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50 tech trends transforming food, finance, and other industries

  • 50 tech trends transforming food, finance, and other industries

    Alexander Graham Bell was awarded a U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Nearly 100 years later on April 3, 1973, the very first mobile phone call was made. A comparatively short 34 years later, the iPhone debuted as the first-ever smartphone. The World Wide Web arrived in 1990, and today fridges, cars, and watches all carry the power of the internet and have helped to create an "Internet of things," or IoT. Technology, it seems, is advancing at a faster rate than ever before. Looking at technology as a general concept can reaffirm that the world is changing, but looking at how technology is affecting certain industries is where the nuances of change are seen. Stacker is taking a more microscopic look at how technology trends are transforming the automotive, film, finance, food, and retail industries.

    If 1990 is thought of as the dawn of the internet, what will be the marker of today? When diving into the technological trends affecting various industries today, certain tech arenas kept reappearing. Robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones are pushing technological advancements across industries. The goals in utilizing these technologies seem to reverberate across industries as well. Streamlining processes, reducing waste, increasing safety, predicting financial outcomes, and increasing customization are just a few of the reasons these technologies have found their places in the researched sectors. Though it is not a stated goal, one repercussion of these technology trends may be the loss of human jobs. One notable exception to this is the farming industry, where new technologies are playing a larger role in order to account for a current shortage of workers.

    In investigating these tech trends and their industry impact, Stacker used trusted trend lists such as the CB Insights retail trends and CB Insights auto and mobility reports as a starting point. From these lists, individual searches were made to find research to corroborate the trend and its prevalence in the industry. The result is 50 tech trends across five different industries with more than 50 unique sources.


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  • The evolution of meal kits

    Direct-to-consumer meal kit subscription services have seen a general trend in growth since making their U.S. debut in 2013. The growth is expected to last until about 2023 and then slow. The meal kits, which rely on customers to order and customize via website or app, is beginning to transform into a product rather than a service, as many grocery retailers have partnered with meal kit services to offer the kits in-store. When purchased in-store and paired with grocery delivery, meal kit consumers will still be able to have the kits delivered to their door, but without the subscription.

  • Robotics in the food industry

    Advancements in robotics are changing the food industry as machines—once designed to pick up metal—have now evolved to have the agility to pick up an egg. Nine out of 10 food processing and packaging companies used robotics in 2018. Robotics in the food industry are even being credited with increased efficiency and food safety, as well as decreased workplace injuries.

  • Biometric connected cars

    In 2018, a biometric connected car was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. The premise behind biometrics is that each person can be uniquely identified by his biological and behavioral data. So what is a biometric connected car? It is a car that uses an iris scanner to identify the driver, which in turn unlocks the car's operating system and subsequent connection to a smart home system.

  • Buy online, pick up in store

    It began over 10 years ago with Best Buy, but now the option to buy online and pick up in-store has expanded to other retailers such as Walmart and Target. “Buy online, pick up in store” sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 19, 2018 increased 47% over the previous year. The growing trend can be attributed to both the speed at which someone can receive these items (usually within an hour of ordering) and the elimination of worrying about porch thieves.

  • Food-sorting robots

    By the year 2050, it is estimated that the world's population will number more than 9 billion humans. The food industry is beginning to troubleshoot what feeding that many people will require, and it's predicted to result in a minimum 70% increase in food production. Enter food sorting robots. TOMRA Sorting Solutions has developed food-sorting robots with cameras and near-infrared sensors that have been trained to view foods the way humans do and thereby sort them accordingly.

  • VR for PTSD

    The marriage of virtual reality (VR) and the health care industry may not seem like a natural one, but a computer system called Bravemind is questioning convention. Doctors are using the system for prolonged exposure therapy. This type of therapy helps U.S. troops who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan relive stressful events of war in a safe environment as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Autonomous vehicles for retail deliveries

    In Jan. 2019, Amazon began a pilot program for Scout, an Amazon-developed autonomous vehicle, to deliver packages in Washington state. Initially, Scout was accompanied by a human employee, but the goal was to create excitement around autonomous vehicle delivery while testing the viability of it. While some tech experts are unsure if autonomous vehicles are the future for retail, the trend seems to be moving toward experience-based retailing.

  • Autonomous vehicles for food and grocery deliveries

    With grocery companies such as Kroger teaming up with the tech firm Nuro and Walmart running a trial with Waymo, it seems as if autonomous food deliveries are becoming an industry priority. In November 2018, Walmart announced a partnership with Ford to deliver groceries via self-driving cars in the Miami area. The goal is to learn the best way to deliver items to customers using autonomous vehicles.

  • Machine learning to examine food

    In May 2018, tech start-up Hyper AI took first place at a machine learning hackathon for their proposed hyper-spectral imaging of food. This technology would be able to scan food to detect foreign objects and even deadly bacteria. In theory, this technology would significantly reduce foodborne illness.

  • Blockchain technology for food accountability

    IBM is bringing blockchain technology to the food supply with IBM Food Trust, which promises benefits such as better food safety and freshness, less food waste, and improved supply chain efficiencies. Users of the software will receive real-time updates of the food supply chain and recalls, and thus be able to respond to recalls faster.

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