December 22, 2016

The Soaring Twenties: Emerging Technologies: IoT, Sensors, Wearables, Imaging, 3D Printers

CIO Strategy Exchange, New York, 2015

This report covers a sparkling assortment of emerging technologies under the umbrella of the Internet of Things: digital wallets, driverless cars, virtual reality, 3D printers, and more. All are currently finding footholds in the marketplace and among CIOSE companies. To start, we asked our membership two questions. The first provides a realistic business context for the second:

  • What factors or opportunities will most impact your company in the next five to ten years: technology, demographics, competition, government, other?
  • Which of these next-generation technologies is your company implementing or seriously evaluating: Internet of Things, smartphones, sensors, wearables, robots, machine vision, drones, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality?

In the first section of the report, CIOSE members find common ground on potentially disruptive business factors with this collective snapshot:

  • Demographics power the most seismic change, particularly as boomers edge towards retirement and millennials flood the workforce. As the first generation inured to life on the digital edge, millennials are driving reformulations of product lines and business models in every sector, from banking to retail, insurance to automobiles, healthcare to Hollywood. While catering to their iconoclastic preferences is a top priority for CIOSE members of all stripes, some find equal opportunity in the booming senior market.
  • Competition always matters. Large enterprises have broadened their lenses beyond traditional antagonists to focus on new entrants, including digital opportunists and energetic interlopers from adjacent spaces.
  • Government is an ever-present concern, particularly for heavily regulated business sectors. Cyber-threats create a new dynamic. A diverse CIOSE crowd hopes the Feds will take the lead in this arena. Without protection from well-funded hackers, glowing prospects for emerging technologies and IoT could be compromised.
  • Emerging technologies are more prevalent across the membership than anticipated. In this chapter, we quickly revisit Big Data—covered extensively in the last CIOSE reportbefore moving on to the dazzles and frazzles listed under the frame of Emerging Technologies. It’s clear nothing will be easy in The Soaring Twenties. But all stand to gain.

From there, we proceed to clear-eyed assessments of important frontrunner technologies making up the Internet of Things. Members cite productivity and cost reduction as the short-term goals of IoT projects. Long-term payoffs could include closer relationships with customers, increased market penetration, and a variety of transformational effects on processes, products and services.

Whatever the intoxicating potential of this heady cocktail of devices and tools, an epic hangover looms on the horizon. For the IT world, The Soaring Twenties should be a party. But proceed with caution: spirited early buzz may portend massive socioeconomic headaches.