LeWeb’13 and ‘The Next 10 Years’: The digitization of nearly everything

The following post is from Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft.

On Tuesday at LeWeb’13 in Paris, I joined Om Malik on stage to talk with thousands of entrepreneurs, startups and large companies about technology and where we’re headed as an industry. The theme of this year’s conference is The Next 10 Years, and we spent our time talking about the new ideas we see from startups around the world and how their work is shaping the future.

Today software intermediates — and digitizes — many of the things we do in business, life and our world. New technologies help businesses engage with customers in more meaningful ways, connect us to our friends and families, and allow us to see, interact with and share our world in ways never before possible. But we’re only at the beginning.

Over the next 10 years we will reach a point where nearly everything will become digitized. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data and intelligence from machine learning. Developers, with access to these technologies and simplified development frameworks, will create new applications and services that help us transform what we do at work, and life, into digital equivalents.

Historically, there’s been a lot of attention focused on the digitization happening in Silicon Valley, but what’s even more interesting to me is what’s happening around the world. In every corner of the globe, new innovations are bringing this digitization of everything one step closer, and that’s incredibly important as this transformation should be — it must be a global phenomenon for it to reflect the needs of our distributed and diverse world. And below are some great examples of the work that is already underway:

In Israel, AKOL is taking a digital approach to modern food agriculture. Through its new platform, AKOLogic, it will enable local officials to monitor fruit, vegetable, dairy and poultry production in real time. This will increase public safety by allowing for faster identification of the source for spoiled food, significantly increase awareness lead time of potential food supply issues, and allow third-world farmers to cost effectively comply with first-world standards and regulations, thereby helping them gain access to new markets.

In China, Beijing Rendering Company used the cloud to create a new digital world for its action movie, “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon.” With no real-world outdoor or underwater filming, the company saved an estimated 90 percent in production costs and brought in more than $100 million at the box office.

In Paris, Kompass recently moved its worldwide contact database to the cloud. As a result it was able to launch in 69 countries simultaneously, stay focused on user experience and service development, and keep resources flat. Now it’s gaining new insights and value due to an increased ability to segment, analyze, update, maintain and visualize its databases.

Temenos and 91JinRong are changing the face of finance in Africa and China by moving in-person financial options online to improve service, gain access to more customers and enter new markets. Sparsha Learning Technologies is creating customized interactive online solutions for K–12 and higher education that help educators reduce cost, connect with more students and extend their programs globally. askem is turning real-world Q&As into digital pictures. And startups like SkyGiraffe, qunb, SmartNotify, Lokad and Buddy are building new services to help businesses build enterprise mobile apps, create better data visualizations, connect people with the right message at the right time, improve commerce through big data, and provide easy-to-use back-end services for developers.

Ushered in by innovations from startups and investment from the enterprise in this new era, every business will be a digital business, everyone can be a developer and nearly everything analog will be digitized. We’re investing in this new era through programs like Microsoft BizSpark and Microsoft Ventures, and we’re committed to helping our customers get there with our enterprise cloud products and services. Whether you’re just getting started or further along your journey, Microsoft will be here to help.

You can hear my talk with Om here. Many thanks to Om Malik for a great discussion and to Loïc and Geraldine Le Meur for a great conference.

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