Industrial Futures

All industries are facing considerable opportunities and risks in the next few years as a result of new technologies and resultant competition. Read on to spot fresh threats and potential sectors to exploit based on this partial summary from our robot.

Athena’s forecast

Start year: 2015
Likely Tipping point: 2022
Likely End year: 2040
Likely Impact $: Billions
Likelihood: 80%
Regions affected: The World
Most affected issues: Technology, Construction, Manufacturing, Tourism, Materials, Health, Energy, Regulations

What is changing?


  • Digital transformation is already happening across every industry and will create a $24.6 billion opportunity by 2020.Expect device computing power to stagnate as the industry focuses on diverse, ubiquitous, cheap devices rather than powerful ones.
  • The Internet of Everything will drive substantial efficiency gains as the industry moves towards an “autonomous mining evolution”.
  • Annual sales of industrial robots will reach 260,000 units by 2024.
  • By 2019, biometrics are expected to be a $25 billion industry.
  • The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the United Parcel Service (UPS) projected the 3D printing market to triple in revenue over the next four years to a value of $21 billion.
  • Many mobile industry experts expect smartphones to face competition within the next five years.
  • Cloud robotics will expand and become a multimillion industry.
  • The growth of AI and robotics will bring forth new industries and professionals.


  • Asia-Pacific is expected to be followed by Europe and North America as the second and third largest market for vehicle security systems and automotive safety system markets.
  • Waste, land-use and forestry sectors will hinge on the ability to accelerate low-carbon technology and fuels in the automotive industry.
  • China is expected to be the largest opportunity in terms of revenue of the global automotive brake system industry.


  • The future of the global roofing materials market looks good with opportunities in the growth of theconstruction industry.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to remain the largest market for roofing materials due to growth in theconstruction industry and re-roofing activities.
  • Construction companies could use VR to understand the building process.
  • Structural and mechanical engineers will solve complex issues with help from generative design and prefabrication automation in the modular construction industry.


  • The demand for high-temperature composite materials in North America is projected to continuously increase in the near future because of significant performance, less pollution, and advent of new manufacturing techniques.
  • Accelerating advances in polymer chemistry and composites manufacturing are driving onceunimaginable opportunities for lightweighting in industries from automotive to aerospace.
  • By 2040, the world will not have enough power supply to meet the needs of the processor industry.
  • Asia-Pacific is anticipated to create significant growth opportunities for the growth of the global ammonium phosphate market.
  • Environmental regulations will continue to drive a shift toward less hazardous solvents with reduced emissions and lower toxicity. Demand will outpace conventional solvent demand in food production, chemical processing, cosmetics and toiletries.
  • Design tasks, data analytics, and management of network processes will replace operating machines and moving objects as the most important aspects of industrial job profiles.


  • Despite uncertainty in the domestic tourism industry, owing to the revised visa regulations and a weak global economy, South Africa can still expect healthy growth over the next five years.


  • Geotextiles industry is expected to fuel the demand for nonwoven materials as nonwoven items can be used extensively to manufacture durable products for the geotextiles industry.
  • India expected to generate revenue of 152 billion USD by 2035 – Value of textile and apparel industry likely to reach USD 140 billion by 2020 and around USD 385 billion by 2035 –  Indian chemical industry turn-over is expected to reach USD 250 billion by 2035.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing regional market for acrylic acid adhesives over the forecast period.
  • EUV lithography technology is expected to become a next-generation of photo lithography.
  • Vitreous china as a raw material is projected to be the largest plumbing fixtures market segment in the next five years.



  • Industry will wish to understand whether the UK will still be able to participate in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
  • FAA drone regulations will benefit the U.S. drone industry and catalyze American innovation in the global marketplace.

Clearer regulatory policy on solar support and continued technical innovation will result in both residential and utility-scale solar PV reaching global grid parity by 2020.


  • A cost-effective and compact neutron sensor for use in harsh environments will become available to thenuclear industry (nuclear power plant monitoring and development, defence and the oil-well industriesas well as the high energy and nuclear physics communities).
  • The total share of electricity from U.S. wind and solar combined is expected to reach only 6 percent by 2040.
  • Energy storage could save the UK consumer £8bn a year.


  • Indonesia could expand its role in the global textile industry.
  • The future growth of Scotland’s flagship renewables industry could be choked off by swingeing subsidy cuts from Westminster.
  • Data security is the biggest threat accompanying Industry 4.0.
  • The UK has attracted significant innovation funds from Europe and no one knows what the implications are for future funding will be.
  • $7.6 billion in environmental costs could be saved if the global plastics industry doubled its use of electricity from low-carbon sources such as wind.
  • The current weak pound could potentially give UK brewers a huge export opportunity in craft beer.
  • Gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR could be used to introduce naturally occurring variants linked to flavour production into yeast strains that perform well but don’t impart much flavour.
  • A prospective 2017 U.S. recession could be the worst ever for restaurants.
  • By 2030 approximately three billion people will require housing and 3D printing as

Sentiment Analysis


How will industrial Internet and IoT change industries?
How will digital disrupt my industry in the next five to ten years, and what new ecosystems will emerge?
Do you plan to disrupt your industry, or be disrupted?

About this Alert: robot generated from verbatim forecasts and questions auto-extracted from the Shaping Tomorrow database of articles, reports and PowerPoints and supplemented with quantitative and graphical analysis by the robot. Time to compile and produce – one hour.

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