Traditional products and services are being outcompeted by new digital alternatives, new market opportunities are being created and established businesses are having to adapt strategies and operating models to maintain their competitiveness.
“Based on technology and innovation, Knowit has developed solutions that millions of people in the Nordic countries use every day,” says Christian Hartman, Head of Knowit Insight in Norway. “Even though we have come a long way already, we believe that the biggest changes and opportunities still lie ahead of us. Technology and digitalisation is one of the most important mega trends of our time and a central driving force in this respect – we are moving towards exciting times.
The eight technologies
- DIGITAL EMPLOYEES
- INTERNET OF THINGS
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
- VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY
- 3D PRINTING
- ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION
Digital assistants are various types of software that are capable of performing rule-based work processes and communicating with people through writing and speech. The digital assistants are represented by technologies such as the Robotics Process Automation (RPA), chatbots and voice assistants. These assistants are new digital colleagues that will help the organisations of the future meet the demands for productivity and accessibility, as well as supporting the shift from “doing-jobs” to activities that add value for analogue employees.
Digital assistants are a good solution for businesses that want to increase accessibility and quality, as well as improve response times in relation to their customers or employees.
A digital workforce will be able to take over and automate a large part of today’s manual business processes. A high proportion of processes associated with e.g. finance, reporting, customer service and HR is currently handled by employees who have to compensate for incomplete IT systems. This means that a lot of valuable time that could have been devoted to solving more complicated problems is spent carrying out work tasks that could be performed by digital assistants. Are you ready to hire your first digital assistant?
Almost 90% of all customer dialogues will be conducted via chat by 2020.
45% of all work tasks can be automated.
Internet of things
The Internet of Things (IoT) comprises objects, often electronics and sensors, that are identifiable and can communicate with each other and exchange data via the Internet and cloud solutions. Third parties are also part of this network from time to time, and can offer insights and services to users. IoT objects could be anything from a sensor that monitors a pump at a manufacturing facility to the smartphone you use to unlock your car or house.
IoT is opening the door to opportunities that entail more than just the improvement and digitalisation of individual processes. In order to succeed, businesses must be willing to develop new business and operational models around networks of connected devices.
The applications for IoT are practically limitless. IoT is the core technology for concepts such as smart homes and Industry 4.0. Furthermore, IoT sensors can be used to develop self-regulatory processes for monitoring and operating a wide range of business and manufacturing processes. We are seeing a rise in various analytics platforms that use IoT data to provide valuable insights and new user interfaces for equipment or products, “wearables” for animals or people, as well as for the environments in which exist.
More than 50% of all major business processes and systems will incorporate IoT by 2020.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI (artificial intelligence) is a broad term that refers to a computer program’s or computer’s ability to appear intelligent. AI usually has the ability to capture data about its environment and can learn or adapt in order to achieve a given goal. In order to build an AI system that adds value, large volumes of data and an algorithm are used that are suitable for what the system is intended to achieve. After consuming the data, the system can make decisions based on the knowledge it has built up.
In order to benefit from AI, it is necessary to have a clear strategy and plan regarding how data can be captured and utilised, serving as a basis for improved decisions, greater insight and optimisation of business processes.
Data is referred to as the new oil and, like oil, it needs to be refined to be able to create maximum value. Norwegian companies possess enormous amounts of information in the form of financial data, customer data, sales data, product and service data, sensor data, etc. This data contains a large amount of latent value that AI methods can use to generate insights and opportunities for automation.
The value of AI across industries is estimated to be between USD 9-15 trillion.
47% of digitally mature businesses have a clear AI strategy.
Virtual & augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows the user to interact in a computer-simulated recreation of a real environment. Augmented reality (AR) is a fusion of VR where reality and a computer-simulated environment are merged, which we have seen for example with Pokemon Go or with lenses in Snapchat. In industrial environments, AR is used in a similar way to present drawings or status information for equipment that you are filming or looking at through glasses or a tablet/iPad.
The use of VR and AR technology allows improved customer journeys and contributes to increased quality and speed in manual work processes.
The technology is already affecting a number of industries. For example, potential customers can already “test” products such as cars, furniture and homes before they are produced. In addition, computer game manufacturers are launching new gaming platforms, educational institutions are altering their approach to traditional teaching and manufacturing companies are now performing maintenance of complex production equipment using VR and AR technology.
We achieved a 46% increase in picking efficiency through the use of AR-based picking tools.
The AR game Pokemon Go has been downloaded by more than 800 million users.
A blockchain is a distributed transactional database in which all the parties are always in possession of the same information about the transactions. It is not possible to change information in the database unless the majority of participants agree that the change complies with the rules defined for a transaction to be approved. A blockchain therefore makes it possible to carry out transactions securely between multiple parties without the need for the transaction to be verified by a third party (such as a bank). Blockchains establish trust between the parties in a network who will be interacting.
It is not known when blockchains will have a serious impact on the business world, but there is little doubt that the technology has the potential to play a central role in relation to value creation and innovation.
Today, blockchain is mostly associated with cryptocurrency, allowing you to transfer monetary values between parties, but the applications and opportunities are considered to be enormous within sectors such as consumer products, property, logistics, health, energy and insurance. Despite the enormous possibilities, the technology currently has relatively few well-documented examples of users.
84% of CXOs consider that blockchain provides increased security compared to conventional information technology.
Investors invested more than USD 800 million in blockchain start-ups in 2014 and 2015.
3D printing is a digitally-operated manufacturing technology in which physical objects are printed by a 3D printer based on the specification of a digital 3D model. The manufacturing process is additive, which means that an object is produced layer by layer rather than milling or turning a larger object down to the desired shape. Production using a 3D printer is carried out by allowing an object to be printed in successive horizontal layers of materials such as plastic or metal until the object has been fully produced. Each of these layers can be viewed as a thinly cut horizontal cross-section of the object being produced.
3D printing uses fast and precise machinery that prints complex three-dimensional objects with a high level of quality.
3D printing has enormous potential for all production-based industries, where the technology can contribute to significant cost reductions associated with both prototyping and manufacturing. Moreover, 3D printing can reduce the need to store parts as well as significantly reduce lead times, since the technology makes it possible to produce what you need, when you need it and where you need it. The healthcare sector is also using 3D printing to produce artificial organs such as hearts, teeth, skin and ears.
75% of new commercial and military aircraft will incorporate 3D-printed engines and parts.
One in four global companies are exploring the potential of 3D printing.
A drone is an unmanned aircraft that can fly (or dive) autonomously using software or be remotely controlled by people. For example, drones can be used for searching, surveillance and transportation. Several Norwegian companies are contributing on the front line in the development and commercialisation of drone technology, and the Norwegian Government has drawn up its own drone strategy to establish good framework conditions for the use of drones and growth in the drone sector.
Businesses are investing in drone technology in order to explore how the technology is contributing to increased efficiency in operational processes, as well as access to new and improved data.
Several Norwegian and international retail and logistics companies are already exploring how drones can contribute to faster and more cost-effective distribution. Furthermore, a number of companies working in the oil and gas, energy and industrial production sectors are using drones to monitor and efficiently gather critical data from infrastructure such as refineries and power line networks.
We can save USD 50 million by using drones instead of vehicles to perform the final kilometres of their deliveries.
There are currently some 4,000 registered operators of aerial drones in Norway.
Robotics and automation
Automation of physical work duties is a growing trend within several sectors. This means that physical robots and machines are increasingly taking over work duties previously carried out by human employees. At present, this development has come furthest within processes associated with warehousing, logistics and surveillance, but it is also moving into a number of other sectors.
Physical automation of work processes improves quality and increases uptime in processes, while freeing up human resources to work with other tasks that add value.
Tasks that are currently performed by employees are only carried out during agreed working hours and often with considerable variation as regards quality. Physical robots can work around the clock without taking holidays, and deliver at a regular, high level. As a result, companies across a number of sectors are exploring how the use of robots can contribute to increased quality and delivery capacity at a lower cost.
1.7 million industrial robots will be in operation by 2020.
International Federation of Robotics
“We have highlighted eight technologies that we consider to be exciting and that we believe will have the capacity to change society, business and our everyday lives. It is likely that these will be the right ones for your business to explore, but this requires closer consideration. However, we would like to share our opinion that curiosity is good, so we hope that we have given you something to think about and ideas that you can work on. Because we know that new technology is affecting us to an ever greater extent and at an every faster pace. It is not possible to buy a license for digital transformation, so it is a matter of the way in which smart businesses and each of us are able to change, and whether we are capable of grasping the opportunities that arise in a digital world,” concludes Christian Hartman.