Over the past few years I have seen Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society evolve,creating opportunities that benefit the way we live, work and play. But where did the concept of the Networked Society come from? How can the journey be quantified? What future predictions can be made?
In the spring of 2008 an Ericsson team drew a simple graph on a whiteboard to stimulate a brainstorming session. The context was simple. The global potential for fixed broadband is restricted to just north of 1 billion physical locations, then we run out of houses and offices. Similarly, the market for mobile broadband is restricted to around 5 billion people. So what’s next? The next big wave, which is already under way, is to move beyond people and go after digital devices that can benefit from being connected. We picked 50 billion as a hypothesis for the size of this next wave.
Connecting the first 5 billion people with mobile phones was only possible as a result of significant industry collaboration between mobile operators, terminal providers and network providers.
To journey from 5 billion to 50 billion we made two assumptions:
- Users in the Networked Society will be dependent on many more digital devices in the future and each user will have 10X (an order of magnitude) connected devices
- The Networked Society will not be created by the mobile communications industry alone, 10X adjacent industries will be involved
Connected devices that aren’t PCs, TVs or mobile phones will generate only one-tenth of the average revenue per user.And those assumptions weren’t far off. More and more devices are becoming available, connecting people and things.These are my predictions for the future:
- 50 billion = 5 billion (people) times 10X (devices) times 10X (industries) times 1/10 (ARPU) is a reasonable assumption for growth in the coming decade
- Significant cross-industry collaborations will continue to connect the world’s biggest machine (the global network) – 50 billion connected devices – to adjacent industries
- Within 5 years,the norm for the most advanced users of devices today will become the norm for the mass market
- The changes that take place in digital mobile communication over the next 5 years will be greater than those that have taken place in the previous 20.
I think these figures back up our bold statement “When one person connects, their life changes. With everything connected, our world changes.” A connected world is just the beginning.