Digital cohesion: The era beyond disruption

Digital Cohesion is an inevitable near-future era, but what’s remarkable is the journey of how we’ll actually get there.

Dinesh Verma Feb 10th 2017

In a hyper-connected age where 40% of the world’s population is already online, one might be tempted to ask – what comes next?

From calling for a ride, to ordering one’s dinner or searching for directions, we have grown extremely accustomed to the staggering number of devices, apps and services available for just about any purpose today.

We are however getting a glimpse of the near future, a future in which these services are increasingly coming together cohesively, in a move towards a singular unified experience for the end-user, greater than the sum of the parts involved.

And that natural progression is happening right before our eyes.

An Era of Change

This near future vision is one in which inter-related applications connect and self-assemble, overcoming barriers including network automation, trust, interoperability and performance to deliver a mega-service – or what we term Digital Cohesion.

By better anticipating, enabling and enhancing the value they deliver, these mega-services will offer predictive abilities based off contextual knowledge, providing a much more holistic offering than the reactive single-track applications we are used to today.

This is particularly pertinent for a traditional technological giant like India which has the world’s fastest growing Internet-connected population, considering the country’s swift digital and manufacturing progress, and the increase in collaboration and communication within the digital services offered across the country. Companies are rapidly turning towards SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud), with the Government also increasingly emphasizing the role technology plays in scaling up critical infrastructure.

To even enable access to the vast amounts of information required however, tremendous pressures will be exerted on networking technologies, with new approaches required for automation, security, interoperability and performance.

India will soon be ushered through an era of substantive change as the country rapidly changes the way it interacts with technology, and where the network is key – the era of Digital Cohesion.

User Data – The Key to the Past, the Present, and the Future

As we fast approach this era, the mega-services will be heavily reliant on data collected on past habits, preferences and patterns, all analyzed in real-time to allow for these processes to transition from being user initiated to autonomous, as repeatable tasks become adaptive and predictive services.

Data alone has the power to make or break ideas, businesses, and lives, so sharing the right information at the right time is crucial. Only by closely leveraging data such as the user’s details, location history and past consumption patterns, can we build a self-driving network with the ability to break down the economic barriers towards the vision of Digital Cohesion.

User data will undoubtedly be the lifeblood of Digital Cohesion, through which one can better understand the past and present, while simultaneously predicting and preparing for the future.

An Era Beyond Disruption

The era of Digital Cohesion will no doubt drive the transformation of and forever change nearly everything we know of today – from our favorite IoT applications and devices at home, to the systems and platforms our Government relies on.

But as with anything new, there are limitations at hand.

Engineers from different companies might work on separate APIs and platforms, or Government regulations might get in the way. All the data from all the platforms in the world would be for naught, should they be diluted by a failure to communicate.

Businesses thus need to forge alliances with revenue sharing models hashed out, Government regulations need to adaptively become less stringent, while tech and AI needs to advance even further – to allow for better interconnectivity, and the seamless exchange of data between devices and platforms.

In essence, four new forces driving the change will need to not just be understood, but accommodated and enabled:

  • User Expectations – People want accurate and personal notifications in real-time
  • Competitive Pressures – Multi-billion dollar businesses can be set up and shaken up
  • Tech Innovations – Technology is growing today at a never seen before pace
  • Economics – The continuous need to cut costs and improve margins

The idea here is that as technology evolves, it disappears into the background. Multiple devices and touch points merge to provide a seamless experience, engaging and adding value all at once by adapting to the needs, location and context of a user.

Embracing Digital Cohesion

Unstoppable forces are fast leading us towards an era in which technology will adapt to us in ways we have never previously experienced before.

Digital Cohesion is an inevitable near-future era, but what’s remarkable is the journey of how we’ll actually get there – a journey in which stakeholders from Governments and businesses to private citizens come together, to formulate strategies and implement policies, all with the consumer at the epicenter.

The author is Managing Director, India & SAARC, Juniper Networks

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).