The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Megatrends Plus Two

In Charlie’s blog on Megatrends, decision evaluation and the future we want, he lists drivers that that will shape our lives in the future and their effect on business decision making: engagement, simplicity, efficiency, flexibility, security, and visibility.  These are most definitely part of the drivers for megatrends, but I would like to add two more: “speed and agility”.

Megatrends, decision evaluation and the future we want

evaluation.jpgRecently, I’ve been working with our executive briefing folks and a number of others on megatrends – the industry independent trends that will shape our lives in the future and their effect on business decision making. These will naturally shape how technology is consumed as well.


In the process, a number of meta-drivers fell out that may shape the megatrends. Yes, this is turning into a convoluted network of interactions and that is why some models to assess these interactions are so important. These categories for these meta-drivers seemed to be:


Are these too simple? What have I left out?? It surprised me how old some of the links I identified were to link to this post.


It seems like many of our decisions could use an indicator showing how they increase or decrease these categories. We could use this as part of defining our expectations.


How many times do we make decisions that increase security but radically decrease flexibility or visibility, for example? You hear that discussion about our personal as well as our business lives today.

Advances in improved handling of lost packets for mobile

telecom.pngMIT Technology Review had a report on a technique being applied to improve wireless bandwidth by 10 times — not by adding base stations, tapping more spectrum, or cranking up transmitter wattage, but by using algebra to perform error correction instead of resending dropped packets.


“Several companies have licensed the underlying technology in recent months, but the details are subject to nondisclosure agreements, says Muriel Medard, a professor at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics and a leader in the effort. Elements of the technology were developed by researchers at MIT, the University of Porto in Portugal, Harvard University, Caltech, and Technical University of Munich. The licensing is being done through an MIT/Caltech startup called Code-On Technologies.”


The issue of constrained mobile bandwidth is huge and growing. Dropped packets cause delays, and then to compound the issue traditional techniques generate new network traffic to replace those lost packets.

If the technology works across wireless implementations and domains, it could help forestall a spectrum crunch. Cisco Systems says that by 2016, mobile data traffic will grow 18-fold. Bell Labs goes farther, predicting 30x mobile traffic growth over 5 years (2010-2015).


Businesses depend on reliable mobile data capabilities so these advances are important to IT organizations. The BYOD movement will place even more strain on the mobile space, but is probably considered as part of the predicted growth. It does make me wonder if available mobile bandwidth will become part of the work migration movement, since bandwidth is turning into the measure of distance – a good example of a Megatrend.

MegaTrends and Healthcare

medicalSmartphone.pngI was in a discussion with individuals from the various healthcare industry sub-segments (payer, provider and life-sciences) and the discussion started off with taking some of the megatrends and how they are affecting the industry.

The ones that dominate the healthcare discussion (regardless of country borders) were:

  • The aging population
  • Chronic illness is becoming more common
  • The threat of global pandemics
  • The costs of healthcare outpace the GDP
  • Shortages of professional providers


There are also some organization specific trends that seem to dictate the agenda:

  • Antiquated healthcare systems
  • A focus on cost rather than value/quality

It is clear that innovative approaches will be required to overcome the breadth of these trends. Questioning the Status Quo will likely involve new perspectives on mobility (including sensors), analytics and collaboration. There are some interesting activities taking place in the labs that are not quite ready for the light of day, but hopefully they will be soon.


There are other sites discussing healthcare megatrends. Which ones resonate with you?

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.