Technological change

A wave of new technologies is emerging. Many of these technologies have already generated a great deal of discussion. Examples include the implementation of artificial intelligence, application of nanotechnology, utilisation of the possibilities involving big data and the roll-out of 3D printing.

No future visions but concrete investment decisions

We are now on the verge of these technologies becoming visible all around us. It is therefore no longer sufficient to merely sketch future visions, but concrete investment decisions must now be taken. This also means that organisations must already possess or must quickly develop an understanding of the opportunities and threats that these technologies bring with them.

Consequently, we are not just concerned with immediate opportunities, such as those provided by 3D printing for the retail and transport sectors. It is readily apparent all around us that successful organisations are aptly capable of deploying new technologies in order to improve results in several areas.

Eleven technological breakthroughs

We have investigated eleven technological breakthroughs that, in the coming five to ten years, will have substantial impact on organisations, consumers and markets where organisations and consumers interact.

These include: big data, cloud computing, DNA sequencing, energy storage, advanced robot technology, internet of things, artificial intelligence, mobile internet, mobile payments, nanotechnology and 3D-printing.

These technologies:

  • increase the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations by means of far-reaching automation;
  • better match market supply and demand and facilitate transactions by more transparency and predictive ability;
  • increase the influence of consumers on business processes and final products / services by having then take responsibility for (parts of) business processes; or
  • improve the general well-being of people by making new products and services fully available.

These areas of impact will be briefly discussed below.

Automated organisations

Technology makes it possible for organisations to automate a large number of business processes. In this way, labour intensive and therefore expensive as well as error-sensitive processes are replaced by means of technology. Technologies that make this increasingly possible include advanced robot technology, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Facilitating markets

Various technologies can be used to enable markets to function more efficiently. They make it easier for suppliers and consumers to find one another and execute transactions between each other. This not only involves bringing together products / services and the needs that now exist among consumers, but also estimating future needs and requirements on the basis of information that is becoming available in increasingly more accurate and reliable forms. New technologies that make this possible include the internet of things, big data and mobile payments.

Influential consumers

Technology is enabling consumers to assume increasingly more of the duties and responsibilities of organisations. The value chains of companies can, to an ever stronger extent, be taken over in whole or in part by the consumer, this no matter if they, for instance, involve design, financing or production. Technologies that make this increasingly possible include mobile internet, energy storage and 3D printing.

New products and services

Two new technologies in particular will take care of a large number of products and services that were, up to now, considered to be impossible. With the aid of nanotechnology and DNA sequencing, we will be able to produce better materials and products for affordable prices. The areas of application are very broad, extending from health care to air and space travel, from agriculture to electronics.

Technological change

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Mark Kuijper

Mark Kuijper

Technology, Media and Telecom Industry Leader, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 341 81 83

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