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iOS or Android: An 'Ecosystem' Footprint will decide the Winner in Future

Yes, I know subject is very intriguing and you would start thinking in all possible directions. You may possibly get biased to an operating system you use and your views will be directed in a manner to make it 'the winner'. 

Well, it has been always been difficult to say 'what is hit with customer?' and the reasons are varied. You could see Android as a popular platform with developers on one side of world and million apps built on iOS in other part of world. The one conclusive picture at global level is always full of debate. Though, there are other operating system as well like Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, an upcoming Chrome OS and some more however for the sake of discussion I talked only about Big Two.  And I must say that I could not help appreciating the fact as to how these two operating systems have changed the way we think, interact and share.

 

The definition of whole Ecosystem came to life when I was able to connect my phone with laptop, car and TV. Adding on it is completely a WOW Factor! When you could see your pictures on a large TV screen at home, navigate through traffic, share pictures and location on the go , access internet using phone's tethering Wi-Fi service and many more. Truly, this is 'the emergence' of Ecosystem and it would be right to say this is just Wave-1.

 

So what to expect in Wave-2? Well, this emergence of operating systems has given rise to convergence of technologies cutting into product diversification. It is a strong statement and I will get to that in Wave-3 of blog. In Wave-2, Tablets and Smartphones are taking the center stage with their invention and everything suddenly is about being mobile or on-the-go. Any device without support of mobility is bound to fail in today's market. Starting right from mobile transactions, to mobile boarding passes, mobile wallets, cloud space, social media & engagement and many more, everything is centered on customer experience. And with recent announcement of a new Camera, the whole definition or I should say power of an operating system has been taken to next level of customer experience. This is Wave-2, 'the experience' of being inside an Ecosystem

And by the time we would be overwhelmed with all this experience, we would be hit by Wave-3.  Enter Wave-3, 'the influence' of an Ecosystem. To put in simple terms, it means how many products can one operating system Influence?

 Now, imagine an Ecosystem power when you enter home: everything starting from your Laptop, Watch, Camera, Home Theatre, Refrigerator, and other home appliances become one and integrated. You can have different devices of same operating system yet are seamlessly connected and your house becomes a complete Ecosystem of technology. Cherish this:

·         You can play a song in your mobile, watch the video on your refrigerator's screen, take a call using your watch, share the content on internet and receive media in your Digital Photo Frame. And some of this is happening right now as we speak of it. It has been confirmed that smart watch phone is being developed and could be launched anytime soon. Read speculated specs of watch here.

·         Smart Refrigerators are already being tested which will not only what to cook with your left-overs and automatically re-orders fresh food. And adding to that would be a refrigerator with built in operating system, of your choice, which allows you to program your refrigerator to your desires, trigger alerts and messages on your phone and lets you control how it will function by one click and that too while being on the road.

·         Your car becomes another center point of your operating system which even lets you access apps. of your choice in car. According to Juniper Research, by 2017, "cars sold in the United States will include support for apps, either running them directly on their entertainment consoles or by allowing consumers to use those consoles to interact with apps on their smartphones"

 

So where does this lead do? Wave-3 makes us to think and think deep that competitive position in future would not merely be governed by evolution of current product lines or operating systems, rather the decision to buy a device, for personal use, would be solely based on one big question:

"Will it support my entire ecosystem?"  

And an operating system whose footprints can penetrate that deep into our lives will seem to be a winner. What are your thoughts?

Comments

Hi Jagmeet, as always, yet another thought provoking read. I won’t dwell on taking sides with a specific operating system, but the keyword in your well written piece is “ecosystem”. If ecosystem is coupled with consumer adoption it becomes an intoxicating concoction on which every marketer would like to get high.

Rewind to 1970’s, the famous videotape wars…Beta versus VHS or to “spell” differently Sony versus JVC. Who decided the winner in the war of screens back then? What you have touched upon in the current wave is the same war albeit different kind of screens which deliver a surround consumer experience.

As you’ve rightly mentioned, we don’t buy technologies, we buy experience and ecosystem (a wise man once said…we don’t sell drill machines, we sell holes!). I may have a great car with the best of breed technology, but will I buy a car that leaves me with a bad experience post the sale…an apt example of a limited ecosystem…say lack of availability of genuine spares/service/trained mechanics etc.

Fast forward to present, the business fundamentals are still the same, lingos are different. Anyone who is able to crack the ecosystem puzzle and ensure a wider consumer adoption will be a winner. It could be anyone…probably even an unknown OS…what about Jaggisoft ;-)

@Himanshu, Yes, I remember that videotape wars. There is another one wit blueray and HD. Guess thiss phenomenon is everlasting. And, consumers are sometimes divided into preferences for experience or ecosystem. Though there is market for every segment, what leaves the impression in long term is the adoption by masses not just one geography or one consumer segment.
Will think about Jaggisoft..;-)

Very rightly said but in such an ecosystem where Technology persists in every device that we use, OS needs to be highly secure else results will be catastrophic. Again there might be a possibility that user gets pissed off using the same OS and same features on every other device he uses yet still possibilities are limitless...arena is open and more players will lead to more innovation

Dear Jagmeet,
You have brought out a 'hot-topic' here. And it is true that what customers buy today is the experience than the product itself. From the 90s where the mobile revolution picked up pace, we have come quite far off. In today's world of integration, where technology is much more easily accessible & a variety of apps are available, people want to work seamlessly amongst all the devices they own - be it a laptop, a tablet, a mobile, a television and even phones, refrigerators and what not! And of these devices the one thing which always remains with people is the mobile and therefore it becomes THE key device!
And these products are evolving so very fast! From the single line displays to HD quality big screens, from digits 0-9 through RIM keyboards to touch screens, from FM to internet radio, from earphones to bluetooth, everything has been evolving and enriching our experience.
The waves that you have mentioned have had so many ripples in between them :)

As for the future, I believe than man is capable of matching his imagination i.e. from abstract to physical world. Let me explain this by saying that the wish to fly eventually led us to invent planes & shuttles, the imaginary robots of 60s became a reality and today we are talking about their emotional content & expressions!! And if I may generalize, these developments, these machines try to emulate the nature around us. And I suppose this is what brings that 'experience' to us - making it as real as the real world! Having said that, the ultimate future of these mobiles will eventually to be integrated with us, with humans. And so many sci-fi movies show this in so many different ways.

Now let us talk about Wave-X: Imagine a phone that is embedded in your palm, your ears & your eyes - I don't know maybe different types of silicon wafers just underneath the skin, powered by your heartbeats, controlled directly by your thoughts. And well, I do not really know if iOS or Android or Windows or Blackberry will be there or maybe there'll be a completely new player who introduces such a new product that it wipes off others from the table itself - somewhat like what iPhone did to Nokia!

Nevertheless a very interesting article & thought-provoking content. It's a wait & watch for the integrating Wave-4!

Interesting point - I never thought about it. But as I read through the article, it seems so obvious (mark of a good article - good!). I feel this is a similar shift which product companies are making towards becoming more service oriented (CISCO, IBM, XEROX and Microsoft to name a few).

Samsung has already started with building of an ecosystem around android with cameras. I personally feel that android would be a better fit for building an ecosystem for a simple reason that you are not stuck to a single brand. I can have a Samsung phone linked to my Chrome laptop which is in turn linked to my LG Tab (all three different brands). However with iOS products, it has to be an iPhone, iPad or Mac. It would be interesting to not to forget that these are at a premium price - nonetheless "iProducts" has very high brand value and customers are willing to pay for it. Hence they are already ready with a customer base waiting to be tapped.

Apple is trying to build an ecosystem but they are too focused on tabs and phones now. What Samsung has shown to the world with camera and Google with Laptop & phone - I would say Android should be a clear cut winner. Nonetheless Apple has the advantage of customer loyalty which should be tapped quickly otherwise they would lose out on this advantage.

The Ecosystem going forward will not just be about OS my friend. The influencing power needs to come from a complete package of innovation in hardware and software. The current pace of inovation in hardware has quite become stagnant, that is bound to delay Wave3. Although some leaders are engaged in it, for eg. Google Glasses, Apple Wrist Phone will definatley be a new experience when available in marketplace. But currently, take an example of Galaxy S4, there is no new hardware innovation as compared to the previous avatar. Are we overrelying on OS than Hardware.....this is a though provoking question ? Eventually all OS will catch up with each other in tems of some WOW features, it will be the patents in Hardware innovation that will become the true Differentiator.

Can't agree more with you Sudeep. And yes, you were absolutely right when you talked about possibilty of any new operating system completely knocking-off the existing players.

@Vaibhav, I see your point with Android where you are not stuck with 'single brand' to complete your needs for an ecosystem.
It would be really intersting to see what future unfolds.

@Manpreet, well patents are key to securing innovation. Yes, it would not be just OS but hardware as well however looking at the way product innovation is moving, and new OS (e.g. Chrome OS) are introduced at faster pace, the game is changing in favour of OS. Because with time hardware will become standard (e.g. USB sltos, audio jack, wireless charging kit etc.) except few differentiations but will customer pay for that uniqueness will be a quesion worth considerig.

A thoughtful insight...but one big question which I always think how ubiquitous should technology be in our life. Smart phones, Smart cars etc. all have their downsides also which we tend to neglect.

One ad which is running these days on Youtube is about google play. The ad says, I download a song in on my laptop. That song is now available to me everywhere on any electronic device which I use on a day to day basis...So this resonates with last line of your blog which says ecosystem which will penetrate deep into our lives will emerge as winner.
I personally feel very connected with Himanshu's comment.

I complete agree with previous comments about the importance of the ecosystem, this will become even more significant as electronic devices and required software becomes less and less expensive and easier to integrate in various settings. I believe hardware independent system will be the winner; we will soon see apps and intelligence built into everything that can be plugged in. Integrating your washer and dryer, light control, all your electronics, your car, heating, cooling, security etc. to a network where you can use multiple devices to control things. Like starting your washer from the car while on way to your home or adjusting temperature to start cooling or heating the house from your watch. Checking the status of your vacuum cleaners bags capacity, etc.
The intelligence can be built to the cloud, to make contextual advice in any situation, like proposing what you should make for dinner; based on the analysis of your mood, your tone of voice, driving style and by using that information together with the data from intelligent refrigerator for what ingredients you have available. We will see an increasing number of smart sensors that can gather data anywhere from your health to current energy use on your house. The future will bring the OS and Ecosystem that best supports networked world.

@Timo,
By adding cloud you have added a new flavour to the conversation. And I am of firm believe that it would happen in near future.

@Rakesh,
Technology has always been a double edge sword. And I am all open to hear your views on downsides and I would reserve my opinion for the time being.

Its interesting to see the technology landscape change...from floppy disks to cloud...since I had the pleasure to experience the waves thus far and hopefuly more given the pace...Its changing and we are not far from the days where we will have to just think for the devices to complete the action...Integrated systems will set new benchmarks for customer experience by increasing the degrees of convenience...universal remote to universal system...cheers for more waves...

All waves of advancements in technology should ensure energy efficient products else the ecosystem imbalance will occur. And then it would raise questions like "shall I change my ecosystem?" or "shall I change my product?"

@Twitter,
Your comment is like a 'tweet' but nevertheless has passed a message in a very subtle tone. And that is exactly the reason why most of the mobile devices are coming with longer battery life. And with refrigerators we are seeing a trend of energy star ratings. Good point though.

Ecosystem, experience, influence - This could be true for the early adopters and the subsequent wait n see ones. If that is the lot the product wants to focus upon - spot on. But for the real volumes are driven by those simpletons disconnected from the tech race and take pride in legacy! The product or update that is able to harness these volumes shall be able to tilt the balance in their favor. The expectations are simple here and a little integration could drive an "experience" that results in a huge "influence" and make believe an "ecosystem" exists.

Very well written. In this modern era every device needs to leverage MOBILITY unless it wants to fail miserably in this competitive market. Yes, it would be the war between the OS, as when we talk about an ecosystem, OS needs to provide sync between the devices operating within the ecosystem. Clear winner would be the OS which would provide the seamless sync between the devices.

Annotating Rakesh's views:

How do you feel when, by chance you forget your phone at home when you set out for office?
First thought in my mind is "Where is my phone?(just because it is costly :))"
the next thougt is "its good that i forgot my phone and that it's going to be peace in my mind!!"

I have never been a great technology buff. I might have the best smartphone with me, the best laptop, but my sphere of intrest as far as using technlogy is concerned is just playing few games and surfing few websites for few minutes in a day.

Technology has already grown to such an extent that it touches every aspect of my life. It feels like more of business competition, when we talk about which operating system is better and which company's product are the best. And this competition is not to deliver 'the best' for the humanity but to earn the most amount of money.

Considering the harmful effects of the phone radiations and the wi fi radiations (http://www.safespaceprotection.com/electrostress-from-wireless-routers.aspx), i am already loosing my sleep when i go to bed, get up with a headache that continues through major part of the day.

And considering taking the technology several notches up to create such ecosystems would definitely going to spoil many more of my days, than help my to be more efficient.

I would rather have technology giving me a product that seals my house of all the radiations, than allowing it to intrude further.

These ecosystems would be analogus to opening the flood gates of the dam and not being able to close it even if one wished to close them.

Or else my suggestion would be to develop, if possible, the tech ecosystems with wires and not waves.

Hey Jagmeet
The blog you have come up with ought to be an eye opener for all the competitors in the market, not only for smart phones, but for all NextG product or as you have rightly mentioned, "Smart OS".

Well, as far as I am concerned as a consumer, I would first ask myself a question. That is, whether I want to be a whale or shark user of these "NextG (or Gen Y) products"? The answer lies within the definition of these 2 categories of the users.

Having said that, if I had to be a later one, I would rather, as the name suggest, aim to buy a product which may not be useful as we further move to Gen Z devices (or to say which is easily available at cheapest price with max features). Or according to the topic, my product or OS has to be updated in future. In other words, I will need a "change".

On the other hand, however, if I'm the whale, I will surely go for a system which is destined to be loaded with lot more features in future, keeping in mind how fast I can use this prediction of new features to my advantage, without any "change" (or shall I say, will eat my food once and stay longer without having to search for more in short span of time). Meaning, instead of changing the OS/ product itself, I will simply transform with the new features provided by the vendor by mere upgrading it.

Kindly note, that I have given my comments not as a vendor, but as a customer :).
Also, let me know whenever you are planning to start the development of JaggiSoft ;)

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