Many new technologies are emerging at the moment, driving huge expectations and massive change in business – but fairly unexplored challenges lie in recognising whether this is just hype or really changing the way organisations operate.
We surveyed business leaders across a range of sectors to understand the technology that drives value among 10 emerging technologies to identify:
Our study highlights how media drives expectations, how understanding of technologies determines R&D spend and which added value is dominantly expected from each technology. These criteria create a ranking for the 10 technologies, from 3D printing as number one through to biochips as number 10.
Additive manufacturing process, which creates a three dimensional solid object from a digital file by layering down successive layers of material.
Electronic technologies incorporated into items of clothing and accessories providing sensory and communication features for a two-way data exchange.
Ability of networked devices to exchange information and to perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.
Advanced battery technology
Progression of the current battery technology resulting in significantly higher energy density, storage capacity and longer battery life.
Computer systems and robots able to learn and to make decisions based on human intelligence rather than programme routine.
Protection of digital data either stored on computer systems or transmitted via the internet or other computer networks.
Real-time combined view of the real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene generated by the computer that augments the scene with additional visual, acoustic or other information.
Endeavour to temporarily or permanently restore or improve cognitive and physical human performance through the use of technological means.
Materials made from two or more constituents with significantly different physical or chemical properties.
Microchips that use the physical or chemical properties of its biological environment (e.g. proteins of a living organism) to perform the functions of an electronic computer (such as data storage and processing).
Read our new report to find out which technologies can increase your organisation's profits.
The four top emerging mainstream technologies which offer more than hype today are: 3D printing, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, composite materials and wearable technologies. Equally, the value versus mindshare (hype) analysis suggests there are four hidden champions: advanced battery technology, artificial intelligence, biochips and human enhancement.
The general importance of the top technologies sees significant change until 2025. The greatest leaps between today and 2025 reveals four future stars and high potentials which will increase from a low base – artificial intelligence, augmented reality, biochips and human enhancement – while 3D printing, composite materials, wearable technologies and M2M communication will be considered the ‘new normal’ until 2025, but will have experienced strong growth.
Looking ahead, the stars of 2025 will have the potential to enhance revenue and will also see a step change in expectation from where they are in 2015. Examples of this include new drivers of revenue such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and biochips and human enhancement are also seen as high potential but carry a high risk of falling short of expectations. At the same time, all of the 2015 ‘emerging mainstream technologies’ convert into cash cows. Examples for such high revenue but lower expectation technologies are 3D printing, wearable technologies or M2M communications.
Revenue enhancement is seen as the dominant driver of ‘future value’, while expectation change is chosen to be the dominant dimension of ‘future potential’.
Businesses today should execute projects that are in the current top ‘emerging technologies’ like 3D printing, M2M communication, wearable technologies and composite materials. Simultaneously they should pay attention to the 2025 stars and develop a business plan to leverage these technologies while determining the feasibility and relevance of biochips and human enhancement.
Surprisingly, the key barrier to the success and broader application of new technologies lie in their incremental lack of maturity – even for 3D printing and advanced battery technology with greatest application potential.
Other challenges lie in the need to develop new infrastructure to enable M2M communications or political and legal barriers around developments in encryption and human enhancement.
These hurdles make it harder for organisations to identify the technologies that will drive profits for them.
To distinguish the hype from reality, business leaders need to: