Foresight is an integral pillar to the cultural structure of NTT DATA. We are wholeheartedly committed to providing our customers with a view of the future, with our team of R&D experts constantly analysing real-world case studies and sources to identify the societal and technology trends that will reshape our world.
This work culminates every year in the Technology Foresight Report. Released every year since 2012, it provides business leaders with a deep-dive into developments in a range of key areas of technology and provides predictions about what to expect in the field going forwards. Our goal is to be businesses’ partner in growth, providing them with the insights to tap into all that the next generation of technology transformation has to offer.
So what should business leaders take away from this year’s Foresight Report?
Too many businesses still view technology as the end in itself, rather than a medium for transformational change. Everything we do in NTT Group recognises the close interaction of technology and society. We are all committed to building a better and fairer society, enabled by technology.
Our Society 5.0 is central to this vision of a better world: a human centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems – all through a system that seamlessly integrates cyber and physical space.
The Introduction section of the report addresses this fundamental shift in our world. Advancements in technology like AI and IoT are creating a ‘phygital’ space, transcending the old boundaries of physical and digital, to create new and transformational experiences. With IT omnipresent in all aspects of our lives, it is imperative we forge new norms to ensure technology is implemented in a sustainable manner and everyone can benefit.
And crucially, this phygital world opens the door to new value creation, with the smart application of different technologies creating new opportunities across businesses and society.
In today’s fast-paced world, converting complex technology trends into a coherent and impactful business strategy is a difficult task for leaders. This year Foresight Report offers plenty of in-depth insights on technology, which can be split into three key areas:
1. Smart Interactions
Here we return again to the rise of a ‘phygital’ world – or ‘Approaches to the Physical World’ in the report. The technology to enable this seamless overlap of physical and digital spaces is advancing to an unprecedented degree. This new society will create a host of unprecedented benefits for businesses and individuals alike, boosting productivity, and maximising growth.
These smart interactions open the door to new ways of using technology to solve some of society’s most persistent problems. As outlined in ‘Opening the Way to the Unknown Future’ in the report, artificial intelligence will over the next few decades be able to take R&D beyond the limitations of human intelligence, radically accelerating analysis, and the pace of discovery. This will, eventually, take us into the realm of some of the most profound questions of our age, even up to “the search for the origins of life itself”.
2. Smart Data
These smart interactions are built on a smart approach to the use and applications of data. Smart data enables the creation of a more intelligent enterprise – an agile business, ready to utilise technology to drive value and long-term growth.
A world of smarter interactions will see huge volumes of data harvested by businesses. The act of data collection, however, is not enough. Here the ‘Renewed Recognition of Data as a Driver’ trend points to the importance of businesses utilising data to its full capacity. This means applying AI and analytics to these mountains of data, and extract real-time insights to guide continuous improvement and more impactful decision-making.
As this approach scales, it offers businesses a way forward to realise the full potential of AI. By providing AI with access to large, rich data sets, the algorithms have the opportunity to – in essence – learn and refine their capabilities. In the report, ‘Massive AI will Unlock New Possibilities’ underscores the huge opportunities on offer here, a “new kind of AI is emerging that will be able to learn and solve problems by itself” – with applications across the economy.
3. Smart Infrastructure
To create a world that weaves technology into every part of our lives, it requires a new approach to infrastructure. There are numerous demands to be overcome: connectivity speeds, capacity concerns for handling the large volumes of data, and the ability to process data as close to the user as possible.
Nevertheless, huge progress is being made in this field. As set out in ‘Shape-Shifting IT Infrastructure’ in the report, the core IT infrastructure to enable this smarter and more connected society is evolving rapidly. Evolution in hardware and software – notably semiconductor technology – has allowed IT infrastructure to be much more flexible, with businesses able to remould systems to suit their individual needs. This could be anything from decentralised processing at the ‘edge’ in a smart city environment, to the 5G open networks on show by NTT DATA at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
A smarter world
When we think about the accelerating role of technology in all our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic was a once in a generation moment. Individuals and businesses rapidly acclimatised to a digital-first world. These habits and behaviours are here to stay, pushing forward the pace of transformation in the years ahead.
That is why NTT Group continues to invest in its global Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) agenda to upgrade reality. This will be crucial as we move toward a seamless overlap of physical and digital spaces, with IOWN driving forward developments in advanced simulation capabilities made possible with digital-twin computing.
At NTT DATA we are committed to being the trusted global partner for clients on this journey, enabling innovation together.
Contact the NTT DATA team to learn more. We would love to run a Foresight workshop at your organisation, helping your teams to explore everything the future has to offer.