Welcome To The World Of Hyperconnected Just-In-Time-And-Place
The concept of just-in-time appears in only three spaces according to Wikipedia – just-in-time manufacturing, a production strategy where things are built as they are demanded, computer programming, where just-in-time compilation can compile code just before use to improve run-time performance, and a recent addition, just-in-time teaching, a strategy to improve learning outcomes.
However, none of these strategies map to what I believe is our just-in-time-and-place future, where cloud-based systems can provide us with what we need, exactly where and when we need it. This is not just a desirable endpoint, but an essential one, if we map out the trend to what our future customers and workers will become.
Trends towards ownership of objects are dropping precipitously, why own something when you only need to access it for a short period of time – cars (Uber/Lyft), homes (Airbnb), tools (Peerby, StreetBank)?
The new cult of minimalism suggests that we should all get rid of everything we own and travel the world from Wi-Fi hotspot to Wi-fi hotspot with less than 30 possessions in our backpack. In less than 1000 years, thanks to the proliferation of the internet (and especially with the adoption of 5G networks), we can all go back to our nomadic existence, never worried about being disconnected from everyone we know.
That may be the far future, but let’s back cast a bit to today – in this future, our customers and workers will become transient individuals (but in a good way) roaming the globe, experiencing new places and faces, buying, and working from anywhere, at any time and any place.
Unlike today, where people pick a place to live and stay there 50 or so weeks of the year, spending the rest of the time on vacation, we may see these new nomads stay in places for days, weeks, months, or years, eventually moving on to new locations.
How do you sell to these nomads? Simple, you must build a global network of services which can deliver anything to anywhere at any time, with the understanding that unless the items you are delivering are consumables, that they can, at any time, be returned, reused, and resent to any other customer, anywhere else around the globe.
Retailers and brands need to be ready to service this hypermobile and hyper-connected community with products and services for loan or sale, at any time and place. Selling to this customer requires deep integration with the customers intent, preferences, wants, desires and social network.
Since they are hypermobile, the only connectedness they have is with their current local community and their online social network. In fact, their online network, instead of being transient and fluffy, becomes their anchor to their friends and family, no matter where they are in the world.
This new consumer prizes mobility over anything – can work from anywhere and do most anything over the internet. They can even accomplish physical tasks in the local area for pay, preferring to connect with and join a global task assignment network, than getting a local job.
How will you prepare for this future hyper mobile, hyper-connected worker and customer? Will you have the infrastructure to be able to support their requirement for just-in-time-and-place delivery of products and services, which will be their expectation?