Glancing into the future – what businesses can expect in the next 10 years

| 22 October 2013

aki blog header_v2The pace of technology is insane. This is a big challenge that businesses face today. It is often difficult to keep up with the future trends. How do companies prepare for changes that will significantly impact them in the future?

At their recent symposium in Florida, Gartner released their predictions for the next decade and beyond that will impact IT organisations and users of technology.

It makes for interesting reading. Their analysts cited the Digital Industrial Revolution, Smart Machines, Digital Business and the Internet of Things to have a significant impact in the next decade.

We certainly have seen this transpiring rapidly in the last five years. Nashua’s case study for Avis Fleet Services is a great example. Nashua’s Laserfiche solution has helped Avis increase productivity and efficiency   by simply moving from paper-based processing to digitising the entire process. The result is a massive reduction in paper, and printing costs are down by at least 40%.


Some of Gartners’ future predictions are fascinating!

One of the key points that were made at the symposium is that IT is no longer just about the IT function, but instead IT has become the catalyst for the next phase of innovation in competitive business ecosystems.

The Digital Industrial Revolution will be sparked off by 3D printing, and this threatens to shape the manufacturing process for many large organisations. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 3D printing will result in a net loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property. This will be sparked off by the prices of these printers coming down.

The next four years will see an impact on the medical fraternity as we see medical applications for 3D printing. They are calling it bioprinting, which is the ability to produce living tissue and organs using a 3D printer.


Digital business using digital assets involving digital products, services, and customer experiences through digital channels and communities, is another big trend going forward. It is about engaging with your customers on crowdsourcing platforms. According to Gartner, by 2017 more than half of consumer goods manufacturers will receive 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions.

The way data is dealt with makes for interesting reading. By 2017, 80 percent of consumers will collect, track, and barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience, and customisation. Data is the new gold and consumers will be able to opt into self-tracking and then sell the data to corporations. Consumers will have more control on how their data is collected.

The storage of data will also come under the spotlight in the next decade. Gartner predicts that by 2020, businesses and governments will fail to protect 75 percent of sensitive data, with more Snowden/WikiLeaks moments occurring. It will become increasingly more difficult for businesses and governments to store the massive amounts of data collected safely.

As computers become more human-like, and processing power matches the speed that humans make choices, we will see smart machines emerging that will be involved in making decisions with greater efficiency than humans.  The challenge will be to achieve a balance between an active human workforce, and that of machines.

By 2020 a majority of knowledge worker career paths will be disrupted by smart machines in both positive and negative ways. Virtual personal assistant usage in business grows more quickly in 2017 and 2018 than iPad usage did in 2010 and 2011. By 2017, 10 percent of computers will be learning, rather than processing.

The Internet of Things joins all the dots together. As ubiquitous connectivity drives machines to talk to each other, we will see the use of data positively change and add value to our surroundings. This includes wearable computing. Devices are become smaller, and battery life is improving. We are already seeing a significant increase in gadgets that are used in health, communication, and even helping doctors keep track and better diagnosing illnesses. By 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5 percent of sales from the Global 1000.

Some of these predictions are daunting, but the key is to be agile and plan ahead in anticipation. Sitting back and saying it won’t affect us, could be disastrous, as companies like Kodak and BlackBerry have found out.

There are massive disruptions taking place and these are shaping the future of many businesses.


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