Every year we see numerous innovations across fields that have the potential to make our lives better. However, disruptors are those that not just mark a marginal improvement in a technique or a process but tend to replace the status quo altogether. We look back at the past year and what it portends for the future of business, productivity, and society as a whole.
Artificial Intelligence has over the past year evolved from being a niche technology to being a mainstream part of our lives, directly and indirectly, impacting our everyday routines in numerous ways. Companies are moving away from traditional workforces to efficient and AI-empowered tools and processes. AI and Machine learning are being used to reduce administrative and organizational tasks that would take human workforces millions of man-hours to achieve. This doesn’t mean that AI is replacing the human workforce instead the trend is towards empowering and improving the efficiency of humans, much as the Internet did in the 1990s. Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are introducing open-source AI systems that are making it inexpensive and more accessible to developers and businesses around the world.
5G technology is expected to be commercially available by the first half of 2019. It promises high speed, enormous capacity, IoT capability, and much more. The most revolutionary feature of the new 5G network is that it can prioritize different types of the data streaming and handle the estimated 8.4 Billion IoT connected devices in use worldwide. 5G’s ability to process and manage data simultaneously will create a host of new opportunities in virtual reality, augmented reality, gaming and more.
A digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service. It’s a simulation model that updates and changes in accordance with real-world assets. The digital twins will enable better decision making and improve understanding of the state of the system. By implementing digital twins, organizations can gain a better insight into product performance and improve customer services. A perfect use case of the Digital twins is in the automobile sector where a virtual model of a real-world vehicle is which will help in analyzing the overall vehicle’s performance, thus helping provide proactive and customized service for the customer.
Blockchain and it’s tokenized currency was one of the most talked-about technology innovations in the past year. The bubble worthy valuations aside, the underlying technology is a fairly simple concept. Blockchains are basically a decentralized network, allowing users to transact directly, peer to peer, with no middle man or organization required to facilitate the transaction. This distributed ledger is maintained and simultaneously updated by millions of users around the world minimizing the chance of fudging or manipulation. This revolutionary concept of a ‘zero trust’ mechanism can change how digital payments or data is transferred in fundamental ways. The technology could be the beginning of a new kind of ‘internet’ or at least change the financial space forever similar to what Paypal did in the late 90s.
Augmented reality really took off in the past year and became mainstream with the mobile gaming phenomenon Pokemon Go. Even though catching digital critters was a lot of fun for everyone, it is just a fraction of what AR is actually capable of. AR technologies may change how we interact and interface with technology forever. The day isn’t far when the humble physical ‘screen’ becomes a thing of the past. AR technology gives us the opportunity to create a world that has been augmented with ‘contextual’ information making search engines in the conventional sense redundant.
Cognitive Technology is a field of computer science that imitates functions of the human brain through various means. Cognitive technologies are able to perform tasks like machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and robotics. The development of new-age chatbots that are more conversational and personalized care based on such cognitive technologies. As more and more people start interacting with and using these technologies, they grow more powerful and accurate, helping improve the accuracy and efficiency of search engines.
The era of universal tablets, medicines and dosages are coming to an end. Advanced diagnostic tools are helping create personalized medicines that are customized for improved patient adherence. The era of the one size fits all approach is coming to an end and more targeted and customized approaches are taking their place to achieve better patient outcomes. Novel technologies such as genome sequencing, wearable technology, biological data, and informatics are ushering in the revolution in personalized medical care.
Quantum technology is providing new scope for information processing. Recently, quantum technologies have been made available for the public on the cloud. Quantum computing AI applications will lead to a large transformative impact on many industries, as they can provide solutions and answers to the problems that supercomputers couldn’t fix before. Major applications of quantum computing are expected in healthcare, trading, and in cybersecurity.
Virtual assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri have become mainstream over the past year. The wide uptake of such devices and their user-friendliness has made everyday lives of its users easier and more convenient as well as the boom of smart automation and the smart home industry. Virtual assistants create a direct link between brands and consumers giving them a treasure trove of data to personalize services, advertisements, and sales.
Financial Technology (FinTech) refers to the use of modern tech such as Mobile apps, AI, Blockchain, ML and more in making the delivery of financial services more user-friendly. Fintech companies have been used to automate insurance, trading, investing and risk management, improving the efficiency and customer convenience in the banking and financial services industry that even a few years ago was notoriously resistant to change and modernization.