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With more than 20 connected devices per human by 2030, we are rapidly moving to an environment that is permanently online and always connected.
An increasingly digitalized and connected world will have a profound impact on a wide range of applications at home, at work, across cities, and several other use-cases (healthcare and automotive, for example). With such high levels of hyperconnectivity, consumers will expect a fluid, personalized, and unified experience, which can only be achieved when connected devices, data flows, and networks work in perfect harmony. This connected consumer experience is no easy task for any organization to fulfill; it will require a culture of creativity, engagement, and disciplined innovation.
This study outlines the evolution of connected living across 3 major connectivity environments - connected cities, connected homes, and connected workplaces. The convergence of these environments will result in ubiquitous connectivity and the emergence of new product applications, business models, technologies, platforms, and services.
Smart cities will drive the focus on connected and data-driven infrastructure, which will lead to higher adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G. Smart cities' spending on technology - over the next 6 years - is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7% and reach $327 billion by 2025. In a post-pandemic (COVID-19) world, cities will increasingly rely on online city services and open data platforms. For instance, more than 99% of Estonian public services are digitalized, making local services easily accessible, predictive, and effective for residents. In the long term, connected cities will integrate all aspects of human life; connected cars will act as conduits to fulfill city needs and connected physical infrastructure will constantly communicate with vehicles and other transit solutions. Ultimately, connectivity will also provide cities with an opportunity to connect marginalized communities and build an inclusive society.
The home of the future will become the central hub for connected living. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for homes to evolve into on-demand workspaces, entertainment centers, fitness spaces, and telehealth centers. AI, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), advanced computing, and data analytics will enable a personalized user experience. The connected home of the future will anticipate resident behavior and adjust the home environment accordingly. Seamless connectivity will also facilitate the standardization of platforms across the intelligent device ecosystem. With the ongoing shift in energy prosumerism, homes will also transform into smart energy generation and transmission hubs.
Telecommuting by employees has grown by 115% over the past 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for workplace connectivity. Zoom, one of the largest beneficiaries of the pandemic, recorded more than a 300% increase in revenue during 2019-2020. By 2030, around 75% of office workers, especially those working for large corporations, could move to remote work. Inter-connected hubs, digital reality solutions, and growth in unified communication and collaborative services will narrow the gap between physical and digital workplaces. IoT, automation, data analytics, and AR solutions will empower the connected worker of the future. In addition, the vision of a connected enterprise ecosystem will allow companies to build a unified strategy to predict, prepare for, and overcome challenges.
Connectivity is rapidly transforming the business landscape, with new value chain partnerships, product innovation, and new business models reshaping market dynamics every day. To survive in a hyper-connected era, companies must ensure that their products and services are not only connected but also intuitive, conversant, and intelligent. For incumbents, service differentiation and strategic partnerships with technology leaders to build a broader connected ecosystem are key to thrive and sustain growth.