42 Facts On Technologies Driving The Digital Economy

Peter Johnson

Part 2 of the six-part blog series “Facts on the Future of Business

Innovation in the business world is accelerating exponentially, with new, disruptive technologies and trends emerging that are fundamentally changing how businesses and the global economy operate. To adapt, thrive, and innovate, we all need to be aware of these evolutionary technologies and trends and understand the opportunities or threats they might present to our organizations, our careers, and society on a whole.

With this in mind, I recently had the opportunity to compile 99 Facts on the Future of Business in the Digital Economy. This presentation includes facts, predictions, and research findings on some of the most impactful technologies and trends that are driving the future of business in the digital economy.

To make it easier to find facts for specific topics, I have grouped the facts into six subsets; in this post I’ll share the second subset.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.

Source: “Top Strategic Predictions for 2017 and Beyond: Surviving the Storm Winds of Digital Disruption,” Gartner.

In initial tests, a machine-learning algorithm created at Carnegie Mellon was able to predict heart attacks four hours in advance with 80% accuracy.

Source: “Of Prediction and Policy,” The Economist.

Artificial intelligence can predict where epidemics will happen. AIME developed a platform with 87% accuracy in predicting dengue fever outbreaks three months in advance. Now they hope to similarly target other diseases such as Ebola and Zika.

Source: “Artificial Intelligence Innovation Report,” Deloitte.

After watching 5,000 hours of TV, Google’s DeepMind AI was able to lip read 34% more accurately than a professional lip reader.

Source: “Google’s DeepMind AI Can Lip-Read TV Shows Better than a Pro,” New Scientist.

After watching just 600 hours of TV, an MIT deep-learning AI algorithm was able to predict future human interactions after two people met 60.5% as accurately as human subjects.

Source: “Teaching Machines to Predict the Future,” MIT News.

By 2019, 75% of workers who use enterprise applications will have access to intelligent personal assistants to augment their skills and expertise.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Big Data, Business Analytics, and Cognitive Software 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

By 2030, the largest company on the Internet is going to be an education-based company, with smart-bot instructors able to personalize lessons for each individual student.

Source: “A Top Futurist Predicts the Largest Internet Company of 2030 Will Be an Online School,” South China Morning Post.

Problem: In the last two decades, 9.6% of the earth’s total wilderness areas has been lost, equaling an estimated 3.3 million square kilometers.

Source: “Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets,” Current Biology.

Solution: Many Latin American governments are turning to artificial intelligence to aid in their forest conservation efforts.

Source: “10 Innovations That Are Changing Conservation,” Cool Green Science.

The Internet of Things

IoT car safety technology already reduces crashes significantly and will save insurance companies $45 billion over the next five years in the United States alone.

Source: “IoT Insurance: Trends in Home, Life, and Auto Insurance Industries,” Business Insider.

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to save millions of lives, given that 1.25 million people die and 50 million are injured each year in auto accidents, nearly 95% of which are caused by human error.

Source: “Will Self-Driving Vehicles Save Lives?” Together for Safer Roads.

Self-driving trucks are hauling iron ore in Australia, convoying across Europe, and appearing on roadways across the globe. And because they offer business savings, self-driving trucks are expected to be more rapidly adopted than self-driving cars.

Source: “Self-Driving Trucks: What’s the Future for America’s 3.5 Million Truckers?” The Guardian.

Barcelona uses the IoT to optimize urban systems and enhance citizen services. To date, it has saved $95 million annually from reduced water and electricity consumption, increased parking revenues by $50 million a year, and generated 47,000 new jobs.

Source: “How Smart City Barcelona Brought the Internet of Things to Life,” Data-Smart City Solutions, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

By 2019, 40% of local and regional governments will use the IoT to turn infrastructure such as roads, streetlights, and traffic signals into assets instead of liabilities.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

Usage-based auto insurance enabled by the Internet of Things will grow nearly 1,200% by 2023. This insurance uses real-time information about a driver’s actual driving to assess actuarial risk.

Source: “Usage-Based Insurance Expected to Grow to 142 Million Subscribers Globally by 2023, IHS Says,” IHS Markit.

The Internet of Everything could be worth $19 trillion over the next decade thanks to cost savings and profits for businesses and increased revenues for the public sector.

Source: “The Internet of Everything Is Closer than You Think,” EY.

Problem: With the coming and going of ice ages over the last 400,000+ years, CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere fluctuated between 180 ppm and 300 ppm. However, CO2 levels have skyrocketed and now exceed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history.

Source: “The Relentless Rise of Carbon Dioxide,” NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.

Solution: New digital technologies can enable a 20% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030. This is equivalent to eliminating 100% of China’s CO2 emissions, plus another 1.5 billion tons.

Source: “SMARTer2030: Australian Opportunity for ICT Enabled Emission Reductions,” Telstra Corporation.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.

Source: “Top Strategic Predictions for 2017 and Beyond: Surviving the Storm Winds of Digital Disruption,” Gartner.

And by 2021, over 1 billion people worldwide will regularly use an AR/VR platform (augmented reality/virtual reality) to access apps, content, and data.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

Within just two months, the augmented reality video game Pokémon Go was downloaded 500 million times globally, and after 90 days, the app had generated $600 million in revenue.

Source: “75 Incredible Pokemon Go Statistics,” DMR.

Renault uses virtual reality and immersive simulation technologies to allow its design team, partners, and suppliers to experience, interact with, and test drive new car designs without any physical prototypes.

Source: “Designing the Workplace of the Future: Virtual Reality and 3D Panoramas,” CNN.

Mobile

Two billion individuals and 200 million small businesses in emerging economies lack access to basic financial services and credit. Broad adoption of mobile banking in developing nations could create 95 million new jobs and increase GDP by $3.7 trillion by 2025.

Source: “How Digital Finance Could Boost Growth in Emerging Economies,” McKinsey Global Institute.

Once fully available, 5G data speeds will be 1,000-times faster than today. This revolutionary leap will enable ubiquitous connections across the Internet of Things, engagement across virtual environments with only millisecond latency, and whole new Big Data applications and services.

Source: “2017 Predictions: Behind the Scenes with 5G – 2017 Lays Groundwork for Telecom Revolution,” Canadian Wireless Trade Show.

By 2020, approximately 70% of online purchases in China will be made via a mobile phone. This is significantly higher adoption than estimates for other countries: United States, 46%; United Kingdom, 40%; Japan, 40%; and India, 30%.

Source: “The New Connected Consumer Code: Unlocking Digital Commerce Opportunities,” Euromonitor International.

Robots and drones

Amazon uses 30,000 Kiva robots in its global warehouses, which reduce operating expenses by approximately 20%. Bringing robots to its distribution centers that have not yet implemented them would save Amazon a further $2.5 billion.

Source: “How Amazon Triggered a Robot Arms Race,” Bloomberg Technology.

The European Union is proposing new laws that require robots to be equipped with emergency “kill switches” and to be programmed in accordance to Isaac Asimov’s “laws of robotics” stipulating that robots must never harm a human.

Source: “Europe Calls for Mandatory ‘Kill Switches’ on Robots,” CNN.

Only 13% of U.S. and Canadian manufacturing jobs recently lost were due to international trade. Fully 85% of the job losses stemmed from productivity growth – another way of saying machines replaced human workers.

Source: “Industrial Robots Will Replace Manufacturing Jobs – and That’s a Good Thing,” TechCrunch.

Fully 88% of U.S. consumers say free shipping makes them more likely to shop online, and 79% would select drones as a delivery option if it meant they could receive packages within an hour.

Source: “Reinventing Retail: What Businesses Need to Know for 2016,” Walker Sands Communications.

Taxi drones will start flying passengers in Dubai in July 2017. Passengers will select destinations on a touch screen and will be able to travel up to 30 minutes at a top speed of around 100 kph.

Source: “Taxi Drones Set for July Launch of Passenger Service Over Dubai,” RT News.

Platforms and blockchains

Car sharing could reduce the number of cars needed by 90% by 2035, resulting in only 17% as many cars as there are today.

Source: “Self-Driving Cars Are a Disaster for the Car Industry, But Great for the Rest of Us,” Seeking Alpha.

Millennials are more than twice as willing to car share as Generation X, and five times more likely than baby boomers.

Source: “Cars 2025,” Goldman Sachs.

A large majority – 82% – of executives believe platforms will be the glue that brings organizations together in the digital economy. The top 15 public platforms already have a market capitalization of $2.6 trillion.

Source: “Accenture Technology Vision 2016,” Accenture.

By 2020, over 80% of the G500 will be digital services suppliers through Industry Collaborative Cloud (ICC) platforms.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

The world’s biggest banks have taken the first steps to move onto blockchain, the technology introduced to the world by the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Source: “Wall Street Clearinghouse to Adopt Bitcoin Technology,” The New York Times.

By 2027, blockchains could store as much as 10% of global GDP.

Source: “Making The Next Moves With Blockchain,” D!gitalist Magazine.

Africa is leapfrogging the developed world’s traditional banking systems through fast adoption of mobile and Internet-based technology and is poised to take advantage of the disruptive opportunity that blockchains offer.

Source: “The Blockchain Opportunity, How Cryptocurrencies and Tokens Could Scale Disruptive Solutions Across Africa,” BitHub.Africa.

Problem: To combat corruption and tax evasion in its cash economy (only 2.6% of its citizens pay taxes), the Indian government devalued 80% of its currency in three hours.

Source: “Demonetization: This Is a New Indian Sunrise,” DNA India.

Solution: India could eliminate the need for credit cards, debit cards, and ATMs in three years by switching to biometric payments, as nearly 1.1 billion citizens have already registered their biometric data.

Source: “First Cash, Now India Could Ditch Card Payments by 2020,” CNN.

Other Big Data and analytics

In-memory computing speeds are 1,000 to 1 million times faster than the previous most advanced computing techniques, enabling Big Data analytics processing to be reduced from hours or days to real time.

Source: “Global In-Memory Computing Market – Growth, Trends & Forecasts (2016 – 2021),” Research and Markets.

Among executives, 80.7% characterize their Big Data investments as successful, while only 1.6% deemed them failures. In spite of the successes, executives see lingering cultural barriers hindering full adoption and value realization.

Source: “Big Data Executive Survey 2017,” New Vantage Partners.

Problem: An estimated 45.8 million people are trapped in some form of slavery in 167 countries.

Source: “Global Findings,” Walk Free Foundation: The Global Slavery Index.

Solution: Advanced analytics and Big Data are enabling coordinated efforts to combat human trafficking networks and engage rapid responses when victims are located.

Source: “Tracing a Web of Destruction: Can Big Data Fight Human Trafficking?” HBS Digital Initiative.

Cloud

By 2018, 90% of the population will have unlimited and free data storage in the cloud that will ultimately be supported by ads.

Source: “21 Technology Tipping Points We Will Reach by 2030,” Business Insider.

By 2018, 60% of enterprise IT will be off-premises and in the cloud, driven in large part by the shift to public cloud services.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

In 2020, the top five cloud IaaS/PaaS providers will control 75% of the market, up from 50% in 2016.

Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2017 Predictions,” IDC Research Inc.

To view all of the 99 Facts on the Future of Business in the Digital Economy, check out the Slideshare below.

To see the rest of the series, check out our page Facts on the Future of Business,” every Thursday, in which we will cover the six topics:

  • The value imperative to embrace the digital economy
  • Technologies driving the digital economy
  • Customer experience and marketing in digital economy
  • The future of work in the digital economy
  • Purpose and sustainability in the digital economy
  • Supply networks in the digital economy

Peter Johnson

About Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is a Senior Director of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership at SAP, responsible for developing easy to understand corporate level and cross solution messaging. Peter has proven experience leading innovative programs to accelerate and scale Go-To-Market activities, and drive operational efficiencies at industry leading solution providers and global manufactures respectively.