Big Changes Ahead for Transportation, Healthcare, and Manufacturing

by Sophie Vandebroek, Ph.D., chief technology officer for Xerox

New business models, rapidly changing regulations, highly empowered consumers, and above all, exponential technology advances are transforming the industries in which our clients operate. Here is a look at three industries that are changing and how Xerox is participating in this change.


The transportationindustry is transitioning from discrete infrastructure operations, such as public transportation, highway tolling and parking, to providing  urban mobility services. Today, most transportation operators deliver siloed services with separate fare collection systems. Information is stored in non-compatible databases. A positive change occurring is that mobile multimode payment systems are  emerging. In addition, citizens now have access to real-time, and often crowd sourced, transportation information on their mobile devices.

Sophie Vandebroek, Ph.D., chief technology officer for Xerox
Sophie Vandebroek, Ph.D., chief technology officer for Xerox

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications and the Internet of Everything will make it easier to share traffic information seamlessly and proactively manage urban mobility. This will reduce congestion, pollution and improve safety. Prescriptive analytics will provide citizens and city officials with integrated mobility recommendations. This useable information will incorporate not only the city’s transactional data, but also citizen behavior, policies, emergency and sustainability data. The resulting insights will enable more livable cities for billions of people around the globe.


Healthcare in the U.S. is moving from fee-for-service to managed and self-directed care. Healthcare providers are under significant pressure to reduce costs and comply with new regulations. Xerox is helping nurses and physicians create more agile work processes. Understanding the value and outcome of medical procedures is critical, as is providing holistic care.

A significant shift toward self-directed care happens as consumers pay for a larger share of healthcare. Analytics will provide useable personalized information and cost insights to consumers, employers, healthcare providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies. This will lead to greater transparency and competition. It will also accelerate the emergence of retail clinics, telemedicine in kiosks and in-home care. Personalized healthcare becomes prominent with the advancement of wearable and embedded devices, low-cost handheld diagnostics, personalized wellness tools and access to our genome information.


Digital manufacturing has moved beyond 3D printed objects for prototyping purposes. Today 3D printing is a $3 billion market that is gaining momentum for medical and industrial applications. The interest from hobbyists is also exploding. Growth is the result of lower-cost devices, better materials, a desire for customized products, and ease of use of the digital workflow. Continued improvements in materials and in printing speed is expanding the 3D application space, including the introduction of high value and personalized products.

Research in printed electronics started over 15 years ago in our Xerox laboratories. Printed labels with embedded functionality will hit the market soon. Applications include brand protection, food, pharmaceutical monitoring, medical applications and more. Our partner ThinFilm is indeed making intelligent labels a reality. Low-cost printable electronics will be embedded in everything around us, as well as in and on ourselves. With all ordinary objects connected, the Internet of Everything will be a reality.

The next breakthrough in digital manufacturing is embedding the electronics in the 3D objects themselves during manufacturing. That will transform currently “dumb” products into “intelligent personalized objects”. Examples include functional prosthetics, intelligent energy systems, health & wellness wearables and ordinary objects that can change form or function..

I recently viewed an interesting discussion where panelists are talking about “surfing transformational waves in their industry instead of being swept away.” They were not specifically focused on the industries I describe above, but the metaphor works. Xerox researchers around the globe continue to create innovation options to make sure that our clients can keep up with these rapid changes.  I will close this blog with this video where I provide one more peak into our future. I am positive about it. I hope you are too.

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