Emerging Technology

Your guide to the emerging technologies revolutionising business now

The new tech future is here

Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and is already defining what’s next - for your company, competitors, and industry. Business leaders understand this: 76% of CEOs in our 2018 Annual CEO Survey are worried about the speed of tech change. And 64% acknowledge that changes in the technology used to run their businesses will be disruptive over the next five years. Emerging technology should be a key part of every company’s corporate strategy. So why are so many hesitant to take action?

To help companies focus their emerging tech efforts, we analysed the business impact and commercial viability of more than 250 emerging technologies to zero in on the “Essential Eight.” These are the core technologies that matter most for business, across every industry, over the next three to five years. The Essential Eight are the technology building blocks that we believe every organisation must consider. While each company’s strategy for how to best exploit, and combine them, will vary, these technologies will have a profound global impact on business, employees, and customers.



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The Essential Eight technologies that matter most for business today

The Essential Eight technologies that matter most for business today

Explore the Essential Eight

Artificial intelligence (AI)

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.

For example, hospitals using a library of scanned images to quickly and accurately detect and diagnose cancer; insurance companies digitally and automatically recognising and assessing car damage; or security companies trading clunky typed passwords for voice recognition.

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Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a visual or audio “overlay” on the physical world that uses contextualised 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. We’re currently seeing mainstream gaming examples of AR that span age demographics. 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.

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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 Blockchain


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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 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.


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Internet of things (IoT)

The Internet of things (IoT) is a network of physical objects - devices, vehicles, appliances - embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity, and computing capability enabling them to collect, exchange, and act on data, usually without human intervention.

The industrial IoT (IIoT) refers to its use in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, aka Industry 4.0. IIoT augments people, places, processes, and products with sensors to capture and analyse information across a value chain, advancing the goals of the organisation.

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Robots are machines with enhanced sensing, control, and intelligence used to automate, augment, or assist human activities. The robot market, which has grown for industrial applications, 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.

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Virtual reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) abolishes logistical limitations and makes anything possible. 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.

Both gaming and entertainment industries are proving grounds for VR. However, VR has the potential to transform many other industries as well. In the field of experiential training for example, workers can be put into hazardous, difficult or cost-prohibitive situations without the risks related to these activities in the real world.

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3-D printing

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.

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How we can help

One of the major challenges is that traditional business models and value chains are being significantly and rapidly reshaped at breakneck speed by such technologies. Our consulting specialists, both locally and across the global PwC network, can help you understand and put these technologies to work, so that you can be the disruptor, not the disrupted. We work with you to research, strategise, co-create, prototype, test, and deploy new services and solutions powered by the latest technological advances.

Another major challenge that emerging technologies face are the friction with domestic and foreign rules and laws, including fiscal rules, that were designed before their very existence and with more traditional business models in mind. Our local and PwC network specialists are well versed on this, with material domestic and international experience, and are well placed to support you with bespoke solutions that remove barriers, ensure full compliance, and allow for novel business ideas to thrive.

Unlocking Emerging Technologies 2019

Our first two-day Emerging Technology conference was held in February 2019, during which we took the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of the trending emerging technologies and the many opportunities they brings for business. Our local and international speakers introduced the PwC’s Essential 8 emerging tech and shared their insights on digital asset transactions and how to run a VFA business in Malta. Check out the overview of this event here.

Contact us

Edward Attard

Tax, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 6750

Mark Abela

Tax, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 6954

Jake Azzopardi

Advisory, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 2518

Michel Ganado

Advisory Partner, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 7091

Fabio Axisa

Assurance Partner, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 7191

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