Industrial revolutions are major turning points in history where there are major changes in job and income growth for people with certain skill-sets.

Industrial revolutions also mean wide-spread speed and efficiency gains across several business sectors.

As automation increases, computers and machines will replace workers across a vast spectrum of industries, from drivers to accountants and estate agents to insurance agents. By one estimate, as many as 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk from automation.

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In doing research for this blog post I cam across an interesting book titled The Fourth Industrial Revolution.  The book was written by a professor that also founded the World Economic Forum.

In the book he argued that we were in the midst of the next economic industrial revolution with: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Wearable Computers, Alternative Currencies, Big Data, Cloud-Computing and Synthetic Biology.

All of the technology listed above is built to rapidly increase the productivity of any business.  They all seem to be out of a science fiction movie.  However, let’s look at some recent practical applications of these technologies:

 

Artificial Intelligence

Did you know “truck driver” is the most common occupation in the United States?

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/02/05/382664837/map-the-most-common-job-in-every-state

The transportation industry is slated to be the most disrupted by artificial intellegience with self-driving vehicles.  Google, Tesla and Uber are already using self-driving vehicles in test-markets.  Morgan Stanley predicts that driverless cars will save the U.S. $1.3 trillion a year by 2035 to 2050, for a global annual savings of $5.6 trillion.

Source: https://www.morganstanley.com/articles/autonomous-cars-the-future-is-now

 

Alternative Currencies

The most common alternative currency is BitCoin.  From their website:

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network.

 

Right now Bitcoin is only used at a consumer level.  However, a company that is integrating banks with alternatives is Ripple.

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Banks can use Ripple Connect to make transactions with same-day settlement without using any intermediary companies like a correspondent bank.  Because they are using this service they can also facilitate bitcoin transactions across borders with little risk.

 

Big Data

The Weather Company estimates that weather is perhaps the single largest external factor affecting business performance, to the tune of nearly $1 trillion lost annually in the US alone.

They have partnered with IBM to analyze over 100,000 weather sensors as well as smart phones, buildings and moving vehicles.  The data is combined with other forecasts so companies can adjust staffing and supply chains.

 

Cloud-Computing

Bristol-Myers Squibb reduced the time it takes to run clinical trial simulations by 98% by extending its internally hosted grid environment into the AWS Cloud.

Before moving into the cloud, scientists were using a shared internal environment, so it took 60 hours to run hundreds of jobs. Now that each scientist has a dedicated environment, 2,000 jobs can be processed in 1.2 hours without causing an impact to other members of the team.

As a result of the move, Bristol-Myers Squibb was able to reduce the number of clinical trial subjects in a pediatric study from 60 to 40, while shortening the length of the study by more than a year.

Synthetic Biology

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Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/why-synthetic-biology-is-the-field-of-the-future/

 

With a strong urbanization trend across the globe, coupled with population growth and higher consumption rates we need to embrace these technologies.

The World Economic Forum has stated there will be a significant labor shortage with the type of jobs these technologies will create.  Look at the table below to get an idea of the shift:

 

top-skillsets-required-for-the-next-industrial-revolution

 

Summary

As you evaluate your business risks also think about the efficiency and opportunity that this next industrial revolution will bring.

At Accuserv, we are constantly testing new products that meet our standards and will also increase the productivity for our customers.  If you would like to hear more about these products, please contact us by phone or email.