Exploring emerging tech with Gary Vaynerchuk

The serial entrepreneur and internet personality on how today's tech trends will affect the businesses of tomorrow.
7 June 2019

Keynotes in hologram? Source: garyvaynerchuk.com

After months of hype around the transformative qualities of 5G, the official launch in the UK predictably resulted in somewhat of an anti-climax. The promises of high speeds were dampened by data cap anxiety. BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones successfully tested a super quick TV show download but admitted that the Sim card needed “topping up” before he could go on air.

Realistically, we are several years away before businesses will begin to unlock the potential of 5G technology. But remember, it wasn’t too long ago that the number of SMS messages in your allowance determined the value of your mobile contract. For these reasons alone, I implore businesses to look towards our inevitable future and start planning sooner, rather than later.

China is already reporting that 5G speeds can reach an incredible 20Gbps. Combine this with the expected 35 billion IoT connected devices by 2021, and it’s clear that five years from now, the business landscape will be entirely different. To help bring that future vision to life, I sat down with serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk and asked him how he thinks that the emerging technologies we are exploring in 2019 will affect businesses in the next five years.

5G – Imagine a world without lag

Upon launch here in the UK, users can expect the average speeds of 5G to reach 150Mbps (megabits per second) compared with a top speed of 50Mbps when 4G was originally launched. Sure, it’s a significant improvement, but it is a long way from the speeds required to make smart cities a reality. But I dared Gary Vaynerchuk to gaze into his crystal ball and offer a vision of how things will change in the next five years.

Investor and serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk

Investor and serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk. Source: garyvaynerchuk.com

We talked about a future world without lag and how most businesses are struggling to visualize precisely what 5G technology will mean to them. Vaynerchuk was quick to offer an example, “Physicians will eventually be able to perform surgery on people that are thousands of miles away because they’re the best surgeon in the world for the operation. And because there’s no lag between their hand movements and the robot, that’s going to be on your body.”

Vaynerchuk also revealed that autonomous vehicles only become real because of 5G. “The Jetsons” TV show provided a vision of a future of self-driving cars back in the sixties. But, last year Waymo celebrated its vehicles driving 10 million miles on public roads. Vaynerchuk went on to urge businesses to think about a world without lag. “Once you eliminate the lag, you eliminate the percentage of issue.”

How AR and VR will alter our perception of reality

It can be difficult for many to understand just how different our world will be in five years. If every single device or sensor has access to a 20Gbps per second online connection, the possibilities are almost endless. But how would this affect someone such as Gary Vaynerchuk that delivers keynotes all over the world?

“I expect to give tons of keynotes a day in hologram form where I get half the price that I get for being there in person. 5G’s going to make that happen because I’m going to be giving the keynote right here, but I’m going to be simulcast in hologram form all across the world. That’s what’s going to happen.”

However, Vaynerchuk dares to look at the possibilities beyond that and how it will undoubtedly change the live entertainment and sports industry, “Ed Sheeran will make a lot more money when hologram technology meets 5G infrastructure. If he’s in Madison Square Garden, but I’m in Rome, and the hologram is that advanced and the lag time means I can feel everything he does, it starts getting interesting.”

On the subject of pay-per-view, he asked me to imagine a future where you can go to an arena, and it feels like you’re actually watching the McGregor fight because there’s no lag between watching him in hologram form in the Octagon from Afghanistan, while it’s happening live in Las Vegas. It’s not just the artists and sporting stars that could win in Vaynerchuk’s vision, but new business opportunities for those that create digital experiences.

Introducing blockchain and the end of the middlemen

In a brave new digital world where trust and transparency are the new currency, the future also looks grim for so-called middle-men that offer little in terms of value. The demise of household names such as Toys R Us combined with the fact that Amazon is buying prime freight planes to create its own logistics business should act as a big wake up call for intermediaries.

These recent events provide a glimpse into the significant changes ahead for businesses. Supply chain costs represent a considerable expense that emerging technologies could remove. Companies caught in the middle that manage multiple points in the production pipeline process have a very rocky road ahead.

Businesses across multiple industries are beginning to slowly migrate away from their dependence on third parties and towards blockchain solutions. In a new era of greater trust and transparency, a decentralized structure reduces the need for intermediaries to transfer data and products between buyers and sellers.

When I asked Vaynerchuk about how emerging technologies such as blockchain will affect businesses, he told me that, “Anybody in the middle, from the person that makes the product to the person that consumes the product, is vulnerable. Technology is coming after you, and if you’re in the middle, you need to pay attention to that statement.”

The arrival of the internet and the mobile-first world both transformed our lifestyle and the world of business forever. Once again, we are preparing to enter another period of transformational change where all devices in both the real and virtual world are seamlessly sharing information in real-time. Everything from retail, banking, insurance, supply chain, healthcare to government services will be radically changed by technology.

It won’t happen overnight, but the tech buzzwords of 2019 will eventually converge and remove traditional business models from the digital landscape. But it’s not all bad news. We are recognizing how our world is changing and that in five years, we will be talking less about middle-men and much more about how automation, smart cities, and driverless vehicles can help you plan for an alternative future.

It’s crucial to understand that it’s the fusion of emerging technologies that will deliver game-changing moments together on the road ahead. It’s time to stop looking at 5G, IoT, AI, and blockchain as individual value propositions. It’s time to think bigger. Or maybe Gary Vaynerchuk said it better when he advised: “If you are not recognizing that technology is going to put you out of business, then you are very naive.”

Listen to Neil’s full interview with Gary Vaynerchuk here