Technology is always moving forward; the various industries that utilize those tools typically aren’t very far behind. And while just about every industry is shifting in some form or fashion, a few are poised to undergo significant change.
4 Industries in flux -- the biggest kind
No industry ever rests in place, but some clearly move faster than others. If you’ve spent any time studying technology trends and predictions, you may be aware that the following four industries are moving forward at lightning pace. But, do you know why?
More From Entrepreneur.com
How Technology Along With Innovation is Helping Entrepreneurs Build Successful Startups
Shiny New Gadgets to Smart Homes and Beyond: A CES 2015 Preview
From Innovative Trains To Bar-Coded Tickets, 15 Things That Will Make Your Rail Travel Easy
"We Are Taking Innovation To All Over Karnataka" Priyank Kharge
1. Home Automation
One of the fastest-moving segments in the marketplace is the home automation -- or "smart" home -- industry. By 2022, the home automation system market is expected to be worth roughly $78.27 billion. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.46 percent, from this year through 2022.
Much of the growth in this industry is rooted in safety, security, and environmentally friendly solutions that reduce energy dependence and keep more money in the pockets of homeowners. We’re watching companies invest billions of dollars into such items as smart locks, wireless video surveillance devices, energy-efficient appliances, customizable lighting and more.
The interesting thing about the home automation industry is that the technological infrastructure already exists. So do a flurry of companies, getting into this area. “But the biggest hurdle facing smart home companies today isn’t other companies -- it’s a lack of consumer understanding and education,” Greg Roberts, vice president of marketing at Icontrol Networks, said in his guest blog on CTA Tech.
“To overcome that hurdle, companies need to band together and technologies must operate together seamlessly so consumers can pick and choose the devices that best fit their needs,” Roberts said. In other words, it’s marketplace adoption that is currently holding the industry back from the massive explosion that’s bound to happen sooner rather than later.
Just how long it will take for consumers to jump on board is yet to be seen.
2. The sleep industry
Compared to home automation, the sleep industry may seem boring and archaic, but I can assure you that it is not. There’s a lot of technology and innovation that goes into developing sleep solutions which allow people to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed.
“I think that within the next five-to-ten years we are going to see technology play a bigger role in sleep optimization,” Michael Hughes, founder and CEO of PlushBeds said in an interview with Mattress Clarity. “More and more today, we see new technology implemented into everyday household items which improve our quality of life.”
By 2019, experts have suggested, the global market for sleep aids will reach a whopping $76.7 billion. That’s a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent. The sleep apnea segment of the market alone is expected to grow at an 11.3 percent CAGR.
Entrepreneur Moe Kittaneh has been tracking the industry for some time and says he expects tools and tactics such as mobile phone apps, wearable activity trackers, customizable mattresses and even innovative medical therapies to continue to improve in the coming years.
The retail industry has also undergone a significant amount of change in the past decade. The introduction of ecommerce as a serious threat to brick-and-mortar shopping has caused massive ripples; and large and small companies alike are being forced to pivot and shift in new directions.
In 2016, the novelty of online shopping has worn off and the retail industry is finally able to breathe again. Ecommerce is now a staple in the industry, and we’re beginning to see new technologies and innovation respond.
For multi-channel retailers, “click-and-collect” shopping is another trend that has become quite popular. Merchants like Kohl’s, Walmart and Home Depot let customers shop online, place an order and then pick it up in store. But we’re seeing some companies take this to an entirely new level.
“Nordstrom is also looking into using mobile to streamline the in-store pickup experience,” notes VendHQ.com. “In May 2015," the site pointed out, "the retailer started testing a service that lets customers text or call their Nordstrom associate as they near the store. The store employee will then head down and meet the customer outside, so they won’t even have to get out of their car.”
On the ecommerce side of things, retailers are becoming increasingly reliant on analytics and finding strategic ways to utilize the information they now have. As a result, they’re able to customize shopping experiences and deliver more meaningful information and offers to individual customers.
We can’t overlook the travel industry. There’s a lot happening there and consumers are the direct beneficiaries of an evolving system that prioritizes convenience, speed and specialization.
One of the major trends here is a move toward mobile-first. From finding and reserving airline flights on your phone, to actually using that same device as your boarding pass, this space has a lot happening.
In Australia, we’re even seeing the possibility of biometric cloud passports that would totally eliminate the need to carry around the traditional booklet. The technology -- which lets travelers simply swipe their finger across a scanner -- already exists. Right now, it’s a matter of getting the right approval and creating a global system that will allow for paperless passports.
It’s also impossible to deny the steady growth associated with alternative travel accommodations. No longer are commercialized hotels the only option.
Thanks to sites like Airbnb and Home Away, travelers have the ability to find cost-effective and personalized solutions in just about any city. This personalization makes traveling more comfortable and affordable for millions of people around the world.
Finally, better wifi and more in-flight technology are changing the convenience of flying. Instead of being wasted time, flying -- especially for business travelers -- is now barely any different from sitting in the office.
Keeping an eye on the future
What does the future hold for these industries? If we knew the answer, we’d all be pretty wealthy investors. What we can be fairly certain about, though, is that home automation, sleep, retail and travel are all being revolutionized from the inside out.
The industries you see today will look much different three, five and ten years down the road. From both a consumer and entrepreneurial perspective, this is more than exciting to watch.