Digital Futures II

The march of digitalization is gathering pace. Opportunities and risks abound. Do you have a coherent digital vision and associated strategies, goals and objectives to succeed in this coming challenging environment? Read on to discover how digital futures are coming to you very fast.

Athena’s forecast (robot generated from verbatim forecasts)

  • Start year: 2015
  • Likely Tipping point: 2025
  • Likely End year: 2050
  • Likely Impact $: Trillions
  • Likelihood: 95%
  • Regions affected: Global
  • Most affected sectors:  Health, Media and entertainment, Manufacturing, IT, Construction, Government, Energy, Financial services, Retail, Support services, Transport
What is changing?


  • Digital workers will be forced to move towards predictive, scenario, and prognosis-based decision-making.
  • Cognitive systems will become the heart and soul of digital enterprises.
  • Smart machines and algorithmic business models will not always be complete replacements for human SMEs or other specialty roles.
  • By 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment.


  • In 2016 expect companies to move advertising dollars to digital marketingfrom traditional television, radio, and printed publications.
  • User experience/user interface experts (UX/UI) will be a recruitment focus in 2016 as organisations seek to understand how customers use websites and products/services.
  • 2016 could be the year of innovative campaigns as more brands look to engage customers with social media.
  • Dollars will continue to shift from TV to digital.
  • U.S. digital video ad spending is set to reach nearly $15 billion by 2019.


  • IT budgets will shift onto the creation of new digital revenue streams.
  • The various initiatives on digital transformation within enterprises will be consolidated into one “digital vision ” showing how their businesses will generate revenue by delivering new digital experiences.
  • In 2016, there will be a growing number of authentic success stories where the IoT provides real value to customers and enterprises.
  • Cyber threats to critical infrastructure are growing in scope, sophistication, and persistence.


  • Automotive manufacturers and their partners will see radical changes to theirbusinesses with the emergence of new digital technology and the re-distribution of global supply chains.
  • Insurance companies seeking to profit from the proliferation of connectedcars, homes, and wearable devices will have to process massive amounts of data.
  • Successful smart cities of the future will combine the best aspects oftechnology infrastructure while making the most of the growingpotential of ‘collaborative construction technologies’.
  • Engineering and marketing can reduce risk and rapidly validate new product ideas with 3D models and 3D printed prototypes.
  • Manufacturers of building products who serve only business-to-businessmarkets will pay attention to CRM, salesforce control models, and social media.
  • Other sources of geospatial information will add to the data deluge as well as many other sensors placed in buildings like visual light communication (VLC).
  • Some verticals will build their business models around the use of cognitive computing and make that their competitive advantage.


  • In the future digital appraisal could differ even further from paper appraisal.
  • At-scale additive manufacturing could drive manufacturing to new levels of efficiency by automating the human elements of production (both design and operations).
  • A smart email system eventually could create a decent digital clone that initially could interact over email.
  • A government could deliver instantaneous property ownership by holding its land titles records on a blockchain.
  • Banks could use smart contracts to allow for digital repossessions.
  • The combination of the adoption of a circular economy and new technologies could create a net benefit of €1.8 trillion in Europe by 2030.
  • Maximizing use of digital skills and technologies could add another $2 trillion worth of economic activity to the global economy.
  • Automated and connected vehicles could form part of the shift to a true Digital Single Market within the EU.
  • More than 2 million net jobs could be created from digital initiatives by 2025 in the consumer, electricity and logistics industries.
  • Automation could displace anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of US middle-skill jobs in the decade ahead.
  • Some 60 percent of occupations could have 30 percent or more of their activities automated.


  • Smart computer algorithms and machine learning could enable even smarter personalized medicine tailored to each individual.
  • Virtual medical assistants in the form of avatars could someday interact with patients through their smartphones.
  • In the next few years Watson could help teams predict and reduce injuries.
  • Recent breakthroughs in genetics could have profound impacts on medicine and agriculture.
  • Staff being connected 24/7 via a phone or tablet could lead to a digital burn-out.


  • Cyber threats could lead to widespread vulnerabilities in civilian infrastructures and government systems.
  • New apps like Venmo and Dwolla are a challenge to banks and credit card firms and could raise security risks.


  • By spreading communication around the continent, a new age of digital transformation in Africa could be ushered in.

Climate change

  • A cumulative reduction in carbon emissions worth $867 billion by 2025 could be achieved through adoption of digital technologies.

marketing · enterprises · risk · technology · threats · sensors · infrastructure · customers · consumers · workers · government

Learn more
What future opportunities and risks could arise for your organization from advances in ‘Digital Technologies? Develop your answer and response here.

Find more sources and resources on Shaping Tomorrow, some of which were used in this Trend Alert, or ask us for our ready-made and free, in-depth PowerPoint report or more detailed GIST briefing on this or any other topic of interest to you.

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