To kick off the year, we want to focus on the future and take a look at the trends that could influence SMEs in the coming years to decades. In this blog post, we will outline some of the key technology and innovation trends and give our prediction as to when productive use of these trends is likely. However, it is important to emphasize that these estimates are merely guesses and that the ever-increasing pace of innovation and development makes it impossible to predict exactly when a particular trend will go into productive use.

What has happened so far

In recent years, we have seen a number of technology and innovation trends that could influence SMEs. These include, for example, the use of cloud computing, increasing networking in the Internet of Things and the increasing automation of business processes. Although these trends are not yet fully established in the SME sector, they are nevertheless of great importance. They have already begun to change the way companies work and communicate and will continue to play a role in the future. It is important to keep an eye on these trends, as they will have a direct impact on the business models and strategies of SMEs.

2020 - Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the connection of devices and everyday objects to the internet in order to collect and process data. This trend also has an impact on SMEs. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 36% of German companies used IoT technologies in 2021. By using IoT technology, companies can optimize their production processes by collecting and evaluating data from machines and systems. IoT can also lead to efficiency gains in logistics and warehousing.

2021 - Cloud computing

Cloud computing enables companies to outsource their IT infrastructure and thus save costs. By using cloud services, SMEs can react more flexibly and quickly to the changing requirements of their business. They have access to their data and applications at any time and from anywhere. Cloud services also offer the option of dynamically scaling resources to optimally cover the company's requirements. Small and medium-sized companies in particular, which do not have the resources to operate their own IT infrastructure, can benefit from cloud solutions.

2022 - 5G technology

5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet and makes it possible to transmit data at higher speeds and with lower latency. This opens up new opportunities for companies in areas such as IoT, automated production and autonomous driving. SMEs can also benefit from 5G technology by optimizing their processes and enabling faster and more reliable communication with customers and suppliers.

Today and this decade

2023 - Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made rapid progress in recent years and is expected to play an increasingly important role in many areas of life in the future. AI also offers great potential for SMEs to revolutionize their business model. By using AI systems, such as machine learning and natural language processing, companies can automate their processes and thus save time and costs. Customer loyalty can also be improved through personalized offers and individual advice. Partly due to the release of the AI model GPT-3, which demonstrates impressive performance in natural language processing and content creation, AI is already our trend in 2023.

2024 - Virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are technologies that are increasingly coming into focus. They offer SMEs the opportunity to present their products and services in an innovative and appealing way. For example, companies in production or retail can use VR- or AR-based training or presentations. VR and AR applications can also be used in customer service or marketing to improve interaction with customers and bring products to life.

2025 - Blockchain technology

Blockchain is a type of digital recording system that makes it possible to store and transfer data securely and transparently without the need for a central authority. It uses a chain of data blocks that are linked to each other and represent an unchangeable record of the data. In a decentralized network, these data blocks are stored on many different computer systems instead of just on a central server. This makes the system very secure and resistant to attacks or failures of individual systems. It offers SMEs many opportunities to improve their business model. For example, companies can use smart contracts to implement automated business processes, reduce costs and increase transparency. The processing of financial transactions can also be simplified through the use of cryptocurrencies. In addition, blockchain technology enables secure and traceable recording of data, which can be particularly beneficial in the area of supply chains.

2026 - Quantum Computing

Quantum computing uses the properties of quantum physics to accelerate processes and solve more complex tasks. Compared to conventional computers, quantum computers can be able to perform certain tasks much faster. This can be of great benefit to companies in the fields of finance, pharmaceuticals and logistical optimization.

2027 - Graphene technology

Graphene technology is another trend that is emerging through innovations and patents. Graphene is a type of material that consists of carbon atoms and has special properties such as high conductivity and strength. These properties make graphene a promising material for applications in areas such as energy, electronics and sensor technology. Graphene can be used as an electrode material in batteries and solar cells to improve their performance. It can also be used as a circuit material in semiconductors and transistors to increase the speed and efficiency of electronic devices. Graphene has high electrical conductivity and can be used as a sensor material in applications such as humidity sensors, pressure sensors and biological sensors. Graphene has excellent heat dissipation property and can be used as a heat dissipation material in applications such as computer chips and automotive parts to improve heat dissipation and extend the life of the devices. Graphene has unusual mechanical properties and can be used in applications such as composite materials and lightweight structures to increase strength and durability.

Our view of the future

2030 - Bioprinting

Bioprinting is a promising trend that is signaled by advanced developments and patented technologies and offers great potential for the future. Bioprinting makes it possible to reproduce living cells and tissues using 3D printing technology. This technology can be used in various fields such as medicine, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. It makes it possible to produce artificial organs and tissues, which can revolutionize the possibilities of medicine. Bioprinting can also be useful in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries and represent a new business area for medium-sized companies.

2045 - Neuromorphic technology

New patents on neuromorphic technology are emerging all the time. They relate to the development of computer architectures and algorithms that are based on the biological structure and functioning of the human brain. This makes it possible to solve complex problems faster and more accurately than would be possible with conventional computer architectures. Neuromorphic technology has great potential in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision. SMEs operating in these areas can benefit from neuromorphic technologies.

2050 - Biological synthesis

Biological synthesis is an even more distant trend. It is the use of biological methods and materials to produce artificial materials and products. This includes the use of bacteria, fungi and enzymes to produce materials such as polymers, bioplastics and even medicines. Biological synthesis has the potential to revolutionize the production of materials and products by making them safer, more environmentally friendly and more cost-efficient. This can be particularly attractive for SMEs by improving their production technologies and reducing the environmental impact of their products.

2055 - Artificial photosynthesis

Artificial photosynthesis describes the use of technology to convert light energy into chemical energy, as plants do in nature. This could be used to produce fuels, chemicals and even oxygen. Artificial photosynthesis has the potential to revolutionize energy supply by creating renewable and sustainable energy sources. It may be of particular interest to SMEs as it offers the opportunity to switch to renewable energy and thus reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

2060 - Bioscientific nanotechnology

Bioscience nanotechnology involves the use of biological methods to create and manipulate materials and devices at the nanoscale. This makes it possible to produce biologically inspired materials and devices that can be useful in areas such as medicine, environmental monitoring and energy. Bioscience nanotechnology has the potential to change the way we design and produce materials and devices by combining the benefits of biology with those of nanotechnology.

At the end of the line?

In this blog post, we have provided an insight into some of the key trends that could influence SMEs in the future. These trends range from the use of technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to innovative approaches such as biological synthesis and artificial photosynthesis. We have also made predictions about the likely productive use of these trends, but the development and spread of new technologies and innovations is difficult to predict. What is certain, however, is that we are far from having reached the end of the line. It remains exciting to see what the future holds for us and how quickly the technologies will continue to develop. Little by little, these and other trends will give rise to new business models that will shape the SME sector morgen shape.

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About us:

MORGEN is a specialized management consultancy that focuses on the development of new business models for medium-sized companies. In particular, it supports owner-managed companies in their future-proof transformation. Knowledge transfer is at the heart of its consulting activities, which is why the MORGEN Blog regularly publishes articles on key topics such as digitalization, transformation, customer centricity and sustainability.

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