A RELAXED START INTO THE DAY
I open my eyes and see the sun shining through the canopy of the tropical rainforest. I hear relaxing sound, rushing water and birdsong. On the glass ceiling, I see my appointment with Banana in 30 minutes, high time to get up. Very quickly, my gaze glides over a few Breaking News. I swing out of bed and touch the window. This opens the breathtaking view to Limmat river and Lake of Zurich.
Glass has changed everyday life; walls, tables, doors, windows are today information platforms, OLED technologies make it possible.
George is our new handyman. He makes our life easier at home, he is responsible for the manual work.
Algae tanks, a bioreactor and the batteries of the solar and the wind power plant are located in our garage, where the Range Rovers used to park; Algae, which grow under photosynthesis, produce proteins and vitamins, they taste disgustingly, but are supposed to be very healthy.
Right next to the algae production, salads grow in rainwater, with controlled nutrient supply, not in the soil. George also looks after this. He moves now like a human being, has learned our everyday life and is always at the right place at the right time.
The office we used to have in town, we gave up years ago. Jobs as lawyers, bankers, asset managers and auditors are not as required as they used to be. IT engineers are the attractive and required ones today. A food mecca for individualists is located in the building of our former offices. People with a hyper-complex understanding of nutrition meet in small restaurants, bars and food outlets. They consume crickets, mealworms, locusts, maggots and in-vitro meat. They all look the same and do not attract any attention. Meat from mass production is no longer allowed. In general, food today is an expression of self-staging, of life positioning. What you eat is what you are – food provides information about your life philosophy, community affiliation, social standing.
The noise level in the city is extremely low. What you hear is the buzzing of electric mobility on the ground, in the water and up in the air; no more traffic jams, no parking problems, vehicles are constantly moving, drones deliver mail.
I can order any kind of transportation within minutes, nobody owns their own vehicles, people buy “mobility”, for themselves and their goods. There are no more fines, there is no police, no accidents, no driver’s licences, no red lights, no parking spaces, no petrol stations, no ticket machines, no ATMs, no banks, no crimes in the public, no plastic packaging, no fast food, a lot of banana mobility and pedestrian areas. I no longer have to queue up, everything is ready when I pick it up.
Zurich is digitized, green, quiet, with good air, cameras and control systems coordinate life, and record it in detail.
It was only 10 years ago that “Digitalisation” was the big topic. At that time the uncertainty was great. At the end of the day everyone has benefited: vacuum cleaning, buying food and beverages, replacing bulbs, bundling paper, disposing of used glass, washing cars, or driving a Harley Davidson, it’s all over. My Harley is in the basement today, one can not drive these kind of motorbikes anymore, too much CO2, too much noise, no self-driving software. If you still need the motorbike feeling, you can buy a ride through the streets on self-driving machines.
Besides George, we have a second help called Maggy. She cooks, cleans, quietly, discreet, always friendly, never exhausted. Almost never. Every six months, we bring Maggy to the Banana store on Paradeplatz, where once Credit Suisse was located, Banana has set up the Robotics Service Center there, on the opposite side, at the former UBS facilities, you find Banana’s maintenance center for self-driving vehicles. Banana is today the largest robotics technology company in Europe, employing hundreds of people, skilled people of all ages. They can work there, as much and as long as they want.
Algorithms capture most of the processes in our lives and provide us with the information derived from them. We know how long we will live together with someone, we can predict the probability of events more precisely. Ten years ago, people were afraid of the effects of digitalization, worried about their jobs and pension funds. People were afraid of artificial intelligence, the aging process, the power of large corporations, the security in the net, the total supervision, big data. Differentiation between risks and opportunities was difficult. German car brands lost their premium position, car brands in general lost importance in a commercial sense, except for the leisure sector. The US is still recovering from the reign of its last president.
Long-established companies have slowly disappeared together with their 10-year master plans, newcomers have taken over. Strategic agility is the ability to adapt to new conditions on a daily basis. Billion dollar companies were founded only a few years ago, such as Banana. They build self-driving vehicles, they are autonomous electric modules engaging and disengaging in traffic control systems. Drone technology has opened up the airspace for individual mobility. If I did not live right next to Paradeplatz, I would have ordered an “ACM” (Autonomous Commuting Module) for my trip to Banana.
DIGITAL MANUFACTURING IN EUROPE
Consumer’s decision making is influenced digitally, purchases take place in the only large shopping center, the Internet. Augmented Reality allows virtual aggregation of demand and supply in real time. The digital generation behaves differently, needs less status symbols, collect less property, shares things, is efficient and uses less power.
Crowd-Funding allows to finance new ideas and start-up companies, immediately and without administrative hassle, small and mid sized companies can easily have thousands of shareholders.
Europe is “best in class” in terms of flexible working models, social peace, stability, environmental protection, efficiency. “Made in Europe” is a quality label. The global exchange of goods has changed fundamentally. Goods that come to Europe must have a fully certified value chain. Few of these so-called low-wage countries can do so and have therefore lost their competitive advantage. Southeast Asia is no longer the cheap workbench of the world, state-of-the-art clothing factories are today located in Ticino, they produce intelligent garments, individualized, with 3D printing, with built-in sensors that respond to feelings or to the environment, bio-tech fabrics that are grown from organic material, and if you no longer carry them, you can even eat them.
Place of work and working hours can be chosen individually, thanks to networking, the office can be everywhere around the globe. Decentralized working is reality, physical meetings take place only for special events.
Office space is used differently than in the past. Ad hoc workshop require smaller and more versatile office infrastructure, often it is a mixture of workplace, think-tank, amusement park, oasis of well-being. Rooms are rented out 24 hours, for different concepts, from different groups.
An unconditional basic income is a reality today, small indeed, but it secures existence of those who do not belong to the winners of the digitalization. People without highly specialized skills and less rewarding education are socially supported. Artificial intelligence has greatly facilitated our work, and today we have the highest productivity in human history, less working hours than 20 years ago. We invest our free time in education, for a specific project, not as a long lasting education sequence. The real-time availability of information enables us to make immediate use of this knowledge.
New products are more efficient, smarter, more durable, greener, healthier, more sustainable, recyclable. Human intelligence has kept artificial intelligence to a limit so far, although the mini-robots are now 2mm tall or drones play better tennis than Roger Federer.
The technical applications described above are no utopias in 2018, but a summary of existing technologies, which have just started to influence our daily life substantially.
The digitization process in extremis highlights the risks and opportunities for existing and new businesses. While it is much more difficult for established corporations to turn their DNA from “analogue” to “digital”, new companies start without legacy issues on the green and digital field. With the help of new digital business models, revenue sources are opened up, which were unimaginable and not realizable in the analogue world. The balance of power and social behavior are currently shifting fundamentally.
Fabrical has been accompanying and supporting companies in digitization projects in the past. New aspects of corporate finance, succession planning, the changing from master plans to rolling planning, strategic agility, etc. are just some of the topics that are current topics in all companies and that we solve together with our customers.
We are pleased to advise you or your company. Please follow our publications of articles written by experienced and well known entrepreneurs, which cover various aspects of digitalization processes, backed with their own experiences and expertise.
Andreas M. Schlumpf
Partner Fabrical GmbH, email@example.com, +41 41 500 08 00