Here are the 5 key technologies for B2B marketers to focus their sales and marketing efforts upon for the year.
The five – the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Robotics, Wearables and 3D Printing – provide a plethora of sales messaging opportunities for B2B marketers.
B2B marketers should develop strategic messaging of how their organization’s technology will help CEO’s and COO’s transform their business and set their companies up for success.
The five technologies reside in different stages of adoption. In addition, the technologies have varied levels of uncertainty about their future direction and which vendors will prevail as the undisputed market leader. Disruptive technologies (robotics, 3D printing and augmented reality) are quite popular and their are use cases that are intoxicating, however, the develop is in the details (implementation and user experience).
Here are the 5 key technologies for B2B marketers to message around for the foreseeable future:
The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address and that allows for internet connectivity. Communication then can occur between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.
IoT is basically the evolution of technologies that have been developed over the last decade or two. Today, operations and automation technologies are now converging. The number of sensors with cloud and connectivity are estimated to grow to almost $80B by 2025- more than a 4X increase from today.
Smart enterprise control, asset performance management in real-time and smart and connected products and services are the areas predicted to gain market traction most quickly. Cybersecurity and interoperability challenges will challenge vendors and service providers from embracing IoT on factory floors and throughout their supply chain as 85% of assets are “disconnected”.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience and to adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Most AI use cases rely heavily on machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing to process large amounts of data and recognize patterns in the data.
Today, approximately 70% of captured production data (structure and unstructured) goes unused. Combining AI with IoT allows organizations to orchestrate and streamline business processes and any data source from any device. Early adoption for AI in production environments is expected to be in quality management, predictive maintenance and supply chain optimization.
Advanced robotics earned its start in the 1980s. Back then, advanced robotics was used to define any sensor-based robots that attempted to mimic human intelligence. Advanced Robotics have been used in a variety of fields ranging from manufacturing, nuclear, construction, space and underwater exploration, and healthcare.
In short, advanced robotics deals with devices that act largely, or partly, autonomously. These devices interact physically with people or their environments and are capable of modifying their behavior based upon sensor data.
Advanced robotics are typically focused on the dull, dirty, repetitious and dangerous jobs. It’s estimated that advance robotics automate about 10% of production tasks. Recently, robotics have been included on production floors (sometimes alongside humans).
The need to increase ROI, strong demand and advances in human–robot collaboration are expected to drive robotic adoption to 25-45% of production tasks by 2030. The use cases are expected to move beyond the automotive and electronics industries. Some analysts believe that adopting advanced robotics and AI could boost productivity in many industries by 30% while others believe that labor costs could be decreased between 15% – 30% to yield a positive business outcome by 2025 between $600B and $1.2T.
Wearable technology generally refers to electronics that can be worn as an accessory or as part of material used in clothing. The most popular wearable technology devices are activity trackers and smartwatches. The key for wearable technology is its ability to connect to the internet, allowing data to be exchanged between the device and the network (and with any system, process or application that resides in the cloud.) Since wearable technology can push and pull data, it is a natural driver for IoT.
Enterprise wearables (including augmented and virtual reality) comprise one of the fastest growing markets. Market size today is estimated at $700M but exponential growth is forecast to propel this market to $5B by 2020.
The comfort, functionality and safety of wearables will continue to improve which will fuel adoption. Some use cases have shown returns of up to 25% improvement in operator productivity as well as significant decreases in the time required for training and upskilling. Not to mention health and safety improvements.
3D printing refers to the manufacturing of a three-dimensional product from a computer-driven digital model. The 3D printing process is additive as multiple layers from CAD (computer-aided design) drawings are laid down one after another to create different shapes. The most popular use cases for 3D printing include aerospace, engineering, architecture, healthcare, medical, industrial design and construction.
3D printing has the potential to revolutionize some traditional production processes. A recent surge in metal 3D printing capabilities has propelled growth. In addition, 3D printing applied to use cases that require customization and time-to-market are key value drivers – typically low-volume, high-value parts. Even though 3D has proven valuable, 3D printing is not expected to replace conventional manufacturing (long production runs) or mass localization of production footprints residing closer to consumers anytime soon.
B2B marketers and sales professionals need to sit down and document their organizations value proposition at a strategic level. Then, that value needs to be woven into one of the big technology trends: Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Robotics or Wearables and 3D Printing. The key is to connect and organization’s value, a key technology trend and a desired business outcome (increased revenue, profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, brand equity or deceased expenses). Develop your sale sand marketing messaging so that demand generation, account-based marketers, field sales, inside sales and sales development reps are saying the same thing – along with your website.