As a refresh to my 2014 blog and report, here are the next 15 emerging technologies Forrester thinks you need to follow closely. We organize this year’s list into three groups — systems of engagement technologies will help you become customer-led, systems of insight technologies will help you become insights-driven, and supporting technologies will help you become fast and connected.
Why these 15? You might have noticed a few glaring omissions. Certainly blockchain has garnered a lot of attention; and 3D printing is on most of our competitors’ lists. The answer goes back to being customer led, insights driven, fast, and connected. Those of you that follow our research will recognize these as the four principles of customer obsessed operations. The technologies we selected will have the biggest impact on your ability to win, serve and retain customers whose expectations of service through technology are only going up. Furthermore, our list focuses on those technologies that will have the biggest business impact in the next five years. We think blockchain’s big impact outside of financial services, for example, is further out so it didn’t make our list, even though it is important. Maybe by 2018, when I update our list next.
Since I don’t have room here for details about all of our technologies, I’ll focus on five that we think have the potential to change the world. That’s ⅓ of our list by the way – which means a lot of change is coming; it’s time to make your technology bets.
- IoT software and solutions bring customer engagement potential within reach. Theses software platforms and solutions act as a bridge between highly specialized sensor, actuator, compute, and networking technology for real-world objects and related business software. This technology gives firms visibility into and control of customer and operational realities. By 2021, technology for specific use cases will be mature, but protocol diversity, immature standards and the need for organizational changes will still stymie or delay many firms. …
- Intelligent agents coupled with AI/cogntive technologies will automate engagement and solve tasks. Intelligent agents represent a set of AI-powered solutions that understand users’ behavior and are discerning enough to interpret needs and make decisions on their behalf. By 2021, we think that automation, supported by intelligent software agents drivng by an evolution in AI and cogntive technology will have eliminated an net 6% of US jobs. But the loss won’t be uniform. There will be an 11% loss of jobs that are vulnerable and a 5% creation of jobs in industries that stand to benefit. …
- Augmented reality overlays digital information and experiences on the physical world using combinations of cameras and displays. While we cover both VR and AR, we find that while a lot of attention has been placed on VR, AR has more play, for enteprises in the short term and eventually for consumers as well. By 2021, we will be fully into a transition period between separated and tightly blended physical and digital experiences in our work and lives. …
- Hybrid wireless technology will eventually ereate connected cverything. Hybrid wireless technologies are the interfaces and software that allow devices to simultaneously leverage and translate between two or more different wireless providers, protocols, and frequency bands, such as light, radio, Wi-Fi, cellular, and Sigfox. By 2021, a virtual network infrastructure will emerge to weave together wireless technologies that globally connect IoT and customer engagement platforms.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Among the 5.4 million U.S. firms with paid employees, 481,981, or 8.9 percent, had been in business for less than two years in 2014, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau’s inaugural Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.
In contrast to the employer firms that had been in business for less than two years, there were 167,917, or 3.1 percent, that had been in business for 16 years or more. More than 4 in 10 employer firms (2.4 million, or 44.1 percent) have been in business between 11 and 15 years.
To get a more accurate assessment of the opinion of leading researchers in the field, I turned to the Fellows of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, a group of researchers who are recognized as having made significant, sustained contributions to the field.
In early March 2016, AAAI sent out an anonymous survey on my behalf, posing the following question to 193 fellows:
“In his book, Nick Bostrom has defined Superintelligence as ‘an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.’ When do you think we will achieve Superintelligence?”
…In essence, according to 92.5 percent of the respondents, superintelligence is beyond the foreseeable horizon.
The smart home market is expected to grow from $46.97 Billion in 2015 to $121.73 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 14.07% between 2016 and 2022.
- Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.),
- Legrand (France),
- Ingersoll-Rand plc. (Ireland),
- Johnson Controls Inc. (U.S.),
- Schneider Electric SE (France),
- Siemens AG (Germany),
- ABB Ltd. (Switzerland),
- Acuity Brands, Inc. (U.S.),
- United Technologies Corporation (U.S.),
- Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (South Korea),
- Nest Labs, Inc. (U.S.),
- Crestron Electronics, Inc. (U.S.).
- Appliances & Audio Devices: These include household products that function as a conventional appliance or device, yet offer advantages through connectivity, such as Sectorqube‘s MAID Oven and Sonos‘ smart home speakers. Sonos is the most well-funded smart home startup in terms of equity financing.
- Device Controllers: While most startups produce individual smart home products, these companies produce the devices controlling them. Examples are Peel‘s universal remote and Ivee‘s personal voice assistant, advertised as “Siri for the home.” Both of these companies have received VC funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Foundry Group. Most of these products are able to control smart home products from other companies such as Philips and Nest.
- Energy & Utilities: These are companies that utilize sensors, monitoring tech, and data to conserve water and energy. Ecobee and Rachio, for instance, develop products that monitor and control AC and water sprinkler systems respectively, to help make consumption more efficient. Interestingly, several startups in this category have received funding from corporations and corporate venture capital firms, such as Carrier Corporation, which backed Ecobee, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund, which backed Rachio.
- Gardening: These companies focus on producing smart products for watering and monitoring household yards, gardens, and plants. This is one of the smaller categories in terms of number of companies. The most well-funded startup in this category is Edyn, which recently raised a $2M Series A round.
- General Smart Home Solutions: Instead of producing a single smart gadget, these companies build or distribute multi-device systems that automate several parts of your home, such as ecoVent‘s custom vent/sensor system or Vivint‘s third-party device bundles. Vivint, specifically, has secured $145M in equity funding — second in smart homes only to Sonos.
- Health & Wellness: These are products that assist home occupants in maintaining their health and lifestyle, such as MedMinder Systems‘ smart medicine containers and Beddit‘s under-the-bed health sensor. A notable deal in this category is Hello‘s $40M Series A round last year, which made it the most well-funded smart home startup in health & wellness, with over $50M in equity funding.
- Home Robots: This category is home to companies that produce robots specifically for maintenance and assistance in a home environment. These include robotic assistant Jibo, whose total equity funding is currently at $52M, and home cleaning robot Neato.
- Lighting: Taking cues from products such as the Philips Hue, companies like Sequioa Capital-backed LIFX are coming up with their own app-controlled lightbulbs. Others such as Switchmate are going beyond the bulb and building app-controllable light switches.
- Pet/Baby Monitors: These companies focus on producing video monitors and sensors to monitor pets and babies through the comfort of a smartphone. Most startups in this space, such as Y Combinator alumni Lully and Petcube, are young and still in their early stages of funding.
- Safety & Security: These companies utilize the internet and home automation technologies to help protect you and your home with monitors, internet-enabled locks, smart smoke detectors, and more. This is one of the larger and more well-funded categories, as companies in this space include Ring, Simplisafe, August Home, andCanary, which have all received over $40M in equity funding.
- Miscellaneous: Startups in this category have particularly unique offerings, such as Electric Objects‘ dynamic art display, Kamarq‘s sound table, and Notion‘s universal sensor.