Advancements in technology evoke a range of mixed emotions in people from all strata of society. Some consider it as the fuel of progress for modern civilization, others consider it a great evil that is slowly diminishing our humanity. Whatever the stance, the fact is that each year brings about a new wave of disruptions to existing technologies. These trends propel the future, where business owners, investors and even households must evolve and adapt to the changes at a pace matching the trends or face gradual irrelevance.
In the last decade, eight major technologies have taken up the “disruptor” mantle, changing operations, businesses and markets around the world. These are cloud, analytics, cognitive, digital reality, blockchain, modernized legacy-core systems, modern cyber-risk and business technologies, according to the Tech Trends 2019 report by Deloitte.
These are the macro forces forming the backbone of past and present technology innovations, here are a few examples.
Manufacturing Technology: Collaborative Robots
New technologies continue to create ripples in the manufacturing industry, levelling the productivity field for businesses of all sizes. Industry 4.0 now consists of collaborative robots or “cobots” that are designed to work alongside humans on production floors for tasks like assembly, machine repairing, predictive maintenance and quality control. The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) predicts that the cobot industry will reach a size of $34 billion by 2026, according to an article by NIST.
Calibration Technology: Increased Regulations
We cannot imagine advancement without the use of robust tools and equipment. Manufacturers, especially those in the medical, pharmaceutical, military and aerospace industries, cannot risk “false positives.” Every technician has to be proficiency-tested so that all technologies meet requirements, the lack of which could endanger lives, according to an expert at Precision Calibration Systems. The sector has been increasingly brought under regulatory controls as a result, in the past few years. Labs need to be accredited and organizations like the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program regularly audit labs to ensure compliance. The market for calibration equipment was valued at $833.1 million in 2018, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2019 to 2027, according to a report by FMI.
Agricultural Technology: Precision Ag
Precision Ag or Precision Agriculture is expected to reach a market size of $43.4 billion by 2024, according to Hexa reports. This involves a ton of technologies that can help small farmers particularly to optimize their output and become more precise in matters of livestock and crop management. Sensors, GPS, UAV drones, semi/autonomous vehicles and robotics are only some examples of this kind of tech. An example of its application would be farmers being able to leverage sensor data and understand which nutrients the crops are lacking in. The goal of Precision Ag is to make these technologies simple, affordable and readily available for small farmers.
Scientific Lab Technologies: Data Science
The “lab of the future” rides on tremendous developments in the field of data science. Data repositories are shifting from the physical world to virtual systems, from freezers to high-capacity servers. Electronic lab notebooks are being adopted by research organizations for seamless documentation that can be viewed and shared from anywhere across the globe, at any time. In pre-clinical testing, scientists are now using methods that can help reduce the number of research subjects. Advancements in bio-informatics are helping them identify animals that have a genetically similar constitution as human beings and have less intensive environmental requirements, so as to allow faster studies at a lower cost. Through flow-chip technologies, billions of compounds each day are being processed by equipment that can fit in the palm of one’s hand.
It is impossible to predict what the future looks like and these technologies won’t make a difference if we continue to erode our planet’s resources and biodiversity. Hopefully, new tech will show the way to building a better planet.