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Digital Revolution Presents Challenges to Business

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 11, 2011 9:18:00 AM

In a short span of four years, American business will face a changed world in which consumers will use iPads and other mobile devices to enable two-thirds of all their purchases, demand two-way interaction with sellers and use real-time search to find the items they need, a Google executive told the AIM Executive Forum this morning.

Seth van der Swaagh, a National Industry Manager in Google’s Cambridge office, told more than 220 business leaders that the new electronic world will require successful companies to master the “four be’s”: - be relevant, be found, be engaging and be accountable to consumers who will have at their disposal an amount of information that will increase 50 times by 2020.

“So how, in this accelerated world, do you keep up? It’s not enough just to know the basics. Google believes that businesses need to get ahead of the trends get ahead of the consumer,” van der Swaagh said.

The digital revolution, according to van der Swaagh, means that all elements of business and life move faster than ever before - information is created faster, news travels faster, consumer trends change faster, and business is conducted faster. He said that the world now creates the same amount of information in two days as it did from the beginning of time until 2003.

The explosive growth of technology and information is everywhere:

  • The number of people on social networks has grown from 300 million people in 2008 to one billion today;
  • Twitter visitors have gone from 1.25 million in 2008 to 190 million;
  • More than 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute; YouTube serves 2 billion videos daily;
  • Android mobile devices did not exist in 2008; Google now ships 350,000 Android devices per day.
  • The number of mobile subscribers will double worldwide from 5 billion at the end of 2010 to 10 billion in 2020.

“But the biggest driver of all? The consumer.  Unlike other eras that were driven by science, or industry, our era is driven by people, consumers,” van der Swaagh said.

“Science fiction is already fact - we have computers in our pockets. The consumer has been first to figure out how this can benefit them: their behavior is evolving at breakneck speed/scale.”

Van der Swaagh said the digital revolution will put increasing pressure on companies to be engaging and interesting in a society saturated with information. He noted that 94 of the top 100 advertisers listed by Advertising Age have YouTube campaigns and that well-known Massachusetts employers such as Reebok, Biogen Idec and Philips Electronics have been leaders in online video communication.

Topics: Google, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, AIM Executive Forum

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