Deep tech can be described as innovations that have the potential to push technological boundaries beyond what is considered possible right now. This encompasses areas of fundamental sciences such as physics and chemistry but also touches such scientific and technological fields as robotics, AI and machine learning, biotechnology, health and longevity, and IoT.
Global health crisis, overpopulation, climate change, energy crisis – all of those problems and more can be dealt with. The answer is a continuous investment in deep technology as a profound enabling power for economic and societal shift. It takes years, sometimes even decades, as well as immense investment, but it is critical that we keep pushing for further innovations in the frontier industries.
So, what is deep tech, why is it so difficult to develop, how can you make use of it, and why should you care?
3 levels of tech: where does it get deep?
What is deep tech exactly and how do you know if technology is deep? It is an umbrella term and many technological advancements might be deemed as such under the right circumstances. Space tech, computer vision systems, natural language processing, and even the wildest developments that look like something out of a sci-fi novel can be considered deep technologies.
However, not all the advanced technologies and digital solutions are deep, no matter how groundbreaking and awesome they might seem. In most cases, these solutions address issues that we already know how to deal with or just make a couple of quick fixes and twitches to already existing solutions. Let’s break it down.
A technology that offers a slightly better alternative to what we already know of and use widely is not deep. Imagine a hypothetical digital solution that helps a business manage their online marketplace with increased efficiency and profit. This solution might be quite good, better than any other solution of its kind. It might offer some unique features never seen before and be really innovative for what it is. But at the end of the day, does it have a substantial impact on the market, the state of technology, and the world in general?
Deep tech looks beyond the immediate fixes and rather attempts to address the problems on a much more profound level. In some cases, it looks even further and tries to address challenges that we did not even face just yet.
Let’s take a look at another example – a solution for autonomous vehicles that optimizes traffic, cuts fuel intake, reduces emission, and decreases the number of fatal crashes. This is a solution that involves the use of such technologies as AI, machine learning, computer vision, and IoT. You can call it a life-changing technology that improves the quality of life and safety for millions of people.
It gets even deeper
This is where we get into what we would call hardcore deep tech. This encompasses futuristic technologies we have a general idea of but don’t have the required knowledge or resources to build. Manned missions to Mars, spacecraft that mine asteroids, neurochips that regenerate damaged brain cells, real thinking AI, quantum computers, more effective and less harmful cancer treatment techniques – all of that and more is in the realm of possibility but still requires years of technological progress and billions in investment.
Hardcore tech might feel too farfetched to be real, but it is something we will most likely achieve in the nearest future. These are innovations that are being developed right now, and though some of those would take decades to launch, they are real technologies that will change our lives in the future.
For now, let’s focus on deep technologies we have and can leverage to benefit people around the world.
Why tech mostly remains shallow
The main problem with technologies is that they are difficult to develop. It is much easier to build an online marketplace than, say, an infrastructure for a smart city. And even though there are deep tech companies that build such complex solutions, it is not always that they find clients and investors who are ready to invest in such laborious undertakings.
It is expensive
Technological development is expensive, and that is a huge reason why so many investors overlook innovations and much rather put their money into another social media platform than the actual technology. For any investor, it is important to have some guarantees and have enough confidence in the product’s ability to deliver sufficient return on investment
Large revenue window
Even when the technology is almost guaranteed to bring profits, most investors want fast ROI. With deep tech, all the research and development stages take a long time, and the investors might have to wait for years to get a return on investment.
The market might not exist yet
When investing in technology, it is not always clear who your target audience is and what market niche you are going to take. Deep technology is often unproven and so advanced that people are just not ready for it or don’t even know they need it.
This problem is also relevant for the companies trying to hire experts who specialize in certain technologies. It might be challenging to find a full dedicated team of experts in the field of robotics, machine learning, IoT, or other innovative technologies.
Money and complexity are the main reasons why people are hesitant to invest in technology. It is much easier and cheaper to invest in a software startup that has a good potential for growth and get the ROI in a year or two. There are companies and individuals who are ready to invest in tech innovation and take that risk to make tech more accessible, and thus, improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
The value of deep tech: real-life examples
Technology must not remain shallow. We already make steps towards more profound and life-changing tech that gets communities and businesses beyond what is considered possible today.
Being a deep tech company and a pioneer in any domain of technology is never easy; you do not have a blueprint for the project, you don’t know whether it’s going to work, and you do not have other products to compare yours to. All you have is your vision, and hopefully, a team of experts with adequate skills, knowledge, and passion for innovation.
Our team works with frontier techs like AI, machine learning, IoT, Big Data and more to achieve our partners’ vision. In our experience, investment in tech innovation pays off, even though it takes more time and effort to develop.
Computer vision solutions for traffic management
Computer vision is one of the hottest deep tech trends that is being used widely across industries like automotive, manufacturing, logistics, retail, banking, and more. It is especially critical for autonomous vehicles that have to actually see the world around them and understand what they see.
N-iX worked on a computer vision solution for the Australian intelligent transport company. This solution combined such technologies like AI and machine learning as our experts had to teach the system to recognize and identify vehicles, persons, plate numbers, and certain objects. Precise recognition of objects and persons on the streets allows for improved traffic safety, which directly influences the quality of life for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Ultrathin solar panels
Solar energy is viewed as one of the most plausible solutions to the impending energy crisis, and deep tech company Ribes Tech works on making solar panels lighter and more efficient. They develop photovoltaic panels that can be installed on cars, building walls, and even hand-held devices. They hope to make small solar panels more viable and affordable for the average buyer.
DNA-based tumor treatment
Deep tech companies like Biogenera SpA work in the biotech pharma sector to produce DNA-based medicines for tumor treatment. The research on cancer treatment has been going on for decades, and now, biotech companies seem to be getting closer to viable alternatives to chemotherapy.
IoT-powered farming platforms
The world needs more efficient farming platforms as we move ever closer to the global food crisis. N-iX works on IoT solutions for crop scouting and analysis. We use drones for high-precision imaging and sensors to make sure crops get the right amount of moisture, nutrition, and care at the right time. This allows farmers to increase crop yields by as much as 25%.
These are just some of the examples of technology being used across different industry verticals solving critical issues and changing people’s lives for the better. From innovations most people take for granted, like the sensors that improve crop yields, to flashy and thrilling breakthroughs like autonomous vehicles, tech innovations are everywhere and they do make a difference.
The future depends on deep technology as the primary enabler of progress, scientific discovery, economic and societal growth. Almost anything you use on a daily basis and don’t even notice has been a tech innovation at some point. From electricity to the internet, from cars and planes to space rockets – all of that used to be deep tech trends in the past. These technologies might have been doubted by most, even frowned upon, but eventually, they’ve managed to change the world and bring fortune to the pioneers.
Investing in tech is critical for the further advancement of humankind. It is our belief that technology can solve most, if not all, of the problems we face right now. Climate change, food shortage, healthcare issues, energy crisis, and more can all be solved or eased with the use of advanced technologies. That is why we make a strong emphasis on technologies like IoT, AI, machine learning, and big data here at N-iX. Our genuine hope is for the flourishing technological community that leverages the latest innovations not just for monetary gain but for the betterment of the world as well.