The holy grail of technology is to improve the quality of our lives. Over millennia, technological advancements have made things simpler, faster, or cheaper for humankind. Every aspect of our lives today benefits from technology – we bank online, shop online, pay bills, book tickets, sign documents at the click of a button – or increasingly, with a voice command.
The ease of transactions and interactions that we have come to expect is driving businesses to become more tech-savvy as well. And the three areas that are hot on every agenda are the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Blockchain (BC).
- 55000 new IoT devices are positioned to be added to the network per minute by 2022
- By 2022 Gartner predicts that more than 80 per cent of enterprise IoT projects will potentially include an AI component
- The global Blockchain technology sector is forecasted to reach 2.3 billion US dollars by 2021
Key to winning in a digital world
It’s clear that delivering digital experiences is key to winning in a digital world and, in a bid to differentiate; businesses are clamouring to incorporate the terrific trio in their offerings. For instance, to simplify the cumbersome bank loan application process - Malaysia’s RHB bank is harnessing the power of Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Their chatbot helps customers apply for personal loans any time of the day and obtain eligibility results within a day via a text message! Kodak shares soared when they announced plans to develop a Blockchain system for tracking intellectual property rights for photographers. Even the Governments are jumping in to the fry to make lives easier for the populace. The Singapore government is making a focused effort to transform the Infocomm and media (ICM) sector leveraging key drivers like IoT and AI. It is building a library of text and audio files that enables applications like chatbots to understand local accents. This initiative of building a national speech corpus is expected to help technology suppliers develop innovative speech supported apps that are tailored to specific industry needs.
The joint forces of IoT, AI and BC have accelerated the digital revolution process from a seeming blip to a steadfast evolution! And the startup ecosystem is where the ground-breaking innovation is happening – even large enterprises are following their lead when it comes to the next gen tech. Startups are churning out machine learning–powered and intelligence driven products, services, and business models that are transforming our professional and personal lives – and restructuring society as a whole.
Why SE Asian startups must accelerate their IoT/AI/BC agenda
South East Asia is home to world tech giants, like Samsung, who are investing millions of dollars per annum into research of smart devices that can connect to the IoT. The region is a virtual hotbed of relentless innovation and research in the IoT/AI/ BC space driven by:
- Accelerated adaption of Digital Lifestyle – The world is surfboarding on the digital tidal wave! Southeast Asia’s ‘digital economy’ is slated to reach $240 billion by 2025. The power of AI driven IoT and Blockchain infuses almost every business, public system, and aspects of our everyday lives. Bike-sharing services like Mobike that permit consumers to find and pay for bike rentals with mobile phone apps have been the rage for a while now.
HiNounou is using AI robots to provide senior citizens and their families with a one stop, comprehensive home wellness solution. There is an explosion in the number of digital products and services available in the market today. All signs point to the fact that the digitization wave is here to stay and strategic investments in these technologies must be on your startup agenda.
- Hottest vectors attracting investors – The overall IoT, AI, and BC sectors have been particularly popular with venture capitalists (VC) who believe that their full potential is still vastly untapped - and hence a great investment opportunity. Traditionally larger companies have displayed their interest in innovative startups through acquisitions alone.
Today global corporations have taken the humungous leap of faith and are partnering with tech VC's to invest and promote promising startups. Theoverall investments in AI startups increased to a record breaking 150% globally year-on-year in 2017 and went from $4 billion to $10.7 billion. One of 2018’s largest investments witnessed a record-breaking multimillion-dollar ($320 M) funding for Chinese firm G7 Networks – an IoT startup. If this alone does not charge up your startup batteries to invest in these tech sectors – nothing else will!
- Key drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Just as the Third Industrial Revolution was focused on the inception of information technology and digitization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be about the key integration of IoT, AI, and Blockchain into enterprises and allowing them to transform the interlinked world ecosystem. It is predicted that by 2020 more than 50 billion things – which ranges from coffee machines to cardio vascular medical monitoring equipment - will be connected to the Internet. Singapore based electronics goods supplier - Gain City is already using virtual sales assistants and self-service kiosks exhibiting video analytics capabilities that tailor offerings based on customer demographics.
By 2021 it is estimated that APAC retail entities will know when a specific customer is in a store – thanks to location based technology that could be adopted by 75% retailers in this region. Smart building and cities, empowered by the digital trio, will be key drivers toward cutting waste, industry pollutants, and greenhouse emissions making our modern lives and the entire ecosystem more sustainable over the long run. If you as a tech startup are already not invested as the harbingers of digital revolution – now is a great time to jump on board!
The time to invest is NOW!
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. From common devices such as fitness bands to smart grids providing sustainable energy solutions everything is now part of the digital ecosystem. It is fashioning a whole new ecosystem of intelligent devices that are Internet enabled – from smart lights and smart homes to smart cities.
The digital transformation era has opened up several new opportunities for startup enterprises to develop digitized solutions which generates cost efficiencies, improve the overall customer experiences, generate operational efficiencies, and create whole new business models.
With the world in general moving rapidly towards mass adoption of the plethora of benefits provided by IoT/ AI and BC – the startups invested in these digital majors are going to make a real difference to the world and be whistling all the way to the bank to boot.
Is your startup going to be one of them? Interchange is a community of experts helping lay the foundations and accelerating the adoption of Industry 4.0. Connect with our experts today to get advice and support in solving any challenge on your growth journey.