Lexpert Magazine

April 2019

Lexpert magazine features articles and columns on developments in legal practice management, deals and lawsuits of interest in Canada, the law and business issues of interest to legal professionals and businesses that purchase legal services.

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14 LEXPERT MAGAZINE | APRIL 2019 Enter the "horseless carriage". Clearly this was going to be wave of the future. So, as the manager of a transport company, wasn't this an easy peasy decision – just get on board with the new vehicles as soon as they appear? Unfortunately, when there is a major shi in an industry – a once in a century inflection point, a fundamental paradigm change – things can get very complicated rather than be straightfor- ward. is was the case with the horseless carriage decision. Two big decisions loomed. First, which specific horseless vehicle to acquire, and I don't mean by brand (but by the early 1900's there were over 500 manufactur- ers), but by technology type – because there were three of them. Some were powered by steam, not surprisingly because steam was the dominant form of industrial power in the factories, trains and ships of the day – this seemed like the most sensible choice. But wait, there was this new fangled energy platform gaining some traction, called elec- tricity (and about 1/3 of new personal cars were electric). But still electricity was not a certain thing. Some cities had bought the system for street lights, but tier one manu- facturers were still predominantly using steam to power their machines in their We need to change the "Digital Trio" factories. And then there was an even more recent technology - an engine powered by gasoline, an oil derivative. But was it worth considering, given how new it was? Well, we know how this movie ends, and of course gas wins big time (like today's net- work economy, the industry leader tends to take 85% of the market share – in personal and commercial vehicle transportation, gas has taken a much higher share than that – and there are many fewer manufacturer of cars today than 110 years ago). And it all seems so logical now; but that is only because we read history backwards, and when you do that, the line connecting dots seems very linear indeed. But in fact, while the strategic decision might be easier (i.e., have to get out of horse drawn carts), the many tactical deci- sions are not simple at all. TODAY'S TRUCK MOBILITY DECISION So, let's say you run a trucking fleet today. You have big 18 wheelers for long haul routes (i.e., between Toronto and Win- Strategic and Tactical Thinking on Digital Innovation Everyone is being confronted by the require- ment to address several interconnected digi- tal challenges, namely what to do about: the Cloud, AI and the Internet of Everything? (I call this the Digital Trio). And as exciting as the Digital Trio is (I recall the proverb, "May you live in interesting times!"), it can also be quit overwhelming, or at least daunt- ing. Let me illustrate the current challenges with an historic example. WE HAVE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE Let's pretend you were the manager of a delivery company in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal in the late 1800's. You had a fleet of horse drawn wagons, the dominant form of intra-city delivery in those days. For example, in New York City, there were 100,000 horses for such wagons in 1880. at presented some real problems. In NYC, each day (not year or month or week, but each day), some 5 million pounds (2,267,961 kilos) of horse dung was dropped on the streets of NYC, together with 60,000 gallons (227,124 litres) of horse urine. And streets were not cleaned that regularly back then. e resulting mess was atrocious, in- cluding the fetid stench. Something had to be done to replace the horse as a mode of ur- ban transportation. By George S. Takach TECHNOLOGY COLUMNIST COLUMNS TECHNOLOGY PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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