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Emerging Technology

Tech innovation moves quickly, but companies aren’t always equipped to take advantage of it. Whether because of competing priorities, stretched budgets or a lack of resources, fully exploring how emerging tech can solve challenges or grow revenue isn’t always on the agenda. But it should be. And even companies that are actively exploring emerging tech  may approach it as individual initiatives and be less likely to realize an optimal impact from their efforts.

We’ve identified the short list to start with: PwC’s Essential Eight technologies. These hold the most promise for businesses over the next five years. And while artificial intelligence (AI) is at the top of the list — and is becoming integral to everything we do — you need to consider how other technologies are coming together in valuable new ways.

Bar chart titled
Emerging tech bets: Are companies overlooking value drivers?
Artificial intelligence
%
Internet of Things
%
Blockchain
%
Augmented reality
%
Robotics
%
Drones
%
Virtual reality
%
3-D printing
%
Q: Which of the following do you expect to be most important to your company in three years? Source: PwC 2020 Digital IQ Survey. Base: 2,380

In our Emerging Tech Lab, we’re tracking six powerful ways this is happening and the new use cases that are possible within the next year that can deliver impact in the next 18 to 24 months. Tech convergence is also making it easier to access tech capabilities. For example, advances in cloud computing now make it a platform for innovation. You can more easily (and often inexpensively) tap into cloud-based AI, Internet of Things and augmented and virtual reality services, among others.

Learn more about emerging tech:

Eight emerging technologies and six convergence themes you need to know about

Find out what makes the Essential Eight technologies so critical to business.

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Artificial intelligence explained

Learn about nine types of AI and what they can do for your company.

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Understanding algorithmic bias

Why it happens and how to build trust in AI.


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What it means for business execs 

Emerging tech experimentation isn’t just a job for technology executives. It’s something every business leader should think about. It’s why we convene our Emerging Tech Exchange every year: to give business leaders a chance to get hands on with new technology and learn from innovators and their peers in other industries. We recently explored practical applications of immersive interfaces, working autonomy and extended reality, among others. 

For example, chief marketing officers or chief operating officers can explore how conversational agents and immersive interfaces enable customers and employees to engage in more intuitive and efficient ways. Human capital leaders might look at how virtual reality (VR) soft skills training has proven more effective. Meanwhile, finance leaders will want to learn how a private blockchain could help streamline and enhance how multiple ERP systems within their organization keep data and financials in sync.

See how emerging tech is solving business and societal challenges:

Solving for x

How people-led, tech-powered convergence is shaping our future.

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An insider’s view of technology — thanks to collaborative VR

PwC Vice Chair Mary Shelton Rose on connecting and solving challenges through tech.

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The VR advantage

How virtual reality is redefining soft skills training.

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How companies are realizing value 

Emerging tech strategy needs to be a core part of every company’s corporate strategy. But it can be hard to know where to start. PwC’s Emerging Tech Lab tracks a knowledge base of more than 250 emerging technologies to help you evaluate the business impact and commercial viability of the latest tech advances. Our dedicated technologists and industry specialists can help you create and implement a strategy that takes advantage of the Essential Eight technologies that are combining in new ways to drive business outcomes. Together, we’ll help you explore new technologies, test innovative ideas and rethink the way you do business.

Emerging Technology Lab

How can we help you do the same:

Emerging Technology Lab

From strategy and research to innovation and prototyping, unlock tech’s potential.

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Analytics and AI Transformation

Analytics and AI Transformation

Build your analytics and AI capabilities.

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