Tech Trend Radar 2019: Questions to the experts

Digitalization & innovation, 16.09.2019

In June, ERGO and Munich Re published the online version of Tech Trend Radar 2019. We invited Vincenzo De Rosa and Roland Braun from ERGO IT Strategy to answer a few questions on this topic.  

Tech Trend Radar 2019 

There are almost 50 trends in the Tech Trend Radar this year. Are the trends all equally relevant to us? Is it a global or just a German perspective?

Roland Braun: Yes, all of the 46 trends are relevant to the Munich Re Group. They are structured across four categories. The trends are allocated in four maturity stages from “hold” to “adopt”.

The higher the maturity, the more we see the implementation of a trend in the market and insurance industry. A company which is not pursuing a trend under the stage of “adopt” might soon face a competitive disadvantage. An example would be new payment models. For the trends under the stage of “hold”, they are in a more experimental or ideation stage.

Answering your second question, we certainly developed the Tech Trend Radar with a global perspective, as both ERGO and Munich Re have business activities around the world. Also, trends don’t really have a concept of borders.

What about the geographic perspective of trends? Are some regions more advanced than others?

Roland Braun: Off the top of my head, I would say Asia is the leading region. For example, China wants to become the world's leading AI power by 2030, and its AI industry is expected to exceed 130 billion euros by then.

More than a billion Chinese use WeChat to chat or pay and this brings an unbelievable amount of data. This yields high potential for the further development of AI.

However, there are also side effects. WeChat shares the consumer data with the Chinese authorities, and they use the data for the social scoring of their residents.

Vincenzo de RosaVincenzo De Rosa: Apart from China, Germany and the USA are also having intensive research in the field of AI. In general, the usability and quality of AI are greatly determined by the amount of data. The more data available, the better the adaptation of algorithms will be.

We can see that there is large volume of data collected in Asian countries with their large populations, such as China and India. This gives these countries advantages and opportunities for leveraging AI that smaller countries do not have.

Also, the extent of data being collected is also decisive. For example, in Germany we have strict regulatory data protection requirements.

Why do we update Tech Trend Radar every year, do trends really change that quickly? What is new?

Roland Braun: First of all, yes, it is a continuous cycle in terms of research, development and innovation. We are in this disruptive and digital revolution where new ideas are generated, developed and evolved in a very fast pace.

This is why we update the Tech Trend Radar every year. This is our tool to monitor and illustrate these trends, in terms of their quantity, quality and potential impact in the insurance market.

Speaking of new ideas and innovations, we added 8 new trends to the Tech Trend Radar this year. Roland, do these new trends fall into a specific category?

Roland Braun: Not surprisingly, most of them fall under the field of Artificial Intelligence. AI is the area where governments and companies making their biggest investments into, such as China and Google. However, an increase in investments on Research and Development does not automatically increase the number of new trends. Many existing ideas are continuously developing until they reach a certain level of maturity.

Vincenzo De Rosa: I agree. Some trends like Smart Home or Digital Health Services have been on our radar for five years. The interesting thing is, when we look at the other patterns of trends, some of them moved from „Hold“ to „Adopt“ within a year as they reached market maturity. One example is like Industrial IoT. However, some other trends simply disappeared from our radar.

Why is that?

Vincenzo De Rosa: There could be several reasons. Firstly, a trend could be widely adopted in the market and have become, sort of, mainstream, such as “regular” cloud computing.

But then some trends may also „disappear” from the radar because its relevance for the insurance sector has diminished.

Some seem to be frozen in the stage of „hold” because they are still too speculative or they are still in an early stage of development. An example would be Smart Dust.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Author: Eva Fung

Tech Trend Radar 2019

From artificial intelligence to the networked world - the Tech Trend Radar 2019 from Munich Re and ERGO provides information on the most important current technology trends. New and changing technologies have a major impact on the insurance industry and can even revolutionize it.

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