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By Brian E. Morgan ©2006 Brian Morgan Articles Contents 1- The Digital Divide 2- The High Tech Office and Business 3- The New Employee 4- The High Tech Home 5- The New College Professor 6- The Next Generation 7- The New Consumer Group 8- What It All Means The Digital Divide; the have and the have nots Right now in the world there are countries that have about 1% Internet access per capitol. The USA has almost 100% Internet access if you consider all the computers in schools, libraries, businesses, and organizations. With the USA also having a 40% or so percentage of broadband access nationwide, we have quite a bit of difference from the developing world. There is a huge digital divide that companies and organizations are fighting like mad to bring together. By offering Internet Centers and Internet Training Centers many large organizations are planning ahead for making this information rich economy world wide. So that developing countries can also participate and perhaps someday “catch up” with the larger economies of the world. Leaving a “digital divide” creates a hole in a possible future consumer group. The better the skills and knowledge of undeveloped countries, the better chance that the developed world will locate offshoring and outsourcing activities within them. This means that we have to not only create Internet Training Centers, but also provide the right college courses or training for these developing countries if “we” want to “help” them in developing. The world in general, the developed world, celebrates in the starting of new businesses. Mainly because people in developed countries need a place to do their daily work. They pay for their children and family needs. Without work and a daily job, then poverty sets in on a town or society and it becomes a ghost of its previous self. The US corporations are now all offshoring and outsourcing any available jobs and processes in an attempt to beat their competition. This means giving under-developed countries more and more jobs that American’s used to do. So we (USA) are offshoring and outsourcing like mad in the hopes that our companies will be able to compete in this globalization of businesses. So where are the displaced American workers going to go once they get laid off. The only answer is to be retrained for another job, move to a better economy, or accept a lower paying wage job while looking for better work. The new worker in America may have to switch or find new jobs every 3-5 years, in my predictions. When we 1
all first started outsourcing to overseas what we forgot to do was think about whom in America was going to make money to create a consuming economy, or at least keep the economy that we used to have. Offshoring and outsourcing is one very ambiguous variable that simply alludes being defined right now (2006). The “digital divide” is a very large and difficult gap that the developing world is madly learning that it has to solve. As the business of the planet globalizes it will need people in all countries knowledgeable enough so that they can bring in their factories and offices. This of course assumes that outsourcing and offshoring is just getting its roaring start, and it will continue as long as there are poorer nations willing to accept lower wage jobs. Just as outsourcing moved US radio manufacturing (GM) from Indiana to Mexico; there may be a day not too far in the future that the Mexican Plants will also be closed and the factories rebuilt in another under-developed country – to save costs of course. If you can train Mexican’s in a matter of months, why not train African’s in the same way 5 or 10 years later? The process of offshoring and outsourcing is one that I see as circling the globe for the next several decades and perhaps centuries. Getting computers and internet access into schools and libraries in underdeveloped countries enables companies to ensure that they are making a step in the right direction by offering the locals the information necessary to understand the “big developed world” and perhaps then be able to grasp the need & concept of college education to begin living in this “big developed global world”. The speed at which America came to be developed is not the same speed that these under-developed countries will grow. With the world turning into an “on demand” and “real time” business world, I predict that many countries will undergo huge amounts of culture shock due to the fast nature of making a strong and stable economy for an under-developed country. Buildings will go up fast, factories will be built seemingly overnight and with these changes the domestic or local societies will have to grow to understand the new towns they will be living in. Multi-national, multi-billion-dollar companies will not wait 5 or 10 years to sow their seeds into a lucrative marketplace. Changes will be fast, swift, and many large cities, that were once barren land, will develop in just decades. There is a change wave coming, and it is not going to stop to consider the effects it has on the environment, societies, cultures, and people in general. I am speaking of course of the growing globalization of the world’s economic powers seeking out the best potential settings for their new operations. What has happened in America in the last 110 years economically may simply take 50 years or even 20 years with today’s technologies. Cities will pop up virtually over-night, in all areas of the under-developed world. There will be little time for debating greenhouse effects and other environmental effects, the world celebrates business and commerce, and these are the choices we are making right now. Sure there are charities and organizations to help “balance” environmental and societal changes, but it’s my prediction that the desire for
commerce or wealth will strategically outperform and outpace any real attempts to conform to what might be called environmental and social stewardship for the planet. Like it or not we are “living to work” as I recently heard on a television slogan. Definition: The digital divide is the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital technologies and those without. (Wikipedia) The High Tech Office and Business The new office coming into this world is one that will offer “on demand” and “real time” solutions to problems. In the past, people formed committees, had lengthy meetings, and came to conclusions in a matter of days or weeks. The new office will operate with a higher degree of information and intelligence than that of the 1960-1990s. Many businesses will partner together or act as on-demand consultants and solve large scale problems in a matter of hours or minutes, based on research and data from their partner organizations. Businesses will be systemized for peak efficiency and productivity, and this will in-turn help the smartest and more knowledgeable employees rise to positions of power much faster than in past generations. The new office will invest in video trainings in which they can simply hire people with the right talents and skill sets and train them by way of video (internet) and expedite the time taken in fully training one individual. Companies will also be looking more and more to hire people that have a degree in entrepreneurship and business leadership that excel in helping to create ongoing innovations and ongoing creative designs. Companies will have to assemble their workers as small teams of entrepreneurs to be ready and able to forecast economic trends, to be able to see new markets, and also in the development of new products and services. Much of the new work that a company does will involve the skill sets of entrepreneurs, and using their ideas and innovations to compete globally. The playing field has increased to include the entire world, for the most part, and those companies that invest in the bravest and brightest employees will of course have invested wisely. Another technology of the new office is the use of video web meetings, in which the company’s best minds will be able to connect across the globe by way of the internet and have video web meetings on a regular basis. Most of the new office’s information will be on a web platform that is open sourced so that anyone in the company can view the knowledge or research, use it, critique it, or simply add to it. Having companies with talented entrepreneurs on their staff also implies that the company would be very well suited to switch products and services quite efficiently and quite fast. One such company may write a software program that enables other companies to find outsourcing, and then if the software is
successful the company might start an entire branch of the company solely devoted to connecting businesses with outsourcing and offshoring businesses and processes. With the advancement of Internet and Software Technologies I see the possibility for large firms overtaking small local firms in many professional services industries. In the auto insurance field this is already happening on a very large scale. Web-based companies like esurance, Progressive, and Geico have (if my research is correct) already about 17 million policy holders in the USA. A business that used to be a local services business, insurance, has now been captured by high tech internet firms that offer immediate quotes (on demand services) and immediate purchases (on demand services) right from a person’s phone or internet connection. High technology is replacing much of the work that humans used to have to do (especially in this case of insurance). I believe all types of insurance will follow this pattern, and you’ll see less and less local insurance agents in a city. This on demand service of getting insurance in real time using the internet and software is so efficient that it makes buying insurance easier and perhaps more competitive (affordable) than going into see a local insurance agent. Industries that will follow this on demand services business model will be mortgage banking, consumer loans, consumer banking, bill payment, tax preparation, business incorporation, business start-up help, and I can see this moving into regular consumer buying such as grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and basically any retail goods you might need. You’ll be able to visit a retailer’s website, perform a search for the products you’d like, see a video of the products in action, or read about them, and be offered a significant discount for buying online and buying in bulk. Large retailers and wholesalers will have to invest in the latest information technology to supply their clients with on demand information and on demand purchasing solutions. Of course there will still be retail establishments, but I can see two very distinct type of consumers: one type that enjoys being able to buy everything and anything on demand on line, and one type that enjoys going to the store in person to make a buying decision. There still is a lot of work to be done by internet retailers, they’ve got to have the information needed to locate the products for their consumers, and also have information (videos) online to give the buyer the best on demand information for making a purchase. The New Employee; a Real Time Mindset Just as businesses are evolving to provide real time or on demand products and services, employees will have to be able to learn new skills, talents, processes, and knowledge in real time. Companies will go through change in months instead of years, and in this type of immediate change, the company will have to employ people with the smarts and passions to be creative and innovative enough to overhaul their position within the company.
A large company that is in the manufacturing sales representative business for the automobile industry may one day find that many of their clients are buying directly from the manufacturer and eliminating them as middlemen. This type of company may have 100 salespersons in 15 different states, and the board of directors decides that the company needs to move entirely into a different industry. A company in this sort of situation may need to retrain all their sales staff to market totally new products and services, perhaps software that enables their past clients to buy researched information on their competitors and maybe software that enables the manufacturer to reach out to more retailers or even sell directly to consumers online. By keeping the main resource of the company, its people and staff, the company will have to acquire partners that will enable them to retrain their staff for selling totally different products and services. The old company may even want to partner with their list of clients (manufacturers and suppliers) and create systems that enable the manufacturer to be more efficient, more on demand, more real time, and so forth. It would be a shame for a complete business to decide that its original focus of business, being a middleman between the manufacturers and suppliers, is no longer feasible and simply close their doors. With information technology on their side they should use the manpower that they currently have, perhaps hire a consulting agency to prepare them for a new and better market or industry, and them implement the total company transformation. The on demand employee will be one that has skills in entrepreneurship, sales, information technology, and be very able to adapt and learn new skills, talents, and industries in a short time. For companies to exist the ongoing growth of increasing competition it would serve a company well to partner or employ a firm that researches and provides factual data and knowledge about their industry and competition. In this manner, they’d be able to foresee huge industry changes hopefully before they happen, and be able to integrate processes and systems to re-educate their workforce. That too may be necessary for the new on demand employee, the connections and knowledge to provide the firm with trends and information focused specifically on the industry they are in. The on demand employee should be proactive enough to seek beneficial education, skills, and knowledge outside of their everyday work that will improve their assets to their employer. A company should not always have to be the one responsible for steering the employee in the right educational direction, some of the incentive should come from the employees own instincts for survival. In a world that outsources and offshores employees quickly, the employee must be the one responsible for increasing his or her skills and assets for the company. The High Tech Home The basis of a high tech home is that software is used as a platform for monitoring and controlling any appliance or device in the home. Software will be developed to monitor each appliance in the home and make that information available to the desktop (computer). Also this same software will be able to turn
off and on not only lights in the home, but also lock doors, check the security system, see which doors in the home are open or closed, and possibly used to monitor where your pets are in the house or neighborhood. Another unique feature is to be able to monitor through GPS the exact place in which your cars are at, so at a moments notice you can check on family vehicles. Plus with GPS software in your family’s cellular phones your home computer will be able to tell you exactly where everyone in the family is. Of course by this time you’ll probably have two or three screens for your main computer, so you’ll be able to operate many different programs and processes on different screens. The computer will also be equipped to make phone calls directly from the desktop, plus your computer calendar will have the ability to call your cell phone and notify you of important times, dates, and meetings. The high tech home will also easily integrate online video content and make it available to either other computers in your home or to your television. The growth in on demand internet videos will make it possible to watch virtually any movie from the present to the past in real time. Most on demand video stores now offer new releases, but they really have yet to offer the older movies, I would say in about 12 months or so, there will be video rental services in which you can also watch movies from as far back as the 60’s. Broadband internet access has reached 30-40 percent saturation in the USA; so many people are taking advantage of the faster internet. I also predict that with the current on demand internet technology we will see an increase in the quantity of new movies from Hollywood, higher quantity of new software applications, much more new music become available, as well as an increase in quantity of video games, and TV news channels that are more focused on specific niches rather than general world news. Also due to the increase in broadband internet access there will be an increase of several groups of people that work from their homes. It will enable entrepreneurship for the solo workers, make telecommuting possible for thousands of engineers and IT persons, and there will be a definite increase on the numbers of home business opportunities available online (whether legitimate or not). Just to show what’s possible due to the internet, I am involved in daily online volunteering for two African villages through a Netherlands based foundation called Nabuur. Even though volunteers are based anywhere in the world, we can all come together in an online forum and help solve problems like: village health problems, AIDS interventions, creating Internet Cafes, helping villages find the ability to sell their domestic goods over the internet, and so much more. People are beginning to use the power of internet forums to dialogue, communicate, share talents and skills, and solve various problems.
The high tech home has virtually limitless possibilities, yet it will probably only be available first to those that are purchasing new homes with the correct networking and wiring. The New College Professor; on demand for the world When it comes to attending college they are many reasons people leave their homes to attend a college. Ultimately it’s for educational purposes but there are other benefits such as socialization with a vastly different crowd of people. In the world of college education, the best college programs and the best college professors will rise to the top. By saying this I mean that on demand education will put (into the community college or home) some of the nations and worlds best college programs and college professors right on your desktop. Colleges with the highest ranked programs for a certain major will be available on demand either at home or at your local level community college. This shouldn’t have an impact on the numbers of college professors, because getting the best on demand college education will still be very expensive. So college students should do their research and find the best programs and best professors when they are looking for on demand college education. Much of it will still take place (at first) in the college classroom, but as the years go by, many of the best college programs will be available to anyone willing to pay the tuition and also have access to broadband internet. A Yale or Harvard Degree while you sit at your desk at home, or watch the education on your television set. Many forms of information are traveling into the world of bits and bytes. College education will be no exception. As long as the colleges are able to make good profits by sending on demand classes over the internet, it should become easier for any age student to attend college- whether you are 18 or 65. One additional change that I see coming for college education on demand is its speed. On demand college courses will be offered in an accelerated program, so someone wishing to finish college in two years instead of four years; this option will be available also. The on demand world of college will mean that students will be able to get some of the best available education regardless of geographic location. It will also mean that employees will be able to take night classes online and improve their knowledge and skills. Also there will be special online colleges that offer only the best professors from a variety of schools all in one degree program. These “best of the best” college classes may be high priced, but it’s just another option available for the college student that wants to have a powerful resume once they graduate. The Next Generation The next generation of students who are now (2006) in elementary school will have the ability in college to become part of a work-study program. This is the type of college education that offers the student real life work experience one
semester and schooling in the second semester. If colleges are smart, they will make these programs more and more available so that college graduates will be ready and knowledgeable once they graduate to enter the work force. Businesses too should honor such a work-study program so that they can tailor their employees earlier in life and prepare them for real life and real work experiences. Another difference in the next generation will be their ability to work with and easily operate technical devises. They will have ipods for music, cell phones for communication, laptops for their school lessons, and be very knowledgeable and unafraid of high technology. In the near future entire text books will be available as eBooks, and students will simply download the textbooks they need to their laptops. Instead of carrying a book-bag full of books, you’ll more than likely find a book-bag with a laptop, ipod, cellphone, digital voice recorder (instead of a tape recorder). The full syllabus and coursework will be downloadable from the school’s website, and students will be able to submit homework by way of the internet either at home, school, or just about anywhere, and I would predict that the teacher will have software to grade the homework automatically, making the students grade available within minutes, rather than days. Schools themselves will have to develop some sort of alliance and partnership with colleges, so that they will be offering coursework that will empower them through their college years. Preparation for college and even the working world will slowly and surely become worked into the coursework in elementary and high school. High schools will better advocate college admissions by sponsoring more at school “college days” in which a professor or college student attends the high school to show the students the importance of getting a college degree before entering the workforce. If you have a child soon to become a college student, really help them by encouraging them and also by staying in tune with “what they’d like to become” in this world. Challenge them with a child-like faith to really understand their dreams and help them with your support and encouragement. Give your children some insight while they are young into the various types of careers that will be available to them after college. The New Consumer Group As people learn the importance of networks either by way of online forums or by understanding how businesses work as a team, a new type of consumer will emerge. Internet companies will plan very large internet type discussion forums. This group of consumers will all communicate through their forum with retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to negotiate very large purchases. The consumer groups could be from 1000 people strong to 1 million people strong, and their sole purpose as a group or network will be to buy consumer goods as an entity (group) and in doing so save large amounts of money. So a family will be able to join an online consumer group (community buying network) and
instead of traveling to the store each month, make a one time purchase for all the consumer goods that you’ll need for that year. Say for example your family decides to buy all the bath supplies it needs for one year: soap, shampoo, razors, hair spray, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, toilet cleaner, tub cleaner, and so on. And instead of paying at the retail store, you pay online to the consumer group each month, the consumer group issues you manufacturers coupons good for all the items that you purchased. Then you can either use your 100% off coupons directly at the retailer’s store or have the manufacturer ship the monthly supply to you. By making a commitment to buy a full year supply of these goods – you get a huge discount; but that discount increases exponentially because there are 1 million other people in the consumer group doing the exact same thing. This could easily save a family 50% or more on certain regular retail purchases. This is what I see as being the future for family buying habits. Instead of going to the retail store, you make a full year commitment (monthly payments) to buy so many products. And instead of going to the store with cash, you have in hand a group of manufacturer’s coupons that are 100% off, and due to the nature of the internet company’s ability to buy for 1 million people, your family saves 50% or more that year on all those products. If I am correct, I recently saw an article on a lawyer’s website that said these types of “consumer buying groups” are illegal in some states. Probably due to the fact that they will have a major impact on the profits for the retailers. My prediction is that if people really want to save money, they will organize as a network and buy direct from the manufacturer through negotiations, and be able to cut many of their living expenses in half. I say that the Wal-Marts of this age have made enough money off our consumerism and it’s time to turn the tables a bit. What It All Means? We now live in the global economy that was predicted back about 1994 by John Naisbitt’s book “The Global Paradox”. Many of his predictions have come true now that it is 2006. The global economy is outsourcing and offshoring. In the industrial age people could basically find a job (without a college degree) and provide for their families for life. Times have really changed. The computer and other technologies have taken what humans used to do and turned that work into computer software. As John predicted the new world would need schools that developed entrepreneurs, who in turn would develop a whole new world of technologies, and they are. I am only 41 years old and here is a few of the devices that I have seen make their debut in the world: handheld calculators, cordless phones, VCRs, floppy diskettes for computers, video games for your TV set, cellular phones, fax machines, laptop computers, PDAs, Global Positioning devices, the computer
mouse, the Internet, Broadband Internet, Tivo, DVDs, VCR Plus, and the list goes on. The global economy is spreading to new under-developed countries and putting factories in their back yards. For companies this means lower paid workers, and higher profit margins. In the USA right now it means trying to find a way to retrain and re-educate misplaced workforces. It also means that the USA may be slowly losing it’s grip on being the super economy it once was. We are now competing with other large countries with economies that are growing quite rapidly. We as a nation are at war, and it doesn’t seem to be a very easy war to win, the war on terrorism. So what do we all do? Men must work to prove their worth in this US society, and women too are now very much sharing that burden. It does seem like much has happened in the last 20 years; 20 years ago everything seemed a bit more secure for the USA, locally and globally. I really believe there are millions of new inventions that we will see in the next decade, and I also hope that people will respond socially and environmentally to some of the problems of this world- as we all start to understand that everyone is important on this globe, and we somehow need to find that crystal ball to look deep into the future and start implementing changes so that our children’s children will be happy and they’ll have a better world to live in….if that is possible? From the spiritualists I read, the devil is the ego. And from my own life experiences that devil can be so self focused that he may make some very bad or selfish choices. Somehow we’ve got to understand this devil (ego pursuits) and without placing judgment on him, show him another way to live. We have to teach our devils: to be inclusive instead of exclusive. We have to teach our devils to include everyone in this journey and not just an elite team of money makers combing the earth for resources and profit. Yours-Brian Morgan / USA Please visit www.Nabuur.com B-Morgan@Earthlink.net
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