The more people there are, the more innovation we generate, and in recent decades we have experienced the sheer speed of the innovation revolution that has introduced the internet, smartphones and tablets to dramatically change our world. As the population continues to grow this process is certain to intensify, so we can expect the next five years to be the most spectacular in the long history of technological evolution.
For the first time, we will see different essential waves of technological innovation occurring concurrently, and these technological developments have the potential to completely transform the relationship between consumers and the companies.
1. The mobile evolution
The evolution of mobile technology is by no means finished. Nearly everyone has at least one item of mobile technology, but the possibilities will increase exponentially in the years ahead, with faster processing speeds, smarter apps and wearable devices helping to create a real-time consumer.
2. The Internet of Everything
By 2020, the world will be full of ‘connected’ technology with everyday products linked directly to the internet. The smart toothbrush by Philips already scores how effectively you have brushed your teeth and detects cavities, so before you know it, your toothbrush will also be capable of making an appointment with your dentist.
Use of robots used to be confined to production processes in large factories, but it is already possible to see the introduction of similar technologies in many average homes. The number of robomows – self-operating lawn mowers – increases each week, while robot applications will soon be used in the fields of health care, home deliveries and domestic security.
4. 3D printers
By 2020 a high-quality 3D printer will be available at a price affordable by most average families, which will allow every consumer to effectively set up his own mini-factory which could break down the thresholds for almost every industry.
Companies are already moving towards anchoring their operations in a Cloud environment, meaning software will no longer be stored on the computers of companies or private individuals, allowing more real-time data and improved customer service.
6. Artificial Intelligence
It is now as long ago as 1997 that the Deep Blue computer got the better of world chess champion Gary Kasparov, and if this speed of evolution of AI continues, we will soon be talking to computer-directed call centre operatives, while we are convinced that we are still talking to a real human being.
Prof. Steven Van Belleghem is author of ‘The Conversation Company and The Conversation Manager’.