Why Augmented Reality Is Much Bigger Than Pokémon Go

by Daniel Burrus

3D City Buildings On Smartphone And Man Hand

The increasing use of virtual reality (VR) is a Hard Trend that will continue to grow, and with the release of several high-profile VR systems, 2016 was supposed to be the year that VR finally went mainstream. However, users around the world queuing up to immerse themselves in a virtual world have yet to materialize. The less fancied augmented reality (AR) consists of using your smartphone camera or smart glasses to overlay virtual elements to the physical world. AR is not immersive and was dismissed by many as just another tool for tech enthusiasts only. For those of you who read my 2016 annual list of 25 Hard Trends shaping the future, augmented reality was listed, and the revolution has now started.

The problem is that widespread adoption of any technology is crucial to its growth. Early adopters typically only represent 10 percent to 15 percent of potential customers. Launching new hardware is good, but having engaging and viral software that brings it to life is even better.

Assuming you already have a high-powered PC, the entry fee for Oculus Rift will set you back $599. In addition, it’s easier for video game developers to create a large-scale video game than to design and develop a more complex virtual reality game that can scale quickly. Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that VR has yet to hit the mass market. Alternatively, if you mentioned the words augmented reality to anyone outside of the tech industry, they would probably have had no idea what you were talking about. However, in just over a month, the game-changing Pokémon Go has been downloaded by over 100 million users.

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Connected Objects Will Become Your New Problem

By Daniel Burrus

Blue-Glowing-Magic-Connections

Just as we have started to get used to the idea of ourselves always being online, it seems that many of our homes and an increasing number of objects inside them will soon be connected and have the ability to talk to each other. Although there is a growing realization of our responsibilities around our lifestyle choices and the environmental carbon footprint we leave behind, we are only just starting to think about the impact of our digital footprint and how it could affect our future selves.

The threat of terrorist attacks has led to heightened security and it seems that the dirty secrets of both the good and bad guys online could be exposed at any moment. We seldom stop to think about the internet itself and that your phone, laptop, and tablet always connected to your home Wi-Fi actually represents four connected devices when including your router.

This is just one person with a conservative number of connected devices to the internet, but a quick look on your routers settings will quickly reveal just how many devices now connect to your internet family plan, and we just expect it to work. Try to imagine the world’s four billion devices for a moment and how many are probably connected to the internet right now and how many are insecure or are broadcasting information publicly.

How many connected devices are broadcasting YOUR information publicly right now? 

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What Mobile Trends Should You Be Getting Behind?

by Daniel Burrus

thumbnailDematerialization is a Hard Trend — we know that computer technology has only decreased in size while increasing in functionality, and it’s going to continue in that direction. The use of mobile devices in the workplace is just the next step in this process. From desktops to laptops to smartphones, we’ve finally arrived at a portable office that fits in your pocket.

The question is: How do businesses profitably incorporate this next wave of dematerialization? This question affects not just the devices themselves, but your office design and management. The dematerialization and digitization of your mobile-centric business could mean less real estate because of smaller IT infrastructure needs thanks to another Hard Trend virtualization and the increasing ability of employees to work remotely.

It’s important to note that simply adding mobile devices to your businesses does not necessarily make your company an Anticipatory Organization™. Without the Foresight to prepare for implementation of new developments, your company risks doing more harm to itself than good.

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Are We Educating Students for a Future that Doesn’t Exist?

by Daniel Burrus

Few subjects these days are more contentious than education, and rightly so. If our children are our future, it’s essential we do everything we can do educate them properly, to prepare them for what’s to come. But are we schooling our kids for a future that might not even exist by the time they’re ready to transition to the working world?

thumbnailToday, more than ever before, the ground beneath our feet is continuously shifting — growing and expanding in ways few have been able to anticipate. And with exponential advances in technology being reached with each passing year, the pace at which the global economy is changing has increased proportionally. The fact is, we might be training the next crop of professionals for obsolescing positions, and we may be failing to accurately predict the yet-to-be-invented industries and professions of tomorrow.

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12 Certainties That Will Transform Every Career and Create New Ones

by Daniel Burrus

As technology continues to impact our lives, workers in today’s ever-changing labor market need to be prepared with skills to adapt and succeed in the workplace.

The problem is, we live in an uncertain world, and because of the high levels of uncertainty we all face, people of all ages and career levels are finding it difficult to know what new skills to learn, what courses to take, and what degrees to get that will provide them with the most opportunity going forward.  Uncertainty keeps us stuck in the present.

Certainty, on the other hand, gives us the confidence to make a decision, to move forward, and to invest time and money to learn new things. Over the past thirty years, I have developed and proven the power of the science of certainty.  The science of certainty involves a scientific method of separating Hard Trends – trends that willhappen – from Soft Trends – trends that might happen. This method is currently being used by many Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Deloitte, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few, to provide an accurate roadmap of the opportunities that are ahead.

That’s why I’m launching a list of 12 Certainties that will transform every career, and create new ones. By providing an accurate roadmap for anyone who wishes to increase their personal career relevancy in a world of transformative change, you can now make career and education decisions with confidence. The list highlights technologies that are now, and will continue to transform present and future careers.  As you read through the list, ask yourself how each one will play a key role in your industry and your personal career path.

  1. Mobile Hardware, Software and Services will continue to rapidly evolve creating many new careers, as all phones become smartphones and our primary computer and tablets continue to evolve as our laptop replacement.This new level of mobility will allow any size business to transform how they market, sell, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, and innovate.
  2. Remote Visual Communications will become a primary relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes asemployees use smartphones, tablets, and laptops, in combination with current video conferencing systems, to communicate at new levels with customers, partners, and employees.
  3. Social Business Enterprise Management will grow rapidly as organizations shift from an Information Age “informing” model to a Communication Age “communicating and engaging” model. New careers will emerge as Social Software for business rapidly grows with applications to enhance relationships, collaboration, networking, social validation, and more. Social Search will increasingly shape careers as marketers, researchers and those on Wall Street create applications and services to tap into millions of daily tweets and Facebook conversations, providing real-time analysis of many key consumer metrics.
  4. Cyber Security and Forensics careers will grow rapidly as we become increasingly connected and dependent on computer systems and machines using intelligent sensors connected to just about everything. Careers in data and information forensics will grow rapidly as the need to solve cyber crimes increases.
  5. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) will create many new careers in manufacturing as this revolutionary technology allows any size company to manufacture quickly, locally and with far fewer costs. Additive manufacturing builds things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until the final product is finished. Examples of final products today include jewelry, iPhone cases, shoes, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, prosthetic limbs and much more.
  6. Gamification of Education will create many new careers as corporations and educational institutions at all levels accelerate learning by using advanced simulations and skill-based learning systems that are self-diagnostic, interactive, game-like, and competitive, all focused on giving the user an immersive experience thanks to a photo-realistic 3D interface.
  7. Cloud Services and Virtualization will be increasingly embraced by businesses of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity. IT is rapidly becoming an on-demand service that is rapidly transforming all business processes resulting in a rapid evolution of current careers as well as creating new careers in every functional area.
  8. Big Data and Real-Time Analytics describe the technologies and techniques used to capture and utilize the exponentially increasing streams of data with the goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights to make rapid critical decisions. This new level of data integration and analytics will require many new skills and cross-functional training in order to take advantage of new opportunities as well as breakdown the many data and organizational silos that still exist.
  9. Intelligent ePersonal Assistants using natural language voice commands was launched with Apple’s Siri, which was rapidly followed by Google, Microsoft, and others all offering what will become a mobile electronic concierge on your phone, tablet, and television. The technology will rapidly evolve and soon every profession from retailers to maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant. Adding an e-personal assistant to support an existing product and/or service will create many new careers.
  10. 3D Web will transform today’s Internet experience (which is like looking at a flat piece of paper with a few photos, embedded video, and a few hyperlinks) to a true 3D experience, similar to todays video games, where you can virtually walk into a showroom, look around and both listen to and see the new car you are interested in, or whatever the website is trying to show you. This will employ many new graphic artists, designers and programmers.
  11. Connected Intelligent Objects using chips, microsensors and both wired and wireless networks will create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making remote repairs. Many jobs will be created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings, homes and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other and people will install them.
  12.  Advanced Robotics and Automation will take a giant leap forward thanks to networked sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications, taking the next level of repetitive jobs from humans. This will create many new career opportunities from design, programming, and installation to service and maintenance, to name just a few.

You don’t have to know the physics of a telephone in order to use it.  You do have to know it exists and how to creatively use it to accomplish your goal. Don’t wait until next year, or the year after, or until you’re laid off. Invest the time to identify what you need to learn right away so that you will thrive both now and in the future, either in your current career or a new one.

There is a Science and an Art to Every Profession

by Daniel Burrus

Every profession has both a science and an art. The science can be taught, and people can be equally good at the science of any profession. The key to differentiate yourself in your profession is to develop the art side, not just the science side.

For example, I was at a photography workshop recently, and I met people who had all of the latest equipment—cameras, lenses, tripods, everything—and they knew the science of photography very well. Many of them were on an equal footing with their knowledge of the equipment, yet their ability to take stunning photographs varied quite a bit. In other words, there is an art side to being able to capture that amazing picture.

The same is true with any profession, whether you are in sales, IT, customer service, or even medicine. After all, if healing was only a science, it wouldn’t matter who your doctor was. But you and I both know it does matter who your doctor is, and it’s not because of the science; it’s because of the art. It’s about what the individual brings to their medical practice—their uniqueness, their problem-solving ability, their diagnostic capabilities, and their way of solving problems in real time when they’re working on you.

Here’s a case in point: A number of years ago, one of my brothers was having a problem with a pain in his leg that wouldn’t go away. He went to an orthopedic surgeon. After an exam, the surgeon diagnosed the problem and decided that my brother needed surgery to repair it.

So my brother did what we all should do: He got a second opinion. This second doctor didn’t make a diagnosis, but recommended exploratory surgery. I suggested to my brother that he get one more opinion.

He then went to a third orthopedic surgeon. This doctor looked at my brother and asked, “Do you always wear your belt at the same height on your pants? Or does it vary?”

My brother replied, “No, I always wear my belt at this height every day.”

“Do you always wear a leather belt?” the doctor continued.

“Yes, I always wear a leather belt,” my brother replied.

The doctor said, “Why don’t you try a squishy belt that flexes? Just see if that works. If the problem persists, then come back.”

My brother tried a squishy belt, and it wasn’t very long before the problem went away completely.

Apparently, the problem was that a nerve was being cut off by the belt. Fortunately, this third doctor had mastered the art of medicine. He knew to go beyond the science and notice the subtleties of each patient … and to take that into account before making a diagnosis.

Which of those doctors would you rather have? I don’t know about you, but I want the squishy belt guy. I want the doctor who is more creative, who is looking at the bigger picture, who is thinking outside of the box. I want a doctor who has developed both the science and the art of his profession.

Again, every profession has an art and a science. So as we start another year, it’s important to ask yourself a number of questions, including:

  • Am I learning and maximizing the science side of my profession?
  • Am I taking the classes I need to take?
  • Am I updating and upgrading myself?
  • Am I getting training on all the new tools and capabilities that will help me do my job better?

But don’t stop there. Continue with the art-focused questions:

  • Am I reading about creativity and problem solving?
  • Am I making sure that I’m not too quick to judge?
  • Have I found a mentor who is sharing his or her knowledge and wisdom with me?
  • Am I working on the art side of my profession, or am I just working on the science side?”

When you focus on both the art and the science of your profession, you’ll find yourself at the top of your profession and have great success and prosperity for years to come.

Why Are Japan’s Electronics Giants Failing?

by Daniel Burrus

We recently learned that Sharp Electronics is projecting a $5.6 billion full-year loss. They warned that the company had material troubles and didn’t even know if it could survive.

Panasonic, another classic name that we’ve all bought products from in the past, has a forecast of a $9.6 billion annual loss. This includes losses from products including solar panels, batteries and primarily their mobile handset business.

The third and most classic name of all is probably Sony. They are amazing in that they own the content, the devices (including phones, televisions, PlayStation, and their desktop and laptop computer models), and the content creation component (owning both music and film studios). Yet they are posting a loss of $194 million…for the quarter (not for the year). In all categories, their sales have continued to fall.

In contrast to these three companies, we have companies like Apple and Samsung. Although Apple’s stock has been down in recent months, Apple (as well as Samsung) has been doing well this year.

What’s happening? In essence, Sharp, Panasonic, and Sony have not been using the certainties hard trends offer and instead have been reacting and following instead of anticipating and leading. These three large companies have always been known as innovative, but they’re no longer on the leading edge. They’ve failed the vision test and have fallen to the bleeding edge of innovation.

The terms “leading edge” and “bleeding edge” used to have a different connotation than what I’m giving them today. In the past, the “bleeding edge” meant you were on the cutting edge of innovation. Unfortunately, on the cutting edge, the knife is sharp. You end up bleeding because you make mistakes launching new products, as some work and some don’t.

One of the strategies I’ve always shared with companies is that I don’t want you on the bleeding edge of the blade. I want you on the leading edge of the blade, because there are sharper parts and duller parts of that cutting edge. One way to be on the leading edge, rather than the bleeding edge, is to look at other industries and the innovations taking place there. Then, use those innovations in your industry, where they haven’t been done before.

This way, the innovation has been tried. The bugs have been worked out. The bleeding has taken place by other industries.  And now, by bringing that innovation into your industry, you can be the innovator without doing all the bleeding because other companies have already done that. That’s how you can lead and not bleed.

This is a sound strategy. But when it comes to tech giants like the Japanese electronics firms, they have all failed to use the three change accelerators I described in my book Flash Foresight – processing power, bandwidth and storage and the exponential and predictable trajectory of each one to envision and create the must have products and services consumers will pay dearly to have.  Instead, they have only implemented incremental innovations that make them look like they are following the leaders. As a result, many of their products have a “me too!” look and feel.

Let’s use Sony as an example. One of the problems they’re having is with gaming. Why? Because gaming is increasingly moving to the phone and the tablet, which means that people don’t necessarily need to buy the gaming device in order to have a great gaming experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we will see an end to those higher-end gaming systems. However it does mean that as phones and tablets get more powerful and tap into the computing process up in the cloud, game unit sales will increasingly have to fight an uphill battle. So while Sony needs to keep creating innovative gaming systems for their high-end customers, they also need to make sure they are porting the software over to work well with innovative peripherals they can sell to smart phone and tablet gamers to create better gaming experiences for this rapidly growing set of users. This is only one small example of how Sony can use hard trends to create innovative new products.

The point is that whether you’re making phones, tablets, e-readers, gaming systems, movies, or anything else, you have to look at where technology is going using hard trends and the power of certainty if you want to anticipate rather than react.   Another simple example is that smart phones are becoming smarter every year, and at an exponential rate. Also, we can store almost unlimited amounts of movies, videos, and games in the cloud. And as the devices become less expensive, the functionality gets even greater. Using these simple hard trends, you can then start to see how to create innovative products that take advantage of the predictable changes they represent.

My message to the Japanese electronics companies is to shift from reacting to change to anticipating it by using the certainty of hard trends to drive game-changing innovations that will position you as a leader rather than a follower.