The fourth industrial revolution is different than previous industrial revolutions because of the interaction and convergence between multiple technology trends simultaneously. This article lists the ten most important technology trends driving the fourth Industrial Revolution. These trends will change how we live and do business forever.
These 10 Tech Trends Will Transform Our World
Trend 1: Ubiquitous computing
Computers are everywhere these days: in our pockets and on our wrists, as well as in our cars and household appliances.
As computing power has increased, the size of microchips in computers has decreased, we have become more used to computers and smaller devices becoming more common. The average smartphone is now more powerful than supercomputers 10 years ago. Quantum computers will likely be the next major leap in computing power. These computers are so powerful and fast that they can do new, impossible tasks that traditional computers cannot.
Trend 2: Smart and connected… everything
You are probably familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a network of devices such as smart TVs, smartwatches and smart thermostats. The IoT is a growing number of connected intelligent devices and objects capable of acquiring and transmitting data.
Everything that can be connected in the future will be. This is not just about devices and products, although that is a crucial consideration for businesses. It also includes the places in which we live and do business. Smart, connected offices and factories will be everywhere. Our spaces around us will have the ability to see what’s happening and take action accordingly.
Trend 3: Datafication in our world
The IoT and ubiquitous computing are huge contributors to the massive amount of data generated every day. However, machine-generated data is not the only thing that’s being generated. Humans are also creating massive amounts of data every day, and this trend shows no sign of slowing.
Businesses can use data to improve their products and services, increase decision-making, and create new revenue streams. However, businesses need to be aware of data security and privacy risks.
Trend 4: Artificial intelligence (AI)
All the data generated is a key enabler for AI. This has been especially true in “conversational AI,” which has seen incredible growth in the past few years. In 2020, smart speakers responded to 100 billion voice commands. That’s 75 percent more than 2019 – all thanks AI.
Businesses should realize that as we interact with machines more intelligently, customers will expect all kinds of products and services to have some form of AI capability.
Trend 5: Extended Reality (XR)
XR stands for a broad range of immersive technologies, including virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality.
XR is now used in many industries. It is being used to provide more personalized, immersive experiences for employees and customers. Customers can now digitally place a sofa in their living rooms to experience its beauty. Employees can also learn in new immersive ways.
My belief is that the future will see us experiencing the world in a blurred space between real and digital worlds. XR is only going amplify this shift. This is why companies must start to think about how they can accommodate it and create immersive experiences that are accessible to their employees and customers.
Trend 6: Digital trust
Digital trust refers to the trust users place in organizations to create a safe digital world where transactions and interactions can be made securely, easily, and safely.
Many, including myself, believe that blockchain and distributed ledger tech will play a key role in increasing trust in digital transactions and making them more secure. However, there is still much to be done before the technology becomes accessible to all organizations. Many businesses may find the solution in partnering with entrepreneurs and innovators who are really making a mark in the blockchain space.
Trend 7: 3D printing
3D printing materials can now be almost any material: metal, plastic, powder, concrete or liquid. It is possible to 3D print entire houses.
This technology has the potential for revolutionizing manufacturing. 3D printing allows manufacturers to create products that are difficult to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. It also streamlines the manufacturing process and creates highly customized products, even unique ones, while reducing waste and costs.
Trend 8: Synthetic biology and gene-editing
Gene editing has particular benefits when “bad” genes have been identified – genes that could pose a threat to the health of an organism and its descendants. These harmful traits can theoretically be modified with the help of gene-editing technology. Gene editing could make it possible to fight disease in humans, animals and crops.
Although gene-editing tools are available to make minor changes to DNA, synthetic biology involves putting long strands together and inserting them into an organism. The organism could behave differently or develop entirely new capabilities.
What does this have to do with business? My belief is that synthetic biology and gene editing could dramatically change the way we produce products. Imagine exciting new products like cultured meat. It’s easy for us to see how transformative these technologies can be.
Trend 9: Materials science and nanotechnology
Materials science, the discipline of studying and manipulating material, and nanotechnology (the science and science of controlling matter at the molecular and atomic levels) have made incredible progress. These include tiny computer chips, smartphones displays, lithium-ion batteries and stain-resistant fabrics.
This trend is expected to bring major advances in electric car batteries and solar energy, as well as other advancements that will improve the world.
Trend 10: Energy solutions for the future
Although nuclear fusion is often hailed as the solution to the future’s energy problems, it has a problem. It requires more energy than it produces. We may soon see a nuclear-fusion reactor produce a net power output, thanks to advancements in magnet technology.
Green hydrogen, which is a zero-carbon alternative to traditional “grey hydrogen”, is another exciting option. Electrolysis is used to convert water into hydrogen and water. This process used a lot of electricity in the past. Green hydrogen was not feasible. Renewable electricity sources could change this. As more renewable electricity becomes available, this excess energy could theoretically be used to power the electrolysis water.
These trends have one thing in common: We are entering an era where multiple tech trends merge and feed into each others to bring about huge changes. This means that the days of incremental tech updates are over for businesses. Continuous change is the future.