The grip that these companies have today is almost unbreakable. But – that’s a grip on the de facto platforms of today. Meaning the internet, mobile and computing devices as we know them.
As history has taught us, what’s easier than breaking a grip that strong, is to render the platform its gripped on obsolete. Kodak was unbreakable in film. Until digital came along. Nokia was unbreakable in mobile devices. Until smartphones came along. Dell was unbreakable in computers. Until tablets came along.
I think what will disrupt these de facto goliaths of today is a move to a completely new playing field that will render the internet, and computer devices – including mobile devices – totally obsolete and unnecessary. Yes – unnecessary. And that will happen in the next two decades.
What will power that transformation I believe is evolution in two fields of technology mainly.
1. Immersable computing
Wearable and immersed computing will render the need for actual handheld or desktop devices obsolete. Moore’s law has been proven correct since 1965, and so with that trend in mind and the convergence of biology with computing we will in the future have computing power merged with our body
This may sound crazy but if you go back two generations even and told people that in the future we will be able to plant a fresh new kidney or a liver or plastic surgery will be possible they would laugh. The evolution of cosmetic surgery to enhance our appearance will be surgery to enhance our computing power by inserting biologically friendly computing devices in our body
In an ironic way this will be ‘silicon transplant 2.0 :)’ Today its accepted that the human body can be injected with silicon for aesthetic purposes. The evolution of that will be cognitive enhancement.
Wearable computing is already en route to taking off, with smart watched, Google glasses, smart fabrics that measure things like heart beat etc. Much like in medicine, the evolution takes us from external intervention to internal.
And so i believe that opening a computer or a handheld device in the future will be totally old fashioned. You will be able to power up devices that are wrapped around you or within you and do what you do today by interacting with those devices that have become so second nature to us, like phones and computers.
2. 3D printing
The future of retail is in our own back yard. The progress made today with 3D printing (which can even print human organs ! albeit not economically) will mean that over time as this becomes more economically viable 3D printers will become household devices. So where retail went from the shop to the internet, in the future it will be in our own home. You want a new pair of shoes – you’ll just be able to print one
Again this may sound crazy but if you went back even 50 years and told people that in 50 years you will have this handheld device from which you will be able to order any item, from anywhere in the world, without getting off your couch, and have it at your doorstep in 2 days they would laugh. Yet its second nature to us today
And so i believe the winning, disruptive entrepreneurs of the future, will not be those who find ways to beat the Amazons and Googles in their own game, but those who invent the platforms of the future and make them mainstream. The internet and devices connected to it as we know them today will suddenly look so archaic, as has happened in every being paradigm transformation in history.