Commvergence or communications convergence is about technological compacting. Over this magazine’s 17 years, first stage commvergence, was powered by globalization’s waves of low wage production, off-shoring, and outsourcing. The Great Recession compressed industries and employment faster to squeeze productivity from overhead, business plans, and workers.
That was the first stage. Second stage commvergence is poised to squeeze harder. Which means what for Lancaster County? I put that question to my two favorite tech consultants, Alejandro Rosado, CEO of 12:34 MicroTechnologies, and Kirk Barrett, chief innovation officer at Ignite Ventures. But hold onto their answers, first here’s a little background.
Last month in Germany I saw streets filled with small shops temporarily protected from the Amazon-Google-Rapid Delivery Services furies. Let’s call that the AGR factor. Soon AGR will suck out the overhead costs of tiny retail businesses and collapse prices so that those businesses will disappear. We’ve already learned that AGR and other commvergence forces don’t ‘reform.’ Smaller businesses globally have commverged into entirely new structures.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are about to pluck drivers from most vehicles. Today some 10,300 Lancaster County workers drive commercially. Kicked-up innovation will compress the 14,000 people who work in food preparation and servicing. Another 7,000 Lancastrians are vulnerable clerks and receptionists with an additional 1,100 in consumer retail. Totally some 32,000 in our civilian, non-farm workforce do the sort of repetitive work that commvergence-tech replaces. But second stage commvergence is about to mine far deeper.
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