AI isn’t the only game in town

AI isn’t the only game in town
June 28, 2023  |  BY

We see the claim everywhere these days: Artificial intelligence is taking over. AI will not only change the world, it already has changed the world. Business will never be the same; life will never be the same. So organizations that don’t adopt an AI strategy will soon fall into a deep digital hole.

While there’s some hype in that sentiment, there’s also a lot of truth. Yet the AI craze enveloping us can obscure the fact that there are other technology trends making significant impact.

One of those trends isn’t an actual technology, but rather the way we use technology. I’m talking about the concept of digital nomads. This refers to the growing legions of remote workers. What used to be a rarity in corporate America, remote work has gone full on mainstream.

People enjoy the work-life balance. They love no longer having to endure long commutes. They’re also, by most accounts, more productive, and they reap all of those benefits due to new technologies that are fostering the work-from-anywhere model. And despite the traditionalists who cling on to the notion that people must work in the office to be effective, remote work will only gain more traction. In fact, according to Upwork, over 35 million Americans will work remotely by 2025, which is twice the amount pre-COVID.

Remote work is being enabled by another key technology: intelligent drones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The amount of IoT devices deployed worldwide will grow from 20 billion this year to 31 billion by 2025. This is why smart organizations are investing in sensors and IoT devices to analyze and decipher data, which they can leverage for business growth and market expansion.

Sometimes trends go in reverse. That is, something that was ascending starts to fall back to Earth. Until recently, that was the case with the metaverse. But lo and behold, it’s making a big comeback, thanks largely to software that allows companies to set up virtual workspaces and retail locations. By 2027, according to Gartner, virtual workspaces will account for 30% of corporate investment in metaverse technologies.

Quantum computing is another concept that’s been lost in the shuffle of the AI revolution. However, a recent survey of C-level executives showed that 92% feel quantum computing is vital for U.S. national security, and nearly 90% felt that the U.S. should strive to take the leadership mantle in quantum computing.

Quantum computers use subatomic particles to create new ways of processing and storing information. In practical terms, this means that these machines can potentially operate a trillion times faster than currently available processors. With that kind of speed, you can only imagine the productivity gains in operations, manufacturing, product development, and more.

There has also been a rebalancing of silicon chips. During the pandemic, there was a major semiconductor shortage across the globe. No company was immune to the problem, as most are dependent on the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for chips. Fortunately, governments from many countries came together to address the problem by diversifying chip production. Now, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and China are pitching in to avoid this shortage in the future.

Technology trends are occurring up in the skies – literally, with the expansion of satellites. In 2025, the satellite broadband provider Starlink will break off from SpaceX, and will foster low-latency coverage in underserved areas. Telecom operators, always seeking to enter new markets, are planning to use satellites to offer connected car services to consumer 5G plans. The goal is to have more connected vehicles on the road while reducing traffic on major highways.

No discussion of tech trends is complete without discussing green energy. Of course, green energy has been in the spotlight for at least a decade, but there are always new elements of this category that get little acclaim. For example, green hydrogen, a new clean-burning energy source, produces almost no greenhouse gas emissions. Green hydrogen is something to monitor, as it has shown immense potential across a number of industries.

A related trend is the growth of fusion energy. A clean energy source, fusion energy could make just as big of an impact on the world as green energy. In this case, a small amount of fuel could produce zero greenhouse gasses. Both green and fusion energy are relevant to corporations, as they can accelerate sustainability goals.

Technology leaders surely won’t be investing in satellites, quantum computing, or clean energy. But by being aware of the overall technology landscape, they can ultimately make smarter choices for the products and services that drive success. AI is important, but keep an eye on the other trends as well.