The converging themes for business transformation
Business executives are frequently exposed to various evolving trends, and quite often, they need to distinguish between hype and reality. For example, the 'metaverse' is a popular topic today. People representing a wide gamut of stakeholders are talking about it.
While it is uncertain how the whole concept of the metaverse will evolve in the future and start delivering business benefits, it is important to understand that it is grounded in a few foundational technologies that have gradually matured over the years.
The advancement and convergence of these foundational technologies are helping create new themes that are aimed at solving important problems. A seasoned business leader must thus spend time to understand such foundation blocks, the opportunities arising through their convergence, and the themes emerging out of such convergences that can solve business problems.
As we continue to witness unprecedented technological advancements, PwC has identified six convergence themes: automating trust, extended reality, immersive interfaces, working autonomy, digital reflection and hyperconnected networks. Instead of getting overwhelmed by each new hype, business leaders need to understand these themes and their importance in their businesses.
Automating trust: To automate trust, technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain can be combined to ensure the authenticity of data, the identity of participants and security of transactions. This will enable these technologies to provide automated trust in physical, digital and human assets.
Extended reality (XR): XR merges the physical and virtual worlds by using foundational technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Although its primary use cases belong to the entertainment sector, many research and development (R&D) organisations are finding this theme useful to enhance their capabilities to design newer products. According to a PwC estimate, XR can deliver a $1.5-trillion boost to the global economy by 2030.
Immersive interfaces: These are the next frontier of conversational interfaces, along with XR. Immersive interfaces enable more natural and frictionless interactions between humans and machines. This theme uses various human sensory inputs – auditory, tactual and visual – and merges those with other human attributes, such as emotions, to maximise the immersive experience for humans in the digital world.
Working autonomy: Automation has transitioned from a point solution to a broader definition of automating workflows and material flows. Working autonomy integrated with AI enables learning from its past behaviours and outcomes, thereby improving the degree of automation over time.
Digital reflection: It is a virtual reflection of complex, interdependent physical processes and interactions.
Hyperconnected networks: Such networks rely on an infrastructure of networks and sensors to process information at high speeds in order to intelligently connect numerous humans and machines. They leverage technologies like 5G and other low-latency network infrastructures.
These themes are expected to lead the next wave of tech-led transformation for businesses around the world. For business executives, it will always be important to develop a comprehensive understanding of these themes in order to lead organisational transformation. Many organisations have already set out on this journey of transformation.
The author is a partner at PwC. The views are his own.