Being part of Lux Research means constantly getting exposed to innovative ideas that our analyst teams uncover – novel technologies, creative new business models, and emerging growth opportunities. Of course, reports of new technologies purported to be transformative are a nearly daily occurrence, but they're often lacking the context or critical analysis to understand the real market opportunities and the strategies to capitalize on them. In contrast, when a Lux Research analyst spots a new idea, his first instinct is to try to break it down, poke holes in it, find out why it won't work, and in many cases, it does not pass muster. So, those that do pass Lux Research’s vetting process really have something to them, as these are the ideas that can really have an effect on our lives, our businesses, and our world.
From time to time we challenge the analyst team to provide an idea from their research – whether it's a theme, a trend, a market, a company, or a technology – that they think will have the biggest impact over the next five to 10 years. Here are the top 10 ideas that we came up with:
- Commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Advanced sensors, faster computing, and need for aerial imagery have all combined to usher in a new era for UAVs or drones in commercial applications ranging from agriculture to utilities.
For more see the report “UAV Landscape and Market Size: The Impact of Technology and Regulation on Commercial Applications”
- Novel 3D printing business models. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing has transformative potential but it's often held back by developers' short-sighted razor-razor blade business models that drive up part costs. Pressure from third party materials suppliers and end users will lead to more open materials models that shake up the space.
For more see the report “How 3D Printing Adds Up: Emerging Materials, Processes, Applications, and Business Models”
- Patient-centric healthcare driven by point-of-care technology. Spiraling healthcare costs and the need to manage chronic conditions are driving healthcare out of hospital labs and specialized clinics and toward the patients, point‐of‐care, and even into the home. Consumer devices are hot now but clinical opportunities will dominate in the longer term.
For more see the report “mHealth Showdown: Consumer and Clinical Devices’ Battle for Market Dominance” and webinar “Is the mHealth Industry Missing the Forest for the Trees?”
- Pre- and probiotics targeting microbial health. Our growing understanding of the complex relationship between the human host and the trillions of bacteria in the gut microbiome shows that microbial make-up is key to multiple health and wellness outcomes, ranging from digestive health to cognitive function. Products capitalizing on this knowledge are in their infancy but will become mainstream in years to come.
For more see the report “Eating for 100 Trillion: Symbiotic Metabolism and the Microbiome Revolution”
- The rise of diversified crop protection. Increasing weather-related stress and growing impacts from pests and diseases are causing farmers to seek powerful crop protection technologies. Biotechnology approaches including RNAi are enabling new product development, and technologies like biopesticides will steadily displace conventional synthetic pesticides.
For more see the webinar “Planting Seeds for Future Success: The Rise of Biological Crop Protection”
- Waste conversion to liquid fuels. As oil prices drop past $50/bbl, alternative fuel producers are feeling the squeeze and looking to cheaper feedstocks to stay competitive. Municipal solid waste can have negative cost, though it remains challenging to convert to liquid fuels and its cost will rise if it becomes viable.
For more see the report “Quantifying Cost and Availability of Cellulosic Feedstocks for Biofuels and Biochemicals”
- Project financing for stationary energy storage. To deal with the high cost of energy storage, developers are now starting to offer no-money down project financing for stationary projects. Just as innovative finance models like those from Solar City opened up new customers for solar energy, expect financial innovation in energy storage to do the same.
For more see the insight: “Stem raises $100 million for behind-the-meter distributed energy storage financing”
- Growing role for power conversion in extending battery life. The high cost of batteries is a headache in products from consumer electronics to electric vehicles. Using more efficient power conversion devices can effectively extend battery life, often at much lower cost. For instance, a 20% increase in conversion efficiency shaves $6,000 off the battery cost of a Tesla Model S.
For more see the report “Silicon vs. WBG: Demystifying Prospects of GaN and SiC in the Electrified Vehicle Market”
- Methane hydrates as Asia's shale alternative. Up to half the planet's hydrocarbons exist in the form of methane hydrates, icy mixtures of frozen natural gas and water, often found on deep sea beds. While North America is awash in shale gas thanks to hydraulic fracturing, expect nations that lack suitable shale formations to turn to hydrates.
For more see the report “The Gas Hydrate Opportunity”
- Emerging markets driving solar growth. While Europe has historically been the heart of solar, emerging markets in Asia, South America, and the Middle East are now responsible for much of the demand growth. However, these markets can still be challenging to penetrate, often requiring materials and devices that can survive tough conditions.
For more see the report “Solar Market Size Update 2014: Reform for the Long Haul”
A presentation is also available that offers additional insight on these ideas.
For more on Lux Research's top ideas and research methodologies, contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.