In an increasing number of market segments, the No. 1 product leads the closest competitor by too wide a margin. Examples are aplenty–Facebook in the area of social networking, Google in search engines, Apple iPad in the tablet PC market segment, and so on.

So is hi-technology breeding monopolies? Is the cost and talent of doing cutting-edge development becoming too prohibitive for much of the competition? And are we entering the era of super products, the ones that are so complete in their offerings that they leave little for the imagination and for further development?

But then in the 1.0 era of IT too, there have been examples of dominant products and brands, like MS Windows in the PC operating system segment or Nokia in the mobile phones market.

So are we then entering an era where technology makes it possible for the more innovative companies to create new box-office hits that can redefine consumer experience and displace a reigning product almost overnight? The meteoric rises of Facebook, iPad or Android in their respective market segments would all be pointers to this hypothesis.

A corollary to the hypothesis would also be that a new market leader today will be at a greater risk of being dethroned by a new challenger that dares to bring out a super product with a difference and of course, with a compelling user appeal.

As has been anticipated in the recent years, we have perhaps already entered an era of hyper development and hyper competition, which draws its momentum from a stream of hyper innovation. This innovation is so continuous and flowing in nature that it almost borders on being disruptive even to the preceding version of innovation.

Enter the era of hyper disruption, which is well exemplified by one simple example that four versions of Android have come up in a matter of just a couple of years.

Convergence–of media, technologies and devices–has been a key catalyst for this process of disruptive innovation, which demands market leaders to retain start-up characteristics in order to remain fresh and responsive enough to the needs of users and markets.

Convergence could also be working to cause changes in the ICT market in a more structural manner. New product categories would be coming up, as many already did in the recent years. At the same time, multiple market segments would be getting consolidated to form super segments. A very good example of this would be unified communication (UC), which typically integrates diverse communication platforms like e-mail, instant messaging, telephony, et al into a single communication window.

While UC has largely been positioned as a communication tool for business users, a sub-category of UC is unified messaging, which gained much interest in the consumer space after the social networking giant Facebook announced its unified messaging plans.

On the device front, smart phones and tablets already are super devices and yet continue to acquire additional functions and features of other ICT devices.

(As published in Deccan Chronicle, April 7, 2011; header changed.)

© 2018, the insights service provider focused on IT and telecom, offering rich analysis done by subject matter specialists.
To make a service inquiry, click