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strategy+business

ISSUE 62 SPRING 2011

The Rise of Generation C
How to prepare for the Connected Generation’s transformation of the consumer and business landscape.

BY ROMAN FRIEDRICH, MICHAEL PETERSON, AND ALEX KOSTER

REPRINT 11110

features technology

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How to prepare for the Connected Generation’s transformation of the consumer and business landscape.

The Rise of
byRoman Friedrich, Michael Peterson, and Alex Koster
Colin is a 20-year-old computer science student

features technology

Generation C
living in London with two other students in the year 2020. He enjoys backpacking, sports, music, and gaming. He has a primary digital device (PDD) that keeps him connected 24 hours a day — at home, in transit, at school. He uses it to download and recordmusic, video, and other content, and to keep in touch with his family, friends, and an ever-widening circle of acquaintances. His apartment is equipped with the latest wireless home technology, giving him superfast download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. Colin’s parents are divorced and live in different cities, and he has one sister, who lives abroad. He is close to his family, but his physical contactwith them is minimal. Instead, he prefers to stay in touch virtually through his PDD, which allows him to communicate through multiple channels via voice, text, video, data — either separately or all at once. His parents would prefer that he visit more often, of course, but they are finally beginning to get used to being a part of his digital life. Still, sometimes Colin feels he is too digitallyconnected. A recent surprise visit to his mother was ruined because she knew he was in town — he had forgotten to disable the location feature on his PDD. Colin’s social life is also arranged via his PDD. He always knows the location of his friends — even what they are doing — and can communicate with them instantly. Much of Colin’s experience at school is mediated by his PDD. He can attend lectures,browse reading material, do research, compare notes with classmates, and take exams — all from the comfort of his apartment. When he goes to campus, his PDD automati-

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Illustration by Doucin Pierre

Roman Friedrich roman.friedrich@booz.com is a Booz & Company partner based in Düsseldorf and Stockholm. He specializes in strategic and technology transformation, and marketing and saleschallenges in the communications, media, and technology industries.

Michael Peterson michael.peterson@booz.com is a Booz & Company partner based in Düsseldorf and London. He specializes in corporate strategy and business model transformation for communications companies and in convergence and customer-facing processes in the broader media and telecommunications environment.

Alex Kosteralex.koster@booz.com is a Booz & Company principal based in Zurich. He focuses on strategy, revenue growth, and business model transformation opportunities across communications, technology, and Internet companies.

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cally connects to the school’s network and downloads relevant content, notices, and bills for fees, for which he can authorize payment later, at his leisure. Although he prefers toshop online, when he visits a retail store, his PDD automatically connects to the store’s network, guiding him through product choices, offering peer reviews, and automatically checking out and paying for items he purchases. Colin’s real passion is traveling, preferably with a backpack. On his recent trip to Australia, his PDD kept him occupied throughout the long plane ride with music, video, andInternet access, and helped him through customs by automatically connecting to the Australian government’s network. Then he used it to pinpoint the location of the Australian friends he was planning to travel with (he had met them online through one of several social networks he uses). Once they met up, they used their PDDs to plan their route, a relatively easy task, given that with all of...
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