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BLOG: IT set to end innovation ‘drought’

Andrew Milroy | Feb. 1, 2013
It is often stated by senior management figures within large enterprises, that innovation is a key area of focus for them. Despite this focus, the past 50 or 60 years has witnessed a distinct lack of breakthrough innovations.

I'd love to write about the impact of these technologies on all industries. To make my point, I will focus on examples in the automotive industry, discrete manufacturing and healthcare.

In the automotive industry, GM and others spent years trying to develop autonomous (self driving) cars. By taking advantage of recent IT developments, Google demonstrated how the convergence of IT and the automotive industry leads to innovation. In August 2012, Google announced that a fleet of autonomous vehicles had completed half a million kilometres of accident free test runs. Autonomous cars are expected to become common over the next 10 years. Further innovation around transportation is inevitable and IT is enabling this.

In the manufacturing sector, 3D printing allows designs and techniques to be sourced from the cloud by any device in any location. This could potentially drive a new industrial revolution and move the world away from mass manufacturing towards the customization of products in locations that are close to the source of demand. Will people make their own goods to their own specifications from home? The potential is enormous.

In the healthcare sector, high speed networks and cloud computing can potentially enable care to be delivered to patients in any location. We can expect care to increasingly be given in the patient's location. At the same time, a decreasing proportion of care will be given in hospitals. Technology can totally change the dynamics of healthcare provision. As these dynamics change, the opportunities for radical new innovation will be immense.

In summary, the last 50 years have witnessed a slowdown in innovation. However, as IT becomes embedded into industries and high speed networks and cloud computing become commonplace, we can expect to enjoy a sustained period of rapid change and innovation.

This article is authored by Andrew Milroy, Vice President, ICT Practice, Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan.



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