Technological change has always been brisk. But according to futurist Peter Diamandis, “we’ll experience more progress in the coming decade than we did the preceding 100 years as technology reshapes health and materials sciences, energy, transportation, and a wide range of other industries and domains.” The challenge for business leaders is knowing which trends are significant and which ones will bear less fruit.
Which technological trends matter most?
According to research from McKinsey & Company, there are ten top technologies attracting the attention and funds of investors and technologists. Understanding the impact these tech trends will have on organizations, and on the people whose jobs will be affected, is key to avoiding any downsides of disruption due to technological transitions. Here’s a summary:
Process Automation and Virtualization
Half of all existing work activities could be automated in the coming decade, as next-level process automation and virtualization become commonplace. “By 2025, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” McKinsey predicts. Robots, automation, 3D printing, and more will generate 79.4 zettabytes of data per year.
The Future of Connectivity
Faster digital connections, powered by 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), have the potential to unlock economic potential. So much so that implementing faster connections in “mobility, healthcare, manufacturing and retail could increase global GDP by up to $2 trillion by 2030.” 5G and IoT will be one of the most-watched tech trends for the next decade. “Far-greater network availability and capability will drive broad shifts in the business landscape, from the digitization of manufacturing (through wireless control of mobile tools, machines and robots) to decentralized energy delivery and remote patient monitoring.”
Seventy percent of companies are using hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud platforms as part of a distributed IT infrastructure. That means data and processing can be handled in the cloud but made accessible to devices faster. “This tech trend will help companies boost their speed and agility, reduce complexity, save costs and strengthen their cybersecurity defenses.”
Next-generation computing will “help find answers to problems that have bedeviled science and society for years, unlocking unprecedented capabilities for businesses.” It includes a host of far-reaching developments, from quantum AI to fully autonomous vehicles, and as such won’t be an immediate concern for all organizations. “Preparing for next-generation computing requires identifying whether you’re in a first-wave industry such as finance, travel, logistics, global energy and materials, and advanced industries, or whether your business depends on trade secrets and other data that must be safeguarded during the shift from current to quantum cryptography.”
Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is one of the biggest tech trends. Of course, we’re still in the early days of the development, but as AI technology becomes more sophisticated it will be applied to further develop tech-based tools, such as training machines to recognize patterns, then to act upon what it has detected. McKinsey predicts that by 2024, AI-generated speech will be behind more than 50% of people’s interactions with computers. While companies are still searching for ways to use AI effectively, “any company can get good value from AI if it’s applied effectively and in a repeatable way.”
Future of Programming
Get ready for Software 2.0, where neural networks and machine learning write code and create new software. “This tech trend makes possible the rapid scaling and diffusion of new data-rich, AI-driven applications,” according to McKinsey. In part, it could see the creation of software applications far more powerful and capable than anything available today. But it will also make it possible for existing software and coding processes to be standardized and automated.
IT Governance reports 1,243 security incidents in 2021, which accounted for over 5.1 billion breached records—an 11% increase compared to 2020. Despite advances in cybersecurity, criminals continue to redouble their efforts. As a growing tech trend, trust architectures will help in the fight against cybercrime. “In addition to lowering the risk of breaches, trust architectures reduce the cost of complying with security regulations, lower the operating and capital expenditures associated with cybersecurity, and enable more cost-efficient transactions, for instance, between buyers and sellers.”
There’s a “confluence of advances in biological science” that “promises a significant impact on economies and our lives and will affect industries from health and agriculture to consumer goods, energy and materials.” Propelled by AI, automation, and DNA sequencing, the bio revolution promises the development of gene-therapies, hyper-personalized medicines, and genetics-based guidance on food and exercise. These tech trends will create new markets but will also raise important ethical questions. “Organizations need to assess their biological quotient (BQ)—the extent to which they understand biological science and its implications. They should then sort out the resources they need to allocate to biological technologies and whether to integrate those into their existing research and development or partner with science-based start-ups”
Developments in materials science have the potential to transform multiple market sectors. Such materials include graphene—a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice configuration, which is around 200 times stronger than steel, despite its incredible thinness. It’s also an efficient conductor and promises to revolutionize semiconductor performance. Another is molybdenum disulfide—nanoparticles that are already being used in flexible electronics. “By changing the economics of a wide range of products and services, next-generation materials with significantly higher efficiency in many as-yet-untouched application areas may well change industry economics and reconfigure companies within them.”
Future of Cleantech Trends
Renewable energy, cleaner transport, energy-efficient buildings, and sustainable water consumption are at the heart of cleantech trends. As the costs associated with cleantech fall, their use becomes more widespread and their disruption is felt across a growing number of industries. “Companies must keep pace with emerging business-building opportunities by designing operational improvement programs relating to technology development, procurement, manufacturing and cost reduction.”
The key lesson from all these trends is that we’re entering an era of continual and rapid evolution in which multiple tech trends feed into each other to deliver massive changes. 10Pearls can help you harness the power of these trends to make your business faster, more efficient, and more accurate. Contact us today.