IT Foresight

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Digital technologies have turned today's car into a rolling communications center that's always on. Internal sensors keep tabs on critical engine functions, while others scan the roadway for traffic backups and safety hazards. Onboard entertainment and communications interfaces connect with the Internet via drivers' smartphones and tablets. Autonomous driving features help with basic functions like parking, lane changing, and keeping a safe distance behind the car ahead. Seen as the stuff of science fiction not so long ago, some connected-car functions have become standard equipment on many vehicles. And they're just early indicators of how technology will revolutionize the automobile in years to come. Our third annual study of networked mobility trends shows that these opportunities are growing even faster than before.

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Digital engineering technology is unleashing the potential for major advances in industrial product development, from the concept phase through design and testing. The technology promises faster development cycles, lower costs, and better new products, giving manufacturers that embrace digital engineering a competitive edge over rivals using traditional methods.
In a fully digitized engineering environment, concept development teams tap data from telematic systems on products already in the field to develop new models that perform better and create more value for customers. Advanced collaboration software and content management systems make the design process more efficient by capturing knowledge from every development project and making it easily accessible to engineers throughout the company. Substituting digital simulation for physical prototypes cuts time and expense in product testing. Manufacturers in almost every industry can capitalize on these technologies. But executives should understand that cultural and organizational change is as important as technology in reaping the full benefits of digital engineering.
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Strategy&'s annual collection of industry perspectives addresses major trends, challenges, and opportunities for companies to consider in 2015 and beyond. Our experts developed their views from industry discussions, observations of shifting market dynamics, and skilled analysis of data in the sectors that Strategy& serves. This year, new technology and big data will influence industries from commercial transportation to retail, and many others in between.

In last month's issue

In companies around the world, the transition to an almost fully digitized business environment is happening with remarkable speed. Virtually every large corporation is gathering huge amounts of data on key elements of its operations and crunching that data with advanced analytical software. Digital fabrication is transforming manufacturing processes, and the "Internet of things" is connecting sensors that monitor everything from toothbrushes and thermostats to giant industrial turbines. The companies at the forefront of these technology industry trends have already gained a competitive edge over their slower rivals. A key factor has been the move to cloud computing. And as cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, it is also transforming how companies build and manage the information technology they need to run their businesses. This transition affects just about every aspect of the ICT industry. In this year's Strategy& ICT 50, we analyze and rank the influence and demonstrated business success of the 50 largest publicly held companies that supply digitization-related products, services, and infrastructure to enterprises, governments, and other organizations around the world. The results reveal several widespread changes in the industry this year.
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