2021 is here. That means that you should be making technology purchases for 2022 and beyond. If you are a CTO, you know the job requires you to be a bit of a fortune teller. The fortunes of your company depend on your being able to tell the difference between tech with a future and tech at the end of its bubble. You also have to consider what your competition will be doing. You can’t allow them to gain a competitive advantage that will leave you in the dust. If they are looking at a given technology, you should be as well.
You should probably be aware of the kinds of products your employees will likely be using and trying to use on the worksite even though the consumer electronics market has little contact with heavy factory equipment. While narrowing the field, you can’t be the person who just dismisses crazy ideas because they sound crazy. They might actually be crazy, but with a hint of genius. You always have to be on the lookout for that hint of genius. Here are a few examples of technologies to watch:
You have probably heard of exoskeletons. They have been discussed in relation to a variety of applications. If your company has a warehouse situation where multiple workers have to routinely come together for team lifts to move bulky, heavy objects like furniture, appliances, and the like, powered exoskeleton suit technology should be on your radar.
Common challenges in the warehouse environment include:
- Large, heavy, and odd-sized items that are awkward, difficult, and dangerous to move
- 2 or more workers need to be pulled off other tasks to handle one move
- Injuries related to repeated lifting and carrying of heavy objects
- Merchandise that is dropped and damaged in the process, costing the company time and money
There will always be the possibility of product damage due to mishandling, injury, or unusually large and bulky items that a single worker cannot move. But the technology to materially address some of those concerns in an advantageous way is right around the corner and can give your company a competitive edge.
Seriously Smarter Software
Smart is a word that is seriously overused in the technology industry. We have smartphones, smart watches, smart speakers, smart lights, and everything else. It doesn’t take long for the average person to realize those things are really not very smart at all. A look at software development into the near future confirms what we already know: Truly smart software is the product of truly smart developers.
The next app market to watch is the enterprise. The case for enterprise apps is clear. Keep an eye out for full-blown enterprise apps that can run on mobile devices. Hardware such as iPad Pro demands it. If your most cherished apps haven’t already made moves in that direction, keep an eye open for the ones that do. Enterprise productivity is coming to a mobile device near you.
Don’t go to the conferences or read the trades looking for big companies to come up with worthwhile innovations. That is the recipe for missing out on the next, big thing. You are far more likely to find the next game-changer from an indie of which you have never heard.
Microsoft didn’t invent Skype. They bought it. Google didn’t invent YouTube. Facebook didn’t invent Instagram. Apple didn’t invent Siri. They saw the potential of technologies produced by small developers and paid obscene amounts of money to acquire them. Stop looking to big tech for big ideas and start looking to small developers: the same place where big tech looks when they need a boost.
Whether it be exoskeletons, enterprise apps, or those illusive, flying cars, keep an eye on the indie market for your next big thing.