The Digitization megatrend

By the year 2020, an entire generation, Generation C (for “connected”), will have grown up in a primarily digital world. Computers, the Internet, mobile phones, texting, social networking — all are second nature to members of this group. And their familiarity with technology, reliance on mobile communications, and desire to remain in contact with large networks of family members, friends, and business contacts will transform how we work and how we consume.

The phenomenon of digitization is reaching an inflection point. The effects of an increasingly digitized world are now reaching into every corner of our lives because three forces are powerfully reinforcing one another:

  • Consumer pull: Consumers, and particularly Generation C, are already fully adapted to the digital environment. They naturally expect to be always connected, are willing to share personal data, and are more likely to trust referrals from their closest friends than well-known brands.
  • Technology push: Digital technology continues to expand its influence. The infrastructure backbone of the digital world is bringing affordable broadband to billions of consumers. In parallel, low-cost connected devices are being deployed in every industry, and cloud computing, and the vast information-processing machinery it requires, is developing quickly.
  • Economic benefits: The economic benefits to be captured through digitization are real. A wave of capital has poured into the new digitization technologies and companies, and the public markets reward early movers with unprecedented valuations
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Compare your “digital behavior” — how you use electronic tools and how you exchange information — with that of other people. Do you behave like a member of “Generation Connected,” even though you’re 85 years old? Or are you 25 but have fewer facebook friends than your grandmother?
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The next big thing
The digital revolution is fundamentally changing the world. Our first "Next big thing" video highlights some of the major changes that digitization brings to governments, businesses, and consumers.
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Partners Bahjat El-Darwiche and Roman Friedrich discuss the impact of digitization on worldwide economies and the importance of putting policies in place to foster growth.
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Digitization — Are you ready? Because it is already here
Partner Christopher Vollmer discusses at the November 2012 Cisco Live Latin America in Cancun, Mexico, how key digitization trends are impacting consumers, businesses and governments and what the implications are for both strategy and capability development.

Key publications on the Digitization megatrend

Industry 4.0
The fourth industrial revolution — characterised by the increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models — has arrived. German industry will invest a total of €40 billion in Industry 4.0 every year by 2020. Applying the same investment level to the European industrial sector, the annual investments will be as high as €140 billion per annum.
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The digital interconnection of billions of devices is today’s most dynamic business opportunity.
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While digitization — the mass adoption of digital technology through connected services and devices — has proven to accelerate economic growth and facilitate job creation, its impact is not uniform.
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With information and communications technology access approaching ubiquity, policymakers are faced with the challenge of ensuring individuals, businesses, and governments are making the best possible use of networks and applications.
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Digitization in emerging countries could deliver US$6.3 trillion in additional nominal GDP and 77 million new jobs over the next 10 years.
The rise of Generation C
In the course of the next 10 years, a new generation—Genera­tion C—will emerge. Born after 1990, these “digital natives,” just now beginning to attend university and enter the work­force, will transform the world as we know it.
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The Arab Digital Generation, a tech-savvy demographic born between 1977 and 1997, accounts for 40% of the MENA population and is distinguishing itself economically, socially, and politically.
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With the latest mobile technology, the ability to deliver seamless, omnichannel consumer experiences is finally within reach.