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May122010

The Rise of Generation C: Implications for the World of 2020

The Rise of Generation C

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In the course of the next 10 years, a new generation—Generation C—will emerge. Born after 1990, these "digital natives," just now beginning to attend university and enter the work- force, will transform the world as we know it. Their interests will help drive massive change in how people around the world socialize, work, and live their passions—and in the information and communication technologies they use to do so.

As they grow up, this highly connected generation will live “online” most of their waking hours, comfortably participate in social networks with several hundred or more contacts, generate and consume vast amounts of formerly private information, and carry with them a sophisticated "personal cloud" that identifies them in the converged online and offline worlds.

As a consequence, this generation will expect fast, reliable connectivity through which they will create direct commercial links with a multitude of online business partners—today we call them application players. And the Internet will evolve into a largely "centerless" cloud with no obvious control points.

In the face of declining revenues from traditional services, the challenge for the communication and technology industries will be to abandon successful but outlived business models and refocus on what it takes to thrive in the Generation C environment. This shouldn’t be taken as bad news, however; the rise of ubiquitous broadband, and of newly connected populations from emerging economies, will enable operators to capitalize on a vast new array of services. The "smart pipe," an intelligent communication infrastructure, will be at the heart of many new value pools in industries as diverse as healthcare, energy, transportation, and media. Communication and technology players are well positioned to jump on the bandwagon today to help shape the future of these industries—and to capture significant new revenues as the industries change and grow.

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About the Authors

Roman Friedrich is a Booz & Company partner based in Düsseldorf and Stockholm. He specializes in strategic and technology transformation, and marketing and sales challenges in the communications, media, and technology industries.
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Michael Peterson is a Booz & Company partner based in Düsseldorf and London. He specializes in corporate strategy and business model transformation for communications companies and in convergence and customer-facing processes in the broader media and telecommunications environment.
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Alex Koster is a Booz & Company principal based in Zurich. He focuses on strategy, revenue growth, and business model transformation opportunities across communications, technology, and Internet companies.
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Sebastian Blum is a senior associate in Booz & Company’s Munich office. As part of the European media practice, he focuses on TV, digital content, and Internet strategies.
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