Three technologies – the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing and biotech or healthcare IT – are among the most disruptive IT trends that will change the way people work and live over the next three years, according to the 2014 KPMG Global Technology Innovation survey.
Alongside these technologies, mobile, cloud computing, big data analytics, digital currencies, artificial intelligence and autotech were selected by respondents as technologies most likely to transform enterprises.
KPMG noted that IoT, 3D printing and biotech were selected by more than twice as many respondents as in last year’s survey. The professional services and audit firm conducted the study on 768 technology business leaders, of which 70% were corporate-level executives, to identify the top disruptive technologies, barriers to technology innovation adoption and the scope of business disruption driven by emerging technologies.
It is estimated that the the number of active wireless-connected devices will cross 40.9 billion mark by 2020 – more than double the current total. This explosion in connected devices will be driven by the internet of things (IoT), according to ABI Research.
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ABI’s estimate of 40 billion devices is significantly more than the figure suggested by Gartner in 2013, when it forecast that IoT would see 26 billion units installed by 2020.
“There is so much room for technology to drive growth and enable change. Yet, while businesses across the globe are excited about the prospects that new tech-driven ideas can offer their bottom line, a hint of nervousness remains,” said Tudor Aw, head of technology at KPMG.
Turning disruptive tech into business opportunities
“The sectors and the businesses that will enjoy greatest success, however, will be those prepared to take a chance on something new. That’s not to say they should gamble on the next ‘big thing’ – but they shouldn’t be afraid to try,” he warned.
The KPMG survey revealed that business leaders believe so-called ‘intelligent shopping’ has the greatest potential to generate revenue because of the IoT (20%) as devices communicate with each other. Respondents also suggest home automation (14%), and surveillance/security and social interaction (both at 12%) will also act as revenue drivers in the next three years.
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The business decision makers also identified digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, as one of the emerging technologies most likely to impact business between now and 2017. However, the extent to which they are likely to become a widespread methods of payment varied enormously by geography. For example, respondents across Europe were twice as likely (32%) as their counterparts in America (15%) to suggest that digital currencies will disrupt banking and payments in the next three years. However, even this figure was dwarfed by respondents in China (70%).
Challenges to enterprise IT innovation
But it was not all good news for fans of technology. When asked which factors will limit or constrain innovation, 34% of the respondents cited restrictive regulatory policies, while 29% cited “consumer fatigue”. Just over one quarter (27%) said the ability to successfully demonstrate ROI (return on investment) was also a hindrance.
The study also revealed that the top barriers preventing enterprises commercialising technology innovation were security (27%), technology complexity (22%) and customer adoption (21%).
“Everything from the home computer to the smartphone has shown consumers are willing to embrace new technologies,” Aw said. “After all, 15 years ago, no one would have thought people would be as comfortable shopping on the move or banking over the air, as they are today.
“The businesses that are quick to realise we are only at the start of a technological innovation revolution will be those that uncover the next ‘big thing’ – and they will be the ones standing it in what is becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace,” he concluded.