At SFG, we are as excited as ever for what the future holds for consumers, and we often reflect on how the current decade (2010-2019) has prepared us to propel into the next. We have seen technologies such as the smartphone completely transform social and consumer landscapes, and innovation remains at the forefront of the minds of most industries. We have seen incredible strides in robotics, energy efficiencies, and rocket technology, just to name a few. Data procurement techniques push useful data collection to levels never seen before. The energy industry is changing rapidly with many innovations existing outside the solar and wind spaces. All of these factors give us reason to believe this coming decade will be nothing less than a spectacle to watch unfold.
Because the focus of this decade has been on the collection of data, we believe the ’20s will rely on the implementation of it. We expect to see the rise of self-driving vehicles utilize this data and, as a result, provide a safer and more efficient driving landscape for all. The advent of autonomous ride-sharing has the potential to transform the transportation industry by providing consumers with low-cost transportation, considering the second-most-expensive purchase consumers make is a vehicle. Imagine a world in which you schedule an autonomous vehicle to pick you up every morning at 8:00 AM to take you to work. This vehicle then travels to other homes throughout the day, transporting consumers everywhere they go. The cost of transportation in this scenario would be a fraction of what it is today, and would also eliminate numerous inefficiencies. Imagine never filling up your gas tank! No going out of your way to a gas station — the car fills itself up. Better yet, imagine not purchasing car insurance! This landscape needs time to develop and may not be realized within the next decade, but is nonetheless exhilarating to think about.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been fueling innovation. We recently came across a viral video of Boston Dynamics — a robotics company — showcasing their robot jumping on top of poorly balanced boxes, doing a backflip off of them, and landing on its feet. As spectacular as it was to watch, the true value of the robot is its versatile capabilities. The robotics industry has a long way to go in terms of automation and capability, but is making incredible strides to create cost efficiencies, which often benefit consumers. AI is also helping consumers discover new enthusiasm for shopping. FashionAI allows consumers to engage in an interactive shopping experience, where a customer can walk into a fitting room, try on various outfits, and the AI will pair it with other products that coordinate. This software — designed by Alibaba — will soon have the capability to utilize Augmented Reality (AR) to superimpose the suggested items onto the customer, as if they were trying everything on together. This service could revolutionize today’s shopping experience, and may also change online shopping by providing this service in-home through cloud computing and web cameras.
Imagine a world in which the checkout counter didn’t exist — time spent in stores would be dramatically impacted by this innovation, and it isn’t just an idea anymore. In 2017, Amazon Go was launched in Seattle. It is a seemingly traditional grocery store; however, it has millions of micro sensors throughout the store to track which items you purchase. It even knows when you return an item back onto the shelf. There are no cashiers or registers — only an array of gates located at entry and exit points. Once you walk through the gate, it bills your Amazon account, and that’s it; no checkout line necessary.
Each of these events is on the list of market disruptors — anything that might transform an industry — that we monitor at SFG. If you would like to learn more about how we track these disruptors, please contact us at any time.