The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are rapidly disappearing, and business leaders must prepare for a future where the seamless movement between the two will create new opportunities to add value to their organizations. One example of this is the Neurotwin project in Europe, which is using funding from the European Union to build digital twins of individual human brains.
The digital twins will be used to help healthcare providers better understand and predict triggers for neurological diseases, and to improve preventative interventions. The Neurotwin project will launch two studies this year, one on Alzheimer’s disease and another on epilepsy.
This example demonstrates how technology and the convergence of the physical and digital worlds are transforming healthcare, but this transformation is not limited to the healthcare industry. This change will affect all businesses, and leaders must be prepared for it. The next wave of business transformation will erase the boundaries between these worlds and create a new reality. The time to embrace these technologies is now, and the goal should not be incremental improvement, but rather a radical reinvention of businesses.
Good news for European companies seeking to invest in their technology futures is that confidence among business leaders is growing, with a shift from cost-cutting to more growth and investment. According to a recent survey by Accenture of global business leaders, European executives are not expecting the same levels of impact from inflation as seen at the end of 2022. Two-thirds of European executives anticipate revenue growth for their organization, and eight in ten expect the economy to recover within the next 12 months.
France’s Recovery & the Merging of Physical and Digital Worlds
Executives in France are expecting a slightly quicker recovery compared to their neighbors. This creates a favorable environment for enterprises to invest in technology and innovation, including areas such as data, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, security and cloud. Business leaders also recognize the crucial role of technology in advancing progress towards international sustainability goals, which is highlighted by the European Commission’s recent Net-Zero Industry Act to boost the production of clean technologies in the EU.
The next phase of technological disruption is the merging of the physical and digital worlds, but there isn’t one specific technology to invest in to achieve this transformation. While quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and extended reality are making impressive strides, businesses need to design a holistic innovation strategy that targets the intersection of the two worlds.
Research indicates that 98% of global executives believe AI foundation models will be crucial in their organizations’ strategies within the next three to five years, and over half are planning pilot cases for 2023. However, companies must ensure that these technologies are responsible and compliant by design.
Charting a Path to Transformation
The Technology Vision 2023 report charts a path to this transformation, starting with blurring the line between physical and digital and solving intractable problems. Enterprises must continuously reinvent themselves as the meeting of the two worlds evolves. Digital twins for individual bridges, robotics in hospitals, and pairing product designers with generative AI are just a few examples of where innovation is taking place. In the automotive industry, for instance, a large European OEM has started to improve vehicle design and development by using virtual twin technologies, eliminating physical prototypes for certain models, reducing product development time by months, and predicting localized effects, including material and connection failures.
As these innovations advance, they will create entirely new physical environments, such as working in the metaverse. Business transformation will shift from creating isolated digital capabilities to creating the foundation of a new, seamlessly shared reality across all industries. This future presents vast opportunities for companies to grow and to do so in a responsible way. Business leaders must start preparing for this future by engaging in a deliberate strategy to reinvent their business continuously.
The positive outlook for investment and recovery in Europe presents a unique opportunity for us to take the lead in laying the groundwork for the fusion of the physical and digital worlds, not only for ourselves but for generations to come.
While it may be challenging to navigate this new frontier, the resilience and confidence that organizations have built over the past few years in the face of adversity has prepared them for this moment. As we observe companies across industries making ambitious bets on technologies that will merge our parallel realities and transform the nature of business, science, and product design, we can feel hopeful about the future.