Re-Think Innovation in 2018: The Technologies that Matter to Your Customers, Business, and Ecosystem

Which technologies should you track? Understand the three themes, then use this chart.

It is no secret companies are struggling to keep up with technological change. Even with devices and connected interfaces abound; even with an untold velocity of data generation and networked services; and especially in light of an ever-shifting tessellation of new capabilities, most “digital transformation” efforts remain fragmented.

2017 brought with it a slew of developments, shifting the competitive dynamics across every industry— from mega mergers to initial coin offerings, from voice interfaces to a boon in artificial intelligence, and countless other unseen social, political, and technological vectors.

2018 promises at least one constant: more of the same. More eye-popping advancements in software, analytics, firmware, security, and speed. Less screens, more spoken and augmented interfaces. Less consumer tolerance, more real-time and predictive services. And more unknowns. But companies have yet to embrace the inevitable, an even more daunting prospect.

The quickening pace and widening scope of technological advancement mean virtually every technology can be relevant to every organization.

Pockets of technological adoption in one part of the market quickly influence or catalyze another. For example, while consumers led adoption of smartphones, subsequent shifts in behavior and expectations forced businesses to implement internal mobile-first strategies for employee workflows, recalibrate enterprise security, and deploy B2B app marketplaces.

Take another example: Chips known as graphics processing units (GPUs) were relegated to the gaming industry (to support high-load processing and resolution for video games) until scientists realized their high performance capabilities would render them well suited for big data applications. This breakthrough has been a huge catalyst for extreme growth in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and cryptocurrencies…Indeed the market for such chipsets is estimated to have soared to over $513 million in 2016, with CAGR of some 42.2% according to Tractica.

Vertical developments in tech are so bright and shiny, businesses often fail to see (never mind, plan for) their ‘horizontal’ influences.

Kaleido Insights has designed a methodology to capture precisely these impacts. We analyze the impacts emerging technologies have on humans, on businesses across industries, and on broader ecosystems. Below we’ve rounded up a “kaleidoscope” of emerging technologies and indicated their current level of activity and impact across each.

While clearly some technologies are far more ‘real’ and commercialized than others, Kaleido expects these categories will shift, as adoption fragments from market to market.

  • Theme: Super Humans
    Those impacting and empowering consumers and end-users, what we call Super Humans, have a groundswell effect on business adoption. 2017 will be remembered as the year voice recognition reshaped consumer IoT, for instance.
  • Theme: Fluid Organizations
    Technologies like machine learning and open-source development frameworks enable companies to react, build, and behave like Fluid Organizations, the essential trait for driving rapid iteration and innovation.
  • Theme: Enlightened Ecosystem
    More and more, digital is forcing businesses to leverage and share ecosystem-level infrastructure, platforms, and business models. This push towards more “enlightened” ecosystems, will be slowest to materialize, but is essential to support the needs of a truly global integration of digital and physical.

Over time, certain categories will converge or become invisible, others may become irrelevant and go extinct. Others technologies, such as Li-fi, blockchain, or homomorphic encryption tease such radical advancements in security, external threats or regulations could catalyze their adoption. In 2018 and far beyond, businesses must wake up to this new reality: emerging technologies should be understood holistically. The most powerful disruptions are rarely single technologies, but well-timed convergence of multiple existing technologies to foster something altogether unprecedented.

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