With the recent pandemic, the need for emerging tech has fast-forwarded. Before 2020, emerging tech had a 12 to 24 months window to mature or fade away. Due to the pandemic, most of these emerging technologies have become part of a must-have stack to solve today’s societal challenges.
Evolving from a Phygital world to ‘Going Digital,’ an emerging tech maturity phase accelerated automation. Later, the transition of ‘Going Digital’ to ‘Being Digital’ allowed the industry to shift to a ‘hands-free’ operating mode. During and following the pandemic, the industry has evolved into ‘Digital in the Virtual World,’ leading the industry to shift to a ‘human-free operating’ mode.
Technology Concepts Enabling ‘Digital in the Virtual World’
- Codification of money, markets, and trust and weaponization of code – increasing computer code application has transformed spheres that are traditionally state monopolies, e.g., money.
- Application of code to commerce providing new opportunities globally to receive, hold, spend, and transfer money.
- Code going from a small back-office IT function to the edge; thereby, becoming the fastest growing and most disruptive industry in the world.
An example of the codified platform-centric approach and IT moving to the edge is the CoVigilent app (https://covidassist.wipro.com/login ). CoVigilent is an adoption of AI to COVID listening for pre-screening and triaging of COVID infections. Entire AI models were developed, pre-clinical trials and private clinical trials were completed, and apps launched at scale in a very short time. More details at https://www.wipro.com/innovation/wipro-pioneers-advanced-ai-technology-to-listen-for-covid-19/
This is an example of human-free operations. The entire application had no human in the loop, from cough sample submission to AI analysis to results being relayed to end users.
Lead Indicators to True ‘Digital in the Virtual World’
- According to the recent report by Statista, global growth in finance-app usage during COVID-19 increased everywhere: Japan (55%), South Korea (35%), United States (20%), China (20%), Germany, and Italy (15%).
- Digital currencies resurged: Bitcoin reached its all-time high of $61,556.59 this year.
- The global contactless payment market size, valued at $1.34 trillion in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.3% from 2021 to 2028.
While these are primarily Fintech-centric data points, Fintech is a horizontal enabler to all other industries and reflects pan-industry trends across all sectors.
Convergence of Industries, Technologies, and Digital Native Behaviors – Rise of the Intelligent Enterprise
In 2020, when the pandemic had just begun, we discussed intellectual property being the lifeline of every business in the post-digital era (https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/strategy-and-management/intellectual-property-the-lifeline-of-every-business-in-the-post-digital-era/75525909).
It is remarkable to see how IP has evolved from being a lifeline to a showstopper and a survival tool for many global enterprises. More interesting is the survival of the existing business models themselves – a more fundamental shift.
Of course, we saw the impact of an Intelligent Enterprise when the world went into a dramatic lockdown last year. The entire ecosystem came to a standstill. However, a few companies thrived in this world of ambiguity and constraints. Amazon and Microsoft grew their sphere of influence, revenue, and customer base, while other enterprises declined in most business metrics. While Amazon and Microsoft were in the cloud and offering products essential to the industry’s needs, those were not the only reasons they thrived. Far beyond just the offerings, the underlying operating modes of these enterprises made them Intelligent. Furthermore, Intelligent Enterprises will shape the future of the industry in the post-pandemic world.
The Emerging Tech Landscape and Road Ahead – Autonomous, Human-free Operating Model
Technological singularity may be a hypothetical event, but the exponential growth in technology due to disruptive innovation is real. The convergence of these innovations unlocks new paradigms.
Consider the following converging technology themes at different layers:
IT (Decision support and communication)
OT (Manage, monitor, and control)
ET (Design and engineering)
GT (Virtual representation, gamification, and simulations)
End-to-end integration of these layers with emerging technologies (Cloud, AI, IoT, Blockchain, 5G, AR/VR/MR, and Robotics) gives rise to strategic themes enabling Intelligent Enterprises: human-machine collaborative intelligence; augmented virtual reality; intelligent mechatronics, and integrated simulation and modeling. Additionally, a new convergence trend takes shape across data, operations, engineering, and game tech. The four-layer tech landscape across IT, OT, ET, and GT convergence will shape the industry into an Intelligent Enterprise ecosystem in the coming years.
These fundamental shifts make the intellectual property strategy more critical to survival rather than profitability, and leveraging open innovation systems, crowdsourcing, and collaborative innovation becomes a more fundamental societal need.