The Most Impactful Automation Technologies of 2024

Feb. 14, 2024
A study of global technology leaders conducted by IEEE highlights the industries to be most impacted by technology in 2024 as well as which technologies will have the most effect.

IEEE, a technical professional organization, recently conducted a survey of 350 technology leaders from the U.S., U.K., China, India and Brazil for its report: "The Impact of Technology in 2024 and Beyond: an IEEE Global Study.”

The report indicates that the general manufacturing industries, especially automotive and energy, will be among the business sectors most impacted by technology in 2024.

As no surprise, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be the technology having the most impact across industry this year. Sixty-five percent of respondents to the IEEE study expect AI—including predictive and generative AI, machine learning and natural language processing—to be the leading technology change factor.

The next two most impactful technologies are expected to be:
•    Extended reality, including metaverse, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality, according to 28% of respondents, and
•    cloud computing, noted by 24% of respondents.

Judging by the wide gap between AI, noted by 65% of respondents, and extended reality technology (28%), it’s clear that AI is again expected to dominate the technology wave this year.

According to the IEEE report, AI applications and algorithms that can optimize data, perform complex tasks and make decisions with human-like accuracy will be used by industry in diverse ways. The top potential applications for AI in 2024 are expected to be:
•    real-time cybersecurity vulnerability identification and attack prevention
•    increasing supply chain and warehouse automation efficiencies
•    aiding and accelerating software development
•    automating customer service
•    automating and stabilizing utility power sources.

AI and other technologies that foster sustainability will also continue to be a priority. More than 90% of respondents note prioritized sustainability goals for 2024 and beyond.

Virtual simulations using extended reality and digital twin technologies to more efficiently design, develop and test product prototypes and manufacturing processes will also grow in importance in 2024, according to more than 60% of respondents.

As much as generative AI dominates the current technology landscape, IEEE’s report shows that other computing technologies, such as quantum, will also have significant impacts in 2024. Nearly 90% of respondents to the IEEE study agree that quantum computing will gain the most attention for what its significantly higher computing power can do, particularly in the areas of cryptography and cybersecurity. 

As for 5G—a technology long-expected to have a big impact on industry— 27% expect it to impact manufacturing and assembly operations in 2024 (up from 25% in 2023) and 30% expect the technology to play a role in carbon footprint reduction and energy efficiency (up from 23% in 2023).

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