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The ‘Essential Eight’ technologies

18 August 2016


The ‘Essential Eight’ technologies that will change your business


There’s no shortage of technological breakthroughs affecting businesses today with many more on the horizon. Executives have to cope with almost daily changes, so how can they develop an effective emerging technologies strategy?

The recent PwC report, Tech breakthroughs megatrend, evaluated more than 150 technologies globally. The result is the ‘Essential Eight’ technologies PwC believes will be the most influential on businesses worldwide in the very near future:

•Artificial intelligence •Internet of Things
•Augmented reality •Robots
•Blockchain •Virtual reality
•Drones •3D printing


The specific technologies that will have the biggest impact on each industry will vary, but PwC believes the list of eight comprises technologies with the greatest cross-industry impact over the coming years.

“Most of these technologies are already being used in some capacity to solve customer problems and improve the customer experience,” says Andy Symons, PwC’s Financial Services and Innovation Leader. “Now’s the time for more companies to take a broader view of how these technologies can help them deliver services that previously were not even considered.

“I believe that a culture shift is needed around how we adopt new technology. We must commit to making the time and space for innovation within our organisations. Exploring options and considering low-cost, low commitment projects that we can either adopt or abandon quickly is the recipe for success in this day and age,” says Andy.

To arrive at the Essential Eight, PwC filtered technologies based on business impact and commercial viability over the next five to seven years (as little as three to five years in developed economies). The specific criteria included a technology’s relevance to companies and industries; global reach; technical viability, including the potential to become mainstream; market size and growth potential; and the pace of public and private investment.


What makes technological breakthroughs a megatrend?

Companies continually wait for the “next big thing,” believing that a particular technology trend either won’t amount to much, or that it won’t affect their industries for years to come. But disruption is happening today at a faster rate and higher volume than ever before. Innovations throughout history have tipped the balance in favour of the innovators. In that sense, technological breakthroughs are the original megatrend. The ubiquity of technology, with increased accessibility, reach, depth, and impact are what will expedite adoption of the Essential Eight.


Key questions and actions for the C-suite

PwC believes the Essential Eight technologies will shake up companies’ business models in both beneficial and quite challenging ways. Across industries and regions, the emerging technology megatrend will influence strategy, customer engagement, operations and compliance. As a result, leadership teams should find effective answers to three fundamental questions:

•Do we have a sustainable innovation strategy and process?

•Have we quantified the impact of new technologies? If not, how can we do that—and how soon?

•Do we have an emerging-technologies road map? If so, are we keeping it up to date?

According to PwC’s report, executives can’t treat the Essential Eight technologies as a sort of checklist to delegate to the CIO or CTO. Rather, exploring and quantifying emerging technologies—and planning for them—should be a core part of a company’s corporate strategy.

Before developing an innovation strategy and exploring and quantifying emerging technologies, executives should educate (or re-familiarise) themselves with these technologies and what they can do. Explore PwC’s Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend page and download the report at www.pwc.co.nz/TechMegatrend.


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