Stepping into a New Era of Technology: Where Speed Meets Purpose
The evolution of technology in the last decade has been incredibly multi-dimensional. Yet, when it comes to the speed of technology and digital adoption, the last 18 months have beaten expectations like no other period before. Our recent research report and survey, “Business Transformation After the Digital Tipping Point’, in collaboration with Corinium Intelligence reveals this with certainty. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said that they were three to four years ahead of where they would otherwise have been in their digital and cloud adoption, 17 percent were two years ahead, and 30 percent had accelerated their digital journey by a year.
What businesses have discovered is that transformative change with technology is neither formidable to plan nor difficult to implement if there is a strong motivation to thrive.
A digital-only world powered by the convergence of technologies
Leading the pack of re-imagined technologies is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Expected to add USD 15.7trillion in global economic value by 2030, AI is poised to bring about a positive convergence of multiple technologies in unpredictable ways. Partnering with data and analytics, AI technologies will power intelligence-led decision-making to boost revenues and profits. AI-enabled robotic processes and the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive hyperautomation to its next level and achieve business growth and resilience. It will enable data democratization and bring tech-led innovation into the hands of more people. OpenAI, a research group founded by Elon Musk, recently launched Codex, a programming model that can generate code from spoken human language. ‘Everything-as-a-service’ and ‘no-code’ interfaces will come to the fore, and companies will deploy AI and IoT without having to own servers or proprietary cognitive code. It is therefore not surprising that businesses have raised their optimism levels regarding AI from 72 percent to 92 percent.
The emergence of the metaverse is another exciting development. By bringing together the physical and digital worlds as a co-existing realm. It will simulate work and social interactions in the real world with amazing accuracy, while immersive experience devices will provide tactile feedback. This is what Ericsson is working towards – developing the ‘internet of senses’ through virtual experiences.
The technology impact on industries
The digital economy will impact different sectors differently with opportunities for innovation.
Manufacturing will become an information-connected industry of data, processes, people and services. 3D printing will step beyond fabrication techniques to enhance R&D capabilities, production tooling, and end-product customization. Volkswagen uses 3D prints for jigs, fixtures, and tools, while Jabil Healthcare leverages them for proof-of-concept pressure-sensing heart catheters. Further, nanoscale 3D printing will fabricate minute structures 1,000 times faster, while 4D printing will move into flexible products.
We will also see smarter cobots being used, such as Ford’s cobots in their Cologne paint shop that sand the car body surface in just 35 seconds.
The healthcare industry will deploy immersive technologies – virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) – for clinical diagnostics, pain management, rehabilitation therapy, and surgery planning and simulation. Microsoft’s Mesh platform provides a cross-AR / VR meeting space to collaborate in real-time. Multi-experience analytics and precision health predictive capabilities will predict possibilities of, and interventions for, disease prevention.
In financial services, Blockchain and Fintech are already transforming existing business models. AI, ML, automation and robotics will create new growth opportunities. AR will create improved customer experiences. That is why Deutsche Bank uses it for marketing and Westpac New Zealand for account management. In insurance, digital insurance platforms (DIP) will deliver capabilities for innovative analytics, products, and distribution channels by improving speed-to-market.
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In retail, big data, AI, IoT, AR, and VR will enable a better understanding of consumer preferences, while computer vision will transform experiences in mobile and physical retail. This sector needs to quickly adopt the right technologies to integrate eCommerce and mobile shopping systems for re-imagined omnichannel experiences, lest they lose the advantage gained during the pandemic.
Media and telecommunications, which have been seeing low growth in the past few years will have to look at digital disruption as a ‘do-or-die’ opportunity to re-establish themselves through innovative offerings. The energy and utility industry must leverage big data, IoT, digital business technology platforms, and software-defined assets to enable intelligent operations and create new energy provisioning models. The education domain must continue to merge mobility, cloud, and video to provide a ‘connected experience’ across different delivery platforms, leveraging VR, AR, and AI. With the future of work changing, this industry needs to prepare students for the new future of work.
Talent – bringing it all together
Clearly, technology is set to revolutionize business and the economy. Yet, technology and business transformation can happen only if we pay close attention to talent transformation. Talent transformation goes beyond just finding the right skills and numbers. It calls for investments to:
- Make senior executives understand the technologies that drive their organization’s business
- Focus on the development of top talent and adaptable learners
- Upskill and reskill the existing workforce through connected learning journeys that blend the best of training and on-the-job opportunities
So, will technology be the glorious legacy that COVID-19 leaves behind for business? Our answer may not be an unambiguous ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but one fact is clear. Technology will revolutionize every aspect of our economy. It is in our hands to shape this potential into opportunities and actual impact. To do so, however, businesses, governments, and society must join hands to create ‘purpose-driven
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