Technology Developments Observed by Our Analysts—March 2024

Every week, countless technology stories emerge across industries around the world. However, identifying and reading each development can be challenging while balancing your other day-to-day tasks. But if you want to stay ahead in your industry and evaluate the most promising technology solutions for your organization, it’s vital to keep up with the latest and greatest tech.

ABI Research Analyst Insider subscribers have a convenient way of accessing such stories and developments via a free weekly newsletter that features recent ABI Insights. ABI Insights are snackable pieces of content where our analysts share the biggest technology developments happening and identify market impact, trends, predictions, and strategic recommendations for readers. From Virtual Reality (VR) to 5G, our coverage has something for every technology user and solution provider. In this resource, ABI Research shares 7 of these technology developments from March 2024.

Table of Contents

VR Transforming Healthcare

Healthcare providers increasingly use Virtual Reality (VR) to improve patient outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic spurred this technology trend as close contact was avoided and work-from-home policies became the norm. For example, the National Health Service (NHS) used Microsoft’s HoloLens to keep safe distances between infected patients and surgeons and facilitate global communication via Teams.

While it’s still early days, VR has shown strong potential for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment, identifying early signs of dementia and boosting employee efficiency.

Learn More: To explore how VR is transforming healthcare further, check out Research Analyst Matilda Beinat’s ABI Insight, “The VR Prescription: How Companies Are Using VR to Change Healthcare.”

Autonomous Drilling Operations for the Peregrino Oil Field

The Peregrino oil field of Norwegian energy firm Equinor is a petri dish for technology innovation. The company partners with SLB to automate drilling operations through Artificial Intelligence (AI)-supported software. Solutions like DrilPlan and DrilOps streamline the drilling planning process and performance analysis, while improving engineer team coordination.

Learn More: Research Director Michael Larner covers this story in detail in his ABI Insight, “SLB and Equinor Harness AI to Achieve Autonomous Drilling Operations.”

Smart Connected Lighting the Main Focus at Light + Building 2024

ABI Research Industry Analyst Rithika Thomas traveled to Frankfurt am Main for the Light + Building trade fair to assess key trends swirling through the smart lighting market. As expected, sustainability was one of the dominant themes on the show floor in early March, as automated or network lighting control reduces operational costs and minimizes a building’s carbon footprint.

Standout announcements for smart connected lighting at Light + Building 2024 include:

  • Enlighted Smart Sensors being integrated into Zumtobel Group’s lighting portfolio
  • Siemens’ Ecolabel platform provides transparency for sustainable products
  • ABB showed off an interactive, immersive smart building walk-through experience that helps gauge energy efficiency, interoperability, and sustainability/design
  • UL Solutions launched a website that allows lighting designers to try specific circadian lighting

Learn More: Thomas shares more of her key findings at the Light + Building 2024 event and the key drivers for connected lighting in her ABI Insight, “Today’s Smart Lighting in Action—Interactive, Connected, and Energy Efficient—All Key Trends at Light + Building 2024.

Single-Vendor or Multi-Vendor Open RAN?

Open Radio Access Network (RAN) has gathered tremendous momentum recently, with marquee telco operators like AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and Verizon deploying Open RAN-supported equipment and infrastructure. While some operators choose a multi-vendor approach to Open RAN, our analysts note that the single-vendor approach still dominates the industry. This mostly boils down to the fact that a single-vendor arrangement is easier to integrate, and there are no interoperability concerns.

However, sticking to the single-vendor approach carries a few risks for telco operators, such as stagnated innovation and vendor lock-in. Although the industry is still a long way from normalizing the multi-vendor approach, ongoing trials and Proofs of Concept (PoCs) suggest that there is still interest in large-scale deployment.

Learn More: Read the ABI Insight, “Single-Vendor Open RAN—a Double-Edged Sword” from Research Analyst Larbi Belkhit to learn more about the pros and cons of single-vendor Open RAN and where multi-vendor arrangements fit in.

General Motors and Autonomous Vehicle Mapping

General Motors' (GM) autonomous driving efforts are paying off, with its Super Cruise system covering more than 160 million miles of road. This translates to nearly twice as many miles being covered for hands-free driving in just 18 months. GM’s next move is to enhance self-driving experiences by expanding the number of maneuvers, vehicles, and roads that the Super Cruise product supports.

As Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like GM aim to differentiate their autonomous driving applications, digital mapping capabilities will be critical. A Level 2+ experience will be sub-par if the vehicle’s mapping system cannot provide broad coverage. Therefore, crowdsourcing information from connected cars will play an important role in enabling reliable HD mapping from autonomous vehicles.

Learn More: For the full analysis, read Research Director James Hodgson’s ABI Insight, “General Motors Almost Doubles Super Cruise Coverage, but Unscalable Mapping Approaches Present a Looming Risk.”

5G Enabling Digital Transformation across Indonesian Industries

Huawei’s recently unveiled 5G smart warehouse in West Java signals the telco giant’s ambitions to digitalize industries across Indonesia. In collaboration with state-owned Telkom Indonesia, Huawei’s low-latency 5G connectivity makes technologies like Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and digital twins possible. As a result, industrial operations will be more efficient and automated.

While 5G subscriptions have remained relatively low in Indonesia, governmental collaboration with telcos and enterprises is improving the country's potential for 5G subscriptions. Logistics is a prime candidate for 5G-powered use cases in Indonesia, as the enhanced networking capabilities translate to improved supply chain efficiency. ABI Research estimates that enterprises can increase their profit margins by, on average, 11.9% through a private 5G deployment. Moreover, 5G is a key enabler of predictive maintenance to minimize machine downtime. These use cases can also be extended to the manufacturing, agriculture, and mining sectors.

Learn More: For Research Analyst Benjamin Chan’s more detailed analysis of the latest 5G efforts in Indonesia, read his latest ABI Insight contribution, “Huawei’s Bid to Re-Incentivize 5G Digital Transformation in Indonesia through Supply Chain Innovation.”

UWB Products on Full Display at Mobile World Congress 2024

Senior Research Director Andrew Zignani saw several major product announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 that will impact the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) market direction.

  • Qualcomm FastConnect™ 7900 Mobile Connectivity System is an AI-supported connectivity chip fusing Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth® 5.4, and 802.15.4z-based UWB.
  • Microelectronics (GiantSemi) announced its GTI1500 UWB System-on-Chip (SoC) ahead of MWC 2024.
  • CEVA unveiled the RivieraWaves® UWB IP platform supporting the latest FiRa 2.0 specification.
  • Imec showcased its low-power UWB chip that offers users 10X the 5G/Wi-Fi interference mitigation as existing UWB solutions.

UWB is arguably still in its early days. However, the potential for “killer” consumer and enterprise apps is strong. Announcements like those shared at MWC 2024 certainly hint that the market is headed in the right direction.

Learn More: All of Zignani’s thoughts on these UWB market developments are reflected in his recent ABI Insight, “Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Was at the Forefront of MWC 24 Connectivity Innovation, but Challenges Remain.”

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