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These Emerging Industries Will Open New Doors for Project Professionals in the Coming Decade

Micromobility

Drawn by the potential to make transportation greener, more accessible and more affordable, project sponsors invested more than US$5.7 billion in micromobility startups between 2015 and 2019, according to McKinsey. The category, which includes docked and undocked bikes, scooters and more, has serious potential: Micromobility could help eliminate congestion caused by vehicles making short trips. More than half of car rides in the U.S., Europe and China are less than 5 miles (8 kilometers) long. But there are plenty of micromobility speed bumps ahead, including lack of government buy-in, inconsistent regulation and potential vandalism.

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From the top, PHOTO COURTESY OF BIRD RIDES, INC.; PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE, INC.; ISTOCKPHOTO (3)

Biometrics

It might have seemed like sci-fi fantasy even a few decades ago, but now biometrics—the use of body measurements to authenticate and verify identity—are integrated into everyday life. From allowing users to unlock their smartphone with a touch of a fingerprint to government programs that rely on iris scans, biometrics are booming. This niche sector is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 22.5 percent, hitting over US$52 billion by 2023, according to market firm BIS Research.

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IoT devices

The appetite for the internet of things (IoT) is growing. From refrigerators to manufacturing assembly lines, objects are increasingly connected to the world around them, delivering real-time data and new capabilities. The number of connected devices is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025, five times the global number in 2015. With the need for more sensors comes the need for more projects, to design and develop the new technology, as well as create robust networks and security systems to keep that real-time data safe and reliable.

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Cannabis

In late 2018, Canada became the first G7 nation (and the second country after Uruguay) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Other countries have followed suit, along with state and local governments, to approve medical or recreational use. Globally, the cannabis market is expected to reach US$66 billion by 2025, growing at a compound rate of nearly 24 percent, according to market firm Grand View Research. But building an industry from scratch will require rigorous project management to guide everything from the construction of retail shops to the development of agricultural supply chains and manufacturing facilities.

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Virtual and Augmented Reality

The film and entertainment industries have been early adopters of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), embracing the cutting-edge tech for its special effects capabilities (Pokémon Go, anyone?). But other industries—including healthcare, manufacturing, education and retail—are just discovering what VR and AR can do. This expanding sector is expected to grow 63 percent annually between 2019 and 2025, hitting US$814 billion, according to Zion Market Research.

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