dimension is people — how organizations connect and empower people, and how they maximize the value of their experience. We call this Human Empowerment.

Creative Intelligence  The second dimension of Human Centric Innovation is information — how organizations collect big data and gain insights and knowledge; how they use such knowledge across boundaries. We call this Creative Intelligence.

Connected Infrastructure  The third dimension is infrastructure. Advanced technologies are increasingly embedded in business and social infrastructure, and how organizations connect and optimize the entire infrastructure has become critically important. We call this Connected Infrastructure
.

These three dimensions are not stand-alone, but closely linked. A critical step to innovation is to converge multiple streams of data, from human to human, human to machine and machine to machine to find out insights and create new value.

We genuinely believe that this new digital revolution will enable the transformation of business and contribute to the progress of our society — and Human Centric Innovation will be the approach that empowers organizations to challenge the status quo.


Article updated April 2015.

First published
February 2015
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About: Tango Matsumoto
As CTO and CIO at Fujitsu, Tango Matsumoto leads both technology and IT strategy at the Japanese ICT giant. Previously head of global marketing, he has also served as president of the company’s corporate planning office and president of telecoms business development.

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