The new mega, global trend… is to go local

Written by on January 23, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

One big theme at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland is that supply chains need to be local. This is – in part – because of the noise President Trump is making about ‘America First’. Already car makers are saying that they will bring their suppliers back inside the U.S. Indeed, General Motors rushed out a new slogan that says they want to ‘build where they sell’.

Clearly major car part supplier Mexico is not happy with this idea, since they will not only be walled in, but will lose an enormous amount of business. The country itself could go bankrupt.

Cross as Mexico might be, it is, actually, the way of the world.

In this world of instant gratification, and almost instant delivery, it is not workable to have your local depots miles away. Even drones will not be able to deliver fast enough for Millennials, unless they are within striking distance.

This local trend is also reflected in the highest of high tech worlds.

At the Great Telco Debate in November last year, the topic of delivery was discussed in detail. For 5G to succeed, or at least live up to the extravagant expectations made of it, then the bandwidth and speed will require delivery points within 100 kilometres of the customer. To deliver the kinds of services now at the top of the hype cycle (and most about to plummet to gloomy depths) such as AI, VR, AR you need human speed latency. This, as described by Marcus Weldon, head of Bell Labs, is very fast indeed. When you look at someone and tilt your head, your brain compensates so fast that you don’t notice the tilt. If you did, said Weldon, you would feel sick. And you don’t want to feel while immersed in some 3D, VR fantasy. The cost of delivering this, of course, will be enormous.

On every level, it seems, we are going local.

You have to wonder what effect this will have on many aspects of our lives.

Will we see the rise (re-rise?) of more local communities? Will we see people backing off from watching global affairs and events, perhaps overwhelmed by what they see, and the feeling that they are – as they always have been – powerless to do anything about them? Will we see global phenomena such as Facebook change shape dramatically, perhaps fragmenting into more local communities?

Whatever happens, be prepared – think local.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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