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Good OM Reading: Seven Technologies Remaking the World

April 9, 2018

A new report by MIT Sloan Management Review (March, 2018) identifies 7 core technologies and describes their implications for commerce, health care, learning, and the environment.  You can use it as a guide  for discussion with your OM students to understand today’s business frontiers.

“Technology provides the spark that enables us to push beyond the established boundaries of our world,” says the report. The mechanized spinning of textiles, large-scale manufacturing of chemicals, steam power, and efficiencies in iron-making sparked the first Industrial Revolution (1760-1840). Railroads, the telegraph and telephone, and electricity and other utilities sparked the second Industrial Revolution (1870-1940). Radio, aviation, and nuclear fission sparked the Scientific/Technical Revolution (1940-1970). The internet and digital media and devices sparked the Information Revolution (1985-present). In each instance, appearance of new technologies fundamentally reshaped key aspects of the OM world.

Here are the 7 technologies in brief:

Pervasive computing delivers information, media, context, and processing power to us. It is characterized by vast networks of connected microprocessors embedded in everyday objects.

Wireless mesh networks are ad hoc loops of wireless connectivity in which only one device requires an internet connection. These are smart networks of wireless devices that can form, disperse, and re-form at the user’s command.

Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products. Today, advances in digital technology, genetic engineering, informatics, cell technology, and chemical sciences are greatly expanding its boundaries.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, transforms a digital blueprint of an object into a physical finished good.

Machine learning covers a broad context of technologies and capabilities, including cloud computing, big data, and AI.

Nanotechnology is a radical engineering science that is designing and manufacturing incredibly small circuits and devices that are built at the molecular level of matter.

Robotics is the design and development of mechanical systems that can operate autonomously or semi-autonomously.

This report, about 20 pages long, might be the basis for student reports on specific applications to operations.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2018 10:37 am

    A great insight!


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