Technological progress has happened at such a pace that it has completely transformed our lives within a handful of years. If we compare everyday life now with our grandparents’ times, we see how we are experiencing radical technical change today at much more frequent intervals, whereas last century the same process took several decades. Technological development unfolds exponentially, which in turn means that far from slowing down in the future, change will actually occur much faster still. Whereas the Internet accounted for just 3% of the worldwide flow of information in 193, ten years later there was already more information being exchanged digitally than by analog means, then the Internet suddenly went mobile in 2007 with the advent of the first iPhone, and now we talk of the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables universal communication both between objects and also with the environment. Our physical world of things is merging with the virtual world of data; twenty years ago that was still in the realm of science fiction.

How are we to handle this digital revolution which – given the exponential growth – is merely the start of a much bigger upheaval? To keep up with this ever-accelerating dynamic process, we need to shed our linear mindset and grasp how technology is the driver of disruption. We need to become more agile and adapt our rigid structures so that we can keep up with the ongoing change process of the digital transformation. Technology, complete with digital infrastructure and the diverse ways of applying and exploiting it, is the basis on which to do this. Our requirements today include key competencies such as software engineering, systems engineering, IT security, big data and cloud computing. The potential of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and Blockchain along with other key technologies is impossible to pin down, but one thing is certain: They, too, are bound to make major leaps.

Trends such as Emotion AI, digital twins and service robots are increasingly filtering through into everyday life. The next big thing is on the horizon, and whoever doesn’t want to be left behind in the digital age should be receptive to changes and understand technology as an enabler.