The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. It’s blurring the lines between physical and digital, as technologies become stronger and more immersive in every sector. Recent advances in AR/VR, AI, autonomous vehicles and robotics are all evidence of these ongoing changes catapulting the world into a new state of being.
With this revolution comes connected everything. It will bring increased productivity and efficiency, which will uproot and rebuild most industries. From this, occupations will change, along with the way we prepare the next generation to enter the workforce with the automation of mundane workplace tasks. As Christian Guirnalda, who leads Verizon’s 5G Labs across NY, LA, DC, Cambridge, and SF writes in his recent post on the Verizon blog, “Developing students who can operate across tech and business AND startup and enterprise is a goal schools and institutions should strive to achieve. As we move through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, accelerated by 5G technology, our ecosystem and community has an unprecedented opportunity to drive better societal outcomes by encouraging these intersections through education.”
If human time no longer needs to be allocated to low-level tasks that machines can accomplish, then jobs at every level will become increasingly nuanced in the skillsets they require. Companies will have to adapt by providing in-depth training to employees throughout their careers and making job descriptions more fluid to adjust for rapidly changing needs.
Consumer behavior will also change. Verizon Ventures invests in companies that are breaking into the Fourth Industrial Revolution first and tapping into the next wave of connected living. For example, portfolio company BL Healthcare has developed its own ecosystem that links patients, health advisors, service providers, and caregivers for the monitoring and management of wellness and disease states. This allows for a new system of distributed points of healthcare access, particularly in the patient’s home. Rather than the patient having to organize their care and link between doctors and providers, leaving room for error, a patient’s medical systems will function in tandem around them.
Portfolio company Sfara is advancing mobile safety technology by harnessing the raw processing power and sensors of today’s smartphones and tablets, combined with patented machine learning algorithms. For example, Sfara’s Gaurdian technology tracks families, workers, caregivers and individuals through its app, providing assistance and alerts when users are in danger. Meanwhile, portfolio company Swiftmile has created a web of solar-powered, cloud connected eBikes, allowing users to locate and rent an eBike or eScooter with the tap of the Swiftapp.
These companies have one major common thread: they’re drawing from the newest tools across industries to create more productive networks. In this way, they are tapping into the next wave of connected living and making profound impacts on the way that their customers interact with the world.