Disruption today is constant, and it is changing the way the world works. Some trends catch on for a short time but then fade from our attention, while others are so profound that they transform every aspect of our world and how we work and live in it. As we head into 2019, here are five technology megatrends that is expected to disrupt every industry over the next 5 years.
- Artificial intelligence
Advancements in microprocessor technology, the sheer abundance and explosive growth of data, and improvements in algorithms have caused the artificial intelligence (AI) market to explode in recent years as industries are leveraging AI as a key tool for improving quality, increasing speed and driving revenue growth. From imaging and diagnostics in health care to demand planning in retail, it’s now commonplace to hear terms like deep learning, computer vision and natural language processing bandied about in mainstream business.
AI-powered smart assistants such as Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant, with intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces between humans and machines, have paved the way for consumer acceptance of AI, and one of the most dramatic examples of AI can be found in autonomous vehicles. Later this year, Audi is expected to launch the world’s first production automobile with Level 3 autonomy, while Ford and Volvo are working toward achieving Level 4 autonomy — all milestones for cars that will eventually operate with little or no human input or oversight.
The rise in the integration of AI with big data and analytics systems is making both predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics much more pervasive. Meanwhile, the growth in sophisticated cybercrimes such as advanced persistent threat attacks and crypto-based ransomware incidents will continue to drive the adoption of proactive, AI-powered solutions for cybersecurity.
- Internet Of Things
The internet of things (IoT) is rapidly revolutionizing the way organizations across all industries interact with their customers, achieve operational efficiency and optimize business outcomes. An interconnected system of various devices and sensors that communicate via internet protocols, IoT devices deliver measurable information for a wide variety of uses, from controlling home appliances via one’s mobile phone to predicting when a component in heavy engineering equipment needs to be replaced.
Although still viewed with a certain degree of skepticism due to its ongoing but improving issues related to data security and privacy, IoT combined with on-device data processing and analytics, also known as edge computing or mobile edge computing, is creating a whole host of new possibilities with applications such as face recognition, object detection and collision avoidance. When combined with AI, IoT is enabling data analytics related to vehicle-to-everything, commonly known as V2X, which has enhanced decision making for greater functionality and safety in autonomous vehicles.
A technology that became popular largely because of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, blockchain is a distributed ledger system for recording and verifying transactions between two parties that is linked cryptographically to be highly secure and yet wholly transparent. Outside the banking, financial services and insurance industries, blockchain is finding additional useful applications in government, health care, supply chain management, asset management and digital identity, public transportation, real estate and more.
There is a lot of potential growth for blockchain particularly in the smart contracts and digital identity applications but many challenges still need to be addressed and resolved, especially those related to the lack of commonly agreed upon operational standards, regulatory oversight and the large amount of investment required for infrastructure development and maintenance. Blockchain-as-a-service, where cloud-based solutions are used to build, host and deploy blockchain apps, is seeing increased adoption as it makes the technology affordable and reduces the time an organization would need to get its own blockchain system up and running.
- Big data and analytics
The volume of data we generate today is huge, and trillions of gigabytes of data are being generated every year from the activities of customers, products and competitors as businesses leverage insights about their customers to drive product innovation, manage costs and achieve better financial results.
This data explosion is driving AI, which is, in turn, prompting businesses to track and make use of more and more data. As data and analytics continue to evolve, data as a commodity is now entering the marketplace, being bought and sold. Analytics, earlier dominated by pure-play analytics vendors, is now being increasingly offered as a service by cloud providers such as Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft.
- 3D printing
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is nearing its potential by allowing rapid prototyping and shorter production runs, greatly reducing front-end costs and making low-volume manufacturing more viable. Expediting delivery time, lowering costs for logistics and production and reducing energy consumption and expenditure, 3D printing is now increasingly used to produce functional parts in various industries, including automotive, health care, jewelry, aerospace, consumer goods and construction.
With the cost of 3D printers coming down and the wider availability of a range of 3D-printable materials, manufacturing of a wide range of custom-made products is now possible. 3D printing is also positively impacting supply chain management by blurring the boundaries between manufacturers and customers as certain types of parts or products can now be manufactured on site. 3D printing presents the most opportunities for players in the markets for printed electronics, textiles, education and jewelry.
Let’s keep in mind that while today’s revenue comes from known sources and mature markets, your future revenue will depend heavily on identifying new sources of income. To thrive in the competitive market environment, it is crucial not only to predict how these megatrends will affect your industry and business but also to determine how to capitalize on new and emerging opportunities in real time.— Forbes