The disruptive technology "trifecta" – consisting of the Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence – is gradually adopted by organizations to reap operational efficiencies and to develop new products & services, ultimately opening new marketplaces in the Machine Economy. Startups are also part of the shift, as these smaller business entities develop innovative use cases and keep the competition high. We invite you to examine this transition with us and have contextualized our findings in a graphic.
Looking to the Past to Foresee the Future
Previous industrial revolutions allowed humanity to shift from an agrarian and rural society to becoming increasingly industrial and urban, making mass production possible, and bringing worldwide connectivity and digital capabilities to billions of people. The co-founder of the World Economic Forum, Prof. Klaus Schwab, published his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016, when technologies were beginning to “challenge ideas about what it means to be human.”
Looking at the past industrial revolutions, the First used steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to enable mass production. The Third used electronics and digital technologies to automate production. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is “characterized by a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres,'' Schwab writes in an article for Foreign Affairs.
Attributes of the four Industrial Revolutions from NBT's Machine Economy Infographic
Where is the 4th Industrial Revolution taking us?
As our economy and markets are entering a new paradigm, we as a society are in a period of “great promise or potential peril” concludes Prof. Schwab. Trends and forecasts in industrial manufacturing hint towards the development of so-called “lights-out” factories – functioning without human intervention in the production process and where machines optimize themselves, communicate with each other, and respond with a higher-level control system to make decisions in the event of malfunctions (Roland Berger).
Above all, the Machine Economy is characterized by autonomy and full connectivity. As everything becomes smart, efficient, economically independent and managed by a secure, decentralized technological backbone, humans and machines will work more symbiotically than today, for the sake of becoming a more advanced society, facilitating the daily lives of humans.
According to NBT's CEO Harald Zapp, there's a "strong transformative power in current technological developments, a power likely to affect all areas of human life, similar to the impact of the internet. Particularly, this includes developments in the field of IoT, DLT Smart Contracts and Artificial Intelligence as well as innovative concepts and applications of human-machine interaction. The current progress in machine economy as exponential, if not explosive. Key drivers include technological advances in the fields of sensors and actuators, as well as in the area of data transmission, the processing of information and Intelligent Systems/AI."
At NBT, we are co-developing a high-tech venture portfolio to deeply engage in the Machine Economy, using technology to deliver services and products that fill societal and environmental needs.
In order to provide a full picture of the scope of the transition towards the Machine Economy, we designed and made available the infographic entitled Transitioning to the Machine Economy. Dive into it below and be ahead of the curve!