It is actually about technologies that already get “the larger portion of investment funding, present the larger number of patent applications and generate the largest implications as to how and where to compete and the abilities needed to accelerate performance”.
The first of these technological trends is automation and next level process virtualization, that combines robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digital twins and 3-D or 4-D printing to speed up routine tasks, improve operational efficiency and accelerate marketing time. For example, it is expected that by 2022 there will be 600000 industrial robot installations and that 70% of manufacturers will use digital twins regularly; also, by 2025 there would be 50 thousand million connected IIoT devices and, by 2030, 10% of manufacturing processes would be replaced by additive manufacturing. This trend could have strong implications in the future of work. And it will see its first applications in the automotive sector, manufacture, the public sector and air and space industry, among others.
The second trend has to do with the future of connectivity: it combines fifth generation broadband cellular nets (basically wireless 5G) and Internet of Things (IoT) to allow faster connectivity in longer distances, with exponentially faster downloads and almost no latency. For example, from today to 2030, it is expected that high band 5G or half reach low band will cover up to 80% of the world population.
With particularly dynamic uses in telecommunications, transportation, sports and entertainment, manufacturing and retail sales sectors, ultra fast Internet connectivity will support the creation of new services and commercial models linked to sensor enabled intelligent products, it will generate new value chain offers (predictive services and augmented intelligence), and will allow companies to offer improved experiences to their clients.
The third trend brings together cloud computing with Edge Computing to help companies step computer power towards the perimeter of their webs, which will allow them to reach devices that handle large flows of data with much smaller latency, in a larger number of remote locations, and accelerate decision making with advanced analysis on demand. This trend will help companies increase their speed and agility, reduce complexity and save. By 2022, 70% of companies will use hybrid or multicloud technologies, tools and management processes. This trend will have powerful applications in public services companies, education and manufacturing.
The fourth upcoming trend approaches next generation computing and reflects the quick focus of quantum and neuromorphic computing. The latter implies the development of specialized microchips (application specific integrated circuits, ASIC). This model promises to reduce development times for chemical and pharmaceutical products with simulations, accelerate autonomous vehicles with quantum artificial intelligence (AI) and transform cibersecurity. It enables a larger democratization of services impulsed by AI. And its initial uses will be seen in urban logistics, machine learning acceleration and adaptative robotics.
Applied artificial intelligence
The fifth megatrend is about applied AI, and supposes the implementation of algorhythms to train machines, with the purpose of having them recognize patterns, interpret them and act on them. Boosted by technologies such as computer vision and natural language processing (NLP), this trend promises to improve customer satisfaction through new interfaces and interaction methods. For example, it is estimated that by 2024 more than 50% of user interactions will be supplemented by speech, written word or computer vision algorhythms boosted by AI. Initially, it will be applied for retail sales and for the development of chemical products.
The sixth megatrend has to do with the future of programming and anticipates “2.0 software” (machine written apps, or more concretely by neuronal webs that use machine learning to assist software development). This trend “enables the rapid expansion and diffusion of new applications, rich in data and boosted by AI”, and at first, possible uses in the automotive sector, entertainment and financial services are observed.
The seventh trend refers to trust architecture, that is, “a set of technologies and approaches designed for a world of growing cyber attacks”. These architectures offer structures to verify the trustworthiness of devices as data flows through the webs, APIs, and they could include distributed ledger technologies (DLT), among which are blockchain, and “zero trust security” approaches, to prevent data violations. Their use is expected in advanced industries and retail sales.
Technological trend number 8 is linked to bio revolution, and “reflects a confluence of advances in biological sciences, combined with accelerated development in computing, process automation and AI. It implies an expansion of human comprehension of biological processes at an intracellular level, and an increasing capacity to design molecules and access paths. It will affect industries, ranging from health and agriculture to consumer goods, energy and materials. Some innovations in this field carry profound risks, rooted in biology´s self sufficient, self-replicated and interconnected nature, so they require a serious and sustained debate.
The ninth technological trend is focused on new generation materials – such as graphene and 2-D materials, molybdenum disulphuric nanoparticles, nanomaterials and a range of sensible, lightweight and intelligent materials, which allow new functionality and better performance in the pharmaceutical, energy, transportation, health, semi-conductors and manufacturing industries. Many of these materials are still in investigation phases, whereas others are approaching their commercial potential.
Technological trend number ten refers to the future of clean technologies and focuses on new solutions that approach the growing need for more sustainable energy generation – systems for energy distribution on the web, energy storage systems, carbon neutral energy generation and fusion energy. While these clean technologies descend on the costs curve, they become more disruptive for traditional commercial models. Besides, their advance promises an abundant supply of green energy to sustain exponential technological growth, for example, in high potency computing.
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