There will be an abundance of digitally driven opportunities arising in the post-Covid world, but as with all things, every industry will have its own story.

For manufacturers, that may take the form of highly networked, intelligent machines. In healthcare, it may mean delivery of services via telemedicine. Every industry has different digital touchpoints. Below, we share what observers within selected industries say what entrepreneurs and innovators can be looking at in the world emerging in 2021:

Energy as a Service

The energy space — an industry marked by slow sales cycles, existing regulations and difficult market entry — is ripe for disruption by artificial intelligence and machine learning, says Emmanuel Lagarrigue, chief innovation officer for Schneider Electric. Our current energy infrastructure “cannot meet the growing energy demand and the traditional grid is currently relying on technology that has barely innovated in the last 100 years, becoming obsolete as more distributed renewable energy generation and microgrids become mainstream. AI and digital technologies can be used to manage the existing grid more efficiently, enable renewable energy to be added, improve energy efficiency of buildings and create new energy markets of energy trading.”

Manufacturing: developing virtually

With the increasing prevalence of Industry 4.0 initiatives — fielded on the Internet of Things— today’s manufacturers are becoming digital enterprises as much as they are widget producers. This opens the door for opportunity for entrepreneurial and innovation opportunities in the manufacturing industry that has all the same fervor normally seen in tech companies. “We tend to think that the businesses that are going to fare the best are those squarely in the tech, software-enabled, space,” says Ajei Gopal, CEO of Ansys. “But manufacturing companies are just as nimble, and we see a huge opportunity to accelerate their adoption of digitization technology in the post-Covid era.”

For example, “digitization has modernized and accelerated the product development process,” Gopal illustrates. “Few products are sketched by hand on a drafting table today. Instead, the development cycle – from ideation to design and analysis to manufacturing to operations – occurs virtually. In fact, in the early phases of the modern development lifecycle, the product itself is entirely digital.”

Technologies such as CAD and simulation enable engineers and analysts to “build and break their product thousands of times – and do so in the safe and cost-effective digital environment,” he adds. “Think of it as a digital sandbox.” Vehicle manufacturing — especially with the development of electric cars and autonomous cars are examples of how manufacturing business models are evolving with digital. “Those both require an enormous amount of testing, which can be done through simulation, even during lockdowns,” Gopal says.

Software: Overcoming ‘subscription fatigue’

Software has been at the epicenter of innovation entrepreneurial opportunities. But industry experts caution that the world now seeks more than solutions simply offered online. Needed are software solutions that focus on wowing the customer. “While investors favor subscription and other recurring revenue models, many customers are getting subscription fatigue,” warns Frost Prioleau, co-founder and CEO of Simpli.fi. “In turn, business models are evolving that drive high lifetime value to customer acquisition costs ratios recurring revenue without subscriptions, based on ease of use and high Net Promoter Scores.”

Twenty years into the SaaS/cloud era, “it’s becoming harder to find any white space building the next ‘Cloud for x’ solution,” agrees Andy Vitus, partner with Scale Venture Partners. “With fewer and fewer obvious opportunities, entrepreneurs are already starting to figure out what comes next: a generational shift in software itself. Software has long been a tool that people use to accomplish a task — like scissors or a calculator.” AI and machine learning, APIs, and IoT are opening up a new dimension for software-based delivery, he adds. “Each of these technologies supercharges the others, opening the door to truly next-generation software that intuitively works for us. Software with the power to deliver a new wave of productivity and growth.”

Source: Forbes

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