The relationship between technologies and organizations using them has been continuously switching. While the past decade saw a massive digital transformation, the future nods to emerging technologies in the likes of AI augmentation, 5G networks, quantum computing, and many more.

In a Gartner report, in 2021, AI augmentation is believed to create $2.9 trillion of business value, besides 3.2 billion hours of global worker productivity. According to Ericsson, 5G networks would vouch for 35% of global mobile data traffic in 2024. Inside Quantum Technology predicts a whopping figure of $780 million by 2025 in favor of quantum computing, which is forecasted to reach $2.6 billion by 2029.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for emerging technologies features 29 emerging technologies that CIOs ought to embrace (see figure below.)

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Emerging technologies that will revolutionize the future

Let’s look at the key emerging technologies that look to revolutionize businesses, and accelerate innovations across the world.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While robots in the workplace were initially designed to automate manual tasks, AI will further accelerate to refine business processes. The AI success generated by tech giants like Amazon, Google or Apple will aid personalization in real-time. However, it could take a decade or more.

Meanwhile, autonomous cars appear to become a reality in the near future. They are envisioned to ferry people from one place to another with minimal or no human involvement. In healthcare, AI promises a faster and more accurate diagnosis of diseases. What's more, with Google's Duplex system and other similar features, customer service will see a dynamic change, as AI Assistant places human-like calls to book appointments.

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Extended Reality (XR)

Teleportation does not exist yet, but immersive experiences through emerging technologies like extended reality can relocate people in space and time. Machines can now operate at a cognitive level like humans, and interact with them using natural language. XR provides avenues to tap expertise from anywhere in the world. For example, the Ravens developed the first application of its kind that allows fans to paint their face without having to spend countless hours. The technology can open several opportunities for businesses in multiple industries.

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)

Alone, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has limited capabilities, but its combination with AI offers IPA, which is a superior alternative to RPA.

IPA finds its application in various fields, including mortgage and cross-sells, insurance claim processing, telecommunication, logistics, and supply chain. In the banking sector, IPA can connect all systems to banking data to notify bankers when their existing customers display home-buying behavior. It also offers suggestions for loan products and packages that best suit a customer’s profile. Similarly, IPA can pull data together to predict future consumers’ demands and industry trends.

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Collaborative Robots (Cobots)

Cobots are overtaking the robotic market. The BIS Research forecasts that by 2021, the cobot market would grow to approximately $2 billion, and 150,000 units. Productions will get better and faster with cobots taking care of the pick-and-place jobs in manufacturing, packaging and palletizing, and quality assurance.

Besides their use in the production facilities, cobots have found other unique applications. For example, they can help greenhouse workers pick plants; or relieve seasonal labor shortages by taking care of herbs, seedlings, and other plants.

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3D and 4D Printing, and Additive Manufacturing

Several companies in fashion, regenerative medicine, aerospace, and construction industries have started to leverage additive manufacturing.

An exciting use-case is with bio-printing, where the most advanced form of 4D prints stem cells, which are cultured to maturation. A custom-built CAD tool monitors this transformation over time. With its ability, Poietis can achieve 20 µm resolution at a speed of 10,000 drops per second. It leads to a cell concentration of 100 million cells per mL, with 100 percent cell viability. This superlative technology has given rise to bio-printed skin made up of a human-full thickness skin model in the medical industry.

Drone and Aerial Vehicles

According to McKinsey, commercial drones are expected to have an annual impact of $31 billion to $46 billion in the United States by 2026. Today, they are largely employed in aerial photography for the journalism and film industry. Disaster management is made facile through UAV-powered information collection and essentials delivery. By affixing thermal sensors in drones, they can be used in search and rescue operations. Even the government departments leverage aerial vehicles for law enforcements and border patrol. These vehicles can track and forecast natural calamities such as storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have started to use drones to deliver pharmaceuticals and other essential supplies to customers to ensure faster delivery and no human contact.

Hyper Automation

Bringing together advanced tools like robotic process automation, process mining, artificial intelligence, analytics, and hyper-automation unlocks the maximum potential for an automated enterprise. It enables businesses to rapidly identify and automate all possible business processes to empower everyone in the organization. As people shake hands with robots, complex processes and end-to-end processes are put through automation. Companies are in for an educated workforce, a higher productivity, an increased employee capacity, greater compliance, and reduced risks.

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With these predictions hailing from trusted resources like Gartner, it’s only wise for corporate innovators to invest in these emerging technologies. The demand for these technologies is expected to soar in a not-so-far future, and their market size is forecasted to skyrocket. Businesses would want to make swift technical changes in their operating models to face the future market and get their due share.