As the summer comes to an end Bob Law, Chief Executive looks to the future, considering the potential trends for the business and what we all must do to survive…
I recently returned to my office having attended the annual International DFK* conference in Paris.
An international accounts conference sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it? Well actually it was!!
But, what did I learn? There was the usual technical content to some of the presentations. OK, interesting but not much fun, in truth!
There were also several marketing and management topics covered. That’s more like it! There was also a very active social content and the opportunity to experience many of the iconic Paris sights and experiences.
By far the most interesting presentation was from Adjiedj Bakas, internationally known Author, Speaker and Trendwatcher (or Futurologist). Here then is a brief taster of what he had to say. Not all rocket-science but interesting nonetheless. You will have to make your own minds up as whether you believe he is right!
He talked about 4 Trends:
Trend 1 – Financial Sectors / Economies face dramatic change
• The future is for smaller Banks & break up of global banks
• New Banks from Google (Google Dollars!) and Ikea
• A New criminality evolves – even Hackers now have business plans!
• Even the mafia recognises change – 50% of all crime is now internet based – far too messy to actually kill someone!
Trend 2 – Unrest over Euro continues – and influences the Global Economy
• General De Gaule once asked “Do you know how difficult it is to govern a country with over 300 different types of cheese?”
• Same principle applies to a uniting Europe
• Definitely better if completely united – but impossible! Emotional / cultural reasons are to blame.
• It never was going to work!
• The European Stability Mechanism, if established, will have a budget of 700Bn Euros. It will be completely exempt from any form of legal redress or challenge!
• Look up Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial book “Europe doesn’t need the Euro”
• Italy doesn’t actually have a big problem. Would only take 2000 Euros per head of population to solve any issues!
• It (The Euro) will end by 2014/15. Be prepared!
Trend 3 – Technology
Massive changes and challenges to come:
• Internet security – major theme/huge growth area
• Secure digital identity will become available
• Paid internet use in future – to gain internet protection from identity theft
• Two identical searches on Google by different computers – different results. Google knows who you are already!
• Google stores and sells information about you. eg Local Pharmacies will stock up on flu medicine – based on local people searching for symptom/cures etc.
• When travelling overseas we will be wearing translation glasses (with earphones).
• New “Super Phones” – will change our lives. Checking in to airlines/hotels etc will be automatically processed e.g. the airlines/hotel will know when you arrive by digital recognition and deal with all matters arising without the need for any human intervention.
• Lifts with voice recognition (but won’t recognise Scottish accents!?)
• IMB “Super” Computer “Watson”. Never sleeps/goes on holiday. Always learning. Will dramatically reduce administrative jobs!
• What happens to all our passwords etc when we die? Facebook has launched www.ifidie.net – have a look at it. You can even leave a video message. But watch out – if you leave Facebook inactive for too long!
• Will Facebook last? People losing the personal interaction skills. What if in real life you approached a stranger and asked “Can we be friends – here’s some photos of me?” or “Can I write on your wall?”
• New Technology will replace traditional Farming methods (which are in decline)
• New Factories using Blue/Red light technology will produce most of our vegetable/medical herbs…….vastly more efficient.
• At Home versions will also be available to enable “grow your own”
Trend 4 – Ageing Population / New Energy Economy
• Working lives will extend massively – technological advances develop to aid this (e.g to aid physical/manual workers)
• Major advances in Plastics/Aircraft/Use of Solar Energy
• Huge growth in Tidal energy and Solar Energy
• Decline of wind technology (will disappear)
• We must invest heavily in IT and use it!
• We must prepare for massive change/revolution and adapt accordingly.
• Professional service businesses (such as our own) must dramatically change and extend our services.
• This is all happening right now!
• Be prepared!
*(DFK International is an association of independent accounting firms and business advisers from around the world).