It Is Your Future And You Are The Craftsman!
Slice it, before you work on it…
We all know, within our heart of hearts, what a challenging phase of life we are passing through. Systems, values, relationships, even technology, have all decided to put us to the test repeatedly. Our steadfastness has come under a microscope like never before. The proverbial generation gap has decided to manifest itself in so many different ways, thanks to the changing dynamics of connectivity. Given the situation, what are we supposed to do in order to keep our head above the water before it drowns us?
Gone are the days of cautious optimism and in comes the challenging scenario of innovative career building. Risk-taking was never a fashion like it has come to be. Today’s young ones are not keen to prepare themselves for a secure job in quest for that coveted golden handshake or the gold watch upon retirement. They are more inclined towards changing careers every few years. Mass adoption of the Internet as an unavoidable life-line has opened up numerous avenues for the curious ones.
Taking a cue from the above, let us look at the crystal ball to see where the not-so-young can find comfort and stay up-to-date. It is true many of us enjoy cushy jobs with all sorts of well-earned pension plans. However, there remains a sizeable chunk of the 9 to 5’ers that have nowhere to go in the event of a sudden change of direction for the employer. Sad but true, they have very limited options to face unforeseen winds of change.
There are industry-related predictions to suggest over 600,000 truck drivers, in the U.S. alone, stand to loose their jobs within the next 5 years, thanks to the autonomous vehicles. Same holds true for many different categories of sales forces as the likes of Amazon expand their online network to bring the traditional retailing to its knees. Courier drivers, maintenance workers, utility employees, clerical work-force, even teachers and professors can expect the jolts due to the growing mass appeal of the Internet as we know it today. This technology is so deeply entrenched in our daily life that the number of connected devices outpaces the number of living beings in the Universe by a factor of 150%. By the end of year 2020 this number is projected to grow beyond 50 Billion, that’s right, Billion with a ‘B.’
The Internet, as we know it today, has evolved into the ‘Internet of Things,’ (IoT) ‘Internet of Industry,’ ‘Internet of Machines,’ as well as so many different incarnations. When and where it shall finally stop is anybody’s guess. The storage capacity of computers has taken a quantum jump by way of the ‘Cloud’ platform where carrying external Hard Disk Drives has been totally eliminated. No wonder, the cost of data storage equipment has crashed. The ‘Cloud’ offers 24/7 availability anywhere, anytime, while the security issues are handled by the service provider.
The next-generation storage that gives further boost to “IoT” is known as the FOG. It helps address both the speed as well as security issues to a considerable extent though nothing can be considered absolutely foolproof. Waiting in the wings is ‘Tactile Internet’ or the Internet with touch and feel capabilities.
Once we understand the above scenario, it becomes easier to realize the urgent need for a mass-awakening. Those in their 40s and above need to be especially concerned at this stage because their chances of learning new technology, techniques and tricks within a short period of time are somewhat slim at best. The ‘Millennials’ are much better placed to adapt themselves as majority of them become exposed to the changes within their own households, on a daily basis. Those with university going brothers, sisters or children observe how they are bringing in unheard of ideas to the dining table. The news around the house creates flutters of change that they relish with a passion. On the other hand, those in the higher age group prefer to handle their affairs the old-fashioned way. For them, new technology is more of a panacea that they would rather do without. They believe in the old dictum: “Do not try to teach an old horse new tricks.”
Let us try to see how everyone of us can prepare to ride the waves of change and not get left out while there’s still time. We need not employ a host of magicians to play their tricks on our mindset. What we should be doing instead is awaken the sleeping giant resting within, shake him from his slumber and make him work for us one step at a time. This is what I call slicing the future!
I can say it from personal experience, after drawing a blank from well over 1,000 individuals, both the common men as well as occupants of the ‘C’ Suite, about the oncoming wave of ‘IoT,’ that we are ill-prepared to handle this massive change. It has aptly been christened the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Remember the panic set off by the millennium bug that created fears of a pandemonium when all computers were expected to go haywire at midnight on New Year’s Eve? That was a miscalculated paradox at best, if not the fanciful prediction of some ill-qualified computer genius. It ended up costing an incalculable drain on the resources of almost every computer user, not to talk of the preventive exercise undertaken at every administrative level the world over.
In comparison, this change is very real. The most important contributory factor for this development is the miniaturization of sensors. Once programmed and embedded into a machine, these little devices can offer much deeper insights into the health of the equipment than what the most qualified experts could ever imagine. The resulting predictive maintenance helps push the boundaries of non-stop productivity. Did you know that the smart phone in your pocket or purse has a host of these smart sensors that help you get unbelievable capabilities?
These sensors, once openly used in devices of daily use, will offer exemplary convenience, no doubt. At the same time, they will also render so many related jobs redundant. Are we prepared for mass unemployment? I do not think so! Before you start to panic, let me also point out, in no uncertain terms, that this change also brings in its fold a much larger number of job opportunities than what it is likely to take away. The difference lies in the fact that we shall acquire the necessary skills to learn what those jobs entail. A case in point is cyber security.
For fear of over-extending this post, I have decided to divide it in multiple parts that you may have the pleasure of reading over an extended period of time, at your leisure. It shall give you a lot of the essential scenarios, challenges, strategies, options, opportunities as well as guidance before it gets too late.
We shall be covering new opportunities in Part II …