Frost & Sullivan: Global Megatrends Shaping Our Future

Today I attended a webinar offered by research firm Frost & Sullivan that was titled “Mega Trends that will Shape the Future of the World”.  The stated purpose of the webinar was to discuss the most important global mega trends, potential scenarios of specific trends in 2020, and the implications of these mega trends in transforming society, markets and cultures. 

The webinar was jointly led by Frost & Sullivan Partner Sarwant Singh and Frost & Sullivan Team Leader Archana Amarnath. For those of you who want to view the webinar, at the end of this post I have the embedded the webinar, courtesy of Frost & Sullivan and Bright Talk.

I really enjoyed the webinar.  Here is my review of the megatrends covered during the webinar.

1)  Urbanization.   Frost confirms a trend that we’ve seen mentioned by others.  That is that the world’s population is increasingly shifting towards an urban environment.  Frost says that this trend will result in mega cities, mega regions, and mega transportation/business corridors.   Technology will be applied to enhance living and business activities within these mega-environments.

As a result of the urbanization trend, technology companies will try to address issues that impact consumer and business activities.  Frost predicts there will be an increased focus on making cities ‘Smarter’.  There will be over 40 global cities to achieve a designation of being “SMART” by 2020.  Frost says that more than 50% of the smart cities of 2025 will be from Europe and North America.   As the worlds businesses competes to realize the smart city opportunity, Frost expects there to be a convergence of smart city technology that will ultimately lead to convergence of competition in three different industries 1) Energy Infrastructure Players, 2) IT Players, and 2) Automation/Building Control Players.

2) Social Trends.  Frost mentioned three sub-trends here 1) Geo Socialization, 2) Generation Y and 3) Reverse Brain Drain.   

Geo Socialization.  Frost says Geo Socialization services will become an important part of the landscape in 2020 as we’ll see all sorts of location based services being pushed to mobile consumers and mobile business workers.

Gen Y.  There will be an increased focus placed on new and innovative products and services that cater to the values, beliefs, interests, and lifestyles of the younger generation.  A prime market will be the younger generation in India and China, who are increasingly displaying four key characteristics as consumers

  • Personalization and Individualization
  • Techno Savvy and Connected 24×7
  • Civic and Environmentally Friendly
  • Demanding and Impatient – “Fast and the Furious

Reverse Brain Drain.  Frost expects there to be a migration of skilled and educated workers from developed companies back to their homelands to fill a shortage of CXO Positions In BRIC countries.  Frost also says that many Europeans and Americans will seek jobs in these developing countries in the future in order to participate in the huge growth economies that are materializing.

3) Increased Satellites In Orbit.   Frost expects that by 2020 there will over 900 satellites will be launched annually around the globe. While this will cause a traffic jam in space, all those satellites will enable a whole set of new and innovative applications and services.

4) Cyber Warfare.  Frost is concerned that by 2020 cyber warfare will become an everyday occurrence.  In fact, Frost says that if there is a World War 3 in our future, cyber warfare will play an important part. 

5) Robot Technology.   Frost paints a strong future for robots across all sectors of the economy.  Future robots will utilize artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to be able to help us with everyday decision making.  The top applications for industrial robots will be in Robots in Space, Military, Healthcare

6) Virtual Worlds.  Frost says that by 2020, 3D simulated environments will be used to significantly enhance consumer and business activities.   Simulation and virtual world technology will change the way we interact with users and data.  For example, virtual shopping will allow customers to try products without leaving their homes.   Virtual surgeries will allow doctors to train for new types of procedures just like airplane pilots train in flight simulators today.  Frost explained that haptic technology is an an enabling technology for these immersive virtual and simulation environments in the future.

7) Cloud Computing.   Frost says we will have smart clouds by 2020.  These will be flexible and customized clouds created by consolidation of different off premise hybrid cloud services.  Cloud computing will allow future information technology infrastructures to  be scaled up or down as the workload demands.  Key enabling technologies will be  API standards and cloud security standards.

8) Innovating to Zero.   As we move towards 2020, there will be a focus on using emerging technologies to minimize failures.  Governments and businesses alike will strive to reach a level of zero security accidents, zero facility failures, zero emissions, zero accidents.   Frost mentioned initiatives in Norway as well as initiatives in the power generation generation industry to enable innovative zero emission technologies including Wind energy, Solar PV Cells, Ocean energy, Geothermal Energy, Bio Fuels, and Travelling Wave Reactors.

9) Infrastructure Development and New Transportation Corridors.  Frost expects higher spending on travel, transportation, and utilities infrastructures.  Frost mentioned the highest spending may be in water management systems, but also mentioned power generation/distribution, Road & Rail, and Air/Seaports.    Frost provided the example of the Trans-Siberian railroad.   This new transportation corridor will result in industrial and business hubs along the railroad, much like “Route 66” did to the American landscape.  Development of Trans-Siberian railroad will have significant socio economic and business impact to Russia. 

10) E-Mobility.  Frost expects that over the next decade all sorts of new forms of personal transportation vehicles will make its way to the economy.  Many of these will target urban commuters who just need to get to work and back.  Frost says that 40 million electric 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles will be sold annually around the globe by 20120.   

11) Healthcare:  Spending will rise globally.  Frost says that if the current spending trend continues, Healthcare spending will almost double by 2050.  Some countries will end up spending 20-30% of their GDP on Healthcare.   Spending will transition away from treating and more for predictive analytics that will be used to help diagnose and monitor conditions before they become serious.


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