By Sheila Moorcroft
During 2014, eight major areas of technology will make waves, increasing their capacity to change how business operates, creates value and responds to customers. Governments too will need to learn to play by new rules. The list is by no means exhaustive, and we would gladly hear your suggestions. Their impacts will play out over many years, but we see 2014 as a time for critical growth.
What is changing?
1) Variable cloud forecast- The cloud will continue to evolve and transform and enable mobile and tablet-based services. Companies will need to incorporate enhanced digital experiences and services into their customer offers and internal processes. Cities will be able to create responsive, intelligence-based strategies and reduce IT costs.
2)The Internet of Things (IoT) gets personal- Connectivity and embedded intelligence are beginning to hit critical mass as ever more equipment, from watches to cars, is connected. As a result, our surroundings will begin to ‘look after us’, our homes and cars will do more and more for us, services such as healthcare will migrate to the home, the sharing economy will challenge more sectors.
3)M-Payment, a logical next step- As consumers reach ever more for their smartphones to research options and make purchases, so their use of their smartphone to pay is increasing. Retailers, restaurants, and services need to be ready, or miss out on these hyper-connected consumers.
4)Wearable technologies grabbing the headlines- Momentum is building and capabilities are rising as wearable technologies begin to get into their stride, and bring a host of new interfaces with gesture, voice, BCI (Brain Computer Interface) and haptics all playing a role. Health and medical applications are growing, along with others. Watch out for our forthcoming report on Wearable technologies.
5)3D printing delivers on new fronts- Several patents end this year and 3D printer prices are falling to under $500, which may liberate a wave of experimentation. Bio-printing may see a major breakthrough with the first liver being 3D printed. NASA is preparing to take 3D printing into space. But, criminals will also explore its potential for counterfeiting and weaponry.
6)Big data going extreme- A direct knock on effect of the growth of the IoT will be ever more data streams coming on line; big data will become even bigger. Competition to provide devices, tools and techniques which can simplify and make sense of it will increase. New approaches to medical research may reveal significant new insights. Consumers may become more aware of the value of their data.
7)Gaming playing hard and fast- Gaming is leading the charge on many new technologies- enhancing player interaction, creating more immersive experiences, developing new graphics and displays. It is also migrating to mobiles, colonising our living rooms and integrating entertainment. Gaming will continue to disrupt not just leisure, but learning, retailing, and marketing as its capabilities migrate.
8)Machines get very, very clever- New chips will bring self-learning machines that can ‘tolerate’ errors, process automation that requires little or no programming, robots and other forms of AI (Artificial Intelligence) that are able to see, hear and navigate ever more like humans.
These eight technology areas – collectively and in some cases individually – have the capability to transform processes and industries, create new opportunities and new competition, to transform business models and drive innovation, generate new jobs and annihilate others, and to provide companies, governments and consumers with ever more power at their fingertips. Organisations will need to take a systems view of their potential and impacts in order to develop strategic responses to ride the technology waves not drown in them.
Over the coming year we will continue to scan for developments in these and the many other areas of change that will affect us all, and discuss the impacts and implications in more detail.
If you would like to explore the impacts of these and other areas of technology for your business, please contact us to discuss how we might help you develop technology roadmaps, impact and risk assessments, and assess strategic options.