Trends

Hyperconnectivity: Much more than just the metaverse

The current "Tech Trend Radar" from ERGO and Munich Re covers 44 trends in five topic areas, which we would like to take a closer look at here on //next in a series. We started with our detailed analysis of "Wellbeing", now we turn to "Hyperconnectivity": What is this trend field all about - and which individual trends - apart from the metaverse - are hidden behind it?

Tech Trend Radar, Themenbereich Hyperconnectivity

The "Tech Trends Radar 2022" defines "hyperconnectivity" as a collective term for the most diverse manifestations of network and infrastructure technologies. "It also includes technologies that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds," adds Martin Thormählen of Munich Re, one of the two project leaders behind this year's radar. You can read a detailed interview with him and his colleague Daniel Grothues from ERGO here.

Thormählen cites the metaverse - a completely virtual world accessible via virtual reality glasses - as the most dynamic trend in this trend field. As we have already outlined on //next, there is not yet a single metaverse, but several virtual worlds from different providers are developing in parallel. Insurers should also keep a very close eye on the development of these virtual worlds in view of their enormous market potential. You can read more about why in this article.

But what actually constitutes the "hyper" in "hyperconnectivity"? "We are talking about an extended form of connectivity that connects different systems, devices and organisations - for example through a data fabric infrastructure (more on this trend below) - and that offers more bandwidth and speed, such as the current 5G mobile standard or even 6G in the future," explains study author Daniel Grothues from ERGO. "Hyperconnectivity" is thus an important prerequisite for the development of digital infrastructures.


Which trend has which maturity level?

Details on the six trends in the trend field "Hyperconnectivity" can be found below, but first let's remember: The study divides all trends into the four different maturity levels:

  • hold (“put on the watch list”)
  • assess (“consider what this means for your company”)
  • trial (“first initiatives should be started in the most affected business areas”)
  • adopt (“take full advantage of this technology!”)

But which recommendation applies to what?

Three times "adopt" …

According to the "Tech Trend Radar 2022", insurers should implement the following three trends vigorously:

  1. Data Fabric: The technologies behind this collective term enable a uniform data environment even in decentralised computer networks - i.e. also between, for example, reinsurer, insurer, broker and third-party networks. We can think of it as a kind of standardisation solution for data that comes from a wide variety of sources - and which, thanks to this trend, can now be made available to a wide variety of target groups on just one platform. Since such an "ecosystem approach to data" is becoming increasingly important for business operations, the recommendation of the study authors is clear: "adopt"!
  2. Edge Computing: What is more efficient? To process data at the centre of a network - or where it originates? Correct: the latter. And so, according to the "Tech Trend Radar 2022", in areas such as telematics, logistics or supply chain management, it is advisable to have data processed as decentrally as possible. And be it at the edge of a network, which also gives this trend its name. A smart camera, for example, does not need to constantly stream images to a central computer - the moments when it notices movement are enough. Until then, it can manage its recordings itself. Given the necessary computing power and, above all, IT security, this trend also holds enormous potential for insurers.
  3. 5G: The current mobile communications standard is up to 40 times faster than its predecessor LTE and, according to the study, is thus considered an "accelerator for radical digital developments" in existing industries - including self-driving cars, healthcare and smart factories. Insurers also benefit from stable data streams in real time. Additional desirable functions are already planned for the successor 6G. 
     

... one time "trial" …

  1. Enhanced Reality: Whether in VR meetings, AR applications or the use of holograms: In the future, physical and virtual persons and objects are likely to interact more and more and merge - at least temporarily - in mixed realities. Already today, a person looking at a product can see contextual information that is visually integrated and at the same time virtually overlaid. By addressing the changing customer needs in a timely manner as a result of this, the insurance industry will not only open up new ways of assessing risk, but also other promising sources of revenue.
     

... and two times "assess"

  1. Metaverse: This megatrend has already been a topic not only in this article, but also in general on //next - among other things because ERGO has already had its own experience with it. It was included in the "Tech Trend Radar" for the first time this year because there is now also a concrete connection to the insurance business: "Large internet companies like Meta and Apple are investing billions in hardware and software and there are the first Metaverses that you can visit," says Daniel Grothues, explaining the reason: "The vision of the creators is that people will spend part of their lives in such virtual worlds in the future and naturally want to be well regarded there. This means that there will be digital valuables and status symbols, such as land, houses and clothing, for which risks also exist. If this happens, users will want to insure these risks, so they will need 'metaverse insurance'. Currently, however, these are promises of the future, which is why we recommend watching the topic and not making any big investments yet: 'assess'!"
  2. Brain-Machine-Interface: This trend sounds even more like science fiction - a collective term for technologies with which brain patterns can be used to control hardware and software. In the meantime, there have been impressive pioneering events, such as a drone race that was controlled solely by the power of thought, but there is still nowhere near a mass market. Nevertheless, "initial advances in the treatment of the disabled through brain-machine interfaces are driving this trend towards wider application," the study says. Insurers should therefore already anticipate the potential impact of this technological development.

In the next article of our new series ...

... we take a look at the trend field "Data & AI": Which eleven trends are hidden behind it - and which applications are already in use? 

Text: Ingo Schenk

Find the German version of this article here: Hyperconnectivity: Mehr als nur das Metaverse