Technology is transforming whole sectors of the economy as never before. Internet-connected wearables, cloud-based computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital solutions, tech watchers gush, will herald unprecedented advances in automation, productivity and consumer empowerment.

Whether all of this technology will live up to the hype remains to be seen. What’s evident is that technological advances are having a major impact — not least on insurers and others stakeholders in the distribution chain.

Case in point: What’s happening now in the mobile space. As LifeHealthPro reported on December 22, tech start-up Lemonade unveiled plans for a nationwide rollout of low-cost homeowner’s and renter’s insurance. The company is betting that it’s AI-enabled mobile assistant, which can process policy applications and claims in mere minutes, will gain wide traction among millennials demanding a hassle-free experience when buying protection products.

Lemonade and other mobile-attuned start-ups seem to be onto something big. Market research firm Garter is forecasting 268 billion mobile downloads and 2017. And those apps will generate a whopping $77 billion in revenue next year.

Among the beneficiaries: small businesses like yours. As the infographic below from Biznessapps shows, nearly half of small businesses will likely have a mobile app by 2017 or later. Key factors fueling their development are a desire to increase sales and improve the customer experience.

Related:

Harnessing the power of digital: Are life insurers up to the task?

The coming IoT revolution: a 6-point plan for life insurers