man working in a lab

Nowhere else has taken to digital quite like Asia Pacific, home to the majority of internet users with nations such as Singapore and South Korea among those leading in internet adoption rate.

But what happens when it is met with advances in technology, particularly in AI, cloud, metaverse, and Web3? That digital enthusiasm may well evolve into a new reality that blends both physical and digital worlds. The signs are there in the form of digital identities. In the case of Singpass—one of the most widely adopted national identity systems covering 97% of residents—a single password gives Singaporeans secured access to over 2,000 government and private sector e-services, from accessing health records to buying property.

A shared reality unlocks a new frontier: Science technology

This new converged reality also deepens the connection between science and technology. After all, the two have always had a symbiotic relationship, feeding off one another to accelerate each’s progress.

Yet, it is in recent years that we see this science-technology feedback loop move faster than ever. Digital technology that has matured in the last decade is now being applied to science, and with advances in cutting-edge technologies, high investments in science-related industries, and pressing societal challenges, we can only expect the feedback loop to continue at this breakneck pace.

Enterprises with bold ambitions to transform their business and industries would do well to take strategic advantage of these developments. 96% of global executives surveyed in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2023 report agreed that the combined effect of science and technology driving each other is leading to compressed innovation.

But in the grand scheme of things, science technology has the potential to impact our world. Consider how the same report found that 83% of global executives believe science technology capabilities could help address societal challenges of health-related issues and diseases, while 75% believe these could also help address poverty and inequality.

We don’t have to go far into the future to witness its impact. A Hong Kong-based biotech company, for instance, has compressed the drug development process from years to mere months thanks to AI being deployed end-to-end, from target discovery to clinical trials.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, a smart hospital has introduced technologies such as teleconsultation in the ambulance, blockchain-based personal records, and vital sign monitoring to deliver first-in-class medical services to its patients, offering a blueprint for smart hospitals of the future as a result.

Getting onboard the science technology revolution

Many enterprises would want in on the science-technology feedback loop. But as with all other initiatives, it’s easier said than done, made even more complex by rapid-fire changes within the innovation landscape and the different levels of maturity at which enterprises start.

If you’re looking to break the barrier, here are three considerations to keep in mind.

Seek out inter-industry collaborations

Next-generation computing technologies require skills that are hard to find and in high demand. Instead of fighting over a small talent pool, organisations with the same goals—regardless of industries and sectors—should pursue them together through consortiums. An example would be how Japan saw the establishment of the Quantum Innovation Initiative Council (QIIC) to further the country’s quantum leadership. This comprises academic institutions, government, and enterprises across diverse industries such as automotive and technology.

Have an experimental mindset

There are many ways technologies can modernise scientific operations, and it’s up to you to start exploring how the different digital tools may benefit your enterprise. In the case of a French-based pharmaceutical company, it deployed digital twins in France and Singapore to simulate new facilities, equipment and production processes, and real-time data, which is then used to validate product and plant adjustments before allocating resources in the physical space. This resulted in a more streamlined and enhanced manufacturing process for vaccines, so it is better equipped to meet high demand in the event of another pandemic.

Be aware of, and prepare for risk

New frontiers often come with new risks. For instance, advances and increased access to synthetic biology could lead to dangerous laboratory leaks or biological weapons abuse, which calls for substantial biosecurity strategies. Instead of waiting for clearer legal regulations, enterprises can take the first step to implement policies and governance plans and view biosecurity as an investment rather than a burden.

Want to learn more about science technology and its business and societal impacts? Read Accenture’s Technology Vision 2023 report.