Whether you have a decent grasp on technology or not, you’ll probably be aware that emerging technologies are changing the way we work and interact with others. In fact, with things like machine learning and touch commerce becoming increasingly popular across every industry from banking to healthcare, technology is transforming the way we do business, making hi-tech investment inevitable for most organisations.
Here are four key technology trends you should know about as we head into 2020:
1. Internet of Things (IOT)
One of the biggest tech trends to emerge in recent years is the Internet of Things. In layman terms, Internet Of Things (IOT) consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded processors, sensors and communication hardware to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments. Sometimes, these devices communicate with other related devices and act on the information they get from one another. How could this impact you? It depends on your industry.
For example, for those who work in marketing, advertising, media or business management, IOT could provide a wealth of information on how consumers engage with products by tracking their interactions with digital devices. In turn, this data could be used to optimise marketing campaigns and user experiences.
How will it affect your business?: The exciting thing about IOT is that it can change the way we do business and the business models we use to do it. IOT technologies will drive process automation, home automation, smart cars, decision analytics, and smart farming.
2. Machine learning
Another exciting emerging technology is machine learning, which is essentially a computer’s ability to learn on its own by analysing data and tracking repeating patterns. For example, Google is using machine learning and satellite data to prevent illegal fishing. On any given day, 22 million data points are created that show where ships are in the world’s waterways. Google engineers found that when they applied machine learning to the data, they could identify why a vessel was at sea. They ultimately created Global Fishing Watch that shows where fishing was happening and could then identify when fishing was happening illegally.
How it’s affecting industries: Machine learning is also changing the way companies do business with customers. Companies like Google are using machine learning on mobile devices which can continue learning even when offline. The result? Machine learning will redefine the way businesses interact with their customers by helping them anticipate and meet their customer needs.
3. Virtual reality (VR)
Remember watching movies about virtual reality and wondering what if it was actually like that in real life? Well, it’s about to be! VR has been around since the mid 20th Century, but
until recently the technology wasn’t able to deliver the fully immersive digital experience users have been expecting. That’s about to change with recent improvements to both hardware and programming, and the effects are going to be felt across almost every industry from retail to education.
How it’s affecting industries: Virtual reality has been a popular component of video games for several years and this trend is continuing to expand. In addition to video games, VR is likely to affect companies across the board as they adopt the technology to help them engage customers more effectively and optimize their sales and marketing efforts. It’s also a potentially useful tool for health and safety training and job learning, and is increasingly being adopted by educational organisations.
4. Cognitive Technology
Cognitive technology is a field of computer science that mimics functions of the human brain through various means, including natural language processing, data mining and pattern recognition. For example, the cognitive technology umbrella includes things like natural language processing (NLP), and speech recognition (e.g. Siri, Alexa and Google Home). Combined, these different technologies are able to automate and optimise many tasks that were previously done by people, including certain aspects of accounting and analytics and predictive decisions.
How it can impact our world: Cognitive technology could be a great ally in protecting our planet. Physics-based prediction models already exist for forecasting things like weather, pollution, and drought. But with machine learning, we can systematically understand which model performs better when, where and under what circumstance. Through machine learning and video analytics, cognitive technology can help us understand what the norms are and discover anomalies or problem areas. This will help us minimise deforestation, track urbanisation, mitigate diseases and to better understand and control ecosystems.
With emerging technologies changing professional industries including banking, eCommerce, agriculture, healthcare and education, staying up to date on the latest trends will give you a better understanding of your industry. This will be a catalyst in opening up new opportunities and hopefully making your business more sustainable, relevant and competitive.