How to Prepare for a Future of Digital and Physical Convergence

The future would be defined and characterized by the convergence of digital and physical. To explain, automation is all about replacing and augmenting the physical with digital just as the internet and the Smartphone revolutions were about the convergence between digital and physical.

Indeed, even the attempts at making economies worldwide cashless is all about a world where the digital modes of communications and commercial transactions converge with the physical channels of payment and banking, thus, all of us must prepare for a future where increasingly digital and physical complement and supplement each other.

If you are a student who is aspiring to become a technical or a managerial profession, it would serve your future career prospects by preparing a resume and a portfolio of your achievements that is available online as well as in physical form.

Given the fact that most, if not all organizations have become digital in their recruitment systems, paper resumes and physical certificates would become a thing of the past and maybe required for verification and authentication.

Indeed, with the recent moves towards creating a Digital Locker, even this aspect can be digitized paving the world which is truly digital.

If you are a working professional who is curious to know or ambitious to find about your future career path, we would advise you to embrace the digital as soon as possible so that your next career move would depend on your ability to navigate the convergence of digital and physical.

While those employed in IT (Information Technology), BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), and Software and allied sectors are already digital savvy, those employed in sectors such as Construction and Manufacturing too must ensure that they are at least conversant with how the digital works and to prepare for a future where their jobs would be defined by this convergence.

Indeed, in times when the governmental bureaucracy that has thrived for decades on physical modes of decision making, storage, archival, and workflow, embracing the digital modes, it is no longer the case that contractors, vendors, suppliers, and others who depend on the government can afford to be without embracing the digital.

Of course, the governmental machinery is yet to fully embrace the digital and this has led to a situation where both digital and physical are coexisting. Thus, it makes even more sense to prepare for the digital and physical convergence starting right now.

A few years ago, we had watched an Interview with Sabeer Bhatia, of Hotmail fame, in which he predicted that in the same manner in which Bill Gates had a vision of a “Desktop on each desk”, he too wanted to create a future where everything happens online and in the virtual world.

For those of you who came of age in the last decade or so, Sabeer Bhatia, is the one who first invented the concept of electronic mail that is free to use and commercially and publicly available. Thus, it can be said that like other tech visionaries, he was ahead of the curve as far as predicting the convergence of the physical and digital.

Having said that, it must also be noted that the present situation is akin to a Highway where some vehicles are driving at breakneck speed by embracing the future of digital, others are still slow to adapt leading mostly physical lives. It must be noted that this is not a criticism of the slower ones. Just that the reality of the Digital Divide wherein large parts of the world have not yet known what the internet is or what a Smartphone is, means the proponents of the Digital Future have their task cut out in converting the physical into the digital.

Indeed, the recent Demonetization exercise was similarly both praised and criticized for its lofty goals of digitizing the economy and by those who felt that India is not yet at a stage where all people are equally digitized.

If there is one lesson that we can learn from this, it is that we better prepare for the digital future since we do not know when the next Big Push towards digitization would emerge in a sudden manner, thereby catching us unawares. Having said that, it is also the case that the pace of change is so rapid in the digital realm that we have to keep ahead of the exponentially accelerating technological curve.

Apart from this, the fact that the present generation are known as the Digital Natives for having been born and raised in a world where digital is the norm rather than the exception, means that older workers face the prospect of competing with younger ones who are already digital to a large, if not full extent, and hence, might find their jobs being made redundant.

Just as the Baby Boomers were pitted against the Gen Xers who were the ones who rode the crest of the internet wave, they in turn are being pitted with the Millennials who are more digital than physical.

Indeed, some futurists predict that even our bodies would be augmented by the digital revolution which can be seen in the way the development of the Virtual Reality, Cell Implants, and embedded Microchips, are all in various stages of development is an important reminder for those who are yet to be on the digital bandwagon to start preparing themselves for the exciting as well as bewildering future ahead.

To conclude, we are on the cusp of a Brave New World and it does not harm if one prepares for such a future right now.

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