May’s Digital Age Insights
From Rokk3r CEO
Although this doesn’t come as a surprise, one of the more interesting insights I would add is around the subset of smartphone penetration. As the realities of a fully connected, global population begin to emerge, one of the major outcomes we’re preparing for is the democratization of access to information. This access is a key variable in the fourth industrial revolution, and smartphones are poised to play a major role. Reports this year show smartphones already represent two-thirds of global mobile connections.
With its $35 billion valuation and 6 million listings (including castles) across 190+ countries, AirBnB is an example of digital age companies that have created disproportionate impact. Let’s remember that they achieved this without owning those listings. Traditional players in the space have been looking for ways to generate additional value using the startup playbook for rapid innovation. Marriott for example is proactively connecting and building relationships with new and existing customers by leveraging portfolio company HYP3R’s location-based engagement platform in over 5700 of its hotels worldwide. (As a side note, this is an excellent example of how Rokk3r’s ecosystem is helping large organizations create transformational change.) As an industry mover, it will be interesting to see how the world’s largest hotel operator explores new models to thrive in the digital age.
This Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, photo shows the living room of a flat that will be available for short term rent in London. Hotel companies are getting into the business of home-sharing. Marriott has been testing this in London in partnership with a home-sharing company called Hostmaker. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Having introduced biometrics late last year, a full roll out of facial recognition technology at Heathrow is expected to reduce check-in time up to over 30% starting this summer. As I shared in my keynote at the GE Aviation Waypoint 2019 conference, the intersection of exponential technologies throughout the aviation industry represents one of the most exciting shifts of a traditional industry today. From predictive maintenance and flight optimization to drone inspections and virtual concierges, every aspect of this industry from end-to-end is experiencing significant digital disruption.
April 2005 saw the first video ever to be uploaded on YouTube. It was under 20 seconds long and showed YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo talking about elephants. Fast forward to 2019, and in the 18-49 age range, YouTube reaches more US consumers in the average week than all cable TV networks combined. They did this in less than 15 years. Beyond entertainment, YouTube has become a global hub for how people learn in the digital age. The future of content creation and consumption will continue to be influenced by platforms such as YouTube, and traditional cable networks will need to evolve continuously to keep up.
Just when you thought you were up to date because you knew about Snapchat, Generation Z went ahead and complicated things yet again. TikTok and Twitch are amongst a host of platforms where the new generation is spending a lot of their online time. You’ll be familiar with Twitch as I have mentioned its tie-in to the eSports takeover I’ve frequently spoken about. TikTok, whose parent company is Beijing-headquartered Bytedance (the most valuable AI unicorn on the planet at $75B according to CB Insights), is a short-form video app that lets users add a range of effects. It has spread across the globe and is now making a splash across the Americas.
The idea of combining fashion and technology is nothing new. However, as hardware has evolved to become smaller and more powerful, and the additional layer of data becomes involved, the outcome is highly impactful and valuable. Consider for example portfolio company AdMobilize. Smaller hardware, combined with industry-leading AI, has led to deployment in over 80 countries and 460 cities, including the Sao Paulo Metro Yellow Line for anonymous audience analytics in the subway system’s new interactive doors. Similarly, the evolution in fashion tech is invaluable data output as a design payoff. For Louis Vuitton, it starts as a runway frenzy for headlines. But as they look to embrace our connection to technology, they could have something bigger and more data-focused in store for the future.
In their Global CEO Outlook, KPMG revealed that the insurtech agenda is top priority for over 70% of insurance CEOs. I’m thinking about how the interconnectedness of AI, IoT and other exponential technologies are dramatically shifting the nature of this industry, and the types of decisions executives must start making around acquisitions and digital transformation in order to meet the digital age head on. A few noteworthy highlights include Allianz doubling the size of its corporate venture arm to over $1B, New York Life’s recent deals for Carrot and Trifecta, and venture funding in the industry hitting an all-time high of $2.5B ($4B globally) in 2018.
Conversations around a newly developing space economy usually center on commercial space travel. However, the ability to leverage new rockets to launch satellites is fast becoming an important narrative. In addition to blanketing the globe with internet access via thousands of satellites, some companies are now looking to create AI-powered insights via data from those satellites. This allows industries such as agriculture and mining to have access to compelling findings that were previously unattainable.
Strengthening regulatory oversight and securely upgrading the speed of transactions are just some of the reasons a growing number of global financial institutions are investing time and capital in testing blockchain implementations. As an exponential technology, it is enhancing traditional mechanisms and adding confidence when it comes to raising capital and actioning securities.