A Digital World is a Connected World

We live in an always-on world. The hyperconnected world is now a reality for us as individuals, as consumers and for all businesses globally. 

Today, commercial wireless signals already cover more of the world’s population than the electrical grid (KPCB), and the number of connected devices around the globe is expected to hit anywhere from 50 billion to a staggering one trillion in the next five years. (Flexerasoftware). Cisco estimates that by 2015, the amount of data crossing the Internet every 5 minutes will be equivalent to the total size of all movies ever made, and that annual Internet traffic will reach a zettabyte – roughly 200 times the total size of all words ever spoken by humans.

As individuals and consumers, we are using a growing number of devices and technology enabled means to stay connected and aid our daily lives:

  • Globally there are 7 billion mobile phones, 1.5 billion of these are smartphones. There were just 12 million mobile phone users 23 years ago (mobithinking.com)
  • We spend nearly 40% of our Internet time on our mobile devices (marketingland.com)
  • 41% of households worldwide are connected to the Internet (ITU)
  • 50 billion Apple and 48 billion Google Apps have been downloaded (Forbes)
  • Worldwide, mobile app users are expected to reach 4.4 billion by the end of 2017 (mobithinking.com)
  • 80% of consumers plan to participate in mobile commerce within the next year  (inmobi.com)
  • Even 38% of 2 year olds use mobile devices (entrepreneur.com)
  • The most frequently used app in the world is Google Maps, followed by Facebook and YouTube (Mashable)
  • In 2013, mobile consumers owned an average of 3.9 connected devices (jiwire.com)

For businesses, the hyperconnected world brings both challenges and opportunity. The challenge is maintaining relevance, success and continued growth in the face of rapid change. The opportunity is the ability to innovate, to adapt, to increase or maintain competitive edge. In the mobile space alone, customer trends and expectations are forcing businesses to think differently and adapt to the changing environment:

  • 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimised for mobile (mobify.com)
  • The majority of enterprises are creating business apps for both consumers (60%) and employees (56%) (IDG Enterprise)
  • 80% of consumers plan to utilise mobile commerce in 2014 (inmobi.com)
  • For every 100milliseconds in load time, sales decrease by 1% (mobify.com)
  • 57% of mobile customers will abandon your site if they have to wait 3 seconds for a page to load (Akamai)

Due to the speed of innovation and the multitude of technology solutions, platforms, devices and content offered to the consumer, life has fundamentally changed and it has changed quickly. We have new ways to socialise and converse with friends, new ways of buying and selling, TV is no longer linear and is consumed across multiple devices at any time of the day (to name but a few advancements). This means that businesses are starting to innovate and new start ups are popping up all over the place, offering a quicker, faster, more convenient solution to the market, take Airbnb for example, who connect travellers with renters of rooms, only 3 years old yet they have facilitated over 2 million nights of lodging in over 19,000 cities worldwide all through their cloud based online platform. Their model is set to rock the hospitality industry and a demonstration of how in such a short space of time, disruption can occur. And it can happen to any industry at any time. We’ve seen it with music, with publishing, with media, every business is now affected by the connected world and the opportunities and challenges it brings – ask any student these days and they’ll probably tell you they want to be an entrepreneur, before going home to build a website or an app or work on a genius idea that is devised and delivered through the use of digital technology.

And there are more and more digital forces for businesses to get to grips with. Mobile, Social, Cloud, Big Data, more and more devices, connected homes, Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, Digital Natives, Apps, security risks…it really is a digital vortex out there and businesses need to move fast, there isn’t time to bury heads in the sand and hope it will all go away, because quite frankly, it is only going to get ‘worse’.

For those who are able to understand and tackle head on this new and continuously evolving landscape, there is huge potential. To reach new customers, to innovate products and services, to see increased profits and discover new revenue streams and even be a disruptor themselves. However, businesses need to adopt a new mindset, build a digital culture, start to address current digital strengths and weaknesses and map this to the landscape and their audiences. This will lead to change but the change needs to be manageable and align with the business framework in order for it to be effective. More importantly, adapting to digital needs to be performance base, have clear expectations and demonstrate results. All too often, businesses jump in with a ‘mobile strategy’ for example without any thought to the outcome or needs of the business and their customer.

So perhaps it is time to recognise this exciting, digitally connected world that we now live in and do something about it.

Stacey Perry



Additional Sources: Akamai. The Hyperconnected World: A New Era of Opportunity.

Mel Ross