The rapid development of information technology and telecommunications over the past thirty years has been in fact a benefit of some sort. Whatever activity one was engaged in, be it in the public or private sector, an investment in some computer equipment, software applications and user training made it possible to optimize performance, reduce costs, improve quality and of course increase profit.
Naturally, some did this better than others. Slovenia and a lot of countries did not make the best of this opportunity and went down a few places on the global competitiveness scale. Nothing really dramatic. The cards on the global corporation map have shuffled even more. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook became by far the largest companies in terms of market value in the world. Once the flagship, automotive industry, which is very close to and liked by the Slovenian population as well as perceived as an opportunity for economic growth, slid to somewhere below rank 20 on global list. An illustration that we are experiencing tectonic changes: US Ford and General Motors together are worth only slightly more than for instance Nike, McDonalds or Starbucks and much less than Coca Cola, Pepsi or P&G. All combined are worth less than Apple.
The company that will be the biggest in 20 years has yet to be founded. In the ABC Accelerator I have been following the growth of a new generation of successful companies practically in real time, seeing today that in a few years we will be buying differently, doing business with banks differently and communicating with the public administration differently, and we will have different relations with the electricity, water and heating suppliers … we will travel differently, select hotels differently, go to restaurants differently, undergo treatment differently, and so on. We will allocate most of the money to things we do not know yet today. The key to success is no longer growth and optimization. The companies and countries that don’t invest in novelties will fail completely, regardless of how successful they are and how much profit they make today. I am not talking about just one or a few changes. Even a country like Slovenia will need thousands.
I was surprised by the Chinese at the end of July. Theirs was the first country in the world to introduce online ride-booking regulations. The market with more than a billion users gave the green light to Uber and similar countries, making it clear they need not fear obstacles and pitfalls in winning the Chinese market. This is far from the European practice where mayors of individual towns decide about Uber, AirBnB and similar countries.
I was also surprised by Tesla. The Gigafactory producing batteries needed for its cars was set up in Nevada. At home! This is an excellent example of how innovative companies create jobs without looking for a cheaper labour force around the world. It is worth noting that in less than a year the factory will double the global battery output, only to quadruple it at a later stage, thus filling all Tesla 3 orders. Another trend that will have to be taken into account: foreign companies will no longer be able to create jobs with tax and similar benefits. A slightly different view of the entire matter reveals that investing in domestic knowledge is the only reliable path to a welfare state.
Let us have a look at how Romania boosted its high-tech industry. It reduced taxes, simplified accounting and made it easier to get credit. In a few months it succeeded in reducing unemployment, having recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates among the youth in the EU, ranking second in terms of GDP growth among the EU Member States and looks to have a good future. IT companies account for 6.1% of the country’s GDP and are expected to achieve 10% in 2017. It is important that Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Oracle are opening their companies in Budapest because the favourable business conditions there also apply to all, both domestic entrepreneurs and global corporations, thus simplifying the opening of such companies and ensuring the conditions apply to the long-term.
And which country has witnessed the fastest growing GDP? Ireland, which has also reduced corporate income tax, attracted investors and boosted GDP to an incredible 26.3%.
The Russians will become the first to invest in Hyperloop, a new train offered by Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal, …), operating at a speed of up to 1,200 km per hour. The construction will start in Siberia so as to connect Moscow and Beijing. Great Britain proved to be the most advanced when it comes to drone legislation. Amazon.com will therefore launch drone delivery there.
Who knows what will happen when the door to virtual reality opens really wide!
Original in Slovene Manager.Finance.si/8848155/Aljosa-Domijan-Tehnologija-drvi-kje-bomo-prvi-mi
For every iPhone sold, 119 apps have been downloaded. However, we use fewer than a quarter of those apps in any given month. The average app loses 77% of its users within three days after being downloaded. The five apps that we love the most take up 80% of our session time.
Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.
I dream about it.
Watch the best video about how everything is changing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khjY5LWF3tg
When picking out the most major potentially disruptive tech trends for the new year, I always look at the predictions from the past couple of years. Last year, I drew attention to the Internet of Things, 3D printing, cloud computing, big data, security, data privacy and IT consumerisation. The predictions have all come true; only 3D printing is gaining ground slower than I anticipated.
The jobs we’ve all grown accustomed to are disappearing. Our environment is seeing an influx of people with customs and culture unknown to us. Global stock exchanges are behaving not unlike the fastest and most terrifying roller-coaster ride in the world, the Formula Rossa ride in Abu Dhabi. The news reports about the latest wars have all but replaced bed-time cartoons. We’re getting older: Barbie is already 57, while Tom and Jerry celebrated their 76th birthday this year. All three still have a regular job, only here and there allowing young people to shine.
With all that’s going on, it’s all too easy to forget that there have never been as many people thinking about how to make the world a better and kinder place for more than 10 billion inhabitants, destined to walk the Earth in 2050. At the moment, it seems like nothing special is happening. But this in itself is the greatest of illusions. We are destined to wake up one day, only to find a new futuristic London airport at the mouth of the River Thames; Tokyo will show off its 1.7 kilometre skyscraper, there will be a motorway stretching from London to Beijing, a railway line from Beijing to New York, a motorway traversing what today are inconceivable bridges through Norwegian fjords, there will be a new two-hundred kilometre canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific going through Nicaragua, and Gaudí’s Sagrada Família in Barcelona, under construction since 1882, will have finally been completed. There is no doubt all of this will be possible thanks to new technologies, encompassing everything from new materials and robots to artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing and modern means of transport.
Some things never change
Once again, as has been the case throughout the years, I have to predict that we will continue to write in MS Word and use MS Excel spreadsheets with almost 100% certainty.
When I first met Hrvoje Prpić, I told him that Trillenium somewhat premature. Yeah, a week or two :). However, Trillenium is today the leading builder of VR adventures for retailers.
In March 2014, Mark Zuckerberg once again demonstrated his incomparable prescience, compared to his one hundred billion in their pocket competitors, when he paid two billion dollars for Oculus Rift, what was then an almost non-existent company. This summer, Oculus Rift will release its VR devices for the high retail value of 599 dollars; consumers are expected to spend more than 5 billion dollars this year on playing in virtual reality (the number last year was 660 million).
However, this is not only about video games, even though the gaming industry is planning to not only expand its offer of VR games, but also move it into the cloud. This in turn will also expand the number of cloud services and the need to increase data-transfer rates through the Web and mobile networks. We will be faced with a completely new user experience which will probably no longer include TV screens, monitors, keyboards and PCs. All we’ll need is a smart phone and a virtual reality interface.
Due to all of the changes associated with it and with the consent of the X, Y, Z and millennial generations, virtual reality is the chief trend which will undoubtedly be followed and supported by technological progress in other areas.
Do you know Amy Ingram? Amy is AI powered personal assistant for scheduling meetings. You interact with her as you would with other person. Here you can get Amy for free.
When five years ago, Apple started equipping its smartphones with Siri, most users never even considered it was a form of artificial intelligence. In 2016, Amy, Siri, Google Now, Alexa and Cortana will become completely run-of-the-mill.
Nowadays, we are already used to computers doing more administrative tasks than people; they are better at seeing, hearing, recognizing patterns, etc. It will take some getting used to the fact that they will also be making better conclusions. It is a fact that only the crunching power of computers can find better solutions in big data by using software with artificial intelligence characteristics. IBM’s Watson is proof of this concept, while Amy, Siri and Cortana will offer a friendly helping hand when dealing with artificial intelligence.
The expression “smart devices” is used for everyday products which collect data through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth networks and are controlled via smartphone apps. This year, a growing number of chairs, lawnmowers, refrigerators, cups of coffee and door handles will be sending out data. Most of them only collect data on when they are being used, for how long and at what time of the day; others also measure air humidity and temperature.
However, smart devices are also smart houses and the Internet of Things. If we look at it with an even wider angle, these devices also include robots, drones and, at the end of the day, smart cars. Simply put, computers will be everywhere. Everything will be interconnected. Devices will send and use data from the cloud. It’s up to us to get ready and take advantage of it.
Banks are behind with the times. Banks are cumbersome. So say the start-up companies looking to bring a breath of fresh air to how we pay for things. It’s a fact that banks are losing the payment transaction business. Goldman Sachs reports that financial start-ups will take over banking services worth at least 4.7 trillion dollars per year.
Investors had already detected this trend in 2014 and invested 12 billion dollars into new companies. Europe thus already has three unicorns – companies whose valuation has quickly exceeded a billion dollars: Adyen, Powa, and Skrill. On the global market, they will be forced to compete with Stripe, WePay, and Betterment.
This is not all down to the rigidity of traditional banks. The rapid growth of companies, such as Airbnb and Uber, is bringing new requirements to the financial services market. Such needs can only be met by new innovative companies. As a cherry on top, new entrants to the market are starting to use web-based and mobile services to offer better student loans and customer support for users without bank accounts. At the moment, this represents a pool of 2.5 billion people.
An increasing number of users access media through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks; this means less and less people are accessing content through the media outlets’ home pages. According to Pew Research, this habit has been taken up by almost two-thirds of U.S.-based users. The phenomenon is only expected to grow. As is often the case, the rest of the world is certain to follow this trend in 2016. It’s interesting to note that analysts didn’t find any deviations among demographic groups. The trend exists with all generations, regardless of gender or social status.
The habits of television viewers have also been changing; they increasingly prefer to stream films and series via the Internet. This allows them to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. In 2016, the obvious shift of attention to content-oriented users will represent a challenge for the mainstream media. They will need to figure out how to improve their offer, while retaining their popularity, visibility, and subscribers.
Tablets are out. Apple didn’t come to MWC. Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG didn’t have any new tablet to announce. Tablets are now just a commodity for less than 200 €. No additional value. Profit gone. VR works fine with phones or laptops. I’m sure there will soon find a place on smart televisions, too.
From one side phones are getting bigger (5.3-inch displays) and from another: new generations of MS Surface Pro like devices with Windows 10 which technically are neither tablets or laptops is already on the market. Is it the end of laptops era, too? Two weeks after the launch in Slovenia MS Surface Pro is already on TOP 10 EnaA ranking list.
In June Oculus Rift will certainly change everything again.
When Microsoft started selling MS Surface Pro 4 tablets/notebooks with an announcement that this was the right choice for directors and other executives who travel a lot and need a reliable tablet with the capacity of a computer, I immediately asked for this tablet for testing purposes. Until the conclusion of this test and submission of the article to the editor, I was following the news of how Microsoft has been beating the competition with Surface Pro 4 and reading about other tests.
Well, here comes the first real director’s test. As a startup investor, I need a laptop to access networks of a large number of companies with whom I cooperate; access to analytical data on the operations of enaA.com, the largest online retailer in the region; access to a large number of bank accounts and the stock exchange; graphic software to review the marketing materials sent for approval; several Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles; MS One Drive, MS OneNote, Dropbox, Skype and more. Let me tell you that I use no less than six Internet browsers for my work. In short, I am a very busy user who needs a director’s convenience, a screen for a graphic designer and technology for an engineer. At the same time.
Do you know six Internet browsers?
Top Design and AI
In several months, this kind of computer will be an obligatory purchase for every manager. I am saying “this kind”, because Microsoft is bound to get copycats. With MS Surface Pro 4, managers have got a device to take them to the next technological period. By all means, the device is a designer eye candy, one that your partners will notice at every meeting. The manufacture is flawless. Every detail has been taken care of.
What is more, it has built-in artificial intelligence: you can give orders to Cortana in English. Find this, find that, open enaA.com website, today’s presentation… Yes, this is not a movie. At the same time, Cortana diligently records your choices and manner of working, so that your cooperation with your digital personal assistant is becoming ever more smooth.
I carry my laptop with me at all times. But my current laptop – though it is a bit more capable than MS Surface Pro 4 – weighs no less than 3.5kg. I hate to leave it in the car, so I sometimes take it with me when I go for a cup of coffee with someone. It looks rather odd, but it is preferable to having it stolen.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 weighs only 1.1kg, keyboard included. In addition, because it is smaller and thinner, I can put it in my bag and carry it with me without anyone noticing. Truth be told, even I forget that I have been carrying it around.
A Battery That Lasts… and Lasts
I have worked on laptop battery power nearly all the time. When I was writing this article and doing some other things, the battery lasted five hours. When I was surfing the Internet over the weekend, I browsed Facebook and read the news, and the battery lasted an incredible 8 hours. The batteries are re-charged in a good two hours.
At meetings, I have invariably used Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a tablet. The one touch works flawlessly. More or less, I have been using the keyboard when travelling or at home. The keyboard attaches itself to the tablet with a strong magnet. And it holds! Surprise fact: the keyboard is big, robust and excellent for typing. The illuminated keys are pleasant to touch and the spaces between them are big. I wrote nearly the entire article with this keyboard.
At 12.3 inches, the screen is a bit too small for my taste. Yet, had the screen been bigger, it would be less easy to handle and would not fit into every bag. At the workplace, you can connect it to a docking station with two large external monitors of your choice.
The Docking Station
The docking station is one more proof that this is a professional device. At your workplace, simply connect it to the docking station to which you can connect two large external monitors of your choice and there you go, you have a capable laptop in front of you.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 would not be as good as it is without Windows 10. Personally, I think Windows 10 looks even more attractive on a 12.3 inch screen, although Windows 10 works equally well on both devices. Well, at least I have used it in the same way.
Approximately two years ago, I was deciding between an Apple MacBook and a MS Windows laptop. At that time, I concluded the following:
Apple MacBook is more modern, attractive-looking, lighter and more user-friendly. If what you do for your work needs a single screen – and this suffices most designers, authors, programmers, developers and many managers – then you are bound to be delighted with it. Managing all of the applications on the screen (or up to four screens) with your fingers or a mouse is excellent. It gives a new dimension to creativity. If you use any special software (mostly for design, video processing, photography, etc.) then I have no doubts about Apple being the perfect choice.
Yet for a heavy user – i.e. a heavy miner who constantly switches between at least five websites, uses five additional applications, needs a safe access anywhere to any of the background services of enaA.com, manages several projects which include collaborators from several companies – Apple does not provide sufficient transparency and efficiency. The problems with online banking were the final straw and I decided to keep on using a laptop with the classic MS Windows and Office combination. Working on two laptops with different operating systems does not work well in the long run. I cannot say that I was not sorry when I was erasing my data from Apple’s MacBook, but that how things are.
This time, I have made a comparison with my two months’ old laptop with the following configuration DELL Precision M4800 and MS Surface Pro 4 12.3″ /2736 x 1824 / i5 / 4 GB / 128GB / INTEL HD 520 / WIN 10 PRO.
MS Surface Pro 4 has everything I liked two years ago with the Apple MacBook and a MS Windows computer. Therefore, there is no doubt that today I would buy MS Surface Pro 4: it is a light, yet robust and a top user-friendly product which allows you to work transparently with several applications and switch effortlessly between different environments. In short, it has everything I need. This is a work computer, a laptop and a tablet – 3 in 1. It is something I need as a director, as an IT professional and as a person who works with graphic designers.
Of course, I am going to buy the more capable model MS Surface Pro 4 12.3″/2736 x 1824/ i7 /8 GB/256GB/INTEL HD 520/WIN 10 PRO