At The Fabric, as investors in cloud infrastructure startups, we track the technologies that drive digital transformation. We believe the technologies that are the driving Digital Business are: Cloud Services, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT). We have funded six startups that are developing solutions in these core areas.
The transition to digitalization began in the 90s with the launch of the Internet and web browser. The web made it possible for “people” to access unprecedented amount of information, anytime, anywhere. It helped them research, learn, and share the information with their friends and co-workers. Recall how AOL, Yahoo, Internet Browsers, and E-mail changed us forever? They launched us into the digital era.
In early 2000s, we experienced the rise of “e-business”. Pioneers like EBay and Amazon used technology to combine “people” and “business process” to accelerate communication and commerce. It started with B2C and soon to B2B commerce. Enterprises were able to reduce the friction to conduct business.
Around 2004 we saw the next step in digitalization – “digital marketing”. When “data” is combined with “people”, and “process” we create new value. Data about the customer gives businesses the ability to target customers with high degree of precision. Imagine what Google and Facebook and others have offered to advertisers. Marketing has been transformed from an art to a science. Today, marketing-spend can be measured with metrics and companies have the ability to instantly modify campaigns. Cloud services and Big Data Analytics have been at the core of driving the Digital Marketing era.
Enter IoT. IoT is a network of billions of sensors that collect data and can receive instructions. With IoT we are at the cusp of another transformation called “Digital Business. What differentiates Digital Business from Digital Marketing is the base of sensors or “things” that providing huge amounts of real-time data and also the ability to act. The combination of people, process, data, and “things” gives businesses the ability to solve high order problems and create significant new value. The potential is mind-boggling.
As mentioned, cloud services, big data analytics, and IoT (Internet of Things) have changed how people and companies will do business. Cloud services have matured in the last 5-10 years. Cloud is no longer and option – it is a necessity like Internet and utilities.
Big Data is not new. Enterprises have been collecting and storing data for long. Most data is an under utilized asset. The game changer is the ability to apply analytical methods to mine the data for valuable information.
IoT, of Internet of Things is the new game changer. Things or sensors have been around for years collecting data. And with help of cloud services we are able to send the data to a remote destination where big data analytics is applied. By combining people, process, and data, we are able to make high value decisions.
P2P, M2M, and M2P combination define digital business. These combinations create tremendous opportunities and the impact is mind-boggling. Digital business has applications across the retail, healthcare, transportation, energy, security, and transportation industries. IoT has given rise to new markets such as Smart Cities and in consumer wearable gears.
These are interesting times for technology providers and for enterprises. The future is exciting and smart to say the least!