Several important tech trends are driving the transformations that herald we’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Business leaders must know and implement these trends in order to remain competitive in the future. Here we review the five biggest technology trends in business that deserve your immediate attention.
There are several important tech trends that are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the next transformative era in business characterized by a combination of cyber-physical systems. Businesses must pay attention and take advantage of the technology in order to remain viable in the coming years. Here are the five biggest technology trends in business.
Big data brought about by digitization is the fuel for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It's critical to many of the other technology trends in business, including artificial intelligence, the intelligence of things and autonomous robots. The more data you have, the easier it is for machine learning algorithms to find patterns and discover relationships that weren't obvious before. Once data is analyzed, you can better predict future outcomes as well as make decisions based on facts.
While data isn't new, the unprecedented digitization of our world and the fact that nearly everything leaves a digital footprint in its wake is what has caused an explosion of data. Data is growing so fast that 90% of the data available in the world today was generated in just the last two years.
Today, businesses can use this extraordinary access to data to inform business decisions, better understand customers and trends, deliver more intelligent products and services, improve internal operations and create additional revenue. Those who ignore or fail to access data will no longer remain competitive or relevant.
Businesses wouldn't be able to capitalize on all this data if it weren't for the increase in computing power that allows companies to store and use data. There are several computing technology advancements that contribute to better storage and faster analysis of data. One of these is the cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft offer to companies that host all the computing tools businesses need in the cloud. On the opposite end of the spectrum, edge computing carries out some or all of the processing right where the data is collected. Another technology trend that powers the success of business is the fifth generation of cellular network technology—5G. This is the backbone of our online society and a smarter world. Finally, quantum computers will catapult computing power exponentially, which will unlock new possibilities for applications that previously would have been impossible and broadens what technology can do for us.
Machines can already do so much for us—read, write, see, hear, speak and even be creative. AI isn't just infiltrating our everyday lives; it's going to transform our businesses and industries. This reality is recognized by the 73% of senior executives who see AI, machine learning and automation as important areas to maintain or increase investment. This is a trend that businesses can’t afford to overlook. Companies use AI to develop smarter products, services and make business processes more intelligent.
Nearly all everyday objects are becoming smarter—watches, clothes, devices, appliances and more. First, when they were connected to the internet, it was known as the Internet of Things, and now when artificial intelligence is added, these everyday objects become intelligent. This wide assortment of objects is responsible for creating a lot of the data growth we are experiencing. Just like the other technology trends we've discussed, the intelligence of things offers huge benefits to the business world. From making and selling smart products that can provide unprecedented insights into how the items are used by consumers to generating new income streams as well as optimizing operations, businesses should pay attention to how they can leverage the intelligence of things in their business.
The final tech trend in business I want to highlight is autonomous robots. Robots are commonplace in manufacturing facilities but are also making their way into our homes and collaborating with us in the office. The benefit of robots for humans is that they can take over dull, dirty, dangerous and expensive jobs, so humans are free to do other tasks. Autonomous vehicles are another form of "robot" that will be transformative for businesses. Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles will likely transform transportation, delivery services and even the military. Robots don't even have to be physical entities. In robotic process automation (RBA) software robots automate business processes. There are many applications for this tech trend for nearly every business in every industry.
Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.