It started about 10 years ago, and came upon us so quickly that many business leaders are only just now waking up to it. The Fourth Industrial Revolution — it’s here, and it’s rapidly changing the world around us. This new wave of transformative technology is sweeping across the world, ushering in disruptive business giants and bringing a deluge of new opportunities and challenges.
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Earlier industrial revolutions — the ones we studied in school that involved the steam engine, followed by innovations in electrical power and the assembly line, then networked desktop computers — brought big jumps in productivity and new businesses that couldn’t have been imagined only a few years earlier.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is igniting an equal amount of change, and we don’t have to look far for evidence… Smartphones have become central to daily life for millions. Social media now connects us — personally, professionally, globally; books and newspapers are read on electronic devices; we use sensors to control operations; blockchain is used to administer supply chains.
Five Key Disruptive Technologies
The new technologies reshaping our world with the Fourth Industrial Revolution are changing everything. At Conduent, we’re leveraging them to transform our business and help our clients provide a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers.
Here are five key disruptive technologies that are helping drive this current revolution:
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1. Innovations in Mobile
Phones are no longer a luxury. By 2020, more people will have mobile phones than have access to a reliable supply of electricity and water. They’re also a major touchpoint for businesses and their customers.
- User interfaces will morph in the next few years. Look for more speech as a form of input, along with sound, haptic (touch-based) and augmented reality (AR).
- Virtual assistants will proactively act for us and be genuine assistants.
- Smart glasses will include AR.
- Smartphones will be wearable.
When connected with the four areas below, mobile will offer unprecedented opportunity.
2. Growth of the Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT market is already massive, with 20 billion devices that can “talk” to people and things, often through cloud computing and storage.
- IoT growth will be exponential. By 2025, there will be 75 billion connected devices.
- Networks will be omnipresent.
- Areas of growth include the sensors in your dishwasher, the factory where your products are made and all areas of the supply chain.
- Unexpected areas include innovations such as apps that offer personalized, multi-modal travel.
3. Increasing Use of Machine Learning
Machine learning (ML) is an application of artificial intelligence that gives systems the ability to learn and improve from experience, without being programmed manually. ML’s key advantage is that it can process tremendous amounts of data to give users a customized response. Expect all areas of business operations to be affected.
- Fraud will be reduced as ML learns to spot anomalies.
- ML will support human operators and provide improved self-service.
- Integrated data-driven solutions will optimize health care and drive better outcomes for targeted populations.
- Commute times will be improved as apps offer real-time travel advice.
- 2018 will be a year when organizations will invest in people — new roles will be devised to make ML technology more effective.
4. Improved Quality with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Where RPA may once have suggested a factory of machines, assembling parts into a finished product – today it can also mean an army of software bots, tackling repetitive, time-consuming, error-prone tasks. Organizations are increasingly using RPA to streamline operations and redeploy staff to higher-value or revenue-generating activity.
- Bots will reduce redundancies and duplications.
- Overall quality of goods will improve.
- People, software bots and automated machines will work together during the entire end-to-end process.
5. Dynamic Operations with Blockchain
Blockchain allows for data in a trusted network to be validated and confirmed, then replicated onto a chain. At Conduent, we’re excited about blockchain and are investing in the process and transactions side of the technology.
- Contracts among suppliers will be dynamic, and no longer “flat.”
- Orders can be live, with easier buying and selling.
- Ease of commerce will lead to exponential growth.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution makes it an incredible time to be a chief information officer. All of these technology disruptors are challenging and inspiring businesses to rethink and innovate how they engage with their customers and operate. At Conduent, they’re empowering us in our mission to modernize the constituent (client, customer, employee, stakeholder) experience by making every interaction digital, personalized and secure.