An overview of the main areas of digital transformation that a business that wants to stay competitive cannot ignore.
The phrase ” digital transformation ” has become more and more often mentioned. It seems that the new digital technologies that are actively developing on a global scale will soon turn our understanding of the possibilities of IT.
Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the key technologies on which digital information is based is the Internet of things. The fact that many household appliances are connected to the power grid is familiar, but gradually, more and more objects of the physical world are connected to the Internet, which allows for the collection of information and even remote control of these objects. In fact, a virtual copy of the physical object appears on the Internet, containing various parameters of the object and the outside world, and allowing you to control the object via the Internet.
An example of the Internet of things is a device, for example, a projector in a movie theater, which sends a signal to a technical support service about a detected malfunction, and a list of spare parts that need to be replaced as part of an unscheduled repair.
The next stage in the development of the Internet of things is the interaction of things not only with a person, but also with each other, which will allow automated interaction on conveyor lines, in systems for technical repair and maintenance of equipment, in logistics and many other areas of business. There are issues that still have to be resolved: the creation of electronics with minimal energy consumption, as well as the creation of new communication standards for the interaction of things among themselves.
Augmented Reality (AR)
The most promising is the technology of augmented reality, which allows you to add objects from the virtual world to the real world. Imagine that, walking along the street you will see additional information about the objects and people who are near you. Examples of augmented reality already exist and are being actively used, in some Moscow parks you can already see labels showing the bindings of an object of the physical world to the virtual world. Games with elements of augmented reality are actively distributed, there are virtual mirrors and dressing rooms in stores selling clothes, augmented reality is already being tested in cars.
At the same time, there are still issues that need to be addressed on the path of the active use of augmented reality technologies . For example, the accuracy of geolocation tools is still insufficient or computer vision technologies are not perfect for linking objects of the physical world to their virtual copies. However, it is safe to say that in the near future this technology can clearly be attributed to a breakthrough.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The advent of technical devices that allow a person to be in virtual reality has made this technology popular in the entertainment industry. Helmets and suits of virtual reality, specialized rooms, allow you to get into an unknown world, which is programmed so that all your actions cause a response from the virtual world, which allows you to immerse yourself in it 100%.
In business, virtual reality technologies are not so actively used; rather, 3D modeling technologies are now in demand there. Examples of constructing digital 3D-models of real-world objects are construction companies, manufacturers of complex technological products, oil production, as well as other industries.
In the framework of 3D modeling, we can talk not only about building models of objects, but also filling them with data, which, in turn, allows us to optimize managerial decision-making processes and subsequently connect product design tools with their production tools.
At the same time, on the way to the mass introduction of virtual reality technologies, it will still be necessary to increase the realism of displaying the virtual world in new versions of devices that will provide an even more realistic human presence in virtual reality.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies are also taking off. You can see that most of the largest IT companies are actively buying up young technology companies that deal with these technologies. In fact, several ecosystems are now being formed around which services will be created based on artificial intelligence.
Translation from language to language, speech recognition, algorithms for finding the right solutions – all this allowed us to achieve the appearance of computers with elements of artificial intelligence, which in some areas is already stronger than a person. One example of the spread of artificial intelligence technologies is the active promotion by IBM of the Watson service, which shows miracles not only in the game of chess and Go, but also in making medical diagnoses, as well as in other areas of human activity where the use of computers was previously unthinkable.
Driver, journalist, lawyer, doctor – all these specialties can already be replaced by artificial intelligence. And although there are still a lot of unresolved issues on the path of developing artificial intelligence technologies, in the next five to seven years we will see an explosive growth of achievements in this area.
The presence of robots in human life has been discussed more than once by science fiction writers, but now, robots are already coming into our reality. Replacing the simple functions performed by people in the workplace can reduce the number of errors and speed up their execution.
It is no secret that many industrial companies are actively using robotics in assembly lines and in logistics, which helps to reduce the human factor and manage with minimal involvement of people.
Reducing the cost of industrial robots allows you to achieve economic efficiency from their use, and in fact, people just have to watch how the mechanisms automatically produce products without human intervention.
In Germany, the term Industry 4.0 even appeared, which implies the construction of fully automated production and logistics networks, where machines interact with each other in the production process. The combination of robotics, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence and 3D printing now allows you to build fully mechanized factories for the production of products, from sneakers to cars.
Another technology that can change the construction industry and engineering. Creating a huge number of 3D printers that can print products from polymers, concrete, metals and even gold, changes the understanding of the production cycle, because many of the products can be obtained at home, having only a three-dimensional model and a 3D printer.
There are already examples of printing entire houses using specialized 3D printers, printing bridges is on the way. There is even an example of a bus fully printed on a 3D printer.
The development of 3D printing has already actively involved mechanical engineering, where some parts are cheaper to print than to get the “classic” ways. Clothing and shoe designers are already printing their new products. Builders, jewelers, doctors, all of them are already actively using 3D printing in their business processes. A printer has already been created that can print itself, and Chinese companies have begun to produce designers, from which everyone can assemble a 3D printer at home. Although there are still issues in the way of technology related to printing complex composite products, it is likely that it will soon be possible to print new sneakers that take into account the features of your foot. And do it without leaving home.
Synergy of Digital Technology
The combined use of innovative digital technologies allows us not only to change this or that business process, but to completely restructure the industry, introducing a product that was not there before. The most mesmerizing thing about digital transformation is the ability to apply all these technologies together.
The Internet of things allows you to combine the virtual world with the real, artificial intelligence based on the huge amounts of data received from the Internet of things will be able to form conclusions and decisions. Augmented and virtual reality will make the new world visible to humans. And robotics and 3D printing will automate most routine operations.
We can say that the emergence of many breakthrough technologies will change the lives of people, destroy several old ones and create many new professions and certainly make the world digital. Such a digitalization of the world will lead to changes in all sectors , and most importantly, many new companies will appear, while the leaders will be those that can not only stay on the wave of digital transformation, but also lead it.