Disrupt. Or be Disrupted.

Beyond the inevitability of autonomous vehicles, it's possible we may never need to own cars again.

How We Move Around

Self-driving cars are no longer a futuristic idea. Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Tesla have already released self-driving features that give the car some ability to drive itself. 

And Volvo recently announced it is going “all electric” in the next few years, a choice many analysts believe is driven by its parallel plan to develop autonomous cars. Additionally, Google began testing a prototype last summer in California.

Beyond the inevitability of autonomous vehicles, it's possible we may never need to own cars again — we can borrow them like we borrow Citibikes and return them. Uber’s business model will completely change, as will its economics, and given that Uber’s market valuation is as substantial as General Motors, traditional car companies are going to really start paying attention.

A few of the “drivers” behind self-driving cars is that they will help to make roads safer and people's lives easier. In the United Kingdom, KPMG estimates that self-driving cars will lead to 2,500 fewer deaths in a 16-year period.

These developments will highlight the need for real-time communications (RTC), as these cars will be equipped with every possible, imaginable communications services: as the car moves safely towards its destination, passengers will be able to attend meetings via video collaboration built into the car’s form factor; will have excellent quality Internet access powering their own devices; will be able to update friends on precise arrival times; and so much more. The benefit to the rider? Simplified life, more work productivity, more time with friends and family, as well as improved quality of life — the type of which was not possible in the previous world of rough commutes.

How We Navigate

When you are not in a self-driving vehicle, Google maps can push to you an optimized route, along with options to get you to your destination either from your own car, on foot, or via public transportation.

Waze is also beneficial, getting you from point A to point B faster and safer, without you having to pull over. How Waze provides brilliant suggestions is important to note: it is through crowdsourcing (other drivers and passengers reporting everything from traffic jams to potholes) and gamification (rewards given to members of the Waze community for actively providing information. For example, a coupon for a free cup of Starbucks coffee for posting a 10th alert). Gamification will become more embedded, taking the “Exchange of Everything” to new heights.

Where does RTC come in? Wazers are now messaging each other on the Waze app — finding each other geographically, texting and calling each other. In the future, they will simply tap the icon showing a friend in close proximity. Just imagine the RTC mash-ups possible here!

How We Meet

Who needs to go out anymore to initially meet people? You can meet millions of people online and be matched more successfully than without the platforms. The evidence? The average divorce rate in the United States is an astounding 50 percent for couples who meet the old-fashioned way. For people who meet online, at least on eHarmony, the divorce rate is less than 5 percent, according to the company.

Their analysts forecast that half of relationships will start online by 2031.

Where does RTC come in? Dating sites have moved well beyond the databases, profiles, and photos, emails and text messages. Now there are video meetings before actual meetings, for example. 

In the business world, sites like LinkedIn perform a similar function, and include increasingly popular messaging platforms that build on successes like Facebook Messenger. Supporting voice and video on these platforms, and on mobile devices and desktops, is not easy and is driving the transformation of networks and network services.

The Common Thread

How we communicate is being disrupted, as is everything else we do, because how we communicate is embedded into everything we do. The winners have figured this out and are jumping into those opportunities. Those who do not transform and drive the disruption will be obliterated by the digital revolution.


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