Mobile Internet tops list of McKinsey’s disruptive dozen

Mobile devices

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I am a big fan of the research that comes out of McKinsey & Company, and I’ve mentioned some of their work in previous posts. In May, they released two big trends pieces that I wanted to sink my teeth into right away. Well, here it is July, and I am just now getting to them.

Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy” is well worth downloading. In this piece, McKinsey’s researchers take a look at 12 “next-big-thing” technologies and assess their likelihood of “disrupting” the global economy over the next 10-15 years. The researchers’ goal: to cut through the “noise,” as they put it,  and “identify which technologies truly matter.”

After looking at more than 100 different promising technologies, they narrowed their list down to 12. Some of these you have probably read about, and some have already been with us for a while:

  1. Mobile Internet
  2. Automation of knowledge work
  3. Internet of things
  4. Cloud technology
  5. Advanced robotics
  6. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles
  7. Next-generation genomics
  8. Energy storage
  9. 3D printing
  10. Advanced materials
  11. Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery
  12. Renewable energy

McKinsey calculated the economic value at stake for each of these technologies, looking at such factors as speed of adoption, scope and cost. Here are just a few of McKinsey’s “gee-whiz” numbers:

  • $5 million vs. $400 – Price of the fastest supercomputer in 1975 vs. an iPhone 4 with equal performance
  • 230+ million – Knowledge workers in 2012
  • 300,000 – Miles driven by Google’s autonomous cars with only one accident (human error)
  • 3x – Increase in efficiency of North American gas wells between 2007 and 2011

Then here is the corresponding economic potential of these technologies:

  • 2-3 billion – More people with access to the Internet in 2025
  • $5-7 trillion – Potential economic impact by 2025 of automation of knowledge work
  • 1.5 million – Driver-caused deaths from car accidents in 2025, potentially addressable by autonomous vehicles
  • 100-200% – Potential increase in North American oil production by 2025, driven by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling

Mobile Internet remains one of  the most disruptive technologies out there. It’s hard to believe the first iPhone was introduced just six years ago and the first iPad only three years ago. According to McKinsey:

In just a few years, Internet-enabled portable devices have gone from a luxury for a few to a way of life for more than 1 billion people who own smartphones and tablets. In the United States, an estimated 30 percent of Web browsing and 40 percent of social media use is done on mobile devices; by 2015, wireless Web use is expected to exceed wired use. Ubiquitous connectivity and an explosive proliferation of apps are enabling users to go about their daily routines with new ways of knowing, perceiving, and even interacting with the physical world. The technology of the mobile Internet is evolving rapidly, with intuitive interfaces and new formats, including wearable devices. The mobile Internet also has applications across businesses and the public sector, enabling more efficient delivery of many services and creating opportunities to increase workforce productivity. In developing economies, the mobile Internet could bring billions of people into the connected world.

Drum roll…here is perhaps the most useful chart from the report (although the report is chock-full of nuggets). It shows just how disruptive these technologies will potentially be in 2025. (Click on the chart to see a bigger, reader-friendly version).

Disruptive technologies

In my next post, I’ll take a look at McKinsey’s companion report, “Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead.”

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2 Responses to Mobile Internet tops list of McKinsey’s disruptive dozen

  1. Pingback: McKinsey’s 10 IT-enabled trends for the decade ahead | ytd2525

  2. Pingback: Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy | TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

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