Jan 31, 2018

Business leaders need to be able to spot emerging technologies that present big growth opportunities or serious competitive threats, but are often stuck relying on either subjective opinions or an excess of raw data without context or insight. To help bring the future into better focus, Lux Research, a provider of research and advisory services about technology innovation, used a combination of its expert analysts and proprietary data analysis platform to answer the question "What technologies have the greatest potential to transform the world over the next decade?"

“We looked at traditional industry approaches to predicting technology innovations to watch, and they were all based on intuition, surveys of industry executives, news sources, or other lagging indicators - we knew there had to be a better way. We are leading the digital transformation of our own industry with our intelligence platform, designed to surface true leading indicators and equip our analysts with the proprietary data and analytic tools to help our members make better decisions, faster,” said Andrew Stockwell, new Senior VP of Research, Product & Operations at Lux.

From machine learning to synthetic biology and from solid-state batteries to the microbiome, Lux Research's "18 for 2018" report identifies and ranks 18 technologies that are on track to reshape the world. The rankings are based on the Lux Tech Signal innovation interest score, providing a consistent measure of how much innovation is happening in a given technology or product area, combined with expert insight from their team of science and engineering trained analysts.

The 18 Transformative Technologies to Watch in 2018

1) Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks - Watch for the impact from a 30% annual increase in machine learning patents

2) 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing - Lux expects 3D printing to be a $20 billion market by 2025

3) Genome Editing - $1.2 billion in VC funding will impact industries from food to healthcare

4) 5G Networks - Over 70,000 patents set the stage for 5G network launches in 2018

5) Microbiome - Harnesses the power of personalized microbes for health and nutrition

6) Solid-state Batteries - Safer and better batteries, pursued by start-ups and giants like Toyota.

7) Synthetic Biology - A recent $275 million round for Ginkgo Bioworks highlights the potential.

8) Augmented Reality (AR) - Enterprise applications are coming now, on heels of $4.4 billion in funding.

9) Smartwatches - Patents soar from near zero to over 23,000 in less than five years.

10) Wireless Charging - Here now for consumer electronics, with R&D pushing for EV uses.

11) Materials Informatics - Using IT and AI to break out of slow material development cycles.

12) IoT Security - Patents are up 13 times as connected devices proliferate.

13) Edge Computing - When milliseconds matter, analytics can be local, not in the cloud.

14) Energy Distribution System Monitoring - Growing demand and renewables require tech to balance the grid.

15) Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) - Innovation has grown at an 87 percent annual rate to improve on PET.

16) Sugar Reduction - Over 162,000 patents aim to combat health ills from too much sugar.

17) Neural Interfaces - Tech to read and stimulate the brain will see growing validation in 2018.

18) Syngas and Power-to-Gas - producing fuels from CO2 to drive the energy transition

In addition to describing and ranking the technologies, the report includes key details such as industries that will be affected, key players in each space, and Lux's take on the potential impact of each technology. Different technologies require different approaches, so the report also groups the technologies into three categories:

  • The current rock stars of innovation: These include 3D printing (ranked # 2 on the list), 5G networks (#4) and smartwatches (#9). According to Mike Holman, VP Intelligence at Lux Research, "these technologies have been rising stratospherically during the past few years and demonstrate substance. A strategy for each of these technologies is a must-have for any company in relevant industries – but beware of strong competition and the risk of inflated expectations."
  •  Hard problems that remain relevant: Here the analysts point to synthetic biology (#7), energy distribution system monitoring (#14) and sugar substitutes/reduction (#16) and add that "these technologies continue to attract attention due to their massive potential impact, but have had a tough road to commercial impact so far." Lux suggests companies maintain a portfolio approach, rather than make big bets, to manage risk.
  • Hidden gems: This category includes solid-state batteries (#6), materials informatics (#11) and edge computing (#13). Described as "a bit more under the radar, these technologies do not yet attract much innovation attention in absolute terms, but they are at the beginning of what could be a meteoric rise." The Lux take is that companies should consider starting a program now in order to stake out an early leadership position that could pay off big.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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