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Deep-tech: The new bubble growing within the big corporate world

An increasing number of companies are investing in ‘deep tech’. This comes with risks, and many big players are turning to startups to do the ground work.

AI: More than Human exhibition invites you to explore our relationship with artificial intelligence. - Tim Sandle
AI: More than Human exhibition invites you to explore our relationship with artificial intelligence. - Tim Sandle

High-stakes enterprise investment in deep technology solutions is largely driven by the threat of industry competition. This creates a situation where substantial R&D budgets are required, and success or failure has a big impact on employment prospects.

A new report has been issued titled “Out of the Lab, Into the Market: Deep Tech’s Enterprise Future”, which examines the issue. The report focuses on large enterprises’ attitudes, priorities and anxieties regarding their deep technology investments such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, 3D printing, quantum computing, blockchain and more.

Deep tech, according to Tech Crunch, is an industry term for generic term for technologies not focused on end-user services. In many cases these are emerging technologies with a disruptive element, based on recent scientific discoveries, together with innovations in areas like engineering, mathematics, physics and medicine.

The drive to invest in more sophisticated technology is reflected in the fining that 67 percent of executives fear their competitors are further along than their own company is.

The report surveys the views of 200 decision-makers across large enterprises (defined as corporations employing 1,000 of more workers). Those polled were largely made up of IT leaders or C-suite executives.

The top technologies being invested in are, in descending order of investment levels:

  1. Artificial intelligence.
  2. 3D printing to scale.
  3. Renewable energy.
  4. Quantum computing
  5. Blockchain.
  6. Drones and advanced robotics.
  7. Climate change mitigation.
  8. Satellites
  9. Autonomous vehicles.
  10. Nueromorphic computing.

In terms of the expected benefits of high-level technology, 58 percent of those polled said they expect to see return-on-investment from deep technology investments in between 1 to 5 years.

Given the risks involved with developing deep tech, 25 percent of big companies are electing to invest in startups, where the startup takes a bigger share of the risk (and also the reward, should the technology be a success).

For companies where the deep tech goals are just outside of their reach, opportunities exist for firms to come together and to pool resources or to seek funding from investment markets. A number of diverse companies regard this as an optimal means for tackling the toughest and potentially most lucrative technology challenges.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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