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The Essential Eight Technologies

How to prepare for their impact

The hype surrounding technological breakthroughs is ever increasing. Not surprisingly, business leaders feel confused or even intimidated by this, asking: “What should I do about all this?” PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey 2016 showed that 77% of CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change in their industries.

To support our clients in their technology journeys, PwC has evaluated more than 150 technologies globally and developed a methodology to help identify the most useful among them. This publication showcases the “Essential Eight” that we anticipate will have the greatest influence on business, both worldwide and in Russia, in the very near future. We have also developed three basic guidelines to help Russian business leaders properly evaluate the importance and utility for their companies of various innovations in the ever-evolving technological landscape.


Distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered, as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.

Top business potential applications

  • Voting
  • Smart contracting
  • Provenance / traceability
  • Asset registration / ownership


Air or water-based devices and vehicles, for example, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), that fly or move without an onboard human pilot. Drones can operate autonomously (via on-board computers) on a predefined flight plan or be controlled remotely.

Top business potential applications

  • Insurance claim validation
  • Precision farming
  • Infrastructure inspections
  • Cargo delivery

Internet of Things (IoT)

Network of objects – devices, vehicles, etc. – embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity and compute capability that can collect and exchange data over the Internet. IoT enables devices to be connected and remotely monitored or controlled. The term IoT has come to represent any device that is now “connected” and accessible via a network connection. The Industrial IoT (IoT) is a subset of IoT and refers to its use in manufacturing and industrial sectors.

Top business potential applications

  • Inventory and material tracking
  • Usage and performance benchmarking
  • Connected service parts management
  • Real time market insights


Electro-mechanical machines or virtual agents that automate augment or assist human activities, autonomously or according to a set of instructions – often a computer program.

Top business potential applications

  • Hazardous industries
  • Hotels and tourism
  • Automation of predictable tasks
  • Data management

3D Printing

Additive manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects based on digital models by layering or “printing” successive layers of materials. 3D printing relies on innovative “inks” including plastic, and more recently, glass and wood.

Top business potential applications

  • Healthcare and smart medical devices
  • Prototyping
  • Customized products
  • Remote location production

Virtual reality (VR)

Computer-generated simulation of a three dimensional image or a complete environment, within a defined and contained space, that viewers can interact with in realistic ways. VR is intended to be an immersive experience and typically requires equipment, most commonly a helmet/headset.

Top business potential applications

  • Manufacturing/ product design
  • Architecture & construction
  • Education & Training
  • Merchandising

Augmented Reality (AR)

Addition of information or visuals to the physical world, via a graphics and/or audio overlay, to improve the user experience for a task or a product. This “augmentation” of the real world is achieved via supplemental devices that render and display said information.

Top business potential applications

  • Virtual showrooms
  • Education
  • Printing and advertisers
  • Retail environments

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Software algorithms that are capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and language translation. AI is an “umbrella” concept that is made up of numerous subfields, such as machine learning, which focuses on the development of programs that can teach themselves to learn, understand, reason, plan, and act (i.e. become more intelligent) when exposed to new data in the right quantities.

Top business potential applications

  • Managing personal finances
  • Real time fraud and risk management
  • Automated virtual assistants
  • Customer support, transactions and helpdesks

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Evgeny Klimenko

Evgeny Klimenko

Partner, PwC в России

Тел: +7 (495) 967 5133

Natalia Vozianova

Natalia Vozianova

Partner, Technology, Communications, Entertainment & Media, Tax Services, PwC в России

Тел: +7 (495) 967 6237

Alexei Okishev

Alexei Okishev

Partner, Digital Solutions Development Center Leader, PwC в России

Тел: +7 (495) 967 6000

Timofey Khoroshev

Timofey Khoroshev

Partner, IT consulting leader, PwC в России

Тел: +7 (495) 967 6056

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