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Business Leaders Reflect on Impacts of Disruptive Tech

3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT), and biotech/ healthcare IT jumped into the top five of disruptive technologies over the next three years, according to the 2014 KPMG Global Technology Innovation survey.

The trio is among an incremental number of technologies that are gaining momentum, disrupting industries, and enabling new business models. 3D printing, IoT, and biotech/healthcare IT were each selected by more than twice as many respondents as last year to move up the survey’s list of disruptive technologies. The global findings also highlighted the continuing impact of Cloud and Mobile, and the steady rise of data and analytics, autotech, and artificial intelligence. These disruptive technologies are expected to transform enterprises and enable indispensable consumer technologies. (See video commentary about the impact on businesses).

KPMG surveyed 768 technology business leaders globally, including C-level executives (70% of respondents), from technology industry startups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors to identify disruptive technologies, barriers to tech innovation adoption, and the scope of business disruption and new monetization opportunities driven by emerging technologies.

“The rapid rise of this portfolio of technologies is driven by several factors, ranging from macroeconomic opportunities to local incentives and a growing global tech innovation engine that is creating more rapid widespread disruption. The interplay of these emerging technologies is enabling new business models and fueling innovation in many industries,” said Gary Matuszak, Global Chair of KPMG’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications practice. “Leaders, across-industries, need to nail the right strategy to outpace existing and new competitors to a much higher degree than in the past. Tech innovation creates an opportunity to drive incremental customer value and monetize new business models resulting from disruptive technologies.”

“This research points to the fact that global executives are increasingly seeing mobile technologies and mobile applications as an engine of growth and profitability. The vast increase in the amount of data coming from mobile devices is driving the development of advanced Analytics applications. And, in turn, the growth in Analytics is driving mobile developers to provide new, enhanced solutions that provide new types of data. This new, virtuous circle is powering the growth of global enterprise,” said Brad Fisher, KPMG’s U.S. Data Analytics Leader.

Monetizing the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things and its applications are one example of a mobile-driven growth opportunity. In the KPMG study, technology business leaders globally believed that retail/intelligent shopping (20%) has the greatest potential to generate revenue as a result of adoption of the Internet of Things, followed by home automation (14%), and surveillance/security and social interaction (both at 12%). Most U.S. survey respondents (22%) cited home automation while most China survey respondents (20%) said sustainable environment/waste management. (See video commentary on survey findings on monetizing IoT).

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MESA Adds 10 New International Board Members

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New Book Explains How Keynes’ Ideas Relate to Economy

In 1919, when the victors of World War I were concluding their settlement against Germany–in the form of the Treaty of Versailles–one of the leading British representatives at the negotiations angrily resigned his position, believing the debt imposed on the losers would be too harsh. The official, John Maynard Keynes, argued that because Britain had benefitted from export-driven growth, forcing the Germans to spend their money paying back debt rather than buying British products would be counterproductive for everyone, and slow global growth.

Keynes’ argument, outlined in his popular 1919 book, “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” proved prescient. But Keynes is not primarily regarded as a theorist of international economics: His most influential work, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money,” published in 1936, uses the framework of a single country with a closed economy. From that model, Keynes arrived at his famous conclusion that government spending can reduce unemployment by boosting aggregate demand.

But in reality, says Peter Temin, an MIT economic historian, Keynes’ conclusions about demand and employment were long intertwined with his examination of international trade; Keynes was thinking globally, even when modeling locally.

“Keynes was interested in the world economy, not just in a single national economy,” Temin says. Now he is co-author of a new book on the subject, “Keynes: Useful Economics for the World Economy,” written with David Vines, a professor of economics at Oxford University, published this month by MIT Press.

In their book, Temin and Vines make the case that Keynesian deficit spending by governments is necessary to reignite the levels of growth that Europe and the world had come to expect prior to the economic downturn of 2008. But in a historical reversal, they believe that today’s Germany is being unduly harsh toward the debtor states of Europe, forcing other countries to pay off debts made worse by the 2008 crash–and, in turn, preventing them from spending productively, slowing growth and inhibiting a larger continental recovery.

“If you have secular [long-term] stagnation, what you need is expansionary fiscal policy,” says Temin, who is the Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT.

Additional government spending is distinctly not the approach that Europe (and, to a lesser extent, the U.S.) has pursued over the last six years, as political leaders have imposed a wide range of spending cuts–the pursuit of “austerity” as a response to hard times. But Temin thinks it is time for the terms of the spending debate to shift.  

“The hope David and I have is that our simple little book might change people’s minds,” Temin says.

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