Digital Transformation and the 4th World Change
by Nicolas Jodal, CEO of GeneXus
Throughout history, there have been various moments, characters and products that have dramatically changed its course.
In the world of technology, we can mention three moments that have significantly affected the way in which we interact with our surroundings and ourselves.
The first big change was the appearance of the computer.
Even though technology had already made great advancements, computing was what enabled these advancements to grow exponentially. This event was so disruptive that we can hardly imagine modern everyday life without mobile devices or computers.
The first generation of computers (1940–1960), which had the capacity to store 72 numbers of 23 digits and solve a multiplication in 10 seconds, was the first step in the way towards where we are now. From that first computer called Z3, which used punched cards to enter codes and programs, we evolved to the use of transistors (second generation, 1960–1965); to the appearance of operating systems and multiprogramming (third generation, 1965–1975); and to the development of microprocessors and personal computers (fourth generation, 1975–1990). Finally, we experienced an increase in speed and a wave of more compact and robust microprocessors (fifth generation, 1990…). Over the span of nearly 80 years, these innovations have completely transformed the world.
The second deeply disruptive change was the emergence of the Internet. The connection and exchange of data from geographically distant places showed that thanks to technology, distances could be eliminated.
Imagine the excitement of sending the first host-to-host message between the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Utah. This action, which would seem extremely basic nowadays, at the time (1969) was a groundbreaking technological advancement with the potential to reduce times and distances.
Its impact was so pervasive that it took only sixteen years (1985) for the technology known as the Internet to become available, even though it had limited use due to the large investments required. In 1990, the European Organization for Nuclear Research created the World Wide Web (www), which brought about the explosion of the current Internet starting in 1993, when the Network of Networks became popular.
The third and most recent world change is the appearance of the iPad.
Apple, the company that had achieved moderate success with its famous Palm PDA and the sleek design of its mobile devices and computers, revolutionized the world in 2010 with the release of the iPad. This device that could be described as a compilation of the technology available at the time, stood out from the rest because it could consume text, videos, and applications better than any other.
The iPad not only changed how we think of mobile devices because, far from being essentially “a larger iPhone or iPod” (as it was described at the time), it also became a necessary tool for people at work and at home, for students, etc.
It revolutionized application development and changed the way we read, record information and communicate with others. In addition, it altered the way we see our world, which we thought we had under control.
The transformation brought about by this device was so dramatic that we developers had to completely reshape our perception of applications. That is to say, as time went by and new technological changes were introduced, we had to quietly implement all the innovations required to enhance the users’ experience with the new invention.
We developers not only keep the pace set by technology but sometimes even take a few steps further, developing solutions that can adapt to the wide variety of systems and devices available, in order to reduce time and effort. However, there’s still more to be done.
The Next Transformation
In this new era, this new year 2017, it is our obligation to take all the advancements we’ve witnessed to a new level. In addition to solving simple tasks, they should become our allies, positively transforming our surroundings and the way we perceive and do things. We need to strive for a digital transformation that allows us to achieve better results in less time, leveraging the possibilities offered by technology to make ideas a reality.
We need a transformation that benefits humanity by innovating to improve people’s everyday lives. It is our responsibility to learn, teach and revolutionize our surroundings; it is our responsibility to digitally transform the world.
In sum, the next step forward is to revolutionize our world through digital transformation.