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I spent the morning yesterday with the Board of Directors of a multi-billion dollar credit union, taking a good hard look at the trends sweeping the financial services space. They know that disruption is real, and that it is happening now.

And disruption is everywhere: every business, and every industry is  being redefined at blinding speed by technology, globalization, the rapid emergence of new competitors, new forms of collaborative global R&D, and countless other challenges.


The speed with which these changes occur are now being increasingly driven by he arrival of a younger, more entrepreneurial generation; a group that seems determined to change the world to reflect their ideas and concept of opportunity. They’ve grown up networked, wired, and are collaborative in ways that no previous generation seems to be.

And therein lies the challenge.

Most organizations are bound up in traditions, process, certain defined ways of doing things — rules — that have helped them succeed in the past. Over time, they have developed a corporate culture which might have worked at the slower paced world of the past — but now has them on the sick-bed, suffering from an organizational sclerosis that clogs up their ability to try to do anything new.

Those very things which worked for them in the past might be the anchors that could now hold them back as the future rushes at them with ever increasing speed.

They are being challenged in a fundamental way by those who think big, and by some really big, transformative trends.

How to cope with accelerating change?  Think big, start small and scale fast!

I’m doing many keynotes in which I outline the major trends and opportunities that come from “thinking big, starting small, and scaling fast,” by addressing some of the fundamental changes that are underway.

1. Entire industries are going “upside down”

One thing you need to know is this: entire industries are being flipped on their back by some pretty big trends.

Consider the world of health care. Essentially, today, it’s a system in which we fix people after they become sick. You come down with some type of medical condition; your doctor does a diagnosis, and a form of treatment is put in place. That’s overly simplifying things, but essentially that is how it works.

Yet that is going to change in a pretty fundamental way with genomic, or DNA based medicine. It takes us into a world in which we can more easily understand what health conditions are you susceptible or at risk for throughout your life. It moves us from a world in which we fix you after you are sick — to one in which we know what you are likely to become sick with, and come up with a course of action before things go wrong. That’s a pretty BIG and pretty fundamental change. I like to say that the system is going “upside down.”

So it is with the automotive and transport industry. One day, most people drove their own cars. One day in the future, cars will do much of the driving on their own. That’s a pretty change — sort of the reverse, or upside-down, from how it use to be.

Or think about education: at one time, most people went to the place where education is delivered. But with the massive explosion of connectivity and new education delivery methods involving technology, an increasing number of people are in a situation where education is delivered to them. That’s upside down too!

You can go through any industry and see similar signs. That’s a lot of opportunity for big change.

2. Moore’s law – everywhere!

Another big trend that is driving a lot of change comes about as technology takes over the rate of change in the industry.

Going forward, every single industry, from health care to agriculture to insurance and banking, will find out that change will start to come at the speed of Moore’s law — a speed of change that is MUCH faster than they are used too. (Remember, Moore’s law explains that roughly, the processing power of a computer chip doubles every 18 months while its cost cuts in half. It provides for the pretty extreme exponential growth curve we see with a lot of consumer and computer technology today.)

Back to health care. We know that genomic medicine is moving us from a world in which we fix people after they are sick – to one where we know what they will likely become sick with as a result of DNA testing. But now kick in the impact of Moore’s law, as Silicon Valley takes over the pace of development of the genomic sequencing machines. It took $3 billion to sequence the first genome, which by 2009 had dropped to $100,000. It’s said that by mid-summer, the cost had dropped to under $10,000, and by the end of the year, $1,000. In just a few years, you’ll be able to go to a local Source by Circuit City and buy a little $5 genomic sequencer – and one day, such a device will cost just a few pennies.

The collapsing cost and increasing sophistication of these machines portends a revolution in the world of health care. Similar trends are occurring elsewhere – in every single industry, we know one thing: that Moore’s law rules!

3. Loss of the control of the pace of innovation

What happens when Moore’s law appears in every industry? Accelerating change, and massive business model disruption as staid, slow moving organizations struggle to keep up with faster paced technology upstarts.

Consider the world of car insurance — we are witnessing a flood of GPS based driver monitoring technologies that measure your speed, acceleration and whether you are stopping at all the stop signs. Show good driving behaviour, and you’ll get a rebate on your insurance. It’s happening in banking, with the the imminent emergence of the digital wallet and the trend in which your cell phone becomes a credit card.

In both cases, large, stodgy, slow insurance companies and banks that move like molasses will have to struggle to fine tune their ability to innovate and keep up : they’re not used to working at the same fast pace as technology companies.

Not only that, while they work to get their innovation agenda on track, they’ll realize with horror that its really hard to compete with companies like Google, PayPal, Facebook, and Apple — all of whom compete at the speed of light.

It should make for lots of fun!

4.  “Follow the leader” business methodologies

We’re also witnessing the more rapid emergence of new ways of doing business, and it’s leading us to a time in which companies have to instantly be able to copy any move by their competition – or risk falling behind.

For example, think about what is going on in retail, with one major trend defining the future: the Apple checkout process. Given what they’ve done, it seems to be all of a sudden, cash registers seemed to become obsolete. And if you take a look around, you’ll notice a trend in which a lot of other retailers are scrambling to duplicate the process, trying to link themselves to the cool Apple cachet.

That’s the new reality in the world of business — pacesetters today can swiftly and suddenly change the pace and structure of an industry, and other competitors have to scramble to keep up.  Consider this scenario: Amazon announces a same day delivery in some major centres. Google and Walmart almost immediately jump on board. And in just a short time, retailers in every major city are going to have be able to play the same game!

Fast format change, instant business model implementation, rapid fire strategic moves. That’s the new reality for business, and it’s the innovators who will adapt.

5. All interaction — all the time!

If there is one other major trend that is defining the world of retail and shopping, take a look at all the big television screens scattered all over the store! We’re entering the era of constant video bombardment in the retail space. How fast is the trend towards constant interaction evolving? Consider the comments by

Ron Boire, the new Chief Marketing Officer for Sears in the US (and former chief executive of Brookstone Inc.): “My focus will really be on creating more and better theatre in the stores.”

We are going to see a linking of this ‘in-store theatre’ with our mobile devices and our social networking relationships. Our Facebook app for a store brand (or the fact we’ve ‘liked’ the brand) will know we’re in the store, causing a a customized commercial to run, offering us a personalized product promotion with a  hefty discount. This type of scenario will be here faster than you think!

6. Products reinvented

Smart entrepreneurs have long realized something that few others have clued into : the future of products is all about enhancement through intelligence and connectivity. Nail those two aspects, and you suddenly sell an old product at significantly higher new prices.

Consider the NEST Learning Thermostat. It’s design is uber-cutting edge, and was in fact dreamed up by one of the key designers of the iPad. It looks cool, it’s smart, connected, and there’s an App for that! Then there is a Phillips Hue Smart LED Lightbulb, a $69 light bulb that is uber-smart, connected, and can be controlled from your mobile device. Both are sold at the Apple store!

Or take a look at the Whitings Wi-Fi Body Scale. Splash a bit of design onto the concept of a home weigh scale, build it with connectivity, link it to some cool online graphs and you’ve got a device that will take your daily weight, BMI and body-fat-mass tracking into a real motivational tool.  Where is it sold? Why, at the Apple store too!

Do you notice a trend here?

7. Careers reinvented

For those who that the post-2008 North American recovery from the recession was slow, here’s an open secret: there was a significant economic recovery underway for quite some time, as companies in every sector ranging from manufacturing to agriculture worked hard to reinvent themselves. It just didn’t involve a lot of new jobs, because the knowledge required to do a new job in today’s economy is pretty complex. We’ve moved quickly from the economy of menial, brute force jobs to new careers that require a lot of high level skill. The trend has been underway for a long, long time.

Consider the North American manufacturing sector, a true renaissance industry if there ever was one! Smart engineers at a wide variety of manufacturing organizations have transformed process to such a degree, and involved the use of such sophisticated robotic technology, that the economic recovery in this sector involves workers who have to master a lot of new knowledge. One client observed of their manufacturing staff: “The education level of our workforce has increased so much….The machinists in this industry do trigonometry in their heads.”

Similar skills transitions are underway in a wide variety of other industries….

8. The Rise of the Small over Incumbents

We are living in the era that involves the end of incumbency. Companies aren’t assured that they will own the marketplace and industry they operate within because of past success ; they’ll have to continually re-prove themselves through innovation.

Consider Square, the small little device that lets your iPhone become a credit card. What a fascinating little concept that has such big potential for disruption. And it’s a case where once again, small little upstarts are causing turmoil, disruption and competitive challenge in larger industries — and often times, the incumbents are too slow to react.

Anyone who has ever tried to get a Merchant Account from Visa, MasterCard or American Express in order to accept credit cards knows that it is likely trying to pull teeth from a pen – many folks just give up in exasperation. Square, on the other hand, will send you this little device for free (or you can pick one up at the Apple Store.) Link it to your bank account, and you’re in business.

So while credit card companies have been trying to figure out the complexities of the future of their industry, a small little company comes along and just does something magical! No complexities, no challenges, no problems.

* * * *
There are people who are making big bold bets, big bold decisions, who are going to change the world and who are going to do things differently.” That phrase was from my opening keynote for the Accenture International Utilities and Energy Conference in San Francisco some years back.

It’s a good sentiment, and is a good way to think about the idea of ‘thinking big.’

I’m cleaning out some old research files, and came across this simple set of statistics: between now and 2050, we will move from 7 to 10 billion people; we need 70% more food, 50% more water, and 50% more fuel.

People always ask me, ‘where are the emerging opportunities for innovation?” Those simple statistics define it perfectly…… there is big potential in agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water …. ignoring the politics for a moment.

Back in 2008, I wrote a document, “Where’s the Growth? Global Innovation Opportunities for the Long Term”. I just read it again — and it was pretty accurate, predicting the rise of the Internet-of-Things (connected thermostats), the acceleration of solar and green tech, and other trends.

Have a read — it’s a PDF, so click on the image or read it here.

The NEST Learning Thermostat is a great example of the type of typical business model disruption that we are going to witness in every industry through the next decade!

Give it a few years.

You won’t even recognize the industry you are operating in.

That’s because the rate of business model change is accelerating in every single industry. Here’s why:

  1. Right now, there are probably a bunch of really smart people figuring out to disrupt your business model
  2. If you aren’t busy thinking about to disrupt your business model, they most certainly will.
  3. They’ll probably do this sooner than you think they will.
  4. The result is that 10 years out (or less), your business model will look nothing like it does today.
  5. Those that do mess up your business model are quite likely to be younger than you; for many folks, age provides for complacency.
  6. The fundamental change to your business model driven by this younger generation will be the result of digital, smart, intelligent, location-oriented technology.
  7. They’ll use this technology in such a way they’ll come out of left field with a business model idea that you’ve never even thought of before.
  8. Their business model will carry an undeniable ‘coolness factor’ that you can’t simply match.
  9. Most likely, you’ll discount the importance of their innovation, until it is much too late.
  10. The result will be dramatic change :its likely that your current business model will not even survive: and your company might not as well!

Examples of this type of disruption are occurring all around us right now.

It’s going to happen to you too. So — what are you going to do about it?

 

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; the rapid emergence of new competitors; industries in which customers empowered with mobile devices control a wide variety of devices that are a part of their daily lives; unique opportunities for deep analytical insight into trends and opportunities emerging in industries; a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected, and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere.

The CEO of a major US energy company hired Jim Carroll to do a video that put into perspective the impact of the Internet of Things on the global energy. There are some pretty profound changes underway.

Think about the video in the context of literally any other industry, and you realize the scope of the potential disruption that is occurring.

The Internet of Things is real, and it is unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; autonomous vehicle technology that is self-aware, and networked into sophisticated, intelligent highway flow control systems. A connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive, and built for zero down-time . Intelligent home appliances that link to packaged food products that automatically upload carb, sodium and other dietary information as part of an overall health and wellness program.

Jim Carroll has been talking on stage about the Internet of things since the late 1990’s, when he began using the phrase “hyper connectivity” to describe a world in which “every device that is a part of our daily lives is about to become plugged in.” Since then, he has delivered his insight on the topic to a wide variety of organizations: several global technology leaders with a keynote talk on the future of home automation; several of the world’s largest HVAC companies about what happens when a global, intelligent home and industrial energy infrastructure emerges through widespread connectivity; consumer, food and packaged goods conferences about the impact of intelligent packaging. He has been booked by many leading global health care organizations for keynotes that have focused on what happens when consumers start aligning their wellness strategies through their own personal healthcare infrastructure.

The Internet of Things is a substantive, transformative trend that will provide more change in every industry in the next ten years than they’ve seen in the last thirty.

Jim Carroll already over a dozen years of on-stage experience with the topic, and can help you understand the strategies, risks and opportunities that you need to be aware of you move into a hyperconnected future. Consider one of the world’s most widely recognized futurists, trends and innovation experts for your next association, CEO leadership meeting or other keynote!

Another one of my articles for GE Reports has been published.


FutureFastCover-201x300

The Future Belongs to Those Who are Fast features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.

In this era of hyperconnectivity, transformation is happening faster and impacting every industry. To thrive in this environment, you need to understand these five things.

Someday, we will look back and realize that we live in one of the most fascinating periods in history, with technology having entered a new era of what I call “hyperconnectivity” — where the rate of change is accelerating in nearly every industry.

What are the trends that are driving this faster future, and how are smart businesses adapting to not only survive — but thrive — in a faster world? Here are 5 things to know about the accelerating future and to stay ahead.

1. Speed — Today’s is the slowest day of technology change for the rest of your life

Bill Gates once observed that most people tend to overestimate the rate of change in a two-year basis, but underestimate the rate in a 10-year basis.

Take 3D printing. Just a few years ago, I would speak about 3D printing as if it was science fiction — far away and entirely theoretical. Now it’s becoming a part of day-to-day operations for many businesses.

Consider, for example, what is happening with dental medical implants, where the idea of printing dental bridges or other implants is becoming ever more real. Now, people are talking about 3D printing surgical knee replacements.

2. Hyperconnectivity — and endless possibilities

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyperconnectivity — powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) — becomes the new norm. The result: a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before. The capability of achieving deep analytical insights into emerging trends in industries also presents an opportunity for massive business model disruption.

By the year 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet — roughly six devices per person. The IoT is happening everywhere and unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; a connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive and built for zero down-time; and scales that record our body mass index, transmit it to a password-protected website and create custom charts on our health.

Imagine a world in which that 3D-printed knee replacement reports that it is malfunctioning by sending a message to your iPhone. Seem far fetched? Hyperconnectivity is a staggering trend, which means the possibilities are endless for growth and innovation.

3. Momentum and the potential for big wins

Add these trends of acceleration and hyperconnectivity together, and you’ve got the opportunity for major industry transformation.

Consider the lighting industry, which is in the era of revolutionary new opportunities for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns. In addition, since we can now build energy systems in which each individual light bulb is accessible via the Internet, very sophisticated energy management solutions are emerging.

LED usage is accelerating, with the global market expected to grow from $7 billion in 2010 to $40 billion in 2016, according to industry reports. At the same time, the ability to control those intelligent light bulbs is changing is enabling a reimagination of lighting. People can easily set up a smart home where they control their lighting and other energy systems via an iPad. They can become energy-conscious consumers, responsible for their own personal energy infrastructure management. If we empower millions of people, some fascinating opportunities for energy usage reduction result.

There is so much momentum behind these changes because the potential for big wins are huge.

4. The connected generation

Meanwhile, the next generation of youth are starting to embrace every opportunity for hyperconnectivity and acceleration — whether in their homes or businesses.

Today’s younger generation — those under age 25 — have never known a world without a mobile device that puts incredible amounts of information at their fingertips. They are globally wired, entrepreneurial, collaborative — and they thrive on change. As a result, this generation is starting to drive rapid business model change and industry transformation as they move into executive positions.

About two-thirds of today’s children today will work in a career that has doesn’t yet exist, according to author Cathy Davidson, Think about titles like “water usage audit analysts,” “energy usage audit architects” and “location intelligence professionals.”

We are at the forefront of a remarkable time in history, as the next generation uses connectivity to advance some of the biggest energy successes.

5. The future belongs to those who are fast

So how should you deal with fast-paced technological change? As new technology and connected infrastructure emerge, keep in mind a phrase I often use when I’m on stage: “Think Big, Start Small and Scale Fast.” Take on a small-scale, experimental project in you municipality, industrial location or retail store. Test out a new technology with a target group of customers.

By starting small and learning to scale fast, you can adopt an innovation mantra and build a business plan that leads to success.

 

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by  The Big Issue, a UK publication that is mostly sold by the homeless and long-term unemployed.

As noted on their Web site, “Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991 we have helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. We currently work with around 2000 individuals across the UK offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’. We currently circulates around 100,000 copies every week.”

There’s a really good audio program — “The Energy Transition Show” — which will help you explore the ideas below in greater depth!

solar-1


Futurist Jim Carroll says renewable energy will soon allow people to beat the Big Six by creating microgrids with their neighbours.

Renewable energy projects have taken a beating in recent years – there was a lot of misspending in the early days, and production costs were too high. But we are getting much more intelligent about renewable energy and making it really efficient. I think we’re approaching a time that the cost of developing new, exciting alternative energy sources is going to rapidly decrease.

The individual is capable of playing a much bigger role here. Whether it’s wind generation, solar cells or bio-composting, the internet is allowing people to raise funds, share ideas and invent new energy technologies faster than ever before.

Traditional energy is all one-way: a big power plant that sends out energy to everyone on the grid. But the possibilities of creating a two-way system, where we can accept inputs from a large number of small-scale energy generators, is an incredibly exciting prospect.

The time is coming when more and more people will find they are capable of getting off the traditional grid. Or maybe connecting to the grid on only a part-time basis.

If you can connect a smart home energy thermostat with some solar, wind or biomass energy in your garden, you’re really not far off generating your own power. Soon people will be able to create local microgrids with their neighbours.

The big companies will have to become more flexible to adjust. Big data will enable the power sector to add far more intelligence to the grid, and make it a truly two-way, interactive system.

We’ve shared music – why can’t we share energy? The music industry thought it would be selling CDs forever but the model changed when people started sharing.

Long term, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to move away from carbon. We’re at a key inflection point. Right now, we’re roughly 90 per cent carbon, 10 per cent renewables. But I can imagine being at 50-50 in my lifetime. The next generation will look at renewables and say: “Wow – this just makes sense.”

Jim Carroll was talking to Adam Forrest

Energy2016

The rule of Moore’s Law is rapidly coming to renewables. This “law” — predicting that the processing power of a computer chip doubles ever year while the cost is halved — is coming to the manufacturing process of renewable technology, to the infrastructure built into renewables, and to the systems that drive renewable use.

From an article I wrote for GE Reports, a global publication of General Electric.

From advances in renewables to data-driven efficiencies and empowered consumers, 2016 offers the opportunity to shape the future of energy.

In my view, 2016 will prove to be a watershed year when it comes to sustainable energy. Years from now, we’ll look back and realize that a variety of technological, design and demographic trends drove the power sector forward, accelerated by one key event — the Paris climate accord.

The accord will prove to be a huge motivating factor for both individuals, as well as the industrial and utility sector, to start to think bigger in terms of what can be done with smart energy systems and non-carbon technology.

For the first time, we have a global consciousness that the time is right to try to accomplish something unique — to apply our technological, design, architecture and analytical capabilities to come up with solutions that will help to drive down our reliance on a carbon economy.

It’s happening at two levels. Individuals and small energy cooperatives are leading the charge through small crowdfunded initiatives, or through what has come to be known as the “maker” economy.

In addition, Paris will encourage large utilities to move faster with alternative energy opportunities. They’ll take a closer look at what they can do to help to achieve the bold goals of a cleaner energy future. They’ll be less willing to take criticism over those who might browbeat them over economic models that might sometimes be marginal. But going forward, it won’t just be the financial return on investment that matters — but the social return as well.

Here are a few predictions for the energy sector in 2016 and beyond:

The most promising breakthrough in renewable power will likely be a massive amount of innovation throughout every aspect of the sector. This is coming about because of our ability to apply more connectivity and computer intelligence to every single aspect of renewables — whether it’s generation, transmission, or deep analytics into the efficiency of operations.

Essentially, what I think is happening is that the rule of Moore’s Law is rapidly coming to renewables. This “law” — predicting that the processing power of a computer chip doubles ever year while the cost is halved — is coming to the manufacturing process of renewable technology, to the infrastructure built into renewables, and to the systems that drive renewable use.

It’s almost as if it’s 1981, when arrival of the personal computer caught the imagination of thousands of hackers and developers — and the rest is history. I think we are at the same tipping point with renewables, particularly small-scale energy generation.

Some of the most fascinating innovations are occurring in the global “maker” and crowdfunding initiatives. People interested in solar development are building small communities in which shared insight is accelerating the pace of pure science. This globally connected mind is turning itself toward solving some unique challenges in the world of energy and renewables.

Big Data will enable the power sector to add far more intelligence to the grid, and to have far better insight into operational conditions. Most of the grid today is pretty dumb — it’s built for one-way transmission, from big energy production facilities out to homes and industries. But there is a tremendous amount of investment in creating a two-way, intelligent and interactive grid. This changes everything, allowing us to more easily accommodate and utilize the energy production occurring in a more distributed world.

In homes across the world, the Internet of Things will enable energy consumers to build their own micro-climate monitoring systems, and better manage their personal energy infrastructure usage.

Consider this: it’s entirely feasible today for someone with just a little bit of technical knowledge to build their own local micro-climate weather monitoring system. Now imagine that you can link it to your intelligent home energy thermostat, one of the fastest-growing home-based IoT categories. Go a step further — add some solar, wind or biomass energy-generation capability — and link your own personal Big Data to that technology, in order to come up with the most optimal time to generate your own power.

Expand that to what’s possible in the industrial sector. Global companies with large-scale facilities now have the ability to monitor and manage all their energy infrastructure worldwide from one central data viewpoint. They can see what it necessary to reduce usage, avoid cost and be more intelligent about how energy is deployed.

I’m a big believer that we are on the edge of “real magic” when it comes to the future of energy and utilities. It’s not just the trends above; it’s the fact that we have new solutions that didn’t exist before — such as intelligent lighting technology that is so advanced that it is hard to put the efficiency it provides into perspective.

From my view, the future of energy is all about opportunity.

From GE Reports, October 28, 2015 (link)

Technological advances from the Industrial Internet to renewables are transforming the energy industry. Here are the key trends to watch over the next decade.

Hyper-connectivity is transforming many industries — few more so than the energy sector. The expansion of the industrial Internet and power of Big Data analytics is enabling power companies to predict maintenance failures and approach zero downtime, while smartgrids and apps are empowering consumers to become producers.

Could the energy generation and distribution industry find itself in the same position as music companies did n the past — stuck defending an older and entrenched business model, rather than embracing new ideas, concepts and methodologies?

“We are now in the era of `personal energy infrastructure management,’” where connected consumers are gaining increasing control over energy consumption and production, says Jim Carroll, a futurist and energy expert.

The quickly shifting energy landscape means utilities and other industry players must be careful not to be “MP3’d” like the music industry, says Carroll in an interview, in which he also discusses the prospect of achieving energy access for all and the potential for renewals to replace fossil fuels as the dominant energy source:

How much progress will we make in improving energy access to everyone on the planet in 10 years, with the help of microgrids and off-grid solar and other solutions? 

One of my favorite phrases comes from Bill Gates: “People often overestimate what will happen in the next two years and underestimate what will happen in 10.”

I think we live in a period of time when there are several key trends impacting out future use of energy. An intelligent, connected and self-aware grid. An accelerated pace of innovation with non-traditional energy sources — there are now window panes for building construction that generate solar power. Major investments and innovation with energy storage battery technology. I don’t think any of us can really anticipate how quickly all of this is coming together.

Will renewables top fossil fuels as the dominant energy source?

History has taught us that significant progress is more incremental than dramatic. The key point is that globally, we are at an inflection point when it comes to energy. Right now, we’re 90 percent carbon, 10 percent renewables, give or a take a few points. At some point — 10, 20, 50, 100 years? — we’re likely to be at 50-50.

A lot will happen with scientific, business model and industrial change between now and then. We’ve had this predominant business model based on carbon that goes back 100 years, but will that last forever? We’d be delusional if we thought so. What is known is that the carbon energy industry has made tremendous and somewhat unforeseen strides with increasing output — shale, horizontal drilling, smarter drilling and production technologies. Yet the same thing is happening with renewables — and it’s probably happening faster. In the long term, I believe we will see a gradual and inexorable shift to renewables.

How much will we be able to reduce the carbon footprint of the power industry, as technological innovation brings down the cost of renewables?

The technology — as well as consumer/industrial demand for new alternatives — will continue at a faster rate but will run up against increasing regulatory and business model challenges. That’s why I have challenged utility CEOs to ask the question, “Could they be MP3’d?” Could the energy generation and distribution industry find itself in the same position as music companies did n the past — stuck defending an older and entrenched business model, rather than embracing new ideas, concepts and methodologies.

How will the relationship between consumers and producers of electricity change, given smartgrid technologies, mobile app connectivity and the increasing availability of small-scale renewable power sources?

I always stress that we are now in the era of “personal energy infrastructure management.” What does that mean? I have the ability to manage my heating and air conditioning spend through an iPhone app. In the not too distant future, I believe my local neighborhood will have some type of swarm intelligence — linked to local and upcoming weather patterns— that will adjust its consumption patterns in real time based on a series of interconnected home thermostats. My sons are 22 and 20 years old, and we’ve had an Internet-connected thermostat in our home and for over a decade. They live in a world in which they are in control of remote devices, include those that manage their energy use.

How much will energy efficiency improve, with the help of the Industrial Internet and Internet of Things and Big Data analytics?

Some people might view the IoT as being the subject of too much hype at this point. Maybe that is true, but it is probably such a significant development that we can barely comprehend its impact. Think about it this way: every device that is a part of our daily lives is about to become connected. That fundamentally changes the use and purpose of the device in major ways. Add on top of that location intelligence — knowing where the device is, and its status. Link together millions of those devices and generate some real-time and historical data — the possibilities boggle the mind.

We are increasingly in a situation in which the future belongs to those who are fast. That might be a challenge for the energy and utility sector, but it’s a reality.

GE Lighting

Jim Carroll speaking at a GE Lighting event in New York City: “When it comes to lighting, we’re in the era of revolutionary new opportunities. The potential for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns, and detailed, specific-spot addressability and management is real.”

Back in May, I participated in a key customer event for GE Lighting in New York City. Here’s a quick little article summary, and video, which captured my thoughts on the future of intelligent lighting and connected infrasucture.

5 Things to Know About the Connected Future
By Jim Carroll

When it comes to acceleration, we live in one of the most fascinating periods in history where the rate of technology change is absolutely staggering.

So what trends are driving this acceleration, and how are smart businesses adapting to not only survive but thrive in an ever-connected world? Read on to learn 5 things to know about the connected future—and how you can stay ahead.

Acceleration: Today’s is the slowest day of technology change for the rest of your life.

Bill Gates once observed that most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that’s going to occur in a two-year basis, but underestimate the rate of change that will occur in a 10-year basis. A few years ago I used to speak about 3D printing as if it were science fiction. Now it’s part of many businesses day-to-day operations.

In the not-so-distant future, we will likely have connectivity in cars that researches 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes for sale in your neighborhood, and then drives you directly to each house for a tour. We already have augmented reality displays built into ski visors and goggles that tell you, in real-time, how fast and far you’ve skied -this same technology will be integrated into automobiles in the not-too-distant future.

It’s important to be ready for this acceleration. Your opportunity in dealing with this is continuing to ingest new ideas, new technologies and new methodologies to solve problems.

Hyper-Connectivity….and endless possibilities.

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper-connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; industries in which customers empowered with mobile devices control a wide variety of devices that are a part of their daily lives; unique opportunities for deep analytical insight into trends and opportunities emerging in industries; and a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before.

Every device that is part of our daily life is becoming plugged into the Internet. We are becoming aware of its location and its status. And while this has been a trend for awhile, it is today’s businesses that are primed to turn this momentum into big wins.

By the year 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. That’s roughly six devices per person.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere, it is real, and it is unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; autonomous vehicle technology that is self-aware and networked into sophisticated, intelligent highway flow control systems; a connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive and built for zero down-time.

We have scales that record our body mass index, transmit it to a password-protected website and create custom charts on our health. We have ceiling fans that will slow down when owners go to sleep. We have barbeques that send us text messages when the meat needs to be flipped.

These are staggering trends, and what is means is the possibilities are endless for growth and innovation.

Momentum & the potential for big wins.

When it comes to lighting, we’re in the era of revolutionary new opportunities. The potential for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns, and detailed, specific-spot addressability and management is real.

New LED technologies change our very concept of lighting and individual addressability at the level of the light bulb leads us to an era that is unlike anything we’ve ever known. Consider these statistics:

Right now, lighting accounts for 12-15% of annual global power consumption, creating 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.
According to the International Energy Agency, improving lighting efficiency by 20% can reduce total power consumption by 3.8% and cut total CO2 emissions by 0.8 percent.
According to industry reports, the global LED lighting marketing is expected to grow from $7 billion in 2010 to $40 billion in 2016.

There is so much momentum behind these changes because the potential for big wins are huge.

The next generation

Today’s younger generation—those under age 25—have never known a world without a mobile device that lets them access incredible amounts of information at their fingertips. They are globally wired, entrepreneurial, collaborative…and they thrive on change.

Gone are the days of MS Dos copy and computer courses like Cobalt. This generational trend is crucial to businesses that need to communicate with customers and employees that are used to receiving information in vastly different ways. Additionally, this generation is starting to drive rapid business model change and industry transformation as they move into executive positions.

According to author Cathy Davidson, 65% of children today will work in a career that has doesn’t yet exist. Think about titles like “water usage audit analysts,” energy usage audit architects,” and “location intelligence professionals.” We are at the forefront of a remarkable time in history as the next generation uses connectivity to advance some of the biggest energy successes.

The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast

As new technology, intelligent lighting and infrastructure emerge, the key phrase businesses need to remember is to Think Big, Start Small and Scale Fast. Take on a small-scale, experimental project in you municipality, industrial location or retail store. Test out a new technology with a target group of customers.

By starting small and learning to scale fast, you can adopt an innovation mantra and build a business plan that leads to success.

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; the rapid emergence of new competitors; industries in which customers empowered with mobile devices control a wide variety of devices that are a part of their daily lives; unique opportunities for deep analytical insight into trends and opportunities emerging in industries; a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected, and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere.

The CEO of a major US energy company hired Jim Carroll to do a video that put into perspective the impact of the Internet of Things on the global energy. There are some pretty profound changes underway.

Think about the video in the context of literally any other industry, and you realize the scope of the potential disruption that is occurring.

The Internet of Things is real, and it is unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; autonomous vehicle technology that is self-aware, and networked into sophisticated, intelligent highway flow control systems. A connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive, and built for zero down-time . Intelligent home appliances that link to packaged food products that automatically upload carb, sodium and other dietary information as part of an overall health and wellness program.

Jim Carroll has been talking on stage about the Internet of things since the late 1990’s, when he began using the phrase “hyper connectivity” to describe a world in which “every device that is a part of our daily lives is about to become plugged in.” Since then, he has delivered his insight on the topic to a wide variety of organizations: several global technology leaders with a keynote talk on the future of home automation; several of the world’s largest HVAC companies about what happens when a global, intelligent home and industrial energy infrastructure emerges through widespread connectivity; consumer, food and packaged goods conferences about the impact of intelligent packaging. He has been booked by many leading global health care organizations for keynotes that have focused on what happens when consumers start aligning their wellness strategies through their own personal healthcare infrastructure.

The Internet of Things is a substantive, transformative trend that will provide more change in every industry in the next ten years than they’ve seen in the last thirty.

Jim Carroll already over a dozen years of on-stage experience with the topic, and can help you understand the strategies, risks and opportunities that you need to be aware of you move into a hyperconnected future. Consider one of the world’s most widely recognized futurists, trends and innovation experts for your next association, CEO leadership meeting or other keynote!

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