The first computer, developed by the ENIAC in 1946, weighed more than 50 tons and occupied a space of nearly 1,800 square feet. Currently, your average tablet, which weighs less than a pound and stands at just under one foot, can run circles around the ENIAC in capabilities. This is just one example of how dematerialization has taken place.

With the introduction of 5G wireless technology, the fifth generation of mobile networking will allow users to not only interconnect people, but interconnect and command devices, objects and machines. The new levels of efficiency delivered by 5G will connect industries whose paths have never before crossed and empower new user experiences unlike any that came before, heralding the ultimate dematerialization of technology. This disruptive trend presents businesses with the inevitable choice to adapt or fail. For those determined to thrive, here are three crucial strategies companies need to employ to keep up with constant technological advancements and to stay ahead of the competition.

Always Focus on the Customer

To find the first integral strategy for thriving in an ever-evolving tech world, one need look no further than Google. Known for its innovation and continued success, Google developed its own, unique business model and at the top of that actionable list is “Focus on the user.” In an era where technology has taken center stage, it is easy to believe that offering impressive tech with your goods and services is enough to float your company, but impressive tech is useless if it’s not tailored to a specific customer.

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As dematerialization occurs and technology disappears, it is the customer that becomes more visible. Whether your customers are American moms or Japanese paper distributors, the strategy is the same: Be customer-centric in all decisions. The airline Virgin Atlantic did not offer free TV, on-board massages, stand-up comics and a glass-bottom plane by focusing on the bottom line, but rather by anticipating the desires of their clientele. And the success of companies like Google and Virgin Atlantic show that this step cannot be compromised.

Be Open to New Methods and Ideas

If the technological age has taught us anything, it is that the old rules no longer apply. In the past, generating business meant time and money. It meant developing new product suites, the construction of new buildings, the addition of workforce, but the success stories of today, like Instagram and Airbnb, employ strategies directly opposing the traditional practices of scaling up capital-intensive businesses. Dematerialization means the disappearance of actual, new physical products, with the focus centering on products you cannot see, like Instagram, or products that already exist, as is the case with Airbnb. Additionally, generating new ideas should not come solely from a boardroom meeting. This is the age of consumer online reviews and entrepreneurial crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing alone can allow for inspiring insights, ideas, new products and services and with the globalization of business, you can pull not only ideas but workforce from across the globe.

Partner with Startups

Particular relevant for IT organizations, partnering with startups allows for more widespread innovation and production. In the dematerialization age, instead of a single company attempting to fund all innovation projects itself, it is smarter and more cost efficient to foster a partnership with a startup within the same industry. Many startups are anxious to collaborate with other companies in order to try out their advances and forging these relationships means your company gets access to new advancements without having to cope with culture change or excessive risk.

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In short, the game has changed. With the introduction of 5G, the business world will never be the same and employing strategies including focusing on the customer, being open to new suggestions and practices, and finding an appropriate startup to collaborate with will increase your chances of survival in this dematerialized market.


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