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See what we’re tracking and why: Discover the latest insights from our business strategists, experience designers, and tech gurus. Or browse exclusive Q&As with industry leaders, promising startups, and key ecosystem players.

How to use accelerators and incubators as a tech scouting tool

Engage in the VC ecosystem to stay on top of emerging tech.

From rivets to reconciliations: how robotics process automation saves financial firms money

Like the auto industry before it, financial services is turning to digital labor to cut costs.

What women leaders bring to tech—and how to bolster their ranks

Making the case for female CEOs and directors as we reflect on International Women’s Day.

The rise of robotics and AI (infographic)

No longer the domain of science fiction, robotics and artificial intelligence are becoming important business drivers. Our timeline looks back at how we got here.

Artificial intelligence: A tipping point for digital business

Is AI the shot in the arm that today’s transformation efforts need?

Four trends to watch at Mobile World Congress 2017

Multiple hot topics will surface at Mobile World Congress, including fresh applications for updated and emerging technologies.

Real-world artificial intelligence: lessons from the field

Everyone’s talking AI at Mobile World Congress. See it in action—and saving money—in field service.

Stuck in traffic? Waiting on a tarmac? Drones may help clear the way.

Among their many other applications, drones have the potential to transform transportation infrastructure.

Cybersecurity and privacy risks of Industry 4.0 (infographic)

From smart factories to connected homes, see how new security and privacy risks affect businesses and consumers.

Digital twins beyond the industrials

How AI-based virtual replicas can help financial institutions better predict customer behavior

Virtual reality gets down to business (infographic)

There’s a lot more to virtual reality than just fun and games. See some of the ways that companies of all kinds will put VR to work.

The blockchain problem is a trust problem

Is 2017 the year that financial consumers, leaders, and regulators begin to embrace the technology?

Connected cars: where are we headed?

How do consumers feel about autonomous cars and other innovations? And what does that mean for business?

What’s artificial intelligence? (video)

Here’s how AI experts and pundits see it.

A look at drones as a data service (infographic)

Why data collection and analysis—not delivery—is where drones will make their mark.

How sensors are changing the game

The sensor technology that helps athletes avoid injury and improve performance can bring benefits to the enterprise.

Five ways robots are going mainstream

At the same time that robots’ capabilities are expanding, they are becoming easier to use and more affordable.

Robots ready for work (infographic)

Robots are more capable, easier to use, and affordable. While there is still room for improvement, the opportunity to leverage robotics has never been more accessible. See how.

Getting a grip on fulfillment robotics

Yaro Tenzer of RightHand Robotics explains how the future of robotics is arriving at the warehouse, one product at a time.

Robots take the field (literally)

Ben Chostner of Blue River Technology explains why and how robotics represents the future of farming.

Humans and machines: Collaborative robots open a new automation frontier

Cobots put robots alongside human workers, reduce up-front investments, and improve flexibility.

Are you keeping up with your tech-savvy customers?

Vala Afshar of Salesforce on the new rules for delighting—and keeping—your customers in the digital age.

2017 biz tech trends

Five game-changers for the new year. Is your company prepared?

Transform your culture to reboot productivity in the era of IIoT

Why it’s the first step in digital transformation and three principles for success.

Lessons from the rise of the IoT in Asia—and beyond

How and why APEC businesses are betting on the internet of things.

Five technologies for delighting connected customers

Consumers and business buyers expect emerging tech to change their experience with your company.

A primer on blockchain (infographic)

How the technology invented for bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions is changing the way we do business

A look at machine learning (infographic)

See how it works, its relationship to AI, and where companies are using it.

Talking about human-machine conversations in the industrial IoT

This new dialogue will offer manufacturers new ways to improve—and more.

How Industry 4.0 changes business

In the industrial IoT, data and AI-based analytics transform complex systems into growth engines.

More signal, less noise: Reducing false positives in the industrial internet of things

False positives waste system administrators’ time, costing companies money and eroding confidence in the reliability of the insights gleaned from the industrial internet of things (IIoT). By incorporating human input into the feedback loop that informs their analytics models, companies can improve the IIoT, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.

Three ways to get ahead of IoT cyber-risks

The recent DDoS-fueled internet outage reminds us why an IoT risk strategy is key.

How artificial intelligence is shaping the internet of things

Jenny Fielding of the Techstars accelerator on why we need a smarter IoT.

The yin and yang of AI and blockchain

Artificial intelligence is the yin and blockchains are the yang of digital business.

From the internet of things to the collaboration of things

Most people don’t realize it yet, but blockchain could clear a path for “the collaboration of things.”

Besides blockchain, what’s missing from the internet of things?

The IoT will become a much richer phenomenon, an internet of not just connected things, but a collaboration environment where machines as well as humans can interact, at scale.

Service robots: The next big productivity platform

Innovative new capabilities in robot cognition, the physical manipulation of objects, and interaction with humans—delivered in loosely coupled, modular packages—define the dawn of an emerging market in service robots.

Lowering the barrier to innovation in robotics

Eugene Izhikevich of Brain Corporation explains why programming robots is a key barrier to their success and forecasts how brain-inspired learning will change the game.

The rise of robots working in human spaces

Steve Cousins of Savioke describes advancements in navigation that are enabling robots to safely work directly with people in unpredictable environments.

Lowering the barrier to innovation in robotics

Brian Gerkey of the Open Source Robotics Foundation explains how platform technologies in robotics will accelerate innovation.

The realities of polyglot persistence in mainstream enterprises

Ritesh Ramesh describes how NoSQL and Hadoop get used in retail environments.

Solving a familiar e-commerce search problem with a NoSQL document store

Mark Unak and Sanjay Agarwal explain how document stores can help deliver precise e-commerce catalog search results.

Security at the level of key-value pairs in a NoSQL database

Adam Fuchs of Sqrrl describes the benefits of data-centric security analytics.

How NoSQL is changing enterprise data management

Oliver Halter discusses how CEOs and CIOs are being forced to tolerate some data inconsistency.

The wildcard in the IoT: humans

If you don’t create cultural and process changes to accompany the internet of things, it’s just a bunch of connected devices.

Scaling online ad innovations with the help of a NoSQL wide-column database

Vaibhav Puranik and Ken Weiner of GumGum discuss the challenges and benefits of open source databases for in-image advertising.

How enterprise graph databases are maturing

Martin Van Ryswyk and Marko Rodriguez of DataStax explore the challenges and benefits of big data analytics with graphs.

Filling in the gaps in NoSQL document stores and data lakes

Matthias Brantner describes the role database virtualization and a business-user query interface can play in heterogeneous environments.

Creating a body language of online learning with graph databases

Sean York of Pearson discusses how graph technology becomes a medium for enriching online environments.

Database futures: How Apache Spark fits in to a larger unified data architecture

Mike Franklin of the University of California, Berkeley, discusses the goals behind Spark and a more unified cloud-data ecosystem.

Creating a big data canvas with NoSQL

Tom Foth describes how analytics platforms can benefit from a blend of database types.

The coding craze isn’t a fad

What coding teaches besides just how to build software: problem solving, the elegance of simplicity and teamwork.

Going beyond topology information

Gonzalo Martinez of Autodesk shares the advancements in 3-D printing software that will power the evolution of additive manufacturing.

Fabricating materials that have new properties

Eric Duoss of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory explains how advancements in materials science are expanding material choices.

Why human hands are the gateway to augmented reality

Michael Buckwald of Leap Motion explains why the future of augmented reality interfaces is pointing, not clicking.

Toward natural interfaces

Barry Po of NGRAIN forecasts how authoring solutions will redefine augmented reality interfaces in the future.

The role materials play in powering the 3D printing revolution

As resolutions improve, material choices expand, and methods to control their properties evolve, 3-D printing will find uses beyond rapid prototyping.

The secrets in your eyes

Sune Alstrup Johansen of The Eye Tribe discusses how eye tracking will soon become an essential interface for AR devices.

Software innovations: Simplifying the 3D printing experience

As the experience of sourcing, creating, optimizing and printing 3D models becomes simpler and robust, 3D printing will find uses beyond prototyping.

The enterprise potential of augmented reality

Paul Davies of Boeing shares the augmented reality projects in progress at Boeing, the lessons they have learned, and the benefits they expect.

Develop the ability to “think 3D printing”

3D printing could lead to a gradual, long-term transformation of internal and external value chains that span design, manufacturing, use, and service.

Augmented reality: A catalyst for the coming cognitive revolution

Augmented reality can extend humans’ cognitive potential, reduce cognitive burden, and provide a new view to business operations.

Making augmented reality enterprise ready

Christine Perey of the AREA organization shares the efforts underway to expand the potential and adoption of augmented reality solutions.

Image quality is vital to transform smartglasses into workglasses

John Haddick of ODG explains why the company prioritizes image quality over other tradeoffs for its smartglasses.

Changing the economics of smartglasses

Sumanta Talukdar shares how a new optics design opens up optical components to new manufacturing techniques and lower prices.

Augmented reality will empower more than 110 million deskless workers

Ketan Joshi of Atheer shares how the smartglasses form factor will bring the digital revolution to the deskless workforce.

3D: The next horizon for AR authoring

Andy Gstoll of Wikitude describes the opportunities and challenges of working with 3-D content in augmented reality applications.

3D interior maps are essential to expand AR capabilities

Amir Rubin of Paracosm describes how 3D models and maps of work environments will expand augmented reality capabilities and solutions.

3D capabilities that are shaping the future of augmented reality

Innovations across 3D perception, 3D modeling, 3D mapping, and 3D display will bring augmented reality solutions to the 3D physical world.

The rise of 3D printing marketplaces

Andrew Boggeri is lead engineer at FSL3D, which manufactures high-quality consumer desktop 3D printers with laser-based stereolithography technology.

Rapid innovation cycles define the future for 3D printers

Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University shares the developments making 3-D printers less expensive and easier to use.

Seizing competitive advantage with 3D printing

Christine Furstoss of GE shares the breadth and depth of how 3-D printing is transforming manufacturing at GE.

The road ahead for 3D printing

As 3D printers become faster, easier to use, handle multiple materials, and print active components or systems, they will find use beyond rapid prototyping.

Making 3D printing accessible

Nancy Liang of Mixee Labs forecasts which products will spur 3-D printing adoption.

Robotic process automation underpins artificial intelligence

How robotic process automation technology can make artificial intelligence even smarter in the enterprise.

The foresight that saved Pokémon Go

What you can learn from Pokémon Go: Be prepared for massive success so you can scale to match customer demand.

Say goodbye to your mouse

The journey to creating human-computer interfaces for 3D spaces is only beginning, and it promises to be an exciting ride.

Next in Tech

Where business and experience meet emerging technology

Six ways drones are revolutionizing agriculture

Drones have brought a number of benefits to agriculture—and their potential to impact other industries is significant.

Five ways virtual reality delivers business value

Unlock greater agility, fewer risks, and new ways of working when you open up the enterprise to a new digital reality.

Architecture reinvented: How building designs are literally leaping off the page

Shane Scranton and George Valdes of IrisVR share their experience of introducing virtual reality to the architecture and construction industry.

How virtual reality is revolutionizing shopping—and disrupting product marketing

Sonia Schechter of Marxent on what VR means for retailers and customers.

The wearables future is being designed now

Why adoption of wearable devices has doubled in two years: efficiency, versatility and so many possibilities.

Are commercial drones ready for takeoff?

See why data services—not delivery—will be the real app for drones.

Drones 101: Why service providers are key for leveraging drones

In this interview, Mavrx’s Yuan Gao explains how instead of investing in their own drone fleets, most businesses will look to a new type of service provider.

Intelligent, context-aware data and analytics technologies widen the decision-making aperture

These four innovations can help companies achieve an optimal mind-machine balance when it business decision making.

AI is the new electricity

Six reasons why artificial intelligence is a lot like electricity, starting with, ‘You plug it in – and it works.’

Virtual Reality: Rethinking the role of simulations in business

How simulation tech can help hone business skills and improve product development and the customer experience.

3D printing: How to pivot from prototyping to production

For 3D printing to become ubiquitous, the devices must be decoupled from the raw materials used to create prototypes.

Cloud computing’s underground club

Cloud providers can boost business by deeply discounting capacity during off-peak times. Welcome to the “cloud underground.”

Why machines need humans to learn

Devices get smarter all the time, but to become truly intelligent, humans must create the models for gadgets to “learn” from.

Demystifying machine learning part 4: Image and video applications

Some firms are using machine learning to process large amounts of unstructured data, but it’s not widespread—yet.

Sportifying STEM through robotics to stimulate learning

What can businesses learn from programs that use robotics and gamification to spark kids’ interest in math and science?

How NoSQL key-value and wide-column stores make in-image advertising possible

Online ad innovators must process hundreds of terabytes a day at the lowest possible cost. How do they do it?

The promise of graph databases in public health

One of the main advantages of a NoSQL graph store is web-scale discovery. The graph store is one of many innovations creating a sea change in database technology: explore the promise and upheaval caused by these new technologies.

Drones as a data service

How drones used to collect aerial data augment on-the-ground techniques and help a Chinese company better serve customers.

What emerging technology should we invest in?

How to assess emerging technologies to know if they’re worthwhile investments for your company.

5 leading practices for data lakes

The right approach to data lakes is essential to ensure you get the most useful insights from your massive data stores.

A beacon for personalized customer engagement

A case for using beacons in combination with other technologies to create a truly custom customer experience.

Digital haystacks: Extracting insight from enterprise data

How big data innovation helped PwC transform enterprise search to deliver key data and increase employee effectiveness.

AI everywhere & nowhere part 3 – AI is AAAI (Assisted-Augmented-Autonomous Intelligence)

Changing the definition of artificial intelligence to mean assisted, augmented, autonomous intelligence.

AI everywhere & nowhere part 2 – AI is UI (Ubiquitous Intelligence)

Artificial intelligence must be ubiquitous to truly impact business and consumer life in a meaningful way.

How will people create content for augmented reality?

Augmented reality content creation is expected to become easier as 3-D tracking and authoring capabilities are integrated into a seamless environment.

3 approaches to emerging technology experimentation

The key to effectively experimenting with emerging technology is to link innovations to specific business goals.

In database evolution, two directions of development are better than one

NoSQL database technology is maturing, but the newest Apache analytics stacks have triggered another wave of database innovation.

Industrial manufacturers should set sights on digital operations, not just products

Manufacturers that transform their operations with digital technologies can move faster and more efficiently—and cut costs.

How will people interact with augmented reality?

Advancements in gesture, motion, and eye tracking lay the groundwork for natural interaction methods that aid in the success of augmented reality.

How will the smartglasses market evolve?

We present three scenarios for the how the smartglasses market will evolve as the technology improves.

Understanding the industrial internet of things

Companies need a clear focus to make the most of industrial internet of things opportunities.

The data lake – No longer a pipe dream for today’s enterprises

How data lakes can help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and boost innovation in the enterprise.

Breakthroughs in optics that are reshaping augmented reality

New methods, low-cost manufacturing processes, and adapting to human perceptual capabilities are contributing to better performance for optical systems.

3D printing and the ‘flattening’ of manufacturing

Without 3D printing, a some innovative companies could never have entered manufacturing—or helped spur industry growth.

Beyond Entertainment…Virtual and Augmented Reality Find New Home

VR/AR is being used as an advanced manufacturing technology tool – just like robotics, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things.

The road ahead for augmented reality

Advancements in optical performance, 3-D capabilities, and new interaction methods will define the success of the smartglasses market.

Forest or trees: Navigating the emerging technology wilderness

How to stay informed about emerging technologies without becoming overwhelmed by the endless possibilities.

AI everywhere & nowhere part 1 – Tempered excitement

Artificial intelligence has a lot of promise – but it also has a ways to go before it can be deployed widely to full advantage.

Is augmented reality opening a new productivity frontier?

A look at some companies that are using augmented reality to boost productivity-and what AR advances might mean for you.

How smart contracts automate digital business

The greatest promise for blockchain-enabled smart contracts is a highly efficient Internet of Things empowered by a web of agents, smart transactions, and contracts.

Private blockchains, public, or both?

The evolution of bitcoin’ public blockchain will usher in resilient, ubiquitous online marketplaces that won’t need intermediaries at all.

Blockchain and smart contract automation: an introduction and forecast

The end game for public and private blockchains isn’t just digital currency—it’s digital business flows.

Why are blockchains important?

Instead of involving lots of humans in the transaction pipeline and paper processes that take days, weeks, or months to complete, huge volumes of transactions could be validated automatically with the help of blockchain-style forms of consensus.

Blockchains defined

A blockchain’s integrity hinges on making it nearly impossible to tamper with any individual transaction record without being detected.

Not quite ready for the (fourth industrial) revolution

With few businesses prepared for Industry 4.0, it’s time to hone your strategy for emerging technology.

12 challenges of testing mobile apps

Learn more about a dozen mobile app-testing challenges that can sabotage your company’s mobile strategy.

4 hidden secrets from Mobile World Congress 2016

Four secrets from Mobile World Congress 2016 that can help you put the media coverage in perspective.

The argument for private blockchains

Gideon Greenspan of Coin Sciences explores the legal ramifications of public blockchains and why companies are seeking alternatives.

4 trends spotted at Mobile World Congress

Four trends spotted at Mobile World Congress 2016-and what they might mean for your organization.

Demystifying machine learning: Part 3 – Exploring deep learning

What exactly is “deep learning” and what accounts for its rapid rise in popularity and media coverage?

Are IP companies being short-sighted in their digital efforts?

Top-performing industrial products companies take a deliberate but inclusive approach to their digital strategy and execution.

Block chains: Bitcoin’s boundless building blocks

We explore block chains—the foundation of Bitcoin—and how this innovation might impact industries worldwide.

Exploring the possibilities of Virtual Reality across industries

Six industries that can benefit from virtual reality applications—will your business be prepared?

Manufacturers are putting virtual reality to work…and in surprising ways

Virtual and augmented reality are helping manufacturers innovate in ways we could have never imagined.

3 big emerging technology themes from CES 2016

How will three major themes that prevailed at CES 2016 impact your organization’s technology strategy?

For US manufacturers, virtual reality is for real

US manufacturers are increasingly using virtual reality on the factory floor to boost productivity and product quality.

Garage university for emerging technologists: Quadcopters

What inspired makers tinkering in their garages can teach businesses about effectively experimenting with technology.

EmTech 2015 conference highlights

The EmTech 2015 conference showcased emerging technologies you might soon see in a range of industries.

Thought experiments help transform search at PwC

How we used thought experiments at PwC to get started on a massive project to transform search.

Guiding principles of technology innovators

PwC’s 2015 Digital Survey IQ results explore what digital leaders do to capitalize on their technology investments and drive stronger performance.

Why every company needs its own tech lab

The importance of a having a lab that where you can run experiments and perfect existing systems to improve the business.

Beacons brighten the patient experience

Eight ways beacon technology can improve patient care—and health outcomes.

The rise of immutable data stores

Some innovators are abandoning long-held database principles. Why?

Using document stores in business model transformation

Healthcare providers are finding they need data collection and analysis capabilities that are different from those that relational databases deliver.

Enterprises hedge their bets with NoSQL databases

Without a scalable data architecture, the customer experience suffers. Imagine you’re a retailer offering tens of thousands of products online. You have rich descriptions that include numerous attributes for each product. In standard relational databases, these attributes exist in silos, are poorly described, and cannot be indexed for maximum usefulness. So, if you’re using only a standard relational database and a conventional enterprise search engine, customers who search “17-inch laptop” will retrieve many false positive results that aren’t laptops. NoSQL1 document databases provide the capability to address this problem. With the help of data tagged in Extensible Markup Language (XML) or structured JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), NoSQL offerings such as MarkLogic and MongoDB enable more refined indexing by attribute. Dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of product attributes can serve as search filters (or facets) that a query engine such as XQuery can use to deliver far more relevant results. “Usually the product has features that can easily be attributed with standard values,” says Mark Unak, CTO of Codifyd, a consultancy that helps clients to optimize their use of e-commerce website data. For example, a customer can filter on the brand name of the laptop, and the results will include only …

Agile coding in enterprise IT: Code small and local

Big SOA was overkill. In its place, a more agile form of services is taking hold.

Demystifying machine learning part 1

What you need to know about machine learning and how it can help companies achieve their growth goals.

The internet of BBQ

The growing array of BBQ-related apps and devices is a sign that the internet of things is here and could benefit your business.

Graph databases: Beyond recommendation engines

Graph databases allow businesses to draw powerful connections between many data points to make better use of big data.

Robots set free: Innovation in robotics

The future of robotics in manufacturing hinges on developments in robots’ cognition, manipulation, and interaction abilities.

The capabilities and limitations of video analytics

Video analytics promise to help retailers better understand customers. Here are three issues to keep in mind.

5 growing pains for Chief Data Science Officers

These best practices can help Chief Data Science Officers demonstrate their value and achieve success.

Data lakes and the promise of unsiloed data

Data lakes that can scale at the pace of the cloud remove integration barriers and clear a path for more timely and informed business decisions.

The power of picking the right prototype

How to overcome some common challenges of using prototypes to test out product ideas.

Do you need a Chief Data Scientist?

How to determine if your company needs a chief data scientist to help improve its business decision making.

Sensors and analytics creating a competitive edge in retail

What retailers need to consider before implementing sensors and data analytics to gain a competitive edge.

3 key hurdles hampering the Internet of Things

We explore three big issues that are keeping the internet of things from truly taking off.

Field service workers could fix wearables’ PR problem

Why wearables are tailor-made for field service workers, who could become the technology’s biggest advocates.

8 reasons innovators should pay attention to SXSW

SXSW Interactive can be a doorway to fresh ideas and knowledge sharing to fuel innovation initiatives.

The Internet of Things has arrived in America’s factories

A look at what the internet of things and connected devices mean for US manufacturers.

Microservices architecture: A change worth making

How can your business shift to microservices architecture (MSA): a decoupled approach that suits today’s nimble approach to applications development.

How 3D printing puts manufacturers at risk of cybertheft

The rise of 3D printing provides a new portal for cyberthieves—so you better protect your trade secrets.

Lessons in innovation from the future of shopping

How retailers can uncover the innovation opportunities promised by the internet of things.

2015 digital technology trends for business

Cybersecurity, NoSQL databases and the internet of things top the list of business technology innovations for 2015.

Enterprise innovators: Thinking big, acting small

Four ways to encourage innovation in your enterprise to effectively compete in the digital age.

Interview: Will data lake advocates repeat the mistakes of data warehousing?

  PwC’s Technology Forecast recently addressed the topic of data lakes. The coverage included research and interviews on data lakes and how they can help enterprises remove integration barriers and clear a path for more timely and informed business decisions. To continue the discussion and look at some of the challenges enterprises can face in implementing a shift to data lakes, we are sharing an excerpt of a conversation between Technology Forecast’s Alan Morrison and Terry Retter, president of small business consultancy BrightZone, in Reno, Nevada; a former VP/CIO of Grubb & Ellis, and a PwC alumnus. AM:  Terry, you were a CIO. Some companies say they’ve created a data lake. In reality, they’ve built a single-purpose sandbox. How can CIOs get their organizations to commit to the strategic, long-term vision of a true data lake? TR: By dealing with real problems and real users.  They should focus on a service or a perception problem among customers they must resolve to avoid losing profits or market share. They should start small, but think big, in data lake terms. They shouldn’t collect data just around a single process. Instead, they should gather everything they can think of while using the lake at first to solve a particular problem. …

How is software advancing 3D printing?

Exploring the ways that software can advance and improve 3D printing.

7 secrets of great gamification design

These seven guiding principles can help you succeed in gamification design.

The future of collaboration: Large-scale visualization

Why large-scale visualization may be the key to success for improving business decision making with data analytics.

To liberate healthcare data, dip into data lakes

How data lakes can help healthcare companies make better user of their data while protecting confidential patient information.

6 technology innovation sources for outside-in learning

How to stoke the flames of innovation in your company by bringing the outside in.

4 key takeaways from MakerCon for corporations

MakerCon reminds corporations how makers in their ranks can help them accelerate the pace of innovation.

What will make 3D printing a game changer?

How 3D printing can overcome obstacles it faces to reach its full potential.

The high value of advanced data visualization

Compelling visualizations are necessary for big data to make an impact on enterprise decision making.

What is microservices architecture? Think ant colonies, beehives, or termite mounds

Microservices architecture explained: What they are and what they’re food for.

Digital spaghetti: What happens when emerging technology meets the hype cycle

How to separate hype from reality about emerging technologies: internet if things, wearables, and context-aware computing.

A guide to the Internet of Things

We share a roundup of fresh PwC intellectual capital on the internet of things.

Smarter business intelligence through sensors

Sensors and embedded computing are quietly re-architecting companies’ operations and business intelligence capabilities.

The future of big data: Data lakes

Data lakes pose a number of opportunities—and challenges—for companies looking to make best use of their big data.

Is enterprise integration a pipe dream?

A look at some of the issues facing companies looking to achieve enterprise data integration.

One simple solution to unite the CIO and CMO

Finding common ground between CIOs and CMOs is vital, especially when evaluating and investing in emerging technologies

Finding a home for the Chief Data Science Officer

Where the chief data science officer fits in your org chart depends on your analytics strategy. Here are some models to consider.

Engaging employees for an innovation advantage

Bridging enterprise silos to bring employees into the process and encourage innovation.

Mobile apps vs. the mobile web: Is this the argument mobile developers should be discussing?

The mobile apps vs. mobile web argument distracts us from what’s important: delivering custom, context-aware services.

Stop Heartbleed from draining your sensitive data

How to protect your business from the ravages of the Heartbleed bug.

The FBI says you’ve been breached by a nation-state. Now what?

What to do if your company’s network falls victim to hacking by a nation-state.

Are wearables for business too?

How wearable technology can pay off in the enterprise.

The End of Data Standardization

We can no longer deny the drive to diversify data management technology that began in the mid-90s. The aspiration to achieve one single and simple database management system has died. I grew up with the advent of commercial relational databases in the late 80s and early 90s. At the time, the promise was clear: you could store everything in a relational database that was carefully modeled and expandable. And in doing so, you acquired the ability to access, govern and securely manage every bit of data in a single technology environment. Most companies decided on a relational database standard and ported some or all of their applications towards that single database backend. All the principles of good architecture – including cost and skill optimization played out – until they didn’t. All seemed swimming until one of my clients – a major European railway operator – wanted to geo code every bit of equipment and every centimeter of their railway network. As hard as we tried, we couldn’t meet the client’s demands well with a relational database. The advent of spatial data management systems came to the rescue. Questions like ‘What is the total book value of all assets deployed within …

The CIO’s Role in the Internet of Things

In our soon-to-be-released Digital IQ survey of over 1,400 business and technology executives, 20% of respondents say they plan to invest in sensors. We feel confident in predicting that the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything will finally begin to take off this year, as futurists have forecasted for years. What remains to be seen is whether or not CIOs will win their rightful place in product design planning and the development of business instrumentation strategy. Slowly but surely businesses and governments will use sensors to digitize droves of everyday devices and extract infinite amounts of information and insights to gain a competitive edge and garner deeper relationships with customers. Here are a handful of examples we expect to materialize this year: Mobile devices will interact with the digital data that surrounds them, giving users the benefits of a true digital assistant Low cost sensors will track shopping traffic patterns to enable retailors to improve customer service, streamline operations and lower costs Motion and weight sensors will direct drivers to open parking spaces Manufacturers will track everything in their supply chains to streamline operations City governments will use gunfire locators to sense when a gun is fired …

The 5 Dimensions of the So-Called Data Scientist

What is “data science”? Is it really a new emerging discipline as some claim it to be; or is it the emperor in new clothes – data mining, statistics, business intelligence or analytics re-branded? Moreover, is it possible that one person can fulfil the role of a data scientist? Rather than answering this question directly, let’s review some of the skills required for someone to be a “data scientist.” First and foremost, a “data scientist” is a business or domain expert: Someone who has to have the ability to articulate how information, insights, and analytics can help business leadership answer key questions – and even determine which questions need answering – and make appropriate decisions. The data scientist will need a thorough understanding of the business across the value chain (from marketing, sales, distribution, operations, pricing, products, finance, risk, etc.) to do this well. Second, a “data scientist” is a statistics expert: Someone who has to have the ability to determine the most appropriate statistical techniques for addressing different classes of problems, apply the relevant techniques, and translate the results and generate insights in such a way that the businesses can understand the value. This will be predicated on a …

Hot Technologies for VCs

Which emerging technologies are attractive to venture capitalists (VCs) right now? PwC’s MoneyTree™ publication enables us to follow the money and get a sense for where investors believe specific industries and lines of business will have a market impact over the course of the next several years. There is a tremendous investment focus on software, internet and other technology-related categories. In 2013, VC investment in software accounted for over 37% of the total VC investment for the year. Internet investments accounted for roughly 24%. This is a direct reflection of the idea that technology has a significant impact on driving economic growth and profits. Ultimately, this is what VCs are interested in – helping companies grow, drive profits and eventually receive a return for their investment in those companies. While software has always been a top focus for VCs, 2013 MoneyTree™ results point to an even deeper focus on software, as the digital age demands that businesses invest in new IT systems that enable more software-defined business models. In particular, as the last decade has brought about tremendous innovation in smaller mobile computing devices, increased broadband access, enterprise automation, and cloud delivery, the last several quarters represent a focus on …

Common Misconceptions about Emerging Technologies: Gamification

First in a series on common misconceptions about emerging technologies. Misconception: Gamification is about giving out badges to users. I had the chance recently to go through Code.org’s Hour of Code, an introduction to a series of free online courses that are designed to teach children (not to mention adults) the fundamentals of computer science. Hour of Code teaches a few basics of JavaScript using a drag-and-drop interface and exercises with challenges and goals from Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies and other popular games. Students make progress level by level, and after they’ve completed the full Hour, they each get a certificate of completion. By December 2013, Code.org claimed that over 20 million users had completed the Hour of Code. The course seems to me a prime example of gamification, not just because it rewards users with certificates of completion or incorporates bits of games, but because the entire design reflects a solid understanding of how users are motivated and the game conforms the design to that understanding. Code.org’s designers encourage students to make more and more progress, but equally importantly, they’ve cleared some fundamental obstacles students have faced when it comes to getting a leg up on programming concepts. …

Anatomy of a Skimmer Attack

Lately it seems every day brings news of a cybersecurity attack in the retail space. How do cyber criminals pull it off? Let’s break down the anatomy of a skimmer attack. Thieves install electronic software “skimmers” on point of sale (POS) terminals. As customers swipe their credit cards, these skimmers collect the track data— the electronically encoded data on the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card. The capture of track data enables a cybercriminal to create counterfeit cards. They do so by encoding the track data onto a new card with a magnetic strip. In addition to the track data, thieves can secure information about the store’s location and zip code. This data enables cybercriminals to enhance the value of the stolen card numbers and evade fraud detection techniques based upon card user zip codes. Some cybercriminals work with insiders. Insiders are unreliable and unmonitored employees, contractors, or vendors with authorized access to the retailer’s POS infrastructure. The insider can use both access and knowledge of the system to install the skimmer, establish the collection and exfiltration process and software, and either disable, circumvent, or otherwise remain under the visibility of security controls. If the thief is …

Mining Customer Insights with Speech-to-Text Technology

From touch and gesture interfaces to advanced facial recognition, our computers are communicating with us on an increasingly human level. One technology that is showing particular promise is a computer’s ability to recognize human speech or Speech-to-Text (STT). Applications such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Nuance’s Dragon have brought voice-activated commands to the masses while enterprise companies are employing the technology to discover new insights from previously untapped audio and video data sources. One of the greatest benefits of STT is the ability to bridge the gap between unstructured audio/video data and advanced analytics such as machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and graph analysis. A company’s ability to understand their most vocal customers, whether within their call centers or on video sharing sites, can lead to a better view of customers and their experiences. Call center logs can reveal interesting patterns and trends in the quality of customer agent call handling and (when combined with other data) call center operational costs. These insights could then be used to retrain customer service agents, identify and stop a poorly conceived marketing campaign, or quickly understand the root cause for a spike in call center volume. For example, PwC’s Emerging Tech …

Espionage Tradecraft Targeting Businesses

Spies want what companies have—trade secrets, confidential business plans, and personally identifiable information. To mine this rich lode of data, foreign intelligence services, criminal organizations, and other groups have a sophisticated and varied set of tools. The use of cutting-edge technology in espionage against economic and other targets has dominated recent headlines. But intelligence collectors also employ longstanding human-based tactics, such as eliciting information from unsuspecting contacts, setting up face-to-face meetings to recruit and run sources, and “social-engineering” people into opening e-mails or accessing thumb-drives loaded with malicious code. Our increasingly connected digital world has created several new ways for attackers to exploit their targets and, conversely, new ways to be detected and caught: The interconnectedness of objects and people has made possible ubiquitous and nearly invisible surveillance. Foreign intelligence services and law enforcement agencies collect a wealth of data on espionage targets—including businesspersons and technical experts—and some transnational criminal organizations are developing similar capabilities. Media and other reports have highlighted several governments’ efforts to tap massive amounts of Internet and other communications. These surveillance efforts are boosted by social-networking sites (SNS). People divulge personal and professional information—both inadvertently and because they have been engineered or tricked into doing so—that …

3D Printing: On the Brink of Disruption

If you’re a confessed tinkerer like me, it’s hard not to get excited about 3D printing. Dream it and you can build it. Using CAD designs, 3D printers fabricate solid objects from digital images. Believe it or not, 3D printers are making everything from pizza and high-fashion clothing to human organs and parts for the space shuttle. Because 3D printing has the potential to turn every large enterprise, small business and living room into a factory I don’t feel it’s exaggerating to say 3D printing is one of the most important inventions since the personal computer. According to Gartner, “The 3D printer market will grow from $288 million to more than $5.7 billion by 2017 as consumer 3D printing hype accelerates 3D printer purchases by enterprises worldwide.”* Should You Add 3D Printing to Your Portfolio? Developed in the 80s, 3D printing is nothing new. Only now it’s exponentially more cost-effective and efficient than ever before. As you consider how 3D printing could provide your business with a competitive advantage, you should focus like a laser on your business goals. What problems will 3D printing solve for your company: rapid prototyping, uniquely customized products, etc? Like most emerging technologies, 3D printing …

Bring Your Own Cloud—Another BYOD in the Making?

As personal smartphones, tablets and other devices continue to penetrate the enterprise, another new phenomenon is emerging with the potential to disrupt existing IT architectures: Bring Your Own Cloud (or BYOC). Like the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept before it, BYOC refers to the increasing use of personal third-party cloud storage and application services by employees in the enterprise. Many of these services are already familiar to us—Apple iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, to name a few. What’s new, however, is the blurring between personal and business activities on these platforms. In a recent survey, 75% of U.S. consumers said they planned to use a personal cloud service in the near future, and 72% said they planned to use it to store both work and personal documents. To users, the benefits of BYOC are compelling: The ability to access files and tools seamlessly from any device or location Data backup in the background without the need for configuration or disruption to their workflow Nominal cost or free While for businesses, BYOC presents its share of risk too: Loss of data security and control and many points of vulnerability Cloud “sprawl”— when employees are not using …

Businesses Banking on Breakthrough Innovation

Post co-authored by Rob Shelton, Global Innovation Strategy Lead. Last year if you asked a CEO what he or she is doing to achieve growth, the answer would have been investing in China. This year the answer is innovation. Business executives are banking on bold innovation to meet aggressive growth targets, so they are taking innovation more seriously than ever before. In the spirit of Peter Drucker who said, “innovation is work,” business executives are focusing less on informal processes that produce incremental improvements to internal operations and more on formal innovation approaches that generate “breakthrough” and “radical” innovation. In our latest innovation study, 69% of 1,757 senior executives contend having a well-defined innovation process is important to establishing a culture of innovation. This rigor is necessary to improve the chances of innovation success.  To make headline-worthy innovations happen, a significant percentage of companies are looking to new innovation models such as open innovation (collaboration with outside partners), design thinking (looking at the need from an anthropologist’s perspective), corporate venturing (investing in startups), and incubators (small groups of intrapreneurs that use rapid prototyping). Corporate venturing is the most popular approach among technology companies. To meet tenacious growth targets, established technology companies …

The Discipline of Digital Disruption

Nowadays, virtually every time I turn around my wife is watching some home improvement show on TV. I must confess that I get glued to the house remodels. After watching quite a few of them, I’ve begun to notice a pattern. Invariably, demolitions unearth unexpected issues that cost extra time and money. Knob and tube wiring, ancient leaks, and termites, oh my. It reminds me of the problems enterprises face as they start swinging the hammer of disruption when pursuing emerging technology. If you think about it, houses are a lot like enterprises. If you want to tear down a wall to make an enhancement, you better carefully examine the blueprints and devise a plan that ensures success, minimizes costs and reduces risk. The last thing you want to do is rock the stability of your structure by removing a load-bearing wall. Or, in the case of an enterprise, abandon a critical legacy system or disable a critical business process. Yet, senior executives are barreling into emerging technology implementations without consulting business designers with a bird’s eye view of the organization’s operations. They just know in their gut that a particular technology is going to give them an edge and …

Can an App Read Your Mind?

Over the years, artists, film directors, novelists, etc. have entertained and frightened us with their visions of a sinister future where computers reign over humans. “Singularity” is the term for the moment artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence and moves to conquer humanity. This is scary stuff. Good thing it remains science fiction. In the real world, computers will think for us when they are better at the job and with us when the work requires uniquely human characteristics such as creativity, insight, instinct, pattern recognition, story-telling skills, empathy and listening. Software vendors and enterprises are designing and launching what we call “mindful apps.” While they can’t read your mind, mindful apps are programed based on human-thinking models and can support humans by presenting the right information exactly at the right time—what we call “intelligence in the moment.” Masterful Human, Computer Matchups When Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster and former World Chess Champion, got beat by a computer—IBM’s Deep Blue—he didn’t come to the obvious conclusion that computers would supplant human intelligence. Kasparov understood that Deep Blue’s “intelligence” represented an exhaustive, computationally intensive search of all possible outcomes of a limited set of move options facing the chess player. Human intelligence …

Enterprise Architecture for Emerging Technology: Build, Buy or Open Source

As companies transition to more flexible IT platforms, they are searching for guidance on how to determine whether they should build their own application, use packaged applications from an ERP vendor, adopt an open source platform, or leverage a SaaS solution. It’s not an easy decision to make. Whether custom-built or vendor-based, projects can fail. Before making the transition, you should carefully consider the following differences surrounding support, customization and deployment. All things being equal, the primary difference between open source and vendor products is the source of support. Open source support options are “do it yourself.” If you’re not equipped for DIY, you’ll need to reach out to a forum or community involved with that project. In contrast, vendor products provide you a number to call when you need help, which can be either good or bad depending on the responsiveness of your vendor. When an open source platform/product has reached critical mass, you will usually find companies that provide professional support (e.g Redhat, Hadoop and Oracle VirtualBox.) Open source enhancements are usually quicker if you have a vibrant community. If you choose the vendor route, you’ll have better luck if your company is large. Vendors tend to listen to …

The Potential of Context Aware Computing

Imagine driving home late at night after work, an inattentive driver plows into the side of your vehicle. Before your wheels stop spinning, a sensor in your vehicle recognizes the severity of the impact, contacts 911 so emergency vehicles can be dispatched. While the ambulance is in route, your medical records and insurance information are communicated to the receiving hospital, your driver’s history is forwarded to the police, your auto insurance company has been notified, and your vital signs are sent from your body sensor to the approaching rescue vehicle. The EMTs know exactly how to treat you even before they arrive at the crash site and the police have contacted your family to let them know you have been in an accident. Does this sound like science fiction? Actually, today some of it is already happening and some of it is coming soon. Welcome to your new “best friend” – context aware computing. Context aware computing refers to a style of computing in which situational and environmental information is used to anticipate immediate needs and proactively offer enriched, situation-aware responses. Instead of being a singular technology, it exists as a result of combining four disruptive technologies that are reaching …

4 Customer Experience Disrupters

I firmly believe that the more opportunities you have to reinforce your brand promise with customers, the better your balance sheet. So, I see the proliferation of customer touch points as a positive development for businesses. Organizations that are committed to cultivating a customer-centered culture can gain a significant edge over the competition. Recent research proves my point. According to the Watermark Consulting 2013 Customer Experience ROI study, customer experience leaders outperform laggards by 43% when indexed against the S&P. That’s a massive difference and a major opportunity to leverage the art and science of customer experience to distinguish your company from the competition. Innovation will always be important, but customer experience is clearly the number one factor in determining your market valuation and validity as a business partner in today’s digital marketplace. It’s never been more important to empower employees across the board with the information and inspiration they need to live the brand promise in every customer interaction. Making that happen will require more than expanded and enhanced resources. You must build an integrated organization that is infinitely capable of delighting customers consistently across multiple channels. New strategies, culture change and different corporate governance processes are necessary to …

The Internet of Things Raises New Security Questions

Within the last few years the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on the planet— some estimates placing the figure at over 10 billion Internet-connected objects.   In coming years a growing number of things—food, furniture, livestock, buildings, clothing, medical devices and even entire cities—will be increasingly interconnected. While the Internet of Things (IoT) brings great convenience to daily life it is also creating significant and little explored security vulnerabilities that need to be carefully considered. As more devices and sensors get connected, we will see changes in business models across numerous sectors, precision marketing and advertising, and homes that are connected and automated. Companies, organizations and individuals need to begin preparing now for new vulnerabilities and threats resulting from the expansion of the interconnectivity that is at IoT’s core.   As the number of networked objects grows exponentially, so too will data transmission and storage methods—as well as the number of threats.  Organizations of all types will need to understand threats not only to their own networks but also to other networks as interdependencies increase.  What’s Next for Internet of Things Security? The IoT holds great promise but there are new developments and factors that businesses …

The Next Phase of Agile Development

It’s human nature for people to build sturdy structures to shield themselves from the unpredictability of the elements. But, if you are too sheltered for too long, you weaken your ability to continuously confront change. That’s the dilemma facing IT departments. Change is raining down on them, and they are having trouble continuously adapting. A term is gaining momentum in the IT community to describe an ideal state of being for IT systems: antifragility. Coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, the antifragile system grows stronger when exposed to disorder in the same way the human body’s immune system gains strength when attacked by disease. In contrast, fragile systems are easily injured and suffer from volatility. Most enterprises today fall into the “robust” category somewhere in between antifragile and fragile. They are anchored to legacy systems and run by IT departments that are hard-wired to deflect disruption. These IT systems are like immovable barricades that are increasingly incapable of flexing alongside tech-empowered consumers. New mindsets and governance models are needed in today’s digitally dynamic marketplace. The notion of antifragility and its associated biological metaphors are serving as inspiration for enterprises to migrate away …

Are you Chasing Technology or Leading the Pack?

Emerging Technology is a beautiful thing. We can achieve more than we ever dreamed possible with today’s array of options and information. Whoever thought an organization could partner with the general public to tap Big Data to unearth Genghis Khan’s tomb, for example? But with massive benefits come daunting drawbacks. The amount of choices is staggering and keeping pace with technology-empowered consumers is perpetually demanding. Like a pulsating drum, consumers, employees and partners are driving enterprise innovation from the outside in. As a result, executives can end up feeling like they don’t know which way is up. Maybe your business is moving so fast and furiously that you start to ask: are we using technology or is technology using us? On the flipside, are we a deer in the headlights facing disruption from a fierce competitor? Overall, are we acting proactively or reactively and effectively balancing dreaming big with playing it safe? Most executives have a general idea in their minds if emerging technology investments are aligned with strategic business goals. But, a loose mental sketch is not enough. You need to take a robust look at the latest technology through a business filter as well as imagine all the …

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Chris Curran

Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC US Tel: +1 (214) 754 5055 Email

Vicki Huff Eckert

Global New Business & Innovation Leader Tel: +1 (650) 387 4956 Email

Pierre-Alain Sur

US Technology Industry Leader Tel: +1 (646) 471 6973 Email