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New technologies

What is hype and where is the opportunity?

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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:

  • Where hype is being translated into real business benefits
  • Which applications have the potential to drive profit – today and in 2025
  • The key barriers to adopting the technologies.

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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.

3d printing
wearable technologies
M2M communication
advanced battery technology
artificial intelligence
augmented reality
human enhancement
composite materials
3d printing

3D printing

Additive manufacturing process, which creates a three dimensional solid object from a digital file by layering down successive layers of material.

wearable technologies

Wearable technologies

Electronic technologies incorporated into items of clothing and accessories providing sensory and communication features for a two-way data exchange.

M2M communication

M2M communication

Ability of networked devices to exchange information and to perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.

advanced battery technology

Advanced battery technology

Progression of the current battery technology resulting in significantly higher energy density, storage capacity and longer battery life.

artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

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.

augmented reality

Augmented reality

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.

human enhancement

Human enhancement

Endeavour to temporarily or permanently restore or improve cognitive and physical human performance through the use of technological means.

composite materials

Composite materials

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.

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The best bets in 2015 are not necessarily shaping the future until 2025

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.

‘Future stars’ 2025 with increased importance from a low base

future stars digram 200x300 Artificial intelligence
future stars digram - Augmented reality
future stars digram - Biochips
future stars digram - Human enhancement

‘New normal’ technologies 2025 with decreased importance

future stars digram 200x300-3D-printing
Future stars digram Composite materials
future stars digram - Machine to machine
future stars digram - Wearable technologies

*Based on the number of answers

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The high potentials have yet to prove their ability to deliver business 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.

Diagram Transparent
diagram key

The barriers to adopting new technology

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.

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Key steps to realising the benefits of new technology

To distinguish the hype from reality, business leaders need to:

  • Understand how the picture will change over the next 10 years
  • Invite technology ventures and technology experts into the company
  • Seize opportunities quickly
  • Engage with customers
  • Involve employees.

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