The convergence and interaction among multiple technology trends makes the Fourth Industrial Revolution unique from previous industrial revolutions. This article will list the ten biggest technology trends that are driving the fourth industrial revolution. These are trends that I believe will forever change the way we do business and live life.
Trend1: Ubiquitous Computing
Computers are everywhere nowadays: in our pockets, on the wrists, in cars, and even in our homes.
As processor power has increased and computer microchips have shrunk in size, we quickly grew accustomed to computers and devices becoming smaller, lighter and cheaper. As an example, today’s smartphone is 10 times more powerful than supercomputers ten years ago. In the future, quantum computers will likely be the next great leap in computing power. These computers are so powerful and fast, they could be used for tasks previously unimaginable by traditional computers.
Trend2: Smart and connected everything
It’s likely that you are familiar with the Internet of Things from devices such as smart TVs and smartwatches. The IoT refers to the growing number of intelligent, connected objects and devices that can gather and transmit data.
Anything that can connect in the future is possible. The future will not only be about products and devices, although this is an important consideration for businesses. But it will also include the spaces where we live and work. The smart factories and offices, as well as entire smart cities, will become increasingly connected and will be able to monitor and respond accordingly.
Trend #3: Datafication in the world
Both ubiquitous computing and IoT are major contributors to the huge amount of data being generated each day. In addition to the machine-generated data we also generate massive amounts of data daily through our activities. This trend is not slowing down.
It’s possible for businesses to use the data to create better products and services and improve business processes. Businesses must be aware of the data risks, especially in terms of security and privacy.
Trend #4: Artificial intelligence (AI).
All that data is being generated is a core enabler of AI. It has made amazing leaps in recent years, especially when it comes “conversational AI.” Smart speakers answered 100,000,000 voice requests in 2020 – 75% more than in 2019, all thanks to AI.
Businesses can take away from this that customers will increasingly expect products and services with AI capabilities as their interactions with machines improve.
Trend5: Extended Reality (XR
XR refers to the entire spectrum of immersive technologies that includes virtual reality, augmented realities, and mixed reality.
XR was originally known for its immersive gaming capabilities. However, today it is used across many industries to create more personal, immersive experiences for customers as well as employees. Customers can now virtually test out products, such as placing a new sofa into their living room and seeing how it looks. And employees can learn in new, immersive ways.
In the future, I believe that our worldview will be increasingly blurred between the digital and real worlds. XR will only accelerate this transition. It is imperative that companies start thinking about how to accommodate this and create immersive experiences for customers and employees.
Trend #6: Digital trust
Digital trust is the trust that users place in organizations to make a digital world safe and secure, where transactions can be done safely, securely, quickly, and easily.
Many people, myself included, believe Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are key to increasing trust in digital transactions and making them more secure. The technology still has a lot of work to do before it is truly accessible to all organizations. The answer for many businesses lies in partnering up with the many entrepreneurs and new innovators in the blockchain space.
Trend7: 3D printing
3D printing is now possible with almost any material. These materials include plastic, metals, concrete, powder, concrete, liquids, and even chocolate. You can 3D print entire homes.
This could transform manufacturing. 3D printing is a way for manufacturers to create custom products and reduce waste.
Trend8: Synthetic biology and gene-editing
Gene editing can be a very useful tool when bad genes are identified. This could mean that genes could cause serious health problems for an organism or its descendents. These potentially harmful characteristics can be changed by the new gene-editing technology. Gene editing may be able to bring about some major advances in the fight against diseases in humans, animals, crops.
Although gene-editing tools may be used to make minor modifications to DNA, synthetic biology is the process of combining long strands of DNA and inserting them in an organism. This can result in a different organism or completely new abilities.
What does all this have to do with the businesses? Synthetic biology and gene editing are likely to dramatically alter how we produce products. These technologies are transformative, think of cultured meat and other exciting products.
Trend9: Nanotechnology, materials science
Materials science (the study and manipulation of materials) and nanotechnology have provided incredible breakthroughs, including tiny computer chips, smartphone displays and lithium-ion battery packs, as well as stain-resistant fabric.