The everyday consumer world of 2020 will look radically different from today’s. Many ordinary products and devices—heating systems, televisions, cars, watches, toys, light bulbs, sporting goods, home appliances—will have gone digital. They will no longer be islands unto themselves: they will be connected to the Internet and to each other in altogether new ways.
Consumers will increasingly access, monitor, and control their connected digital products and services remotely over the Internet, using smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop PCs, and other devices. Massive streams of complex, fast-moving “big data” from these digital devices will be stored as personal profiles in the cloud, along with related customer data.
Digital ecosystems are playing a key role in this transformation. An ecosystem is a network of companies, individual contributors, institutions, and customers that interact to create mutual value. In consumer-oriented digital markets, ecosystems are being enabled by standard technical platforms that allow devices, applications, data, products, and services to work together in new ways. For example, insurance companies can collaborate with telecommunications providers to create new pay-per-use insurance products based on shared data.