Technological progress is not linear. When thinking about the future humans tend to use the past as a guide — this is a huge mistake. Exponential growth over the next 10 years will drive technological development faster than at any other time in history. Conversations about the Singularity and Artificial General Intelligence are important questions for humanity, but the question people want answered today is; how will accelerated technological development impact my business?
As part of our Connected Industries program at Frost & Sullivan, we have looked at the most important technologies through a vertical market lens. Each technology was ranked by its disruptive potential across; agriculture, education, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation. Disruptive potential reflects the technology’s ability to undermine existing business models. This could be via new entrants having a significantly lower cost base or by opening up completely new revenue streams.
Our research suggests that the five most important technologies across all industries will be; general-purpose autonomous robotics, artificial intelligence, the blockchain, 3D printing and drones. These technologies reduce the production and distribution costs for physical goods, in the same way, the Internet reduced the cost of communication and distribution of digital goods.
They will mature different rates depending on the legislative environment and speed of technical innovation especially in deep learning for robotics, AI and drones. By 2025, we expect these 5 technologies to have transformed every industry. Below are a few examples of how technologies will be used in Retail and Healthcare.
- The retail industry will be fundamentally reshaped as the value in physical stores diminishes. Predictive and automated delivery will be the norm. 3D printing services will be offered by many retailers allowing customers to ‘design-and-collect’. These stores will be in neighbourhoods close to the customer. This will reduce the need for physical outlets displaying stock.
- Drones used by retailers will work through networks to deliver products directly to customers’ homes or to a local delivery pad. This will be used extensively by grocery retailers enabling 30 minute delivery in major cities.
- The breakthrough in the adoption will come with advanced end effectors designed with dexterity levels similar to humans. These robots will then replace the majority of non-sales staff in retail, and customer service will slowly turn robotic as natural language customer service improves.
- AI will be able to match supply and demand on a city scale, integrating food production (hydroponics), drones, and customer data to automate food shopping. Data from wearables, smartphones, and connected homes will enable predictive recommendations for optimal nutrition.
- Huge gains are possible in the next 10 years by simply digitizing and collating existing healthcare data. Digitization of healthcare data will enable innovation in software and AI, improving healthcare outcomes. After 2025, gains will be seen in synthetic biology and stem cell usage.
- Drones will find a valuable use-case in emergency and critical care situations. They will also be used in transporting medicines quickly to remote areas.
- Pharmaceutical companies will use wearables and smartphones to increase sample size and reduce costs of clinical trials shortening the time to market period. Apple’s ResearchKit and other platforms will drive adoption.
- Agile robots in hospitals will provide administrative support so doctors/nurses can focus on higher value patient contact and communication.
- AI will initially find use in improved diagnosis and treatment recommendations. As more data is processed through the neural network, personalized diagnosis will become possible. Fitness and wellness providers will use AI and integrate with the public health system to actively manage an individual’s health.
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