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  • The growing proliferation of "smart" products is affecting everything—from supply-chain management to customer engagement to marketing campaigns to analytics, according to a recent survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit and Cognizant. The accompanying report, "The Rise of the Smart Product Economy," states that smart technology has a presence in virtually every aspect of our culture, providing previously unavailable data and insights into product usage and perceived value. These products can also strengthen revenue streams. For example, there's a smart Johnnie Walker bottle that sends a personalized message—such as promotional offers and cocktail recipes—to every customer who waves a smartphone in front of it. The bottle also serves as a supply chain monitoring tool, as it can be tracked from the manufacturing site to the point of consumption. "The opportunities unleashed by smart products are seemingly endless for any company seeking game-changing innovation or new levels of efficiency," according to the report. "However, product companies need to get on board—and fast—to ensure they are not left behind in the quickly intensifying and accelerating smart product market." A total of 205 R&D, product design and innovation executives (including CEOs) from companies in the health care, retail and manufacturing sectors took part in the research.

  • The insurance firm, which always looks for ways to make things easier for adjustors in the field, tries Google Glass as a way to streamline claims processes.

  • Quantum computing, an alternative to classical computing, will eventually help solve problems that cannot be solved today due to limitations in computing power.

  • Enterprise leaders and professionals overwhelmingly view artificial intelligence as a productivity boost—and even a jobs creator. These views are especially true when AI is used to advance big data efforts, according to a recent survey from Narrative Science. The resulting report, "State of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the Enterprise," indicates that most of the companies surveyed are using big data and/or AI-powered solutions. Enterprises that combine both are measurably better at turning data into information that solves problems. Among other uses, organizations turn to AI for voice recognition and response, machine learning and decision support. They also depend on these advancements to drive toward the story (analysis and insight) behind the vast volumes of big data numbers. "By implementing AI solutions, businesses are capable of turning their strategy conversations from data-driven to story-driven decision making," according to the report. "Where raw data is challenging and time-consuming, AI-powered solutions can step in to provide analysis and quickly communicate findings to decision-makers." A total of 200 CEOs, chief innovation officers, data scientists, managers, directors, and other business leaders and professionals took part in the research.

  • Innovations in technology that make autonomous cars possible also deliver advances in driving safety and comfort features that we can take advantage of today.

  • We need more people who are blazing a path to innovation and progress—and fewer who are serving up gadgets and gizmos that wind up in closets and landfills.