It’s no secret that technology is advancing at an alarming rate. The “internet of things” (a network of interconnected objects outfitted with technology and access to the internet) is growing at a rate of 5.5 million per day. We are all connected, and we are all communicating via this vast network called the internet. And, as information continues to flood these networks, we are creating new ways to harness this information and utilize it to create hyper-specific products for the modern consumer. It’s a lot to take in, but the greatest executives don’t shy away from the ever changing technological landscape – they embrace it, learn from it, and adapt to it.

Here’s a few key shifts in the technological landscape you should look into. For more, read what CMO Magazine has to say about it HERE:

1. Augmented/virtual reality: Simulating a user’s presence and interaction with their environment (real or imaginary) has applications that go far beyond computer games. Early adopters of the technology include IKEA, which developed a VR experience enabling potential customers to see IKEA kitchens through HTC’s Vive headset. The customer could change every detail at the click of a button, from cabinet colours to layout, and see the kitchen from a child’s height as well as their own. VR uses extend to industrial and architectural design, education, and medicine, with these fields barely scratching the surface of possibility. That makes augmented and virtual reality a must-explore for executives around the world, particularly when considering new ways of delighting their customers.

2. Internet of things (IoT): In 1999, BusinessWeek’s Neil Gross made a prediction: “In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.” One look at the data confirms his hunch. In 2016, there are around 6.4 billion connected “things” in use, with 5.5 million added to that number every day.

This is called the internet of things–a network of connected objects, devices, and buildings fitted with software, allowing them to interact and collect data. The uses are endless, from smartphone-controlled thermostats and home security to more efficient city services. Harnessing the power of connectivity will enable executives everywhere to gather data and insights on their target audience and customers, as well as offering new methods to serve them efficiently.

3. Artificial intelligence: Advances in AI are reverberating among businesses worldwide, as executives realise just how powerful it can be in the development of new economies for their companies. The proof is in the numbers: $8.5 billion was spent on AI in 2015, quadruple the figure in 2010.

The applications of AI are already in full effect, with its capabilities for deep learning giving it unprecedented power in pattern-spotting and data analysis–eminently useful for marketers and, indeed, business leaders in any industry. But AI isn’t limited to smarter data. It can also be used to interact in a more robust, comprehensive way with consumers, even when your staff aren’t available–for example, AI-assisted diagnosis in the medical field. It also allows for mass personalisation of content. In other words, AI-curated information can mean user experiences tailored to fit each person that interacts with your company.

4. Autonomous transportation and delivery: Of course, we’ve all seen the headlines about self-driving cars being trialed by Uber in Pittsburgh. Still in a controlled experimentation phase, they’re barely scratching the surface of autonomous transportation possibilities. Think of the applications that come with true synchronisation with computers and businesses. Hours of freed-up time, schedule management, and more efficient ways to commute are well on the way.

As for delivery, it’s a stream that runs both ways. As further advances are made in automatic land, sea, and air delivery, businesses will find themselves able to send products far faster and at lower cost than in days gone by, reaping the rewards in happy, loyal customers. In reverse, professionals will be able to take delivery of key information, products, and samples at the same increased speed, streamlining an entire phase of development.

5. Next-generation batteries: Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have brought the pursuit of next-generation, longer life batteries to the forefront in recent years. The applications are varied, from vehicles to home-energy systems, and without question, they’ll benefit both homeowners and businesses when wider adoption and low-cost development arrives.

Companies will soon be able to drive down energy costs from top to bottom, be it through internal operations or supply-chain production; if Tesla’s gigafactory is anything to go by, the mass production of the next generation of batteries will be fully sustainable.

6. The blockchain: A blockchain is an ever-growing database that hold a series of secure transaction records. Each block is connected to the last, and the chain continues to grow as more transaction-data is stored. Ever heard of bitcoin? Then you’ve heard of a blockchain, because that is technology that powers it.

But for business, a blockchain goes far beyond the “cryptocurrency” application. It has the ability to disrupt financial services, health care, energy, you name it. If it has processes that require exchanges between peers, be it currency or data, the blockchain allows for a secure, fully validated transaction anytime it’s required.


*The list was compiled first at CMO Magazine correspondant Vijayanta Gupta. You can read the article in its entirety by clicking the link below.