10 Tech Innovations That Will Drive the Global Economy
Business + Economy

10 Tech Innovations That Will Drive the Global Economy


Innovation is what grows economies.

We can't become more productive without new technology, strategies, and markets — and huge innovations can create economies all to themselves, according to Elizabeth Curmi, an analyst at Citi Global Perspectives and Solutions.

Related: The $200 Billion Technology That Will Replace Your Wallet

New innovations like the internet of things and electric cars are starting to create their own markets. But what will come next?

Citi Global Perspectives and Solutions compiled a list of 10 innovations that have the possibility of changing the way we think about our economy. From biotech to energy, these are the 10 best chances we have at finding the next big thing.

Read on to find out which innovations made the list:

Big data in energy

Big data is basically a buzzword for data analytics.

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Big data could change the business models of energy and utility companies. Companies like Solar City and Tesla are starting to give people the means to meet their own electricity demands. If this trend continues, the main source of power for many people may not be a giant power station, but their neighborhood full of solar panels.

Utility companies could become more of a mediator between homes, using big data to seamlessly find the best source of power for a home, whether it's their neighborhood solar panels or the nuclear power plant in town.

It could lead energy to become "un-commoditized," according to Anthony Yuen, an analyst at Citi.

Contextual commerce

Take Amazon's "recommended for you" suggestions, expand that to your fridge, car dashboard and smartphone screen, and you get an idea of what contextual commerce could mean.

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Contextual commerce allows a customer to purchase products wherever and whenever they might need them.

Your fridge might notice that you are low on hummus, so it suggests buying a refill. Or maybe you are chatting about a party with your friends on Facebook Messenger, and the app suggests ordering an Uber to help get you to the party.

These types of smart commerce suggestions are coming soon and provide a huge opportunity for companies that want to reach consumers when it is most convenient.

Direct-to-consumer marketplaces

Esty lets small creators sell directly to their customers, and sites like Squarespace allow small businesses to set up online stores for their goods.

These direct-to-consumer markets are opening all over, thanks to the internet, and they represent a big opportunity to diversify industries that were traditionally bottlenecked by retail stores and middle sellers.


Genetic diseases are extremely hard to treat, and rogue genes are the cause of many cancers. Epigenetics is a class of drugs that switches target genes on or off, which can stop cancer in its tracks and let other drugs, like immunotherapy treatments, eliminate the cancerous cells.

Related: China plans energy-sector technology capacity boost over next decade

The future look of devices

Bendable screens, new materials, and augmented reality may all be contributing factors in the next wave of technology hardware design. Phones could start looking like wallets with folding screens, and TVs may be as thin as paper and transportable by simply rolling them up and taking them with you.

We may even start seeing this next wave of products as early as 2017, according to Arthur Lai, an analyst at Citi.

The Smart Box

When all of your appliances are connected to the internet, you might need a way for them all to talk to each other.

The internet of things is bringing smarts to a lot of everyday technologies, but the battle for the box that will bring all of those smarts together is a big one. If one company, like Google or Apple, can create a standard for all of these devices to interact, there may be a market for an easy to use box that will connect all of your new smart devices.

Next Gen Ocular Delivery

Eye diseases will affect around 21 million people in the US by the year 2020, according to Yigal Nochomovitz, an analyst at Citi. If a new way for sustained treatments is developed, it could usurp the current shots and eye drops.

Small implants could deliver drugs to the patients eye for an extended period, and could expand the possible marketplace by $13 billion in the next fifteen years, according to Nochomovitz.

Open Source Robotics

Robots have traditionally performed repetitive tasks that are easy to program. With new advances in robotics in a variety of different fields, industrial robots have a larger base of technology to pull from, and could move into tasks that require more collaboration and communication.

Martin Wilkie, an analyst at Citi, says these types of innovations could double the market for industrial robotics by 2020.

Thermoplastic Subsea Pipes

Deepwater oil represents a big growth area for the oil industry, but costs are high.

Advanced plastic piping can last longer, is cheaper to make, and is easier to install than traditional steel piping, which could lower costs significantly for the oil industry.

Wide Bandgap Semiconductors

Silicon has been the driving material behind the semiconductors that are in nearly every modern electronic. But the silicon-based technology is nearing the limits of physics when it comes to speed and size.

New innovations in wide bandgap semiconductors could mean smaller and more powerful chips in the future.

This article originally appeared at Business Insider. Read more from Business Insider:

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