Machine Age to Digital Age and Beyond

October 9, 2014

From the machine age to the digital age and beyond, Data was, is and will continue to be the common denominator using which innovation and services were delivered.

We will attempt to kindle the thought process of our readers by detailing a little history of the evolution to digital age, the opportunities and the challenges it presents and leave you with questions on what promises could the future possibly deliver ?

We are cautiously optimistic about a great future that we stand to experience, enabled by the digital world. Most of us build our careers around the Information age and it is here to stay for years to come. Indeed, output from this age forms the basis of the next era of innovation. The era of Digital age.

Machine, Atomic, Nuclear, Space and Information Age
Source: Google Ngram Viewer

We are living in a Digital age. It is the present and future, which will be defined by collaboration, agility in innovation and rapid commoditization of services. Collaboration amongst the participants, platforms, devices in a company , across companies, industries and geographical regions will define the path for this era.

Data and information then becomes the byproduct and not the core product itself. Defining moments in marketplace are established by businesses that are well positioned to leverage knowledge derived from these huge volumes of data and information But not necessarily from the size of the volume itself. It then becomes very important for global organization’s to put the data at hand, to use. Put to use to know customers better, grow business faster and for longer and satisfy regulatory obligations in a transparent and efficient way.

Information, Digital Age and Social Media, Cyber Security, Big Data
Source: Google Ngram Viewer

The challenges around data privacy, protection and boundaries between firms and participants will then be around defining and protecting the edge or perimeter itself. The digital world is constantly moving this edge or perimeter to an array of platforms, devices and participants. This trend will be the single source from which immense volumes of data will be created and managing it will be the core of the challenges that the CIO office of future will face. It’s not the complexity in technology; it’s not the complexity in managing people but its the finesse with which IT leaders will lead their IT teams to define standards and guard the weakest links at the edge/perimeter that will define the industry leaders versus followers.

With Big Data and Privacy, executives need to realize this, “You don’t capture it if you don’t use it”, “You capture what you said you are going to capture” and “You put it to use for what you said you will” and “You will protect what you are going to capture” noting more and nothing less. Compute and storage are becoming cheaper and cheaper, yet, you cannot have a strategy of saving data for 10 years and then figuring out what you are going to do with it in the 11th year. In the meantime, you are paying fines and loosing reputation for data breaches for data you necessarily don’t have a use, yet. At the same time, you have to make sure that you are not missing on opportunities that the future can present by making sure you capture data that is required today. A fine balance in thought is required in this aspect.

Data creation and accessibility platforms are getting closer to our hands and are coming along and staying with us for longer. With tens of destination to stay connected, contribute content and form a social presence rank, can we then expect digital babysitters to be the norm of the future? Babysitters, who exclusively curate, update and follow up on our individual digital presence on the web.

The boundaries between people, organizations, countries will still stay, its the edge that will overlap. Overlap from professional life to personal life, company-to-company, country to country.

The nature of jobs will transform but will not perish. A new skill set and an optimistic mind set are required for the digital worker of today and tomorrow. A person who understands the perimeters that he is working within and will do the required to operate under the conducts of the protocol, both inside the perimeter (at work) and outside the perimeter (outside work).

Executives, Data Strategists, Chief Digital Officer’s, Data Scientists and more, the opportunities are immense. Let’s get to work.

Leaving you with few questions from the graph below.

– Notice the trend machine and space age vs information age
– Notice the trend of information age vs digital age
– Notice the trend between digital age vs Social Media and Cyber security
– Will the future see a resurgence of the space and machine age enabled by the innovation and output driven by information and digital age for the past 3-4 decades ?
– Will 3D printing, gene innovations, renewable energy sources , exponential analytic capabilities etc resurrect machine and space ages to create their own 2.0 and 3.0 era’s ???


Space, Machine, Information, Digital Age and Social Media, Cyber Security, Big Data
Source: Google Ngram Viewer