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Trends 2023: Technology

December 5, 2022


McKinsey & Company analysts note, “Technology continues to be a primary catalyst for change in the world. Technology advances give businesses, governments, and social-sector institutions more possibilities to lift their productivity, invent and reinvent offerings, and contribute to humanity’s well-being.”[1] There is so much activity taking place in the technology arena that the challenge is deciding what technologies to include in a short list. In line with themes I normally write about, I will restrict the list to technologies that primarily impact the business world.


2023 Technology Trends


Trend 1. Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is not a new trend; so, you might be asking why it tops my list of trends. Futurist Bernard Marr explains, “The AI hype has been around for a while, but if you’re not someone who is actively involved with working on technology, you may not appreciate how ubiquitous AI has become. We use smart algorithms every time we search the internet, shop online, navigate as we travel, choose how we entertain ourselves, manage our schedules, and carry out countless tasks — both creative and mundane. The hype isn’t going to end any time soon.”[2] Journalist Steven I. Weiss reports that the McKinsey study (cited above) examined how relevant (i.e., how applicable) technologies were across 20 industries. According to Weiss, the study concluded that AI was the most relevant technology across all 20 sectors. He concludes, “In almost every industry, in almost every company, there is likely some problem that can be solved through upgraded analytics, automation, or some other application of A.I. While individual A.I. products are, by nature, narrowly focused, an insight here for entrepreneurs is that different industries might have similar problems to one you’re solving in your target market.”[3]


Trend 2. Improved Connectivity. Several years ago, Adie Tomer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Robert Puentes, President & CEO of EnoTrans, stated, “No industry or household in the world, will reach their future potential without access to broadband, it is the electricity of the 21st century.”[4] Marc Emmer, President of Optimize Inc., reports that global connectivity is predicted to improve significantly during the coming year. He writes, “McKinsey has reported that economies will realize the benefits of superior connectivity networks in 2023. There will be substantial development and refinements of existing technologies such as Wi-Fi 6, 5G cellular networks, and low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite-based communications.”[5] The impacts of improved connectivity, according to Emmer, include: Global annual data creation may increase by 20-25% due to higher network connectivity speed; telecom companies may see a 10-20% revenue increase from 5G network connectivity and B2B services; and, the total number of IoT-connected devices may rapidly increase, thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and its smooth, low-latency connectivity.


Trend 3. Cybersecurity. A recent poll found, “98% of organizations surveyed have been negatively impacted by a cybersecurity breach that occurred in their supply chain.”[6] It’s little wonder that concerted efforts are being made to improve cybersecurity. Analysts from Gartner call these efforts a “digital immune system.” The staff at the Stefanini Group explain, “Methods for protecting against online criminals, spammers and other unwanted online pests are improving in sophistication. … Through observation, automation and the latest developments in design, a robust digital immune system can significantly mitigate operational and security risks. As the utility of these tools becomes more established, expect to hear many more questions about the health of your organization’s digital immune system in the year to come, and what you’re doing to strengthen and protect it.”[7]


Trend 4. The Metaverse. William Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet is famous for the line, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” He might have been referring to the metaverse. Futurist Thornton May explains, ““Right now, the metaverse is essentially an undefined amalgam of technologies and concepts including but not limited to augmented reality (AR), avatars, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, extended reality (ER), mixed reality (MR), NFTs (non-fungible tokens), virtual reality (VR), and Web3.”[8] Nevertheless, the Stefanini Group staff writes, “Metaverse technologies that allow for digital replication or enhancement of activities traditionally done in the physical world should certainly not be dismissed. There is far too much at stake, and the possibilities are far too intriguing for too many people to write off metaverse technologies quite yet, even if the pilot versions fail to impress.”


Trend 5. Net Zero Emissions and Decarbonization. It’s getting harder for governments and businesses to ignore the devastating effects of a warming planet. McKinsey analysts note, “Energy solutions that drive toward net-zero emissions span the entire value chain, from generation or production to storage and distribution. These increasingly important solutions include renewable sources such as solar power and wind power, sustainable fuels such as hydrogen, long-duration battery systems, and smart grids.” They also predict that sustainability efforts “could be increasingly skewed toward non-fossil and decarbonization technologies.” The MIT Technology Review staff notes, “Reducing emissions is a key step to mitigating climate change. But it’s not enough, according to the UN. To avoid catastrophic future warming, we must also remove carbon dioxide from the air.”[9] In a step towards achieving that goal, they report, “The world’s biggest carbon removal factory recently opened in Iceland.”


Trend 6. Quantum Computing. Almost weekly, researchers reveal advances in technologies that will lead to a universal, programmable quantum computer. McKinsey analysts note, “Quantum technologies promise to take advantage of the unique properties of quantum mechanics to perform specific types of complex calculations much faster than classical computers, transform networks by making them more secure, and enable significant improvements in the sensitivity of sensors. In principle, quantum technologies could generate simulations and solve problems that would lead to major advances in industries such as aerospace and defense, chemicals, information technology, and pharmaceuticals.” Many experts predict that development of a universal, programmable quantum computer remains 10-15 years in the future.


Trend 7. Decision Intelligence. Business journalist Rob Spiegel writes, “Decision intelligence is an engineering discipline that augments data science with theory from social science, decision theory, and managerial science. Its application provides a framework for best practices in organizational decision-making and processes for applying machine learning at scale. The basic idea is that decisions are based on our understanding of how actions lead to outcomes. Decision intelligence is a discipline for analyzing this chain of cause and effect, and decision modeling is a visual language for representing these chains.”[10] At Enterra Solutions®, we are advancing Autonomous Decision Science™ (ADS®), which we believe is the next step in the journey beyond data science. Using ADS, the machine plays the role of the data scientist or subject matter expert to help optimize business processes and help organizations run at the speed of the marketplace. As a result, organizations can make decisions that take advantage of market opportunities as quickly as possible.


Trend 8. Hyperautomation and Intelligent Automation. Hyperautomation has been defined as automating everything that can be automated. Spiegel notes, “Hyperautomation is a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including: Artificial intelligence, and machine learning. … Hyperautomation enables scalability, remote operation, and business model disruption.” Closely related to hyperautomation is intelligent automation. Intelligent automation has also been referred to as “cognitive automation”; and, at Enterra®, we refer to it as Cognitive Process Automation™. Vidushi Singh, Digital Marketing Consultant at Growth Scooter, explains, “Enterprises are bracing themselves for taking the RPA and cognitive automation to the next level — coupling RPA with cognitive technologies, machine learning and voice recognition. These steps will ensure that the system will not only work on pre-based rules but [will] also [be] backed with intelligence and [the] power of judgment.”[11]


Concluding Thoughts


McKinsey analysts conclude, “While it remains difficult to predict how technology trends will play out, executives can plan ahead better by tracking the development of new technologies, anticipating how companies might use them, and understanding the factors that affect innovation and adoption.” The Fast Company staff adds, “It would be nearly impossible these days to find a sector in the economy that isn’t reinventing itself. As technology evolves at an ever-accelerating clip, companies big and small are turning to pioneering approaches in areas such as generative AI, Web3, and automation to create smarter, better, and (increasingly) more sustainable products and services.”[12]


[1] Michael Chui, Roger Roberts, and Lareina Yee, “McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2022,” McKinsey Digital, 24 August 2022.
[2] Bernard Marr, “The 5 Biggest Technology Trends In 2023 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now,” Forbes, 26 September 2022.
[3] Steven I. Weiss, “McKinsey Reveals the 14 Biggest Tech Trends Today and How They Can Point You to New Markets,” Inc., 25 August 2022.
[4] Adie Tomer and Rob Puentes, “Here’s the Right Way to Build the Futuristic Cities of Our Dreams,” Wired, 23 April 2014.
[5] Marc Emmer, “Technology trends for 2023 and beyond,” Vistage, 11 November 2022.
[6] Staff, “98% of organizations have been impacted by a cyber supply chain breach,” Security Magazine, 11 November 2022.
[7] Staff, “What Are Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2023?” Stefanini Group, 8 November 2022.
[8] Thornton May, “Metaverse: The time for CIOs to experiment is now,” CIO, 29 August 2022.
[9] Staff, “2022:10 Breakthrough Technologies,” MIT Technology Review, 23 February 2022.
[10] Rob Spiegel, “2022 Tech Trends Tell a Story of AI and Massive Computing,” DesignNews, 7 July 2022.
[11] Vidushi Singh, “The Next Big Thing In Cognitive Automation,” Proche, 18 October 2018.
[12] Staff, “Next Big Things in Tech 2022,” Fast Company, 16 November 2022.

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