HOW DO YOU IMPROVE THE WAY PEOPLE WORK AND LIVE? BY TUOYO OMATSULI
Leveraging the rapid advancements in technology to create increasingly innovative products and services, businesses are driving unprecedented changes in the way people work and live.
By embedding themselves throughout society, companies are blurring the lines between business and personal—and blazing a new trail for their own future growth. Technology is now firmly embedded throughout our everyday activities, but its reach is larger than that: it’s reshaping pieces of our society. This year’s Accenture Technology Vision trends highlight the rapid advancements in technologies that, in turn, are improving the ways people work and live.
GE is equipping field technicians with cutting-edge augmented reality glasses, changing the way workers engage with the physical world by giving them handsfree access to information, or allowing remote experts to see exactly what the technicians see as they repair wind turbines.1
The Chinese education firm Liulishuo is changing education by introducing a new actor into society: a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI)-powered English teacher that delivers personalized, adaptive learning to millions of people.2 And responding to the critical need for accurate information to feed the 24-hour news cycle, Thomson Reuters has developed an algorithm that uses streams of real-time data from Twitter to help journalists classify, source, fact-check, and debunk rumors faster than ever before.
Individually, each of these technology-driven efforts represents a company’s pursuit of the most creative or disruptive product or service. But their innovative efforts are part of a larger strategy: driving company growth by making technology inseparable—and indispensable—in how things get done. Businesses are using their products and services to reshape and reimagine how our society works, communicates, and even governs. According to the global Accenture Technology Vision 2018 survey, 84 percent of 6,381 business and IT executives surveyed agree that through technology, companies are weaving themselves seamlessly into the fabric of how people live today.
Just look at Amazon’s efforts to embed itself into consumer households. Through the Echo and its AI assistant, Alexa, Amazon is managing not just shopping needs, but also the daily demands of busy lives. In fact, Amazon is so integrated into everyday living that new apartment complexes are building dedicated Amazon Lockers into their designs; and people now trust the company with physical access to their homes, letting couriers make deliveries when no one is around via Amazon Key and its smart lock system.
These changes are reaching beyond consumer spaces, as well. Tesla and other companies involved in automated driving are embedding themselves into the regulatory course for their own industries, partnering closely with governments to accelerate the development of guidelines needed for autonomous vehicles to operate at scale.6 In enterprise ecosystems, Siemens is embedding itself into its business partners’ architectures. By offering the use of its MindSphere operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturing devices to anyone, Siemens is cementing itself as an integral part of the new IoT universe— and its tremendous societal reach.
This level of integration is the next great societal evolution. The same way cities were built around railroads, or people rebuilt their lives around electricity, the world is reimagining itself not just around digital innovation but, by extension, around the companies that provide those services.