Trends & Technologies Worth Watching

By Scott Kirsner |  July 13, 2015

What are some of the technologies and trends that will increase in importance over the next five years? This was the topic of a recent Field Study whiteboard session hosted by InnoLead’s Scott Kirsner and Joey Hasty, former Digital Innovation Director at Disney and the current Head of Innovation & Transformation at Royal Caribbean.

We defined technologies, loosely, as things that will enable or support all kinds of new businesses and products, and trends as social shifts or changes in consumer behaviors/preferences.

Fifteen executives from retail, media, telecommunications, financial services, consumer products, and other industries, shared what’s on their radar screens.


  • Connected devices / Internet of Things
  • Easily-trainable robots (like Baxter, right, from Rethink Robotics)
  • Data (not just gathering “big data” but getting fast access to the “right data”)
  • Artificial intelligence to augment human work (examples: Amy from, IPsoft’s Amelia)
  • Blockchain and decentralized authentication
  • 3-D printing
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • RFID tags and enhanced supply chain visibility
  • Self-driving cars
  • Drones
  • Wireless charging of personal electronics, cars, and other devices


  • Live webcasting and universal video
  • More voice interaction (less gestural interaction)
  • Sensors everywhere
  • Constant learning / reskilling / individualized learning
  • Machine morality (cars and robots making decisions)
  • Smarter allocation of physical resources / “Access not ownership”
  • Metrics for everything (including health and “quantified self”)
  • Transient identity / different personasIncreasing importance of context / “Context is the new frontier”
  • Hyper-connected people
  • Open data
  • Remote work
  • Insight into food origins / food authenticity
  • On-demand services / “Job as a service”
  • End of the physical store / “showrooming”
  • Reality-based gaming (games designed to be played in real-world physical spaces)
  • Ever-shortening attention spans
  • No checkout at stores (checking out as soon as you pick up and decide to buy an item)