April’s Digital Age Insights
From Rokk3r CEO
Recently, UPS made headlines launching their drone delivery service for medical samples. Not to be outdone, Google has partnered with local businesses in Canberra to make drone deliveries. This comes after an almost 2 year trial period that saw Google’s Wing drones make 3000 test deliveries. As we look forward, the market for commercial drones is projected to grow to over $40B in the next 5 years.
Real-world blockchain applications are starting to gain traction as some of the biggest brands in the world continue early adoption explorations. For example, in oil and gas, BP and Royal Dutch Shell created Vakt, a blockchain-based platform to add transparency and reduce fraud in key post-trade processes. When it comes to Food, Walmart has been leading the way with blockchain implementations in its value chain. Albertsons Companies has now followed suite to enhance tracking and tracing.
The development of an algorithm, driven by advances in computing power and human ingenuity, combined to deliver the first picture of a black hole 500 million trillion kilometers away. Truly a massive, historical moment. Back here on earth, advances in computing power continue to alter the fabric of traditional industries, create new industries and significantly impact our daily lives.
Wrapping your head around different areas of artificial intelligence (AI) can be a daunting, yet highly rewarding task. Consider developments in machine learning (ML) that allow AI to be inserted into environments with no understanding of the surroundings, but with the ability to self-train and learn how to be successful. In a nutshell, that’s an ML technique called ‘reinforcement learning’. The article I’ve shared notes how this technique was used by OpenAI bots to defeat human eSports champions in a complex strategy game. In the bigger picture, these successful applications of reinforcement learning pave the path for exploring how AI can be further implemented to solve particular problems in other industries.
I’ve shared my thoughts with you previously about the meteoric rise and penetration of eSports in the fields of sports and entertainment. Nike, State Farm, Visa, and Mastercard join a list of the world’s biggest brands (that is too long to mention) trying to find their place in a new industry that experts firmly believe to be the future of sports. Online viewership of the “League of Legends” World Championship Finals saw 100 million unique viewers tune in. To put this into context, consider the amount of time traditional sports organizations have had to grow their brands and audiences. PwC estimates global eSports revenues to reach over $1.5B by 2022, while eMarketer forecasts eSports digital ad spend alone to pass $200M by 2020. Additionally, those same traditional sports organizations are turning to eSports to develop new leagues and partnerships in efforts to maintain relevance and avoid missing growth opportunities.
I have previously shared insight with you about the rise and growth of blockchain’s impact across traditional industries. Banking is one traditional industry in particular where we see established entities pivoting to embrace blockchain for preparedness and survival. Recent reports show for example that between $17B – $24B annually can be saved in global trade processing costs by moving securities onto the blockchain. Whether it is payments, credit, settlement, securities or any other service in the industry, distributed ledgers, transparency, and security provided by blockchain technologies are forcing traditional companies and regulatory bodies to seek out change.
In conversations with business and civic leaders about a self-driving future, I often find them unaware of how this future is also being created by companies other than Tesla (although noting how big of a role it plays). For example, building on their $1B investment in self-driving tech company Argo, Ford has now joined forces with Volkswagen in another self-driving joint venture. Hyundai and Tencent have signed a deal to develop software for driverless vehicles. And the list goes on and on. I also share how Waymo already has driverless cars on Phoenix’s public roads, amongst other companies already testing self-driving vehicles around the globe.
I recently shared how Wing, a drone company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, had been approved to make drone deliveries in Australia. A similar approval is coming for them in Finland, and most recently, they have received regulatory approval in the US. Yet another sign of how deeply traditional industries (in this case aviation) are seeing regulatory bodies begin to pivot towards exponential tech-driven realities. A key point here is that this approval now paves the path for future drone delivery companies to enter a market that is poised to hit $40B in the next 5 years.