As we saw in yesterday’s post, the break-neck speed of technology transformation is giving everyone a run for their money. Stuff that we only dreamed about a few short years ago is now at our doorsteps. Smartphones that talk back to you, automated warehouses, robotic drones, and more. Technology is a key differentiator today that impacts everyone, from the serial entrepreneur to the corporate CIO and on to the everyday consumer.
Let’s pick up where we left off by exploring some of the key disruptions to pay attention to in 2015.
Smartwatches & Wearables: The announcement of Apple Watch this past September has all eyes on spring of 2015 when the devices will actually be available for purchase. It’s a highly anticipated release and is expected to make the smartwatch a permanent fixture in our lives. As one writer has astutely observed, “Apple rejuvenates the watch as both a watch and a new kind of personal computing device . . . It’s a whole new dimension for the Internet of things.” The future internet will become harnessed to our bodies and personas in ways that we never imagined. Our eyes, ears, and other senses, as well as our arms and hands, will become extensions of our digital selves. Wearable technology coupled with augmented reality will give us new and exciting ways to access real-time data and interact with our environment. Based on Moore’s Law we’ve seen the PC steadily shrink in size over the past 30+ years. And we can expect this trend to continue. It’s only a matter of time before wearables overtake the smartphone as our new PCs of choice. Apple Watch will be a major impetus of this trend in 2015.
3-D Printing: This epic revolution has been called the next industrial revolution. Gartner says that global shipments of 3D printers will grow 98 percent in 2015, and then double in 2016. 3-D printers are becoming more advanced, prices are dropping, and printing services are growing. For instance, The UPS Store has become the first national retailer in the U.S. to introduce 3-D printing to the market. After a successful launch of 3D print in six markets across the country in 2013, the retailer recently expanded its services to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide to meet the growing demands of its small business customers. Also, this past summer Amazon launched its own 3-D printing store. Given the trends so far, we can only imagine how 3-D printing will continue to transform the world of retail and commerce in 2015!
Service Robotics: Thanks to the amazing confluence of SMAC technologies (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) over the past 5 years, telepresence robots have created new opportunities for remote workers to be more present in their home offices. Prices have fallen and new players have entered the market. But what’s particularly exciting is to see office robotics technology spawn developments across other industries. Fellow Robots is an up and coming player seeking to position itself at the forefront of the new “retail robotics” market. In partnership with Lowe’s Innovation Labs (as in the Lowe’s Home Improvement retail chain), Fellow Robots recently released OSHBot. OSHBot is a human-sized, multi-lingual robot capable of greeting customers and 3-D scanning any part and taking customers to the aisle location. OSHBot has been undergoing beta testing during the holidays at Orchard Supply Hardware Store in San Jose, CA. The device represents some of the latest advances in emerging technology – artificial intelligence, sensors, wireless networking, voice recognition, and design prototyping. 2015 will be an exciting year as we see the long-awaited emergence of robotics into more service-oriented industries.
Based on the trends we’ve seen over the past several years, 2015 is gearing up to be another epic year of technological transformation. And so now is the time to start strategizing the latest emerging and disruptive trends. Those who expect to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive digital landscape need to be front and center when it comes to understanding the latest trends and how to adapt disruptive technologies to their bottom-line. Organizations that begin to develop innovative new customer-centric solutions based on these technologies will preserve their competitive advantage in the months and years ahead.