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While both, technology and market convergence can initially be seen as a threat, deeper understanding about convergence can help managers in their response strategy and ultimately be an opportunity. First, managers need to find out if their company is affected by convergence. While this is no easy task, first indications can be collected.
For example, by analyzing scientific publications and patent filings and how they relate to specific industries, managers can measure how broad of an impact these inventions have. Second, after being aware of the different types of convergence market and technology and what their drivers are, managers can anticipate if their company is getting threatened by a new technology followed by new competitors at a later stage or if these two developments are happening concurrently.
In the case of smart home, communication protocols are one of the main converging technologies and are strongly linked to the end-user product. A company developing a new product is likely to adopt a new technology at the same time.
As a result, market and technology convergence proceed in parallel. A counter-example is the convergence between cable television and wireline telecommunications industries. The change from analog to digital transmission as technological convergence was not directly linked to the end-user product, but to the underlying mode of how the service is delivered. In this case, the processes of market and technology convergence happened sequential. As a last step, the right strategy for a firm threatened by convergence can be derived.
When primarily faced with technology convergence and the required knowledge of the new technology is not available within the company, managers should extend their innovative capabilities through alliances, joint ventures, partnerships or mergers and acquisitions.
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When faced with market convergence, the tension and rivalry within a market will increase. Firms should therefore widen their innovative scope and pursue horizontal differentiation.
About the Author:. He is now a Venture Architect at Bitrock Digital Partners, a Corporate Company Builder supporting businesses in developing new digital products and business models.
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