Over the last few years digital disruption has been busily transforming everything. Industries have been changing beyond recognition, new technology has been flooding the workplace, and businesses don’t know how to plan for future jobs anymore because they simply don’t know what they’ll be.
Through attending numerous industry events it’s no understatement to say everyone talks about disruption, everyone highlights Uber and everyone discusses how to mitigate legacy technology. But like social, mobile, analytics and cloud – I can’t help wondering what technology will have the biggest impact next.
So, in a very non-scientific test, I popped out a call asking relevant individuals to let us know what the next biggest technology to disrupt business will be. I requested a two sentence response stating what single technology they would choose and their reason why.
As with anything like this I got a hodge-podge of responses. Many people totally ignored instructions, wantonly pumped their solution, or sent vast long answers. Yet none-the-less the most frequently mentioned technologies were AI, blockchain and new interfaces. Although a number of other different technologies emerged.
It is important to note this is a slightly spurious exercise. With many technologies that work in the background there is a clear chicken and egg situation and it is hard to divide one from the other, or untwine how they evolve together. So, maybe it isn’t possible to pick one single technology that will deliver the biggest next disruption to business. However, I’ve listed some of the more interesting answers below so you can see what came back.
The AI genie is unleashed
The AI genie is now out of the bottle. AI brings us the potential for tireless efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness. AIs will be combined into intelligent systems to deliver disruption on a massive scale.
James Hall, CEO at Genfour
Third generation mobile
We have feature phones, then smartphones where we are today and the next generation will be more AI powered operating systems – coupled with the next generation of artificial intelligence and prescriptive analytics.
It’s already happening — Apple even announced the next version of Siri at their World Wide Developer conference. The Amazon Echo natural language interface is starting to appear in more homes. It’s a shift change that’s coming.
Pete Trainor, Director of Human Centred Design at Nexus
AI as an OS
AI as an OS has arrived. It was announced [recently] that Apple developers can now plug into Siri. This is going to have a significant impact on the app industry, taking us into a far more natural and passive way of using technology with a more seamless interface – ‘Hey Siri: find me a Tinder date, book me a table and get me an Uber there’.
Ben Little, Co-Founder of Fearlessly Frank
Blockchain as part of the shared economy and peer-to-peer revolution
Because it replaces trusted intermediaries with trusted code. This makes it super easy for anyone to share anything because the record keeping of the transactions are indelibly stored in a transparent and distributed ledger, without the need for any costly brokers.
Gideon Hyde, Co-Founder at Market Gravity
Robotics and automation in manufacturing
Robotics and automation is a field with significant scope for further innovation over the next decade. Many manufacturers are turning to robots as labour shortages and falling birth rates and aging populations hit companies in the world’s leading economies, and the trend to reshoring continues in regions like Europe and North America.
Rob Clark, Managing Director UK and Ireland at Epson
Predictive automation through big data
Big data leading to machine intelligence and predictive machine automation is going to disrupt business due to its collective ability to initiate dramatic efficiencies through uncovering and leveraging previously unrecognised behavioural patterns.
This is already happening in many commercial environments such as manufacturing but is going to escalate dramatically over the coming three to five years.
Nav Dhunay, CEO at ambyint
Blockchain will be as transformative as the internet
Over the next three to five years, blockchain is set to bring about as vast a transformation as the internet. There are companies working towards making blockchain central to the selling (say, insurance), sharing (say, an apartment) and rental (say, a car) economy, eliminating the need for middlemen.
Rahul Singh, President, Financial Services, HCL Technologies
Intelligent digital assistants
Intelligent digital assistants that learn and use natural language (chatbots) are the next big thing for enterprise. We are entering the post-app era where we will see the demise of individual apps at the front-end, with instant messaging and social media interfaces used as a gateway into technologies.
Claus Jepsen, Head of Unit4’s Innovation Labs
Blockchain is already taking hold in finance
Blockchain will bring major disruption to the internet economy as distributed ledgers and cryptographic technologies will enable digital trust to gradually supersede physical trust, leading to changes in many sectors such as Finance, contracts, notaries, identity, security, patents, property, and government as time goes on.
If banks are starting real life experiments on blockchain it is because the finance sector is already shaken by the new cryptocurrencies and because of the emergence of pure fintech players deploying new blockchain based services competing with established financial institutions.
Katia Hilal, COO, RedCloud Technologies
Zero UI approach
Simplification of interaction will be the next big disruption. Within the next few years we will see full adoption of a “Zero UI” (user interface) approach; AI (Artificial Intelligence), bots and so on. Basically, all stuff that stands between human being and technology will disappear. Yes there will be no apps. Potentially, no phones.
We’re already seeing the start of this process: Amazon Echo, Google’s forays into the same area, Apple’s recent announcement about Home (ex-HomeKit).
Dmitry Bagrov, Managing Director, DataArt UK
Low code platforms
Low code platforms make it easy for citizen developers to create highly useful and powerful custom apps without a deep knowledge of coding. Speed of development, low cost and the ability to meet unique needs will benefit businesses and empower teams to be more productive.
Kieran Saunders, Senior Business Solutions Consultant, FileMaker
Storage for containers
Global businesses like Sainsbury’s, Financial Times and Netflix have already started using containers to quickly build and deploy internet-ready applications that run on multiple platforms or cloud providers’ environments. Now, and the timescale is literally now, the development of persistent, highly available storage for containers is set to change the landscape all over again. With persistent storage, containers can be used – not just for applications – but databases as well, and we’ll see even greater adoption of containers by enterprises of all sizes.
Chris Brandon, CEO of StorageOS
Security to open up standard configuration
The next big tech will be a security based one that will open up any standard configuration on a device. People’s data is more valuable – Microsoft just bought LinkedIn – it is huge money. The Internet of Things will expose vulnerability as people will start using them without locking them down. Some clever person will find an exploit and harvest this data.
Simon Reindl founder and director of Advanced Product Delivery
Every Reality Experience (ERE)
I predict that the next big technology to disrupt businesses will be Every Reality Experience (ERE), which is the ultimate merger of “every touch point” user experience management solutions with augmented reality, virtual reality, digital/web reality and physical world reality technologies. This combination will enable businesses to become leaders in their respected fields in the next three to five years.
Serge Huber, CTO at Jahia.
AI will change literally everything
The greatest impact we face as technology advances are developments in AI as it will mean changes to how we work, compute and interact both professionally and personally. The ramifications of this will be huge and it won’t be long before we really start to see the impact – think about how close self-driving cars are to being on the roads.
Sam Mager, Commercial Director, Krome Technologies
Virtual Reality will take hold in business
Virtual Reality provides a platform for businesses to advance their product offerings and significantly enhance the way in which they interact with both customers and staff. While we’re already seeing VR being used in a wide range of industries, from estate agents taking prospective buyers on a virtual walk-through of properties, to car dealers allowing prospective customers to specify and take a virtual walk round their vehicle and even emergency services showing drivers the impact of a car crash, its use cases and value will undoubtedly accelerate rapidly over the next few years.
Graham Long, Vice President UK & Ireland at Samsung
Connected Autonomous Vehicles
Connected Autonomous Vehicles will revolutionise business, from drone home delivery through supply chain automation all the way to its poster child ‘personal mobility’ and they’re coming sooner than anyone thinks. Businesses will have to combat the security and privacy challenges associated with this technology but luckily the mobile boom has brought these to the front of mind; now experts have the opportunity to help the automotive industry get it right.
John Cooke, a Founder and Managing Director of Black Pepper Software
5G networks will end face to face meetings
It may not seem that sexy or revolutionary but 5G next generation mobile networks will have a tremendous impact on businesses. A proper 5G network can be seen as 50 times faster than current 4G networks and businesses will be able to make cost saving while also increasing connectedness with their employees who work remotely. Face to face meetings will become a thing of the past as mobile networks become suitable for high definition latency free conversations. This will happen within the next five years.
Dr. Kevin Curran, senior member of the IEEE and Reader in Computer Science at Ulster University