[INFOGRAPHIC] The Growth Of Entrepreneurship Around The Globe

In today’s complex economic environment, entrepreneurship and innovation have been key in establishing a new status quo that shies away from the Pareto efficiency model. As the famous economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter said: “Carrying out innovations is the only function which is fundamental in history.” Had he been alive today, Shumpeter would’ve witnessed his “entrepreneurship theories” come to life, as the landscape of today’s economy accommodates more startups and entrepreneurs and more VCs.

In the US alone, the number of on-campus entrepreneurship programs offered in universities has increased from 180 to 2000+ between 1990 and 2014. 27 million Americans are starting or running new businesses. It comes as no surprise that the US itself tops the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) due to its attractive ecosystem, resources and infrastructure. On a global scale, top performing countries present in the same list include, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, UK & Ireland, Netherlands. The United Arab Emirates ranks 19th with an index of 58.8.

Read more here via @Entrepreneur-ME

Check out the infographic below to get a sense of more of the trends being seen in entrepreneurship around the globe.


[INFOGRAPHIC] Artificial Intelligence: The Force Awakens

Artificial Intelligence has always been a concept present in pop culture, in movies and books. We’ve all heard of robots threatening human kind, or machines capable of taking over the world (Who isn’t still haunted by Dolores’s “Good Morning Daddy”). Now that artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives, we can no longer disregard it as a concept far away from our reality. Few technologies have been able to reshape how we live and interact, or even have a disruptive potential in terms of work and increasing productivity. Studies estimate that implementing AI (calendar management, email, CRM, people analytics and office documents) by 2035, would increase labor productivity by 40%.

AI investment, though in its infancy, is already receiving much attention from the media and the tech-world, and more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon. More companies specializing in AI are being acquired, 40 alone in 2016. Within the next 5 years, AI and cognitive systems revenues are forecasted to increase from 8 billion U.S dollars to 47 billon U.S Dollars (almost a sixfold increase). Top AI applications include: algorithmic trading strategy performance improvement, static image recognition, classification and tagging as well as efficient, scalable processing of patient data. All of which are predicted to generate more than 2 billion U.S dollars in 2025.

It is no surprise that leading the AI race are big players such as IBM, Google (DeepMind), Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. The latter even formed a partnership dubbed: The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. Uber, Apple and OpenAI (co-founded by Elon Musk) have also endeavored to considerably research applications of AI in their softwares. Other initiatives around AI include giants Google and OpenAI open-sourcing their deep learning code. Apart from trying to educate the public about AI, these initiatives give programmers the ability to  “ train a single [AI] agent on any task a human can complete with a computer”.

More recently DeepMind has come into public consciousness when it developed a program capable of winning against Go champion Lee Se-dol. Previous AI victory milestones include IBM’s Watson winning on the show Jeopardy! and IBM’s Deep Blue winning the famous chess game against Garry Kasparov in 1997.

AI applications in machine learning, computer vision, NLP, and the virtual personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa all seek to replicate human behavior and reasoning. As of today, the commercial applications of AI efficiently guide customers, the trickiness though, lies in translating a reasoning exempt of human bias and prejudice

Artificial Intelligence- The Force Awakens-01

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Logistics and Transportation Industry

The logistics and transportation industry has been a sector deeply affected by the rise of the internet and e-commerce. As of today however 85 million packages and documents are delivered everyday around the world. Logistics companies are therefore required to keep pace with the increasing number in shipments to be able to accommodate consumers.Robots and automated services already exist and are apart of our reality. By 2025 we can expect our packages to be delivered by drones or automated trucks. As of 2015, the global market value surpassed 4 Trillion U.S Dollars.

Amongst transportation methods, road freight still remains the most important in terms of market value ($2Tn) and is most likely to be the most disrupted by new technologies. Ground freight carries over 8 billion tonnes/km everyday. Air freight’s total market value amounted to 70 billion dollars. 1% of the world’s tonnage shipments is done through air freight, however it represents 35% of trade value. The sea freight industry itself has been losing market value in the recent years, and as of 2013, had made 6.5 million U.S dollars in losses

As other industries strongly rely on logistics and operations, it is crucial for companies to embrace digital as part of their strategy. Digital platforms are becoming increasingly important in handling packages efficiently and delivering in a timely manner.
Indeed, through digital integration can rectify inefficiencies, from warehouse management to truck travel routes and deliveries (i.e: 50% of truck regularly travel empty on their return journeys). Warehouses like John Lewis, Amazon have all adopted a digital infrastructure between augmented reality picking, warehouse robots and management softwares and now rely on new enabled third party players (3PL) to solve the last-mile delivery problem. Global outsourced logistics market has increased by 5% since 2015 and is now valued at 760 billion U.S Dollars. The 3 top logistics companies that are dominating the market are FedEx, Deutsche Post and UPS, all of which made in 2014, a minimum of 43 billion U.S Dollars.

Benefits from digitization over the next five years can benefit companies in terms of cost reductions (3.2%) as well as additional revenue of 2.7% on average.


[INFOGRAPHIC] Telecom Industry: An Overview

The telecom industry as we know it continues to be at the epicenter of growth as the number of devices that require connectivity is expanding every year. Any disruption in the sector is significant and will affect other industries relying on mobile or related broadband technology (IoT, m-commerce etc…). As mobile becomes more embedded in the tissue of our society, it becomes more and more important for the telecom infrastructure to keep pace with the growing needs.

The telecom industry makes up for $34Bn of the IT industry of which 60% of market share can be attributed to mobile. Today there are 2.6Bn smartphones users, a 26% increase since 2015. The main drivers of that growth are players from emerging markets as mobile is cheaper, faster and more convenient even when landline connectivity is an option (Capgemini, 2015).

Worldwide, South Korea leads the way in terms of 4G availability, users have access to a 4G network about 96 percent of the time (OpenSignal, 2016). In the US, users have access to 4G 81% of the time, a figure that finds itself below Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, Norway, Lithuania and Qatar.

Though American brands are amongst the most valuable brands (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile), Asian companies are more prominent in terms of phone manufacturing and telecom infrastructure. In 2016, Samsung had the highest market share in terms of phones manufacturing with 20%, followed by Apple with a 12.5% market share. In terms of telecom infrastructure, Huawei positioned itself as the most valuable with a brand value of 19.74 billion U.S. dollars.



[INFOGRAPHIC] Hospitality and Tourism: A Growing Industry

The hospitality and tourism industry has always managed to transform itself. With the advent of technology and the internet, people no longer need to physically book their trips with travel agents. With the increase in number of websites like Expedia, Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kayak, eDreams etc.. (used to book and compare airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, vacation packages and various attractions and services via the internet) booking has been made easy and new services are springing up more than ever: Airbnb, HotelTonight etc... all of which facilitates the process for customers. New types of hotels are on the rise to accommodate the ever-changing needs of customers. More facilities now consider themselves to be "lifestyle" hotels, and more companies are replicating the Airbnb business model, all of which serve the purpose of becoming a 'home away from home'.

Contrary to popular belief though with recent economic downturns, the industry is still growing and is valued today at $7.17Tr. Hotel revenues themselves have also been rising and are expected to reach $484.49Bn, a 12% increase from 2014. The number of international tourist arrivals worldwide has also slowly been increasing every year. By the end of 2016, the total number is expected to reach 1.23Bn, a 4% increase from 2015 and 30% increase from 2010.

Europe continues to be the most attractive region for travelers encompassing 51% of international tourist arrivals (609 Millions Tourists). Within the top 10 countries featured in the travel and tourism competitiveness index (TTCI), 6 are Europeans including Spain, Germany and France.  Asia Pacific comes second in terms of international tourist arrivals with 23% and the Americas themselves welcome 16% of the tourists. The Middle-East and Africa, each represent 5% of tourists’ arrival.

Finally, our research has showed that the travelers that spend the most amongst other nationalities are the Chinese, with a 25% increase in spending in 2015 with $292Bn.


[INFOGRAPHIC] How Retailers Can Win Christmas: The US Edition

With Christmas around the corner and the closing of end of year accounts, retail companies are pushing for the last grand finale. This year we caught a glimpse of consumer habits earlier with reports on Black Friday revenues. Indeed, in the US specifically, sales amounted to $3Bn of which 1/3 was executed using mobile. In 2016, according to Amazon, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday have both exceeded last year’s sales. Holiday-season sales, including Christmas, are expected to exceed the $12.65Bn sales figure of 2015.

The main takeaway for retailers has been the prominence of mobile-commerce (m-commerce) which has almost doubled since 2014. Total mobile sales are expected to reach $115.92Bn in 2016. During holidays, 50% of people choose to use their mobile as a way to beat queues and in-store traffic. Mobile as we have seen has become an integral part of the consumer experience and whether shoppers use it as a means to purchase, they also invest a lot of time, in and out of stores to research prospective products.

Using online and mobile as their platforms, retailers can really invest their resources to create a more personalized experience for their customers.
In-store, retailers can take advantages of all the new technologies that are springing up at a very high rate to record and retain customers’ shopping data through sensors and beacons (history, geo-location) and be able to send real-time promotions to guide the shopper through his journey. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality also make their entry in the shopping sphere as they provide customers with real-time visibility to products, be it in the gaming sector or retail and fashion. Customers are able to find out more about their selected products, but they are also able to visualize them before buying. This personalized experience is crucial in developing customer trust and serves as a means to break through the noise of too much information by just providing the relevant one.

Personalizing product portfolio is also necessary to optimize sales, as retailers can evaluate what types of product sell better online vs offline and through which channels their customers are looking.

Delivery has also been a crucial element for retailers. Customers now expect a seamless shopping experience from start to finish, with 96% expecting their items to arrive within 5-7 days and 80% expecting same day shipping. The reality however is that only 50% of the retailers have developed the capabilities to meet these expectations. In that regard, it is very important to think about delivery as a game changer, even more so in the holidays season.

In terms of the industries most affected, online purchases have also showed that consumers spend most their money on fashion. 55% of the people who shop online, shop for clothing. Books, music and stationary as well as travel product and services come to a close second with 50%. A good insight into what works for each retailer online is key into shaping their offerings, at least for the holidays. By optimizing the experience for their users and making their product as transparent and as visible as possible, retailers are able to earn the trust of their customers and inherently give value to their products.


[INFOGRAPHIC] The Social Media Landscape

The figures we have collected for this infographic show how prevalent social media is in our daily lives: from computer-mediated technologies to a soaring digital industry. Indeed, while in 2010, the number of social media users was around 970M, today that has more than doubled, encompassing 2.34Bn users worldwide. While that number grows, the average time spent on social media has also increased to reach a total of 106.2 minutes per day. In other words, that represents at least 11% of person's day.

Mobile phones and smartphones are major factors that have contributed to the adoption of social media platforms remotely, as they represented a new way for people to communicate with each other. New applications specially fitted for the screen, an easy user experience, push notifications have all increase the usability of the platforms through the now equipped devices. Today, the number of people accessing social media through mobile rises up to 1.97Bn.

It comes as no news to anyone that Facebook is today's most used social media platform. With 1.71Bn users worldwide, Facebook boasts most popularity amongst other channels, its net income has risen from $1.5Bn to $3.68Bn in a matter of 2 years. One million links are shared every 20 minutes. Another major social media channel is Twitter, while it is not as popular as Facebook (#9) it is still important as it has for the first time engaged celebrities, politicians and other important figures to engage in conversation with their body of followers.

The use for social media had first started by a simple value-proposition/model: connect people. Nowadays it has morphed into a platform that nearly does everything: messaging, calling, sharing files etc... but most importantly it has built an ecosystem for all companies, brands and industries to share their content with their users; from telling a story, to engaging their audience, to informing their customers and prospective customers. Social Media platforms have first and foremost been able to create their identity and have been shaping their customers' perspective and commercial journeys.

Social Media Landscape

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Government as a Digital Platform

As we have seen in previous posts, new digital technologies are radicalizing the way we work, live and changing the way we interact with each other. Governments are tapping into these opportunities to change they way they interact with their citizens.
Many high-performing governments have launched such initiatives enabling them to provide speed, mobility and convenience. By adopting a citizen-centric viewpoint, they are transforming large and complex bureaucracies to become digitally accessible public services. Recent research by Accenture estimated that a 1% increase in digitalization leads to:

+0.5% increase in GDP level (Economical Benefit)
+0.13 point increase in human development index (HDI) (Societal Benefit)
+13.67 increase in global innovation index (Public Services Benefit)

While societal and economical benefits are clear, adoption rates have been quite slow in developing countries. Only a handful of countries like the UK, Australia, Finland, South Korea and Singapore have reached high levels in the e-government development index (>0.88), while the world average is 0.49. In 2016 however, the number of countries participating in such initiatives has slowly been increasing, while we still don't talk about a fully digital society we can see that certain mechanisms have been put in place by most countries. These services include: form creations, submitting income taxes, registering a business, paying taxes and utilities. Governments are even taking advantage of mobile, offering more and more services through this platform (welfare, healthcare, finance, education); the number of countries using these e-services has more than doubled since 2014.

Governments are slowly transforming themselves into a platform enabling citizen conversation, participation and engagement. In 2016, 152 countries were found to be using social media, a 29% increase since 2014. The winner of political social media? Former President Barack Obama. His usage of social media included Podcasts, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, amassing a total of 80.1M followers.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Government as a Digital Platform


[INFOGRAPHIC] The Healthcare Industry and the Digital Impact

It widely acknowledged that advances in medicine have by far surpassed any innovation in terms of how radical it has changed peoples' lives. Average life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 71 in 2013 (WEF, 2016) and infant mortality reduced by 50%. This progress, however, and according to experts has come at significant cost namely a rising expenditure that is growing at a faster rate than global GDP.  In 2013, global expenditure was estimated at $7.5 trillion and expecting to reach $9.3 trillion in 2018. This economic burden comes as the population ages and healthcare costs become too unsustainable for both consumers and healthcare professionals.

Compared to other industries, healthcare hasn't reaped the benefits of digitization and therefore it becomes an imperative for healthcare professionals to be able to adopt the new advances in technologies in the near future. By equipping governments and healthcare companies with the right capabilities they will be able to generate capital efficiencies and optimize their cost and henceforth be able to focus on innovation and productivity. Healthcare access, quality and affordability can therefore pass from myth to reality to a greater deal of patients.

Many startups and technology firms have already invested in the sector, with big players like IBM, Apple and Google. The novelty lies in the rise of many startups with the likes of Ginger.io, Proteus, Zenefits etc... that are enabling the easy access to healthcare and advice from certified doctors. Mobile health applications have doubled since 2013, with a 32% adoption rate in 2015. When talking about the healthcare of the future, many refer to it as 'Smart Care', a care that is based on predictive analytics and precision medicine. Instead of adopting a‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to medicine, the new technologies will take a person’s lifestyle, genes and environment into consideration in order to improve disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management (WEF, 2016).

While there still is a long way to go, the rise in global funding into digital healthcare ($5Bn in 2014) does carve a hopeful pathway for the new healthcare digital landscape.



[INFOGRAPHIC] IT: Industry Figures

Like all industries and as we have seen in previous blogposts, the IT industry has also witnessed a radical impact of digitization. Though the market value is important in figures, its growth is slow. We can attribute it to the decrease in the price of technological components (e.g: storage space). It is expected to reach $3.8 trillion in 2016 up from $3.7 trillion in 2015 (Comtia, 2016).

North-America and namely the US, has been a predominant player in posing itself at the forefront of the industry with highest spending rate amongst other regions. Almost 40% of worldwide spending could be attributed to that region, with Europe following closely with 32%. Moreover, US companies have dominated the software market with 4 out of the top 5 companies being US based. To name a few: Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Symantec. Amazon could be also regarded as a company who has integrated IT offerings in their list of services - an inexpensive cloud computing services called AWS (Amazon Web Services) that more and more companies are integrating in their IT infrastructure.

Financial services, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Retail are the industries that have been greatly impacted by the shift of IT. Though beneficial in terms of simplifying their services to customers and increasing productivity within the firm, companies do struggle to keep their systems updated in real time. In that regard, it is very important for firms to keep a ‘Digital First’ vision within the company. More importantly, IT departments and the different business functions of a company need to align the company goals so as to operate together and not in an ad hoc manner. In the short-term it would definitely reduce redundancy costs, but in the long term companies would greatly benefit from an IT architecture that is adapted to benefit each business function (Reply, 2016).