Salim Ismael sees Google Car as the biggest disruption we’ve seen in a lifetime. Plenty has already been written on the far-reaching implications of this technology to society, the auto industry, and the endless array of industries that touch it (read this to learn more about the benefits of Google Car to society, read this to learn about the industries at risk, this for insight on adaption, and this for an example of a potential adaption timeline).
This post is a part of a series on disruptive technology. To see the other posts in the series, jump to the end of the article.
Insights from Other Disruptive Technologies
Ultimately, it remains to be seen how far-reaching this technology can be or how quickly it will be available for widespread adoption, but based on the few trends already outlined in this article series I think we can be fairly confident of a number of things:
- Price — Will drop much more quickly than we expect.
- Performance — Will accelerate much more quickly than we expect (an autonomous car in California has already driven 750k miles without an accident).
- Barriers — Will drop much more quickly than we expect (California has already issued the first license for an autonomous car and many states have already approved testing).
- Repercussions — It has the potential to disrupt the entire automotive ecosystem (from production and automobile sales, to service and collision repair, and ultimately gasoline consumption, automotive insurance, and personal injury law).
- Opportunities — It will create a wide array of new opportunities — new products, new innovations, new business models — that we can hardly imagine right now.
- Lifestyle — It feeds right into the “asset light” lifestyle that could be an emerging trend of Millenials today — why own a car at all if I can get one right where I need it virtually anytime and anywhere I want via an Uber/Google Car partnership?
- Licensing — Google probably doesn’t want to build cars any more than it wanted to make phones; they’re likely far more interested in licensing the technology for others to adapt.
Implications on the Professional Services Firm
What does Google Car mean to professional services firms?
For A/E Firms
Clients of all types will be looking for guidance on what this technology means to all aspects of infrastructure and facilities. How much could autonomous cars really improve the utilization of our existing road system especially when running simultaneous to regular cars? Will this technology enable broader, more distributed suburban living? How much new real estate could it really free up inside a city’s core as parking lot utilization declines? How will it change the distribution of the American workforce? How will it change the location of corporate offices?
I believe clients will be clamoring for substantive research and guidance on these topics from market-leading A/E firms. If a building is the ultimate smartphone app (thanks Alex Serriere), cities may become the ultimate autonomous car app.
For Consulting Firms
Insight, guidance and innovation. Like any other major technology change, clients will be looking for guidance to how it will impact them and when. Because this technology has such far reaching implications, there will be a dire need for high quality innovation consultants to help companies think about how to spawn new businesses, new business models and to capitalize on new opportunities during the long period of adaption.
Wrapping Up This Series
Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. When I look at the list of new innovations and technologies presented in this article series I see nothing but opportunity both for A/E and consulting firms. Opportunities for research and to identify best practices. Opportunities to carve out a space as a thought leader on topics that will be increasingly important major challenges for clients.
Other Articles in This Series
The inspiration for the series was a handful of speakers (Salim Ismael, Roger McNamee and Jeff Immelt) at the 2014 Middle Market Summit hosted by GE Capital and the National Center for the Middle Market. Here is a list of all 5 articles in this series: