Of course, personally, I think the answer is a big *Yes!*

However once, a while ago, while giving a talk about higher category theory, I was asked a question about whether higher category theory was useful outside of the realm of higher category theory itself. I was asked if there was anything that can be proven using higher category theory that couldn't be proven without it?

I think it is a somewhat common to experience this sort of resistance to higher categories, and I think this is a fair question, at least if you also allow for insights gleaned from a higher categorical perspective that would not have been possible or obvious otherwise.

I have a small handful of answers for this question, but I certainly don't feel like I know most of the applications, nor the best. I thought it could be useful to compile a big list of applications of higher category theory to other disciplines of mathematics.

Question: What are useful applications of higher categories outside the realm of higher category theory itself? Are there any results where higher categories or the higher categorical perspectives play anessentialrole?

Here I want "higher category" to be interpreted liberally, including various notions of n-category or $(\infty,n)$-category. I am not picky.

I also want to interpret "essential" to just mean that it would be hard to imagine getting the results or insights without the use of higher categories, not in some precise mathematical sense. But, for example, saying "homotopy theory is just an example of the theory of $(\infty,1)$-categories" doesn't really count.

The usual big-list rules apply: This is community wiki, and please just one application per answer.