The Essential Eight technologies that matter now

In Tech breakthroughs megatrend: how to prepare for its impact, PwC has evaluated more than 150 technologies globally and developed a methodology for identifying those which are most pertinent to individual companies and whole industries. The result is a guide to the “Essential Eight” technologies that PwC believes will be the most influential on businesses worldwide in the very near future:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI): Software algorithms that are capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. AI is an “umbrella” concept that is made up of numerous subfields such as machine learning, which focuses on the development of programs that can teach themselves to learn, understand, reason, plan, and act (i.e., become more “intelligent”) when exposed to new data in the right quantities.
  2. Augmented reality (AR): Addition of information or visuals to the physical world, via a graphics and/or audio overlay, to improve the user experience for a task or a product. This “augmentation” of the real world is achieved via supplemental devices that render and display said information. AR is distinct from Virtual Reality (VR); the latter being designed and used to re-create reality within a confined experience.
  3. Blockchain: Distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered, as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.
  4. Drones: Air or water-based devices and vehicles, for example Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), that fly or move without an on-board human pilot. Drones can operate autonomously (via on-board computers) on a predefined flight plan or be controlled remotely. (Note: This category is distinct from autonomous land-based vehicles.)
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): Network of objects — devices, vehicles, etc. — embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity, and compute capability, that can collect and exchange data over the Internet. IoT enables devices to be connected and remotely monitored or controlled. The term IoT has come to represent any device that is now “connected” and accessible via a network connection. The Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a subset of IoT and refers to its use in manufacturing and industrial sectors.
  6. Robots: Electro-mechanical machines or virtual agents that automate, augment or assist human activities, autonomously or according to set instructions — often a computer program. (Note: Drones are also robots, but we list them as a separate technology.)
  7. Virtual reality (VR): Computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or a complete environment, within a defined and contained space (unlike AR), that viewers can interact with in realistic ways. VR is intended to be an immersive experience and typically requires equipment, most commonly a helmet/headset.
  8. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects based on digital models by layering or “printing” successive layers of materials. 3D printing relies on innovative “inks” including plastic, metal, and more recently, glass and wood.

Visit http://www.pwc.com/techmegatrend to download the paper and read related content.

What British voters might not have considered: 3 shortfalls of BREXIT

I should start saying that there are many other shortfalls but, for the ones below, I would say that not even 1% of the British voters have thought of:

  • Privacy regulations

Until now, UK was able to share data with systems in any of the other EU countries. Not any more! UK has two choices: 1) become a trusted entity (something like Switzerland); or 2) pass new privacy laws copy-pasted from the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Worst case scenario, if none of the above is done, firms operating in the UK will need to move their data to EU data centers.

  • Financial services

European banks probably celebrated the vote. It is most likely that the UK’s banks may lose access to the “passport” rule that allows financial firms regulated in one EU country to operate in every other EU country. EU businesses will most likely not be able to use British banks so European banks will be stepping in.

  • Availability of goods

Firms like H&M, Ikea, or Zara will spend time and money on trade rules because firms moving goods between the UK and the EU may face customs tariffs and will bear the cost of international trading bureaucracy. Customer experience will suffer as this is one of the variables they will not have margins to invest and the cost of goods will go up. One may argue that this is a chance for UK to grow local business but I would say this is idealistic. The immigration policy will change and the work force will be more expensive and hard to find. For instance, CIOs will find it even more difficult to recruit already-scarce developers and engineers. Moreover, technology-based start-ups will be set up in other European capitals over London.

I wonder how many voters have considered this step with a pragmatic approach…

Behind the scenes of the world’s leading industrial and manufacturing companies

Industrial leaders are digitising essential functions within their internal vertical operations processes, as well as with their horizontal partners along the value chain. In addition, they are enhancing their product portfolio with digital functionalities and introducing innovative, data-based services.

PwC has surveyed 2,000+ companies expecting to dramatically increase their overall level of digitisation. While just 33% rate their company as advanced today, that number jumps to over 70% looking ahead to 2020. While terms like the industrial internet or digital factory are also used to describe these changes, in this report PwC uses Industry 4.0 as a shorthand to describe a journey industrial companies are taking towards a complete value chain transformation.

Results show that Industry 4.0 digitises and integrates processes vertically across the entire organisation, from product development and purchasing, through manufacturing, logistics and service. All data about operations processes, process efficiency and quality management, as well as operations planning are available real-time, supported by augmented reality and optimised in an integrated network. Horizontal integration stretches beyond the internal operations from suppliers to customers and all key value chain partners. It includes technologies from track and trace devices to real-time integrated planning with execution.

Leading industrial companies also expand their offering by providing disruptive digital solutions such as complete, data-driven services and integrated platform solutions. Disruptive digital business models are often focused on generating additional digital revenues and optimising customer interaction and access. Digital products and services frequently look to serve customers with complete solutions in a distinct digital ecosystem.

PwC’s 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey of industrial companies is the biggest survey of its kind studying Industry 4.0 to date. With over 2,000 participants from companies in nine major industrial sectors and 26 countries, it goes to the heart of company thinking on the progress towards transforming into a digital enterprise.

Product Innovation & Development Benchmarking for Telcos

It’s no secret that the global telecoms market is evolving with increasing speed, upending traditional models. Telecom service providers are currently experiencing slower revenue growth from traditional voice and data services. As they look to introduce new products and services, they are facing off with technology companies considered as innovation powerhouses. Can Telecom service providers keep up with the innovation and agility of the high-tech leaders to compete with them effectively?

The ​​PwC Product Innovation & Development Study
In 2015, PwC conducted a refresh of this comprehensive product innovation & development study utilizing PwC’s core Service Innovation framework, spanning strategy through execution & enablement:

telcos banchmarks

​Key findings from this study include:

  • Where leading global telecom operators and leading tech companies fall on the product development innovation scale
  • What’s improved and what still lags vs. a decade ago
  • Key factors that help reduce cost overruns and schedule slippage while also driving faster cycle times
  • A symbiotic link between EBIT and product development performance
  • The leading practices to achieve higher business performance and what should be the targets to achieve measurable improvements

Check out the full PwC report for more details!

Government and the Global CEO: Redefining success in a changing world

Government and business leaders across the world are facing the challenge of rising geopolitical uncertainty and a more connected, yet in many ways more divergent, world.

PwC lacunched today Government and the Global CEO: Redefining success in a changing world, a survey of 1,409 company leaders alongside 38 government representatives and state backed CEOs.

In this report, PwC looks at how public sector organisations can get ready for tomorrow’s challenges by:

  • Redefining their purpose to drive success and channel their resources.
  • Collaborating with business to build the foundations for growth.
  • Measuring success and impact in smarter ways.

More about the latest developments in the Public Sector available at PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre website – http://www.psrc.pwc.com.

Zero infrastructure – “anything as a service”

For any company embarking on this change journey, where to start – and where to focus – depends on the business’s specific industry, size, business model, and current digital maturity. However, the key components of an ideal cloud-centric operating model remain consistent. So, to help communication service providers (CSPs) – including wireline, wireless, cable, and other/integrated communications carriers – map out and undertake the optimal journey to a cloud – enabled “zero infrastructure” future for their IT, we’ve developed the framework for a cloud-centric operating model.

For CSPs worldwide, cloud presents exciting opportunities to drive speed and agility, and to lower costs throughout their operations. These benefits mean that harnessing the cloud is critical to many parts of the CSPs’ strategic agenda, and make navigating the transition to a cloud-centric operating model an urgent priority for many companies.

The key question is how to get started. The solution lies in combining a methodical approach with a commitment to moving at pace. To help CSPs achieve this, we’ve developed the approach enabling a successful transition managed through a clear five-step process. CSPs that undertake this journey will be well placed to compete and win in tomorrow’s communications services marketplace – and to realize the aspiration of zero infrastructure “anything as a service”.

More details @ http://www.pwc.com/communicationsreview

Customer experience as the ultimate differentiator

The prospect of a “smart home” with solutions such as automated lighting, 24/7 video recording and cloud-based HVAC management has sparked a frenzy of market activity. In the past year, multi-service operators (MSOs), telecommunication companies (telcos), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), start-ups, and tech heavyweights have all entered the space with competing and complementary offerings. With so many players:

  • How can any one company differentiate itself from the pack and own the home?
  • Which specific strategies should companies adopt to ensure long-term success?
  • Where should Connected Home players look to drive sustainable revenue growth?

In the September issue of Communications Review, PwC presents, Owning the connected home: Customer experience as the ultimate differentiator”. In the article, they look at how telecoms companies can win customer loyalty by owning the connected home.

History in pictures: behind Adidas’s Success

Adi Dassler, a keen sportsman, started his shoe company with his brother Rudolf. Adi observed athletes, talked to them about their needs, and then experimented with novel ways of solving their problems. Business is not only about innovation and we have probably never heard this story if it wasn’t for Rudolf who was keen on selling. Later on, the story gets split into Adidas and Puma. strategy+business has published a series of pictures featuring Adidas’ success:

http://www.strategy-business.com/The-History-Behind-Adidas-Success-In-Pictures

Enjoy!

Telecommunications companies are not doing enough to address cyberthreats

As the telecommunications industry continues its shift to a digital business model, organisations are recasting themselves as technology companies that offer a broad array of digital communications, connectivity, and content services.

They are racing to deliver not only high-quality and reliable communications services, but also to provide fresh content across a range of computing platforms to an expanding range of customers. Digitisation also has led to new products and services that are created and delivered in innovative ways, resulting in a raft of new collaborations, joint ventures, and strategic alliances across industries. At the same time, a slew of big deals are in the works, including mergers of telecommunications companies, multi-system operators, satellite television providers, and mobile communications networks. Some telecoms are acquiring businesses outside of their traditional scope to gain intellectual property and broaden their services.

Many of these changes are compounding network traffic and demanding that telecoms deliver enhanced capacity and quality of services – without raising fees to customers. That represents a formidable challenge as new entrants to the telecom market and lower pricing structures intensify competition and, in some cases, erode revenues.

Making matters more difficult: The frequency and scope of cybersecurity and privacy risks continue to mount. While breaches have typically targeted customer data, there is growing concern that ultra-sophisticated adversaries like nation-states, organised crime, and hacktivists will initiate attacks that disrupt services and even cause physical damage. A recent attack on a French television network provides an example that is uncomfortably close to home: In April, politically motivated hackers infiltrated a major television broadcaster, knocking 11 channels off the air and compromising websites and social media accounts.

As telecoms pivot toward a more digital future, they will very likely encounter entirely new types of cybersecurity risks to data, applications, and networks. Yet according to findings from The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2015 (GSISS),many telecommunications companies are not doing enough to address cyberthreats for today – or the future.

Authored by Liviu Mihaileanu

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