Here at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, I moderated a CEO discussion on “The New Digital Context” (video below). Thank you to my panelists Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Marc Benioff (, John Chambers (Cisco), Randall Stephenson (AT&T), and Gavin Patterson (BT).

We are in the age of the customer, where technology is dramatically accelerating the shift in power from institutions to individuals, forcing organizations to be with their customers as they move through time and space.

My big takeaways from the panel:

  • The age of the customer underpins what’s coming next in tech: context-driven systems, the Internet of everything, and customer-centric software.
  • Much of the Internet of everything will focus on personal care and health.
  • These leaders want more transparency from the Obama administration regarding privacy — critical to regaining customer trust.
  • Total privacy is history. The national security concerns are too great. In the future, the best that people can hope for is that 90% of their data will be private.

Some key quotes from the discussion:

Marissa: “2014 will be a crossover year at Yahoo. By the end of the year, we will have more mobile traffic than PC traffic.”

Marc: “As we talk about devices, you should never forget that behind every one there is a person — a customer. It“s not the Internet of Things, but the Internet of People — of customers. We are moving to one-to-one relationships.”

Gavin: “Big data (is the next big thing). Processing power available through big data. Understanding how big data affects business.”

Randall: “The smartphone has become the remote control for our everyday life. The connected car is coming at hyperspeed.”

John: “10 billion devices connected to the Internet. Bandwidth is not the problem; it’s how you apply it.”