Flying taxis, AI corporate boards, unmanned banks… This is not a wish list in science fiction movies, but an increasingly real future. American futurist Ray Kurzweil believes that in the next 100 years we will experience 20,000 years of technological change. The speed of this disruption means that things that only existed a decade ago (cloud, mobile, etc.) are now truly commercialized. The next wave of growth will come from today’s rapidly emerging technologies.
Which of these emerging technologies will rule tomorrow is not an easy question to answer. The development of any technology goes through multiple stages of evolution—from those that are highly innovatively focused but lack commercial momentum (the “innovation” stage) to those that attract private investment (the “incubation” stage). Finally, as the use case matures, the enterprise moves to commercial scale (the “commercialization” phase). Strong private investment and a strong R&D focus (intellectual property, patents) are key prerequisites for a technology to cross the inflection point into commercialization. Winning technologies also need to be high on buyers’ agendas and be part of their medium to long-term strategies. These disruptive technologies also require high levels of attention and investment in talent and capabilities from technology providers.
Against this backdrop, BCG partnered with NASSCOM to identify key technological big bets that could drive disproportionate growth for the technology industry. The report identified 12 technologies at the sweet spot of rapid innovation and strong private funding.
The list includes clear picks across industries such as autonomous analytics, sustainability tech, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), sensor technology and intelligent robotics (accounting for 60% of total funding across 12 technologies); to distributed Ledger technology, autonomous driving and space technology, these are all niche markets. Interestingly, 5G/6G, edge computing, computer vision and deep learning stand out as key enablers for other technologies. Surprisingly, Metaverse and 3D Printing, two companies considered top technology bets, were not included as they are considered to have a high share of private funding or R&D focus, respectively.
However, the extent of potential damage varies by region and vertical. Contrary to the notion that disruption is a Western phenomenon, Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions (compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% over the past three years, twice that of Europe and North America). Europe has a roughly 8% share of funds, lagging significantly behind North America and Asia Pacific. Among the verticals, transportation (about 25%, double that of the next vertical), healthcare (about 13%), telecommunications (about 12%), technology (about 10%), and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI : ~8%) leads global technology funding. Additionally, verticals where various technologies converge will accelerate disruption. This is especially true for transportation, where multiple technologies are converging to disrupt the market with driverless cars, and now, flying cars and Hyperloop are being discussed.
This sentiment is echoed by IT buyers as well. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, buyers expect emerging technologies to triple their share of IT budgets in the medium to long term, becoming a US$30-350 billion (RM1.3-1.5 trillion) opportunity. Buyers rated autonomous analytics, edge computing, 5G/6G, and deep learning the highest, while surprisingly, despite the hype, sustainable technologies and distributed ledger technology were given a lower priority.
For technology providers, the speed of disruption, while exciting, can also be brutal. Over the past two decades, nearly half of the S&P 500 companies have ceased to exist. Companies need to adapt nimbly and evolve at the enormous pace of disruption.
BCG’s interactions with the CEOs of more than 30 top technology companies indicate that companies are adopting different strategies to capitalize on these opportunities. Digital specialists are targeting specific technologies to increase their chances of winning (e.g., deep learning, distributed ledger technology), while large players are diversifying by focusing on established technologies (e.g., AR and VR, 5G/6G) and emerging technologies Their betting use cases (computer vision, edge computing).
Ultimately, to succeed in this ever-changing macro environment, every technology provider must identify its own moonshots to drive the next wave of growth and build an agile organization to deal with this change. – The Mint, New Delhi / Tribune News Agency