Software algorithms are automating complex decision-making tasks to mimic human thought processes and senses. Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a monolithic technology. A subset of AI, machine learning, focuses on the development of computer programs that can teach themselves to learn, understand, reason, plan and act when blasted with data. Machine learning carries enormous potential for the creation of meaningful products and services. Examples include hospitals using a library of scanned images to quickly and accurately detect and diagnose cancer; insurance companies digitally and automatically recognizing and assessing car damage; and security companies trading clunky typed passwords for voice recognition. Learn more about AI insights shaping business strategy.
Augmented reality (AR) is a visual or audio “overlay” on the physical world that uses contextualized digital information to augment the user’s real-world view. AR-enabled smart glasses help warehouse workers fulfill orders with precision, airline manufacturers assemble planes and electrical workers make repairs. The power of bringing information to the point of action in a seamless, unobtrusive manner is undeniable. This blending of the physical and virtual worlds is cracking open a new realm for businesses across the board to explore. Learn more about how augmented reality’s potential for business.
A blockchain is a distributed digital database or, more broadly, a digital ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered. Blockchain has the potential to usher in an era of autonomous digital commerce. Learn more about the state of blockchain today.
Depending on their design, drones vary greatly in their capacity. Some drones need wide spaces to take off, while quadcopters can squeeze into a column of space. Some drones are water based; others can operate and navigate semi-autonomously (via remote control) or fully autonomously (via onboard computers). Companies are using drones for wide-ranging reasons, including surveillance, survey, sport, cinematography and delivery. Learn more about the latest drone applications for business
Internet of things
The Internet of things (IoT) is a network of physical objects — devices, vehicles, appliances — embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity and computing capability that enable them to collect, exchange and act on data, usually without human intervention. Industrial IoT (IIoT) refers to its use in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, aka Industry 4.0. Both types are integral to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Learn about the state of IoT today and how it's being used in key industries.
Robots are machines with enhanced sensing, control and intelligence used to automate, augment or assist human activities. The robot market is poised for growth in a broad range of services applications. These applications are transforming manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations with new capabilities that address the challenges of working in changing, uncertain and uncontrolled environments, such as alongside humans without being a danger to them. Learn more about next-gen robots.
Virtual reality (VR) abolishes logistical limitations. In a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment, viewers can use special equipment to interact with the simulation in realistic ways. The gaming and entertainment industries are obvious proving grounds for VR. However, VR has the potential to transform many other industries as well, especially in the realm of experiential training where workers can be put into hazardous, difficult or cost-prohibitive situations without the intense risks associated with these activities in the physical world. Learn more about VR’s economic potential for business.
3-D printing creates three-dimensional objects based on digital models by layering or “printing” successive layers of materials. 3-D printing relies on innovative “inks,” including plastic, metal and, more recently, glass and wood. 3-D printing has the potential to turn every large enterprise, small business and living room into a factory. Learn more about the state of 3-D printing technology and the developments that are fueling innovations.