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5 Technologies That Are Transforming Industries

Peek into the technologies that are transforming industries across the globe.

18Sep

5 Technologies that are Transforming Industries

Want to know which technologies are going to transform industries across the globe? Here are six to look for in the coming year.

The Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT), 'a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data,' has the greatest potential in retail, say global tech leaders. In the 2015 Global Technology Innovation Survey by KPMG, tech leaders predicted the greatest potential revenue growth for IoT in the next three years is in consumer and retail markets (22%). This is predicted to be a major transformation in the lives of consumers as their everyday objects become “smart” and start talking to one another. TVs have already headed this direction and there are many more to follow.

Advanced Robotics. Another area where technology is causing disruption right now is the field of advanced robotics. Mckinsey writes that these robots 'with enhanced ‘senses,’ dexterity, and intelligence - can take on tasks once thought too delicate or uneconomical to automate.' 

The impact of the increased ability of robotics has the potential to disrupt areas such as manufacturing, surgery, service, human augmentation (think Luke Skywalker’s artificial hand), and personal/home robotics. One example of recent implementation of robotics in manufacturing in Asia has the International Labor Organization speculating about how advanced robotics will affect low-wage, labor-intensive sectors such as textiles, clothing, and footwear. In a press release by the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities, they report that manufacturers have already been 'incrementally introducing robotic automation to improve productivity, quality, consistency, and workplace safety,' and that current trends reveal robotics being deployed alongside higher skilled workers rather than replace them. However, in labor-intensive sectors such as textiles, clothing, and footwear, the lower skilled jobs are vulnerable to disruptive technologies and could result in fewer exports and a lower GDP as jobs could be brought back to Europe and the U.S.

3D Printing. Harvard Business Revenue addresses the 3D printer revolution with reports from PwC that 3D printing is nearing adoption rates of 20%, which is considered mainstream. There’s a large potential for how 3D printing impacts a business’ offerings, operations, and the new ecosystems developing around this new technology. A possible disruption this could cause is in the supply chain and manufacturing sectors. Forbes reports that, 'higher-income countries would be less reliant on production in low-wage areas for cheap manufacturing.' Items could be made on an 'as needed' basis instead of mass produced in a country such as China. This disrupts the established manufacturing and distribution processes for goods in the world.

Autonomous or near autonomous vehicles (AVs). Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles have the ability to change a wide variety of industries. McKinsey reports that the industrial sector could see the first changes with the adoption of AVs. AVs could be driven on farms, in mines, and in other controlled environments. The processes become more streamlined and reduce labor costs. 

Automation of Knowledge Work. Automation of knowledge work is also transforming every industry across the globe. Intelligent systems enhance what humans can do, making their jobs faster, easier, and better. Something like people counting, for instance, can be automated with intelligent software. A surveillance system with intelligent software can take unstructured data (pictures of people entering the park) and turn it into structured data (numbers). McKinsey reports the potential economic impact for automation of knowledge work (intelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks) would be between 5.2-6.7 trillion dollars.

These are just a small fraction of technologies that are transforming the landscape of business today. Each will disrupt their sector and, in many cases, the way we live our lives. 

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