As a part of its Visionary Innovation program, Frost & Sullivan has identified four types of convergence: Products, Technologies, Industries and Competition. An integral factor for growth for companies is to understand the landscape of new convergence areas and subsequent opportunities that could be generated in the future.
According to Archana Amarnath, Global Director, Visionary Innovation Group, Frost & Sullivan, “Companies are beginning to understand the importance of convergence. We see many players such as Google moving out of their traditional business areas to form new partnerships and new solutions. Customers no longer are interested in silo based apps or services. They demand holistic, end-to end solutions of their connected life and for that to materialise, we will see a lot more partnerships between Energy, Security, IT, Healthcare, Automotive, and other sectors. “
Many of the connected living solutions in the future will be a lot more evolved to converge various aspects of our home, work and city environments. Telecom players such as AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have understood the power of convergence in their connected home platforms called “Digital Life” and “QIVICON” respectively. In future, telecom players are best positioned to provide converging solutions even beyond physical home environment including areas of connected work and other aspects of a city as well.
Convergence solutions will not be isolated to connected home or work environments alone. On a macro side, we will see convergence of different solutions within a city to be a lot more integrated and intelligent than we see today.
Intelligent mobility platforms and services, for example will need integration of players from transport, banking, mobile phone/ telecom, financial to converge and form a singular intelligent solution for cities. This in turn will lead to multiple options and applications with big data analytics providing an additional interesting angle. A lot of cities and companies are already evolving their business models to mirror aspects of convergence. Many smart cities globally have adopted integrated urban solutions as a part of their overall smart city framework that encompasses all sectors/ industries within a city. The Amsterdam Smart City Consortium is a perfect example of how a city has rebuilt its smart city framework to integrate various sectors and projects within its city.
Identifying new convergence areas will additionally stimulate the development of new business models. Convergence will be a driving factor for companies scouting for new areas of innovation providing a lot of scope for new product development.
“A lot of this convergence will be driven by connectivity”, says Amarnath. “Key aspects such as proliferation of connected devices, smart city solutions, and social factors would also drive convergence. Social trends, like aging societies for example, would demand specific solutions around assisted living- an area that a lot of telecom players are actively looking at,” she added.
In conclusion, connectivity and convergence will have a massive impact on business, society and personal lives. Most importantly, the future of all industries would be defined by the impact and adoption of connectivity. As connectivity continues to drive convergence, companies would need to identify those adjacent, periphery products and services that could be added as a part of their portfolio in the future. This would define new solutions, new customers and even new partnerships and competition.