This is an abridged version of the original;
for a more complete list of technologies and analysis, click
Rising wealth and greater global connectivity are combining to
redefine what it means to be in any consumer facing industry.
The 'what and how' of the way we work, live and consume are in
considerable flux [Source: Skift,
86% of businesses believe their environment has become more complex
since the Global Financial Crisis [Source: Economist
Intelligence Unit, 2012]
- and the shifting consumer dynamic adds to the complexity imparted
by global change and evolving regulatory requirements.
In response, 70% of the C-suite recognises the importance of shifting
to new models of social and digital interaction to reach new customer
demands and markets [Source: Forbes,
More than ever, businesses need to be aligned yet adaptable and
the need to craft new models, revenue streams and organisational
processes around established technologies such as social and mobile
is pressing. However, 35% of large companies don't believe their
web infrastructures will be able to meet the demands of mobile
The need to develop a new digital operating paradigm is beyond
doubt, as is the need to develop organisational flexibility and
business model agility to benefit from a raft of emerging technologies.
The impact of IT and automation on the world of work and warnings
about the impact on labour are nothing new. However, there is
a growing consensus that things might be different this time -
as automation impacts a broader set of knowledge worker jobs.
47% of jobs in the US could be at risk from automation through
2025 [Source: Oxford
whilst a third of UK jobs could be automated over the next two
decades [Source: TechCrunch,
Automation could radically redefine the notion of value, work
Business must carefully
consider where automation makes sense in their value chains. A
more strategic review of where the impacts will be as well as
possible opportunities and risks will need to be addressed at
C-suite and Boardroom levels. The potential impacts on staff and
consumers should be carefully considered against the increasingly
attractive cost equation.
Instead of using data encoded into binary digits, quantum computers
use properties like superposition and entanglement to perform
operations on data at an incredibly fast rate. Google and NASA
have already announced the launch of a Quantum Artificial Intelligence
Lab, replete with functioning quantum computer that will be used
to evolve machine learning [Source: Google
The enormous processing power of these computers could significantly
reconfigure political, business, economic and social norms within
the next fifteen to twenty years.
Engaging with the
latest thought leaders and specialists in this area will be key
in building a long term plan for how it could be used within the
Cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with
people; ultimately helping human experts make better informed
decisions by penetrating the complexity of big data [Source: IBM
Research, retrieved 2014].
In early 2014 IBM launched IBM Watson as a new business unit focused
on cognitive computing technology and solutions. It has already
been implemented in call centres, for legal and investment advice,
and medical diagnosis [Source: CapGemini,
Widespread adoption is some-way off, but ensuring your big data
strategy and analytics capability is aligned to your corporate
strategy is a solid first preparatory step.
The intercloud is a networked global 'cloud of clouds' - which
allows workloads to migrate from private to hybrid and public
clouds [Source: NetworkWorld,
Some surveys have found an average of 759 cloud services per organisation
which has significantly raised complexity. It is likely that an
intercloud will become essential for managing multiple clouds
It could also form
a platform for the Internet of Everything as it enables real-time
analytics and scalability with distributed network and security
architectures. Analysts suggest that by 2017 to 2020 we might
begin to see some serious unification of this service.
The time to prepare
is now, and mapping out current cloud deployments and their performance
is an important first step. Management structures should adapt
to maximise the effectiveness of the intercloud. The ability to
embed, extend and integrate collaboration more broadly across
an organisation will increase as the ability of this technology
to drive business value becomes clear.
Software Defined Networks (SDNs)
Gartner denotes SDNs as a '...radical new approach to designing,
building and operating networks that brings a degree of agility
similar to what abstraction, virtualisation and orchestration
have brought to server infrastructure [Source: Zawya,
This helps remove the physical limitations of networks, which
are being pushed to their limits by social media, mobile devices,
and cloud computing.
With dynamic bandwidth,
end-customers stand to benefit from simplicity, cost reduction
opportunities, and the possibility for consolidation [Source:
SDN may also better support cloud deployments [Source: Network
The SDN market is expected to reach $2 billion by 2016, up from
$200 million in 2014 [Source: CIO
Engaging with experienced
partners is an important first step in establishing potential
utility. If SDN is deemed both viable and of benefit to your organisation,
as a starting point, develop a pilot on a limited part of the
The costs to maintain GPS remains a barrier for more involved
utility. A modern GPS satellite can cost around $223 million.
DARPA funded initiatives are exploring the use of atomic physics
for more accurate sensing without the need for satellites.
Without a satellite infrastructure, geo-location aware devices
become more economical and capable. Real-time models and those
relying on precision - self-driving cars and UAVs- could all be
optimised by such technology. The greater impact however, could
be on privacy and the relationship between consumers, governments
and businesses. Atomic GPS could boost privacy and redefine location
based marketing as there are no signals to be intercepted [Source:
Given a decade of refinement we can expect the current bulky size
to shrink considerably and become commercially viable.
Investing in developing
a horizon scanning capability; of new white papers, possible legislation
and the latest technical and academic papers will be important
for organisations, as will scenario planning.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) - links people, processes and data.
Cisco estimates that 99.4% of physical objects in the world are
still unconnected [Source: Cisco,
with only about 10 billion of the 1.5 trillion items currently
Given the potential
value of the IoT - $14.4 trillion to 2022 by some counts [Source:
there is clearly a business rationale for developing a strategic
approach to what, how and where the IoT can be used to unlock
new value streams and create new business. Cisco CEO John Chambers
notes that for an organisation to fully realise the benefits of
the IoT, cooperation across business units will be needed as will
a closer CMO-CTO partnership. The IoT will also demand that traditionally
non-technical industries begin to acquire IT expertise [Source:
As we learn to apply predictive analytics to the waves of machine-to-machine
data generated by the IoT data, often in near real-time, we will
need help in deciding what to do about the predictions.
A prescriptive model
can be viewed as a combination of multiple predictive models running
in parallel, one for each possible input action, and able to recommend
a course based on numerous variables.
Embedding data analytics
at the heart of your organisation is a critical prerequisite for
the use of any analytical technique. Developing a capacity amongst
employees and a digital platform that enables the right person
to access pertinent data at the right time will ensure the benefits
of such insights are actionable.
Social networks are evolving into platforms for content creation,
idea sharing, and self-service. These networks not only lower
business costs, but also engage and empower consumers [Source:
Given the creative
and collaborative nature of a social platform and the concurrent
realisation that gamification also features elements of what makes
social an appealing business proposition, forthcoming social platforms
could well be game-based [Source: Fast
This could evolve as either a formal training platform or a communication
system - indeed next generational thinking and use of social networks
will be to increasingly replace e-mail as the preferred electronic
communication platform within the corporation.
Business must ensure
its social processes connect people with information, enable greater
collaboration and encourage knowledge sharing. The need to embark
on a transformation program that enables new ways of working and
is fully supported by senior management, is needed if the benefits
of social are to be realised.
Avatars are evolving into a highly sophisticated computer generated
set of images with a variety of purposes - from customer service
to advertising [Source: PwC,
Ultimately avatars are enabling companies and organisations to
leverage human-like images to communicate their messages. Many
industries stand to utilise this technology - for example, electronic
avatars, either in holographic form or via a TV have been used
to monitor heart rate and blood pressure as well as provide medication
reminders. Such avatars could potentially analyse a person's speech,
movement and facial expression to detect mood and formulate an
appropriate response [Source: Metro,
that by 2025 '...holographic teleconferencing and virtual 'dry
runs' of projects will consign old office templates to the dustbin
In their place, projected 3D avatars of colleagues at a single
touch.' Discuss how you might use avatar advisers to engage with
your distribution channels and end consumers. Is your IT system
ready for such changes? Are your employees?
Across a range of industries,the marriage of the physical and
online is critical in providing more efficient and satisfying
service propositions. The technology that may drive this is haptic
interfaces. Japanese researchers have made haptic interfaces that
create the sensation of being pushed or pulled by an invisible
force. Vincent Hayward at the Pierre and Marie Curie University
in Paris, suggests haptics '...is reaching a critical mass [Source:
Technology Review, 2014].'
As it evolves in
complexity, it is probable we will see this technology extend
beyond smartphone interfaces and video game controllers and in
to retail circles, whether for checking the firmness of fruit
bought with the online groceries or the feel of items of clothing.
Since its range of uses is broad, it could prove useful to develop
the capability of IT personnel (and even those who perform their
roles but are external to the department) to enable strategic
views and a greater sense of how, where, when and why certain
technologies can be used and to what effect.
Instant language translation
In 2013 Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo's unveiled its new Augmented
Reality glasses that they hope will be able to accurately translate
text in near real-time by 2020.
real-time speech translation hinges on artificial intelligence
of the highest quality. To reach the level of accuracy a human
interpreter achieves, these machines have to not only convert
each word into the target language, but analyse entire phrases
and infer their meaning before offering up a translation. Franz
Och, Google's head of translation services, estimates it could
only be a 'few years' before speech to speech translation could
work reasonably well [Source: International
Business Blog, 2013].
on talent shortages, global collaboration and the need for more
cultural nuanced management across global enterprises will all
shape the business response to this technology.
Virtual Retinal Display
Examples such as The Glyph, from Avegant, dispense with screens
and use '...a combination of optics to reflect an image directly
onto your retina, effectively using the back of your eyeball as
a screen [Source: Quartz,
Available in 2015, such devices could reduce eye strain and therefore
enhance reading time, as well as provide an additional AR interface.
Virtual retinal displays and other wearables more generally represent
a new paradigm - of fusing digital and physical worlds together.
An aligned IT strategy and streamlined operations is a must. Bain
acknowledges that many organisations possess '... an IT environment
that is a patchwork of legacy systems and ill-suited technologies
A strategic review of the state of internal technology efficacy
must inform decisions over the need for new technologies.
Imaging the mind's eye
Mary Lou Jepsen, the founder of Pixel Qi Corporation, gave a TED
talk [Source: TED,
via Youtube, 2012]
in which she talked about displaying images from the mind on to
a screen. We can already use scanning technology like MRIs to
'visualise' what you are seeing in your mind's eye and it is perhaps
only a matter of time before the method shifts sufficiently to
become commercially viable. Jepsen suggests that ultimately, we're
'...going to be able to dump our ideas directly to digital media.'
As a tool used to amplify our cognitive and communication skills,
Jepsen believes it could help lead to a cure for Alzheimer's and
The ability of the CIO to relate technical knowledge in terms
of bottom-line business value will be important, for all the technologies
NextGen Virtual Reality
Oculus VR is a company that is on the verge of releasing the Rift,
an affordable virtual-reality headset for playing ultra-immersive
video games. Facebook bought the company for $2 billion in spring
The idea of merging
immersive virtual reality with social communications is intriguing.
It could also be a compelling tool for teleconferencing, online
shopping, or more passive forms of entertainment. Separately,
Sony is also working with NASA to create a virtual-reality simulation
of Mars using images pulled from the Mars Rover. Another application
that Sony is exploring would let travellers visit virtual hotel
rooms before booking the real thing [Source: MIT
Technology Review, 2014].
The ubiquity and
scope of emerging technologies such as NextGen VR will demand
greater attention to the strategic use of technologies in their
implementation; for employees, customers and ultimately in how
they align to the goals and visions of an organisation.
Programmable matter is a broad field subject area in which atoms
or molecules can rearrange themselves to a desired state. We are
starting to see smart substances which can self-heal like the
G-Flex phone from LG, but programmable matter potential goes much
further. Programmable matter might, in the future, be able to
self-replicate, which has huge implications for everything from
medicine to manufacturing [Source: Chief
Disruption Officer, 2014].
'Such a capability could change society even more profoundly than
the Internet has.
Smart dust / Micro motes
Thousands of tiny computers that power themselves from their surroundings
could one day be used to monitor your world. Micro Motes could
be used to monitor every movement of large structures like bridges
or skyscrapers. Motes in a smart house could report back on occupancy,
comfort or even danger levels.
With motes embedded in all of your belongings it might be possible
to run a Google search in the physical world. Smart dust computers
could make efficient medical implants too [Source: New
Businesses need to assess whether this technology could fir their
IoT strategy and map out the implicit challenges and threats it
Although additive manufacturing has been around since the 1980s
recent progress in materials, cost reduction and the emergence
of an industry ecosystem have all combined to give impetus for
recent and future growth.
Within the next two or three years, some analysts suggest that
entry-level machines could fall below the psychologically crucial
$100 level. This could mean the start of a process of radical
change in the retail, supply chain and manufacturing sectors as
consumer products effectively become digital content [Source:
For example, 3D printing could account for half of the $770bn
market for low-volume, highly customisable parts by 2025 [Source:
Planning for the impacts, opportunities and challenges across
the value chain must start in 2015 if companies are to avoid significant
disruption in the coming decade.
Terehertz Frequency Electronics and Meta-materials
The area of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwave, which
we use for mobile phones, and infrared, is the Terehertz range.
If scientists can figure out how to harness it, we could open
up a vast frontier of devices that don't compete against others
for spectrum access.
clothes made with small THz sensors would allow for real-time
health assessments [Source: Defense
In practical terms, for many businesses this is a wearables and
big data issue. Ensuring adequate analysis capacity is a given.
Wireless electricity, notes Inc, '...is complex and still years
from perfection, but magnetic resonance - created by coils of
conductive materials like copper - could eventually replace wires
as the main power source for everything in our lives [Source:
Inductive power transfer
has already been developed at a range of 5 metres [Source: Science
so whilst 2015 should see smartphones charging remotely, the groundwork
may also be prepared for Wi-Power zones at places such as restaurants
and streets that offer electric power wirelessly to electronic
devices [Source: Science
and perhaps even for electric cars to be able to recharge while
sitting in a car-park [Source: CNN,
Although long-range wireless power transfer is still in an early
stage of commercialisation and quite costly to implement, the
cost will fall as the technology evolves. This technology will
not be appearing ubiquitously in 2015, but this time should be
used to plan out how wireless electricity could impact operations.
Rapid Threat Assessment (RTA)
The globalised nature of the economy also raises the possibility
of rapidly spreading pandemics. DARPA's RTA project seeks to enable
researchers to '...within 30 days of exposure to a human cell,
map the complete molecular mechanism through which a threat agent
alters cellular processes.'
of the interplay between disease vector and human physiology could
enable better planning, response and care for the ill during such
a pandemic. In the decades ahead, the biggest contribution of
the program may be fundamental changes in future drug discovery
As disruptive and transformative as technology can be, change
does not happen in a vacuum. Across all industries, how a technology
is used to change organisational processes and further customer
interaction will be key. It is also worth noting that it is often
the unintended consequences of technology, or else misuse or re-appropriation
of it that can define its impact. With each new technology, first
we do things differently; then we do different things.
Global Futures and Foresight www.thegff.com
Future Now Show .Digital
Startups from Asia / Innovating in Emerging Economies
the future now, where near-future impact counts and visions and
strategies for preferred futures start.
Do we rise above global challenges? Or do we succumb to them?
The Future Now Show explores how we can shape our future
now - where near-future impact counts. We showcase strategies
and solutions that create futures that work.
Every month we roam through current events, discoveries, and challenges
- sparking discussion about the connection between today and the
futures we're making - and what we need, from strategy to vision
- to make the best ones.
Digital Startups from Asia: AliBaba, Flipkart, InMobi and beyond
and "me and my shadows - innovating in emerging economies"......
Rao, Research Advisor, Asian Media Information and Communication
Centre, India Simon Jones, Provost at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan Annegien Blokpoel, Founder & CEO, PerspeXo, the Netherlands Paul Holister,
show takes a look at the boom in digital start-ups in Asia and
how this might evolve. What do newly developed, or still underdeveloped,
environments offer as benefits and hindrances for such endeavours
and what sort of interaction is there with the older established
western economies? With the very different environments of India
and Kazakhstan as a backdrop for discussion, this program explores
both the potential and the prerequisites for such developments.
In mature western
economies the mention of innovation brings to mind corporate
R&D labs or spin-outs from academic research environments.
In emerging markets the foundations for this kind of innovation
are often lacking or incomplete. So to nurture innovation what
are the essential foundations you need to build and what might
you do differently because you must or because you can? The
discussion in this show covers ideas and phenomena from frugal
innovation to 'silicon bridges'. There is no magic formula,
for sure, but there is enormous space for new approaches and
perspectives, and no lack of inspiration.
The two countries occupying the peninsula are the only countries
in the world surrounded by the world's major powers - China, Japan,
Russia and the US which is slightly removed geographically, but
very present on the territory of South Korea.
South Korea is one of the world's top 20 economies and home to
high-tech companies. The country's population is the major user
of cellphones and internet in the world. North Korea is mired
into major problems and famines due to mismanagement by the dynasty
that rules it.
The country's major problems are access to energy and the situation
in North Korea, particularly the possibility of a regime collapse
leading to massive immigration towards the South. South Korea
would be unable to sustain economically a large number of immigrants
fleeing the North even if China would be willing to accept part
of the flow of refugees such a situation would entail.
The best way to prevent such a collapse is reunification and this
appears at this point to be most unlikely.
The two countries are still technically at war with each other.
North Korea has a nuclear program, has repeatedly tested its delivery
capabilities, has transferred nuclear technology to other countries
and engages regularly in provocations.
The South Korean army is believed to be one of the world's best
with a budget of close to USD 30 billion which compares favorably
with North Korea's lower than USD 10 billion. South Korea's hardware,
whether tanks or planes, are recent while that of North Korea
dates back to the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
While Russia has very recently agreed to conduct joint maneuvers
with North Korea, that country's most important backer is China.
Should North Korea escalate its provocations, China might decide
to move troops into North Korea and occupy the country risking
a wider conflict in which no doubt not only South Korea, but also
the US, might be drawn. It would run contrary to China's present
need of the existence of North Korea which is to act as a buffer
between itself and the US troops stationed in South Korea.
Another major danger is that skirmishes between the two Koreas
escalate and lead to an all-out war.
impact of culture on education
by Huib Wursten, Senior Partner, itim International and
Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The Netherlands,
he is also Certification Agent for the Educational Sector of the
lends itself to this task as it can store large amounts of information
in a compact manner. Unfortunately, the data is not always retrievable
error-free: gaps and false information in the encoded data arise
through chemical degradation and mistakes in DNA sequencing.
Now researchers led by Robert Grass, a lecturer at ETH Zurichs
Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, have revealed
how the long-term, error-free storage of information can be
achieved, potentially for more than a million years. First,
they encapsulate the information-bearing segments of DNA in
silica (glass) and second, they use an algorithm in order to
correct mistakes in the data."
space probes to the Moon and beyond! Spaceprob.es catalogs
the active human-made machines that freckle our solar system and
dot our galaxy. For each space probe, we've affectionately crafted
a short-and-sweet summary as well as handpicked geeky hyperlinks
we think are worth exploring. Where possible, we utilize data
from the Deep
by Mitsuhiro Ebara (Author), Yohei Kotsuchibashi
(Author), Ravin Narain (Author), Naokazu Idota (Author), Young-Jin
Kim (Author), John M. Hoffman (Author), Koichiro Uto (Author),
Takao Aoyagi (Author)
This book provides comprehensive coverage of smart biomaterials
and their potential applications, a field that is developing at
a very rapid pace. Because smart biomaterials are an emerging
class of biomaterials that respond to small changes in external
stimuli with large discontinuous changes in their physical properties,
they have been designed to act as an onoff switch
for, among others, bio separation, immunoanalysis, drug delivery
technologies, gene therapy, diagnostics, bio sensors and artificial
muscles. After an introduction to the topic and the history of
smart biomaterials, the author gives the reader an in-depth look
at the properties, mechanics, and characterization of smart biomaterials
including hydrogels, particles, assemblies, surfaces, fibers and
conjugates. Information on the wide range of applications for
these materials follows, including drug delivery, tissue engineering,
diagnostics, biosensors, bio separation and actuators. In addition,
recent advances in shape memory biomaterials as active components
of medical devices are also presented.
Resilience and Livelihoods with Agroforestry in Uganda
Made by leading Ugandan
documentarist Nathan Ochole, this film explains what agroforestry
is and the myriad of contributions that it has made to Uganda.
It starts in the highlands of Kabale, where trees on farms prevented
landslides and floods, provided fruit to villagers and made their
agriculture more sustainable. It then roams to the parklands of
northern Uganda where Borassus palms and Shea trees provide valuable
nutrition and cash earnings (particularly for women in the case
of Shea) and improve the yields of the crops grown near them.
It visits Kapchorwa where we see the use of the nitrogen-fixing
shrub Calliandra as feed for dairy cows and then documents the
improvements that orange trees have made to livelihoods in Namatumba.
Dr. Claire Nelson has been actively engaged in the business of
international development for more than twenty-five years. She
works in the area of project development and management, with
a particular focus on private sector development. A renaissance
woman, she is a Development Engineer, Social Entrepreneur, and
The first Jamaican
woman to earn a Doctorate degree in an engineering discipline
and the only black in her graduating class, Dr. Nelson holds Industrial
Engineering Degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo,
Purdue University, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from
George Washington University. She has served on numerous boards
and committees including: US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean
Business Development Council Advisory Board; Black Leadership
Forum; DC Caribbean Carnival Association; International Think
Tank Commission on Pan-African Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister
of Barbados; African-American Unity Caucus; National Democratic
Institute/Carter Center Election Observer Mission to the Dominican
Republic; Black Professionals in International Affairs; and the
International Committee of the National Society of Black Engineers-Alumni
Recognized as a White
House Champion of Change, she is sought after as a speaker on
issues pertaining to economic development, globalization, and
issues concerning the Caribbean and its peoples. She is a frequent
guest on the television talk show CARIBNATION seen on cable TV
in the Washington D.C. area, as well as CARIBBEAN EXCHANGE on
WEAA, Morgan University Radio. Her speaking engagements have included:
National Association of Security Professionals; Congressional
Black Caucus Conference; Harvard University Black MBA Association
Conference; Women & Micro-enterprise Conference, African Development
Bank; Florida International University; Cincinnati Women's Chamber
of Commerce; US Black Engineer of the Year Annual Conference;
Howard University; Sacramento State University; National Council
of Negro Women; and National Congress of Black Women.
Dr. Nelson has been
a frontrunner in the challenge of placing the topic of social
exclusion and diversity on the agenda of the multilateral development
assistance institutions. As a result of her pioneering work, she
was invited to the Salzburg Seminar as a Fellow in 1997 and 1999
of the Seminars on Race and Ethnicity, in 2000 and 2003 to the
Fetzer Institute Advisory Group on Moral, Ethical and Spiritual
Leadership; and as Faculty at the Seminar on Leadership Across
Geographic Borders and Cultural Boundaries. Dr. Nelson was also
a participant in the Bellagio Consultation on the UN World Conference
on Racism (WCAR) organized by the International Human Rights Law
Group, and was active on the Working Group on Globalization and
Dr. Nelson is Ideation Leader of The
and Sagient Futures LLC, which provides strategic foresight and
development futures consulting practice. She is a member of the
Editorial Advisory Board of the World Futures Society, and an
emerging voice as a Black Futurist. An award-winning writer and
performance artiste, Dr. Nelson's OpEd pieces have appeared in
media outlets such as Morning Edition, National Public Radio;
WEAA FM and WHUR FM; and CaribNation TV.
Dr. Claire Nelson: For most people, the Caribbean Sea is
seen as a blue horizon of beauty, a beautiful backdrop for beach
photos and relaxing moments, and the source of the escoveitched
fish and curried conch we crave. While we enjoy and celebrate
these uses, we want to increase knowledge about the life of the
sea itself, and the life it supports for us humans.
The Caribbean and Haitian population must be represented
in full for continued economic and political progress in our community,
said Nelson. We must communicate to all Caribbean Americans
that participation in the U.S. Census will not adversely affect
our communities, but allow them to flourish and be strengthened.
It is important to us and our children that we stand up and be
"My Purdue engineering degree was my bulwark against the
discrimination I sometimes faced in the international development
community as the first Black woman engineer to join the Inter-American
Development Bank. I must thank Purdue for providing me the four
jobs and tuition assistance which made it possible for me to secure
my dream of engineering change for global development."