I realize that I need to buy groceries urgently. I check my calendar to see how many times I will have dinner at home next week. Then, on the displays of my recycle bin and my refrigerator I check how many items have been recycled and what is left in refrigerator. I combine all the information and think about what I would like to eat. I log onto my favorite website, where I will need to scan my pupil and say my name. This provides me with a sense of security.
This is not a part of a science fiction movie but a very plausible illustration of possible future events and the way consumers will communicate in 2020. This has been the subject of a publication by EY, which is the new name of the auditing firm Ernst & Young, whose leading experts developed four scenarios for the development of the market of communicating in the future.
These scenarios were made by identifying important trends, key differences and key risks. Key risks are trends with a very large impact on the key issue, and it is very difficult to predict them. Among the risks, there are two key factors, full integration and partial integration, which are defined by two extremes. One of these is controlled and safe Internet and the other is chaos with numerous incidents in the fields of security and privacy. Four different scenarios were built on these and will be described in detail in the following article. B&F will publish these scenarios in four sequels. This one is for the third scenario.
The Third Scenario: Speed Control
Let's go back to the pupil scanning and ordering food using a smart refrigerator. First of all, I list all the groceries that I want to order, and I need to be very clear when ordering. Instead of just saying pasta, I can say pasta fusilli, Barila. I have the same pasta every week, but the seller cannot keep the data or use the given data again. I finish my order after 15 minutes, and I choose the option to have my order delivered on Tuesday afternoon. I will pay for my order when I receive it. The government intervened and imposed a rigid legislation so as to keep the Internet Security under control. This kind of regulation will occur at the expense of innovation. As a consequence, the integration of the virtual and physical world is stopped:
- Privacy and security are under control
- The virtual and physical world are separated
Along with the growth of cybercrime in the last 15 years, the world has entered a new phase marked with cyber crime where criminals generate earnings in terms of money and information, without a great risk of falling into the hands of the authorities. Billions of dollars and terabytes of data are stolen each year. Threats are constantly changing and are becoming more sophisticated, concrete and more intelligent.
The government had to intervene in order to protect clients from abuse and crime. This resulted in the creation of solid legal regulations concerning privacy and security. At the beginning, the regulations were based on a set of rules developed in order to describe good conduct of business in the field of privacy and security. Over time, companies used loopholes in the system in order to achieve a temporary advantage over their competitors. Many scandals were connected with privacy and security. Today, legislation is explicit and strives to cover everything from safe storage of information to guaranteed privacy. New legislation is also designed to thoroughly cover all conceivable violations. Most of the companies consider such legislation as excessive, disproportionately complicated, detailed and inflexible. On the other hand, customers are showing extremely reinvigorated confidence in the new legislation and are willing to pay for this service, because of the increased security measures. Therefore, organizations are forced to comply with the new regulations in order to gain customers. Compliance with the legislation is a big burden for the companies in terms of money and time spent on their implementation.
The Internet is divided into the traditional Internet for low risk types of searches and services and into the Internet which provides much better protection needed for services such as online shopping, government and health services. Clients are literally paying the price for the Internet security, not only regarding money but regarding customized services as well. On the safer Internet, identification involves scanning the user's pupil and fingerprint. This type of identification is required each time a user uses a new Internet service. Data exchange between companies is prohibited, and as a consequence, people need to perform more operations than they used to. For example, if they want to pay for a purchase, they need to visit a different banking website to get their information and pay the money that is required by the purchase, which that institution will then transfer to the account of the seller. And that’s not all. The buyer is forced to agree on a new set of conditions. Some people prefer to go to stores because it's proven to be a simpler process. In most cases, people use the traditional Internet to read newspapers, search for specific information, and do tasks that do not include the exchange of personal data.
Global Cyber Security Systems (GCSSs)-global virtual security systems have been introduced in order to scan, track and punish users in case of violations. The system of punishment is severe. These systems are completely automated, and they act proactively to prevent crime in virtual attacks within the virtual world. These are intelligent systems that have the power of decision making. Again, people do feel safe when using the Internet, because they have witnessed the reduction of the number of incidents.
To comply with the new regulations, companies in this industry had to dedicate a lot of time and effort to implement the new rules. The companies have lost the trust of clients, so they are now trying to bring back the trust from their clients by investing in safer Internet. As a result, customers once again have confidence in the ISPs, but the speed at which new services are provided has fallen sharply. This decline in the creation of new services has further slowed down the integration of the physical and virtual world. The good side of the slow pace is that the less people are burdened by technology, the more relaxed and less stressful they are. In other words, people feel safer and have more control.
The new legislation was set to thoroughly address the issue of transparency. And the result is the clearly defined information about the product that can be found on its packaging as well as in commercial communications. The product information includes a list of all ingredients, the origin of the ingredients, information about the production process for the product, as well as the ecological footprint. There is a large number of products that are allowed to be offered but not advertised because of their negative impact on the price of health care services or the effect on the environment.
Homes have become more streamlined and efficient. People own smart garbage cans, smart refrigerators, but they are not in good cooperation with one another. Because it is not allowed for private information to be stored on all of these devices, they function independently. This means that people need to combine the information they receive on their own. An example of this would be to make a list for grocery shopping when one has to combine the information printed on the display of the garbage can and the refrigerator, because both of these devices provide a variety of information designed to create shopping lists. When the washing machine breaks down, it will indicate exactly which part of the machine is broken and needs to be replaced, but still the person has to schedule a repair and call the repairman. So, human intelligence and commitment are still needed to carry out tasks such as making a list for grocery shopping or calling a repairman.
After many years during which buying fast food and pre-prepared foods was a trend, these unhealthy habits are seeing a decrease. Traditional cooking is popular again. Also, there is a change in the way people spend their free time. People have realized that the only way to improve relationships with friends and family is staying at home. Simple things, such as grocery shopping, cooking or sharing meals, create strong bonds between people. Now people tend to spend more time with friends and family than in communication with virtual friends.
The conclusion is that people are now less cluttered and dependent on utilities and devices. Technology begun to put obstacles and became more complicated to use. As a consequence, people started using technology less.
Characteristics of the 3rd Scenario:
- The Internet is divided into the traditional Internet for everyday use and a much safer version of the Internet for other important services.
- After a number of years marked by virtual crime, the number and frequency of such crimes has declined considerably.
- Once again, users feel safe in terms of security and privacy. The intervention by the government is responsible for this change.
- In the eyes of many companies, the new regulations were unnecessary and rigid.
- At the same time, they needed to comply with regulations in order not to lose their license to operate. The compliance with the new regulation represented a burden for the companies in terms of time and money and was detrimental to the development of innovation.
- GCSSs are designed to read, track and implement legal measures in case of infringement. Penalties for breaches are high.
- The downside of the new regulations is that the use of services became more difficult and is more expensive.
- There are some technological improvements, but these innovations are few and not well coordinated with other innovations.
Challenges and Opportunities Which Are Provided by the Third Scenario:
- The downside of the legal regulation of safety and security made online services less accessible to users. The big challenge is to provide products and services that are easy to use and comply with the new regulatory policy.
- Within this scenario, users must comply with a large number of legal terms for every digital service they use. The challenge is to find a way to explain to users, in a simple manner, what the function of these regulations and procedures is. This will lead to higher transparency of business procedures, better relations with the client and a better understanding of the need for rigid legislation.
- According to this, people have a tendency to choose companies that are highly valued in terms of security and privacy. They prefer brands which have a good reputation and a solid history in terms of intrusion into their systems.
- The global Internet Authority will be handed over to selected and qualified companies with exclusive rights to run data servers with information from the secure Internet.
- Another challenge is the efficient and effective implementation of the new regulations for business processes. Governments will have a greater role within the telecommunications industry.