By 2020, at least 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, and with people, businesses and things communicating, transacting and even negotiating with each other, the world of digital business is rapidly becoming a reality, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
The hallmark of a digital business will be the ability to spot opportunities that might span a matter of just seconds, according to the report.
For example, a smart house could detect when a room has to be repainted and collaborates with the homeowner and the local retailer to identify, select and obtain the necessary supplies and services to get the room repainted. The retailer's system then solicits bids from painters on behalf of the consumer.
Another example the report used to illustrate digital business opportunities was a laundry machine chiming in when detergent is running low.
"Digital business will break down traditional barriers between industry segments, creating completely new value chains and new business opportunities that may not be filled by incumbent players," Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "It will also challenge existing industry boundaries and challenge the dominance of leading players in an industry and cause them to rethink the businesses they are in."
As the report outlines, digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.
It could perhaps usher in an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that disrupts existing business models, even those born of the Internet and e-business eras.
"Most will see digital business as a simple extension of an enterprise technology or an e-business past. Gartner calls this 'digitization,' or using technology to automate existing processes. However, that is no longer enough," Lopez continued. "To compete in digital business, enterprises must digitalize their models, and rethink their value in a world of people, business and things."
These fleeting moments are important, because they will force enterprises to rethink the role they play in a value stream, the report projected.
Business moments, by their very nature, illustrate a wide variety of possibilities and players and help companies envision and design new businesses that integrate people, businesses and things to do things not possible five years ago.
According to Gartner, the trademark of a digital business will be the ability to spot these opportunities, however fleeting.
"In the context of digital business, a business moment is a brief everyday moment in time and the catalyst that sets in motion a series of events and actions involving a network of people, businesses and things that spans or crosses multiple industries and multiple ecosystems," Don Scheibenreif, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "These events and actions unleash a loose set of sequences of observe, orient, decide and act (OODA) loop activities where many processes are executed by many resources in many different companies. Moreover, one business moment may trigger or collide with any number of adjacent business moments."