Tag Archives: technology

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.

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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!

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.

Enterprise has a huge opportunity to embrace and mainstream wearable technology

A recent PwC study shows that companies are already putting wearables to work in the workforce. In an era where workplace loyalties are fragile, use of wearable technology in employer-sponsored health and wellness programs can lead to a healthier and thereby more productive workforce. Implementation of wearable tech could have very clear implications for a company’s bottom line— opening the door for enterprise to subsidize the use of wearable devices amongst both employees and consumers.

Three main global trends that will shape the future: key findings for Romania

The Romanian CEOs think there are three main global trends that will impact their companies in the next few years, according to the 17th edition of the PwC Global CEO Survey. Almost all believe that technological breakthroughs will have a major impact. More than half of respondents state that they will feel the impact of demographic changes, as well as resource shortages and climate change. Also, urbanisation is one of the global trends that will reshape businesses.

According to the findings of the 2014 CEO Survey in Romania, 92% of the CEOS have mentioned technological breakthroughs as one of the three main global trends that will transform their companies in the next five years. The percentage is higher than the Global and European ones (81%). Both climate change and resource shortages have been mentioned by 51% of the Romanian CEOs, while urbanisation was mentioned by 47% of them.

“There is a wide consensus among the Romanian CEOs about the role of technological breakthorughs in reshaping their companies in the next few years. On the background of a stronger feeling that the future started yesterday, innovation is the most important opportunity for growth. And innovation is not just about manufacturing techniques or developing new services, but also about ways to approach and attract clients”, stated Vasile Iuga, Country Managing Partner, PwC România.

This is the fourth consecutive year when PwC Romania launches a separate edition based on the answers of an increasing number of local CEOs who joined our initiative. PwC gathered valuable insight on their views and on their strategy when it comes to tackling opportunities for growth, or to dealing with challenges of local and global economies.

This year’s edition of the Global CEO Survey was released earlier this year within the World Economic Forum at Davos and it presents the perspective of more than 1344 CEOs worldwide on the current economic situation and their take on building a stronger foundation for future growth.

Top 10 Technology Trends for Business for 2014

Today, all roads lead to digital. From business strategy to execution, digital technology has become the foundation for everything we do. As companies strive to bolster competitive advantage in a complex global environment, savvy business leaders are leveraging technology to accomplish their goals.

Digital technologies and always-on connectivity are ushering in extraordinary business opportunities. Yet, the proliferation of mobile apps, cloud-based data, and “anywhere, anytime” expectations are forcing leaders to approach IT in radically new ways.

Top 10 technology trends in 2014
Source: 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey, PwC

The 10 technology trends above seam to be on top of today’s executives. Ranked by current investment levels, the findings provide a part of PwC’s  6th Annual Digital IQ Survey.

The future of risk management in the Communications industry

Iphone-picture
Image via Wikipedia

Each year I’m looking for the Global CEO Survey with great interest. Specifically this year I’m interested to see how risk management is affected by the global economic challenges. Communications CEOs are more worried not only about the global economic outlook, but also about several related risks. As the report shows, 45% are extremely concerned about the risk of economic volatility (versus 32% of the total sample). Similarly, 40% are extremely concerned about the measures highly indebted governments are taking to cut their fiscal deficits (versus 27%). Conversely, they’re more relaxed about the prospect of inflation. Only 19% of communications CEOs are somewhat concerned on this score (versus 31%).

Disruptive change is a constant feature of the communications industry and the results from this year’s survey indicate that CEOs see little sign of the pace and scale of change diminishing in the future. The rapid emergence and adoption of new technologies, devices and channels —from smartphones to tablets and Twitter to Groupon – can create overnight stars and catch the unprepared off guard. So it’s hardly surprising that 36% of communications CEOs are planning to make fundamental strategic changes in the next 12 months, compared to 13% across the rest of the survey population.

So how do communications CEOs propose to deal with these challenges?

They’re planning various strategic changes covering a wide range of financial and organisational areas over the next 12 months. Capital investment decisions and capital structuring activities feature prominently in their plans, for example: 31% intend to make major alterations to the former and 29% to the latter (versus 19% and 14%, respectively, of the total sample). And 29% expect to make major alterations in the way they manage risk, whereas the overall average is just 17%.

As well as changing their approach to investment and risk, communications CEOs say they’re likely to continue cutting costs. A full 90% have already implemented cost-reduction initiatives in the past 12 months, which is significantly more than the 75% who’ve done so in our entire survey sample. And 48% expect to outsource a business process or function in the next 12 months (compared to the overall average of 33%). Of course, outsourcing may be motivated by the need to reduce costs, but it’s also a component of the major organisational changes that two-fifths of communications CEOs expect to make in 2012.

Not surprisingly, since new technologies play such a key role in the sector, many communications CEOs are reconsidering how best to manage innovation, too. Communications CEOs are repositioning their portfolios to focus on developing new products and services, and fine-tuning existing products and services. But 60% also intend to adopt new business models in response to a fast-changing environment.

Predictably, perhaps, many communications CEOs are pinning their hopes for future growth on the emerging markets rather than the developed markets—as, indeed, are their peers in other sectors. And while most CEOs with plans to expand abroad are focusing on China, communications CEOs prefer Brazil: 26% believe it will be a key growth market in the next 12 months (versus 15%).

The full report on Communications CEO survey is available here.

Will social technologies improve performance?

English: A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenom...
Image via Wikipedia

One of the most challenging questions… Will enterprises benefit of Web 2.0 deployments and will such technology improve performance?

On the one hand you see by far too much time spent on Facebook these days and statements like “my whole life is there” are not such unussual amongst the young generation. Therefore, the question is not how you make them use it (they already do) but what benefit you have as a company from using such technologies?

McKinsey’s conclusion is that companies are improving their mastery of social technologies, using them to enhance operations and exploit new market opportunities (“How social technologies are extending the organization,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2011). They asked 4,261 global executives how their organizations deploy social technologies, including social networking, blogs, video sharing and microblogging, and the benefits gained. The 2011 survey reports that when adopted at scale across an emerging type of networked enterprise and integrated into the work processes of employees, social technologies can boost a company’s financial performance and market share, also confirming last year’s survey results.

I find not quite spectacular the four clusters that emerge from McKinsey’s analysis:
1. Executives at internally networked organizations note the highest improvement in benefits from interactions with employees;
2. Executives at externally networked organizations note the highest improvement in interactions with customers, partners, and suppliers;
3. Executives at fully networked organizations report greater benefits from both internal and external interactions (this result is easy to be assumed out of the first two);
4. In the fourth and by far the largest group, developing organizations, respondents report lower-than-average improvements across all interactions at their organizations.

It’s clear that there is an improvement in communication, especially for large inter-regional organisations but you don’t need a study to know that. What I would be interested in is how this is linked to performance on the job also this would be more difficult to find out once it becomes a way of life and business. Looking ahead three to five years, many respondents expect still more profound organizational changes. They say that with fewer constraints on social technologies at their companies:

  • Boundaries among employees, vendors and customers will blur.

I would raise a red flag here as this might be a signifficant risk management issue.

  • More employee teams will be able to organize themselves.

I would consider it one of the most relevant benefits.

  • Data-driven decision-making will rise in importance.

I’d also add a red flag here considering that Web 2.0 gathers unstructured data and the real challenge will be how to manage such information in a structured way.

The next decade – the “most innovative time” ?

A recent PwC survey found that that innovation is high on the executive agenda in virtually every industry. In all, 78% of CEOs surveyed believe innovation will generate “significant” new revenue and cost reduction opportunities over the next three years. But it is highest for those where technology is changing customer expectations. In both the pharmaceutical and entertainment and media sectors, for example, more than 40% of CEOs believe their greatest opportunities for growth come from spawning new products and services.

Additionally, the survey found that CEOs are re-thinking their approach to innovation and increasingly seeking to collaborate with outside partners and in markets other than where they are based. For example, a majority of entertainment and media CEOs said they expect to co-develop new products and services.

The innovation process generally has four phases: 

  • Discovery: Identifying and sourcing ideas and problems that are the basis for future innovation. Sources may include employees as well as customers, suppliers, partners and other external organisations.
  • Incubation: Refining, developing and testing good ideas to see if they are technically feasible and make business sense.
  • Acceleration: Establishing pilot programs to test commercial feasibility.
  • Scale:  Integrating the innovation into the company; commercialisation and mass marketing.

However, the drive for innovation must arise from the CEO and other executive leadership by creating a culture that is open to new ideas and systematic in its approach to their development.

Therefore, the study also identifies 7 misconceptions about the innovation process:

  • Innovation can be delegated.  Not so. The drive to innovate begins at the top. If the CEO doesn’t protect and reward the process, it will fail.
  • Middle Management is the ally of innovation. Managers are not natural champions of innovation. They to reject new ideas in favor of efficiency.
  • Innovative people work for the money. Establishing a culture that embeds innovation in the organisation will attract and retain creative talent.
  • Innovation is a lucky accident. Successful innovation most often results from a disciplined process that sorts through many ideas.
  • The more open the innovation process, the less disciplined. Advances in collaborative tools, like social networking, are accelerating open innovation.
  • Businesses know how much innovation they need. Leaders must calculate their potential for inorganic growth to determine their need to innovate.
  • Innovation can’t be measured. Leadership needs to identify its ROII (Return on Innovation Investment).

Details about the study here.