Future Shock: Combining Technologies Will Disrupt Legacy Business Models
There are so many emerging technologies, from metaverse to AI to gene editing, it can be overwhelming. Yet the CTO who fails to keep tabs on what’s happening around the corner could see their business disrupted – even kaput
When the IT manager of American VHS rental chain Blockbuster first heard about an experimental video-on-demand technology being tested in London in the early 1990s, did it cross their minds that would it end up destroying their business?
Or if the CEO of monolithic American bookstore chain Borders had first heard of an upstart online bookseller called Amazon in 1994, could he have expected to go bankrupt 17 years later?
The problem is, with so many emerging technologies, how can you focus on the technologies that will affect your business the most?
This information age guide to emerging technologies cannot make this decision for you. All we can do is sketch out the technologies that we believe will have the most profound effect on your business.
There may not be one emerging technology that changes everything, but several combined at once that trigger a light bulb moment for you or a competitor who spots an opportunity to eat your lunch. The real disruptive potential lies in the convergence of different technologies.
Sticking your head in the sand is not a strategy. Companies that ossify will be overtaken by newer, more nimble competitors who will embrace one of these emerging technologies in ways we can’t even imagine.
Remember that the revolution will be digitized.
How immersive reality will transform your business
Immersive technology, whether it’s virtual reality (the metaverse) or augmented reality (a digital overlay on our physical world), will completely change the way we communicate internally with work from home or externally in how we communicate with customers. A growth number of marks have already bought up space in the metaverse, including Adidas, Burberry, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Samsung, Louis Vuitton, and even banks HSBC and JP Morgan.
Immersive reality combined with super-fast 5G and 6G mobile phone networks will also allow remote machines to be operated, robotic harvesters and expert surgeons to operate literally at arm’s length from one operating room to the next. end of the planet.
Immersive reality is a disruptive technology; its impact will be modest over the next two or three years, continue to be modest in the middle of the decade, but will change the world later in the 2020s.
>See also: The biggest benefits of immersive technology for businesses
Nine Types of Emerging Technologies to Watch
AI is not a new technology, but recent advances make it even more important. AI is not an emerging technology per se, but an increasingly mainstream technology. We already use AI on our smartphones and smart speakers like Amazon Alexa. Experts believe AI personal assistants will become even more ubiquitous and useful, like carrying an AP in your pocket, using predictive AI acting on your to-do list to perform tasks you hadn’t even thought of before.
As an emerging technology, brain-computer interfaces sound like science fiction and are unlikely to have a significant impact until 2035.
However, the most immediate benefit of brain-computer interfaces may be to support people with severe disabilities. Elon Musk says he is “cautious optimism” than his Neuralink will allow a quadriplegic or paraplegic with a spinal cord injury to move naturally again.
Some people believe that CRISPR-Cas9, gene-editing tools that allow scientists to edit DNA, could be the biggest technological breakthrough of our lifetimes. It could grow abundant disease-resistant crops, eradicate genetic diseases, and even allow humans to upgrade, improving their eyesight or cognitive abilities. The implications are enormous.
Last year, the British company Oxitech released genetically engineered mosquitoes into the swampy air of the Florida Keys in the United States to mate and pass on a temporarily deadly gene to female offspring, thereby killing approximately half of all new mosquitoes and decimating the mosquito population –
. truly mind-boggling.
Once hailed as the miracle material 200 times stronger than steel, replacing silicon in computers and a fantastic conductor of heat and electricity, the heat (sorry) seems to have disappeared from graphene in the press.
In fact, the hype was warranted – it just happened too soon. The price of single-layer CVD graphene has fallen nearly 100% since 2010, meaning it is now within reach as an everyday material. For example, mixed with concrete, graphene strengthens the building material by 30%.
Perovskite solar cells can be printed on plastic sheets, which makes solar panels remarkably cheaper and also wrapable. They are also 50% more efficient than current solar panels at converting sunlight into electricity. However, they are still delicate compared to standard solar panels and work is continuing to develop them by improving their solar collection efficiency. But imagine buildings wrapped in photovoltaic solar panels producing their own energy or articulated trucks that power themselves.
Computers that operate at the speed of light: this is the promise of photonic computers, which use light (photons) rather than electronics (electrons) to transmit data. Photonic or optical computers could theoretically process information 20 times faster than traditional silicon-based IC machines. And, going back to these technologies combined for a real breakthrough, according to Ryan Hammerly, visiting professor at MIT, photonics has the potential to accelerate the AI development by several orders of magnitude.
5G and 6G
5G, the next-generation cellular network, promises so much: increased mobile bandwidth and speed, which will accelerate driverless cars, create smart weapons to protect us while helping to build the metaverse, the VR playground that will revolutionize the way we work and play.
5G, with its ultra-connectivity enabled by high data bandwidth, low latency and high device density, will exponentially increase the storage and processing of data directly using the computing of edge – distributing data closer to where it is used – and in the cloud.
Industries that 5G could disrupt include:
- Cloud investments for financial services
- AI Data Intelligence for the Insurance Industry
- Cloud and Edge Computing
- Medical equipment and telehealth solutions
- Supply chain management
The disruption doesn’t happen immediately, of course. As with 4G, at first glance the use cases for 5G will seem remote and irrelevant. But once 5G crosses a tipping point, use cases we can’t even imagine will arise, disrupting most industries.
The current global post-Covid labor shortage, as older workers are not returning to the workforce, creates opportunities for robotics. Britain has been particularly hard hit by the usual influx of occasional fruit pickers from Eastern Europe not coming this year. British robotics company Fieldwork Robotics has created a robotic fruit picker which is so sensitive that it can pick 2 kg of red fruits per hour. And raspberry picking robots are already in commercial use in two locations in Portugal.
Again, even though the initial hype about 3D printing has died down, as an emerging technology it has yet to really take off. Imagine 3D printed houses, 3D printed food, and even 3D printed body parts. Hubs.com predicts the 3D printing market will grow 24% to $44.5 billion by 2026.
>See also: New emerging technologies to watch
Emerging Technology x Healthcare
AI has played a key role in accelerating the development of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, reducing development time to 10 months from the standard decade for a new vaccine. Beyond drug discovery, the advanced pattern recognition capabilities of AI are increasingly being used to diagnose cancer and, when combined with wearable devices, in predictive healthcare – determining when someone might get sick. Over time, your Apple Watch might even be able to alert you to an impending stroke.
>See also: Emerging medical technologies in health
The accepted wisdom is that technological advancements in healthcare have stalled. But look at some of the technologies above and multiply them with health care. Gene editing could obviously get rid of some deadly inherited diseases, while a surgeon could robotically operate on a patient thousands of miles away, combining VR, robotics and super-fast 6G connectivity eliminating any lag between thought and action.
Medicine will truly be transformed by all of these technologies working together.
Further Reading on Emerging Technologies
The impact of augmented reality and virtual reality will be as big as the internet – Kelly Goetsch, product manager at commercetools, is convinced that when augmented reality and virtual reality come of age, the impact of the technologies will be comparable to that of the Internet boom of 1995.
SMEs will be led by avatars in time for 2050 – study – Futurology report predicts SMBs will be run by avatar look-alikes of their business owners by 2050 – here’s what they can do
Deep tech in 2022: the future looks artificially intelligent – Daan de Cloe, co-founder and CTO of AutoFill Technologies, provides his predictions for the deep tech space in 2022 and beyond