Imagine living in a city that tells your car how to avoid traffic. Imagine living in a house that does your grocery shopping for you. Imagine everything in our world was working together to save energy – and preserve our planet for future generations. You’re imagining our shared digital future. And it’s closer than you might think.

Faster future: e-commerce, AI and 3D printing

Many parts of this futuristic vision are already a reality. With just a single click, we can buy anything we want from e-commerce platforms that offer a huge range of products from around the world. New distribution channels such as direct-to-consumer bring products from the manufacturer directly to our homes. Products are made in smart factories that use sensors and micro-cameras to optimize production and energy efficiency in real time. Advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are solving problems and helping to make our lives more convenient. Blockchain technology is making our world faster and more transparent by simplifying interactions between digital processes. And 3D printing is being used to personalize everything from sneakers to car interiors.

5G technology will enable smart cities and smart homes

We’re already living in the age of digital transformation – and technological changes affect how we work, but also how we live together. Everything is connected. And it is this connectivity that’s changing lifestyles, but also business models. Smart parking guidance systems, for example, help people find parking spaces and reduce stress and unnecessary emissions. The next generation of mobile internet, known as 5G, will connect almost everything and everyone on the planet at rapid speed. It will make it possible for traffic lights in smart cities to communicate with the cars on the road. These connected vehicles, powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels, will use self-driving technology to guide us safely to our smart homes. And these houses and apartments will already have done the cleaning, adjusted the thermostat and put together a list of possible recipes in time to welcome their owners home after work.

Big data is growing fast: Currently, the entire digital universe contains about 44 zettabytes – that's 44 trillion gigabytes. By 2025, the volume of data is expected to increase to more than 163 zettabytes.

There are currently more than 300,000 phishing websites worldwide - and the number is constantly growing. That's why cyber security is more important than ever: it protects our computers, smartphones, and data from digital attacks.

Gross e-commerce sales currently stand at 100 billion euros – and are increasing exponentially. In the retail sector, one in seven euros is now spent online. In the non-food sector it’s as many as one in five.

Transforming human and machine interaction

If everything is connected to the internet, cyber security solutions will have to keep pace with the digital transformation so companies and individuals can be certain that their personal information stays safe. And it will be equally important to develop big data solutions with the power to make sense of the mountain of data generated by a fully connected world – by using advanced algorithms to make predictions and identify potential problems ahead of time. The interfaces between people and machines will shape our digitized future. Data, digital tools, and technologies will not be able to accomplish the transformation alone. On the contrary, it is only through interaction and the human perspective and expertise - the ability to process emotions, understand context, and find creative solutions - that the full potential of modern technologies will be realized.

The success of digital transformation of companies is primarily shaped by the company and leadership culture. Is there room to try new things, to experiment, and to fail? And how is collaboration and networking promoted within and outside the company? The crucial interfaces of digital transformation exist not only between people and machines, but also between companies and the experts within a company and across companies.

Digital solutions for sustainability

Cutting-edge tools and solutions can provide answers to the biggest challenge of our time – the urgent need to cut resource consumption and protect our planet for future generations. In factories, for example, data about how much water or energy is being used can be gathered and analyzed in real time to identify opportunities to cut waste and minimize emissions. Data from production sites is collected and made available in a global digital backbone system, which can then be used as a basis for future decisions. This high-tech and sustainable vision of the future would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. But it is now becoming reality.

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