Thursday, January 1, 2015

Silicon Valley in 2015 and onwards: A new technology decade on its way

I have been working with Silicon Valley for the past 20 years off and on.  I have been living here for the past year, running a research and innovation center.

For the first decade of this millennia, I noticed a trend which was well articulated by Dr. Gordon Moore that "… corporate R&D is moving away from the kind of fundamental research that wins Nobel Prizes and toward a narrow focus on business goals."  See my blog on the topic here.

I start this year with the hope and I see it as well in the past couple of years that things are making a shift in Silicon Valley from Dr. Moore's concern.  In The World in 2015 from the Economist, my favorite columnist Mr. Adrian Wooldridge, writes:

"In 2015 the buzz (and the money that goes with it) will shift from social media to intelligent devices. … The most successful companies will focus on connecting the virtual and physical worlds. … The year’s buzzword will be “wearables”: for example, medical gadgets that keep a constant watch on your blood pressure, glucose level and food intake, and tell you if trouble is on the way."

Remembering the days of craze about social media in the first half of 2000s, and software doing more than automation in the 1990s, and personal computer like devices in the 1980s, the craze already has established the buzz word IOT (Internet of Things).  Makes me smile as I have never heard such an amorphous term in technology before, perhaps IOT will trump the word innovation in the coming years!  I digress.

What is absolutely thrilling and exciting for me is:

"The rise of intelligent devices will allow the Valley to rediscover its roots as an engineering centre. This Valley was briefly sidelined by the social-networking revolution. But engineers are returning to reclaim their own. Tesla is making cars in Palo Alto. BMW, Mercedes, Samsung, Nissan and General Electric have all established research and design laboratories. Medical-device companies are flocking in."

The types of business that are emerging interestingly all have one specific aspect in common, or essential to their success, data and its analysis for value extraction.  A different technology decade is beginning in the valley.

"Intelligent devices will provide the Valley with a new-found seriousness. Social-media companies essentially dealt with virtual candy-floss: nice to have but, for the most part, hardly essential. The new generation of entrepreneurs will deal in devices that can save lives. Truly, all that is airy will become solid."

Read the complete article here.

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