SMAC/IOT … Compulsions of Continuous innovation

– By Rajesh Mohandas and Sairam Bollapragada

The dawn of 21st century started to witness a fast changing landscape in technological innovations, SMAC/IOT  (Social – Mobility – Analytics – Cloud – Internet of Things) have ushered in the next generation of hi-tech inclinations and products. Unlike the FMCG and Fashion industry which is considered to be changing every day the pace of SMAC/IOT sector is even more. This brings the compulsions of replenishing the product shelves regularly. The changing technology is compelling other segments also to replenish/refurbish their offerings frequently.

Most technology companies are experiencing highly volatile markets with increasingly short product life cycles due to rapid technological innovation and radical changes in the market competition… life has now become a copy & Intelligent Paste with a couple of new features and a competitor arrives in the market either playing a cost factor or drawing a quality product / solution card.

Market share and market dominance are no defence against technology innovation


  • Kodak is a classic example of where complacency mind set eroded innovation. In 1975 it had invented the digital camera but held back with the product launch fearing it will impact its film business, while they also promoted the notion that digital cameras will not be able to replace the traditional filming and professionals will continue to use the Kodak technology.


  • Nokia started out as a Paper Mill and then ventured into electricity generation, and then into rubber and cable too… late 70’s it collaborated and marked its presence through a Joint venture in TV manufacturing followed with a lunch of world’s first Car Phone and transportable phones, and in early 90’s it introduced a compact phone acquiring market leadership in the telecommunication sector becoming a world leader in the mobile phones in the 20th century. We all know where Nokia today is in the market today.


  • Not long ago, the Walkman was as ubiquitous as the iPod is today, and Sony dominated the market for TVs, cameras, video recorders, and many other consumer electronics


Many more companies like Sun Microsystems, Toys ‘R’ us, Yahoo, Lucent, Blackberry, Enron, Star Princess Cruise Lines, Thai Airways, British Petroleum and many more, that enjoyed monopoly in the market once upon a time,    with extremely satisfied customers and vouched for their brands, are today have been fighting  disruptively innovative competitors

It comes back to the saying- ‘if you don’t do it, somebody else will do it..”

A new survey from Mind Matters throws a statistic to light that only 5% employees are involved in innovation, ideas are poorly reviewed coupled with lack of proper innovation and motivation process, 81% of companies don’t have resources dedicated for innovation, and remaining companies don’t consider investing in R&D as their priority for the next three years sighting the economic downturn, too many companies allow ideas that could drive them forward to fall by the wayside, or to be bogged down in poorly-designed processes.

It was found that one of the gian scooter manufacturers in India, who had a monopoly for almost 4-5 decades, was investing only 6-7% in R&D and considered adding the rest to the bottom lines. Raking money from the market and looking at competition growing, they pulled out of the venture concluding they had made enough money. I believe they would have anyways got wiped out as the competition was catching up fast.

If this trend (not to invest and encourage in innovation) continues such companies will be out of competition and market share. The mantra for companies to outperform should be “Invest more.. Invest fast and Invest first… continuous innovation in the future focused areas”

The compulsions of innovations in the world facing tremendous challenges due to technological advances and SMAC/IOT , in particular, is an important innovation domain defined by conspicuous global problems in the areas of Green Energy, Water, Lighting Solutions, Smart Cities, Preventative Healthcare (Wellness), Education which today are increasingly drawing the attention of technology related solutions to overcome disturbing demographic structures and bring in economic balance.

After the mainframe, mini-computing, personal computer, client-server era and the Internet (www) era, we’re now in what many call the fifth wave of digital technology. This wave characterized by crucial IT architecture comprised of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies SMAC/IOT accommodating(or usurping) millions of applications and billions of users with peta-zeta bytes of data and hyper connected things talking with each other, is going to definitely change the way we live today…

SMAC/IOT  extends its influence to the manufacturing industry and integrates seamlessly with the embedded systems already bringing in innovative disruptions in the area of human- to-machine (h2m), machine-to-machine (m2m) and machine-to-human (m2h) translating into Wearable devices and Smart Infrastructure. Many households and businesses for example have thermostats, weather stations, smart lighting, security and electronic door locks, the majority of which are not currently interconnected. However, the real IoT will emerge when these applications cooperate, working together, and begin to use each other’s ’awareness’. That is when the true IoT avalanche will start that will be supported by Analytics to track the metrics and Cloud based Mobile applications to control things remotely which get promoted on social media platforms.

It is necessary to be equipped in recognizing the opportunities provided by event and process value chains across the spectrum could be Sales, Service, Marketing, Business Operations, Delivery Excellence, Support Functions etc…, and to react to these by capitalizing on the first-mover advantage, relying upon cash cows for too long can be very risky as the lifecycle of the products and solutions will very fast reach its end.

Disruptive Innovation’, describes this as “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up, eventually displacing established competitors.”

Top 10 where SMAC/IOT will play a dominant role is

  • Implantable Technologies (Imagine a digital tattoo which is nothing but a mobile phone)
  • Vision as a New Interface (Google glass is just the beginning… imagine digital eye contact lens)
  • Wearable Internet
  • Storage Solutions
  • Connected Homes and Smart Cities
  • Big data and predictive / prescriptive analytics
  • 3D Printing in Manufacturing, Healthcare and Consumer Products
  • Driverless Cars and connected automobiles
  • Artificial Intelligence coupled with Automated – Orchestrated processes
  • Sharing Economy … the car sharing has just started, imaging a shared economy

Innovation at a disruptive pace brings in challenges and risks in the areas of Security, Governance, Privacy, Trust and Economic destabilization. On the other hand the potential is huge. Imagine the positives of being able to proactively assess the need to access any service, physical asset or tool, schedule predictably when and where you need it; or being able to predict a serious health problems or natural calamity much before it happens and take precautionary measures.

Organizations face the challenges of navigating through this transition compelling them to focus on continuous innovation else must ready themselves to move over, give space to the next gen organizations  in the ever growing cut-throat competition.


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