5 technology trends to inspire your business in 2018

15th February 2018

As technology grows, it’s changing the world as we know it. New developments are enhancing our personal lives and opening new horizons to businesses every day. Here are a few technologies that could open doors for you and inspire your business in 2018.  Each of these technologies is playing a growing role in the business world, so here’s what you need to know.

1. Connected Recognition

Combining cameras, artificial intelligence and the Internet makes it easier than ever to recognise your customers and deliver an incredible customer service based on their unique preferences and needs. This type of advanced recognition can help deliver a more personalised experience – whether that’s a personalised shopping experience, advertising or simply to help your staff better connect with your customers.

In the USA, Chevrolet recently used this technology to deliver a personalised advertising campaign to get the attention of non-Chevrolet drivers. Using AI and visual recognition technology, Chevrolet was able to identify passing cars and post cheeky messages to suggest a Chevrolet would be better.

But it’s not all about advertising. A controversial campaign in Hong Kong aimed to help stop people from littering by using data to analyse and create DNA profiles of the culprits.1 Data was used to see what, where and who was causing the pollution. A similar approach could help increase security for your business. By linking your CCTV to AI or the Internet, you could quickly identify people entering your premises that could pose a threat or who have been blacklisted.

2. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

Artificial Intelligence is shaking up business models, across all industries and business sizes.  What is it? It’s essentially software that discovers and adapts to patterns of information and the business world is finding more and more uses for it on a daily basis. It's not just about making existing transactions easier and cheaper, but about helping businesses make smarter decisions across their organisation. This technology can help you predict user behaviour and create better customer service. You can now use software3 to answer people's questions, with no negative impact on your customer experience. And voice-command interfaces are just the beginning.

Social bots are already being used to handle most types of routine service issues. They also adapt to people's intent, not just the literal meaning of their words. Using AI to replace some of the simpler aspects of your customer service means your staff have more time to focus on more important tasks. Commonwealth Bank's Social Robotics department4 has partnered with its customers to test the use of social robots in customer-facing scenarios. In the United States, the San Jose Orchard Supply Hardware store5 hired retail service robots to help improve the customer shopping experience. In both cases, the bots were able to move around autonomously, recognise faces and communicate in multiple languages.

The benefits of in-store bots are clear – consumer receive information quickly and accurately, and businesses can free up their manual labour costs and invest into other areas.

3. Augmented reality

Most people's familiarity with augmented reality begins with apps like Pokémon Go, where digital objects are incorporated into the camera's real-world view. But this technology is already being used by businesses too. 

Lifewire recently covered some of the many uses of augmented reality in busineses6. Mechanics can see information superimposed on the devices they're servicing. Museums can show visitors more information about the objects on display. Surgeons can see information from instruments while looking at the organs they're treating. The potential for augmented reality to revolutionise the healthcare and any other industry is huge.

A trial application teamed of Google, Small World and the Australian Breastfeeding Association, recently used Google Glass7 to allow telephone support operators to see through a mother’s eye while breastfeeding at home. With how fast this technology is moving, it’s no longer science fiction to say it has the potential to save lives.

4. 3D printing

3D print technology is evolving fast. You can now create new items on the spot or mass-produce products much faster and cheaper.  Charles Darwin University8 has been working with a new type of 3D printer that the NT government says could 'revolutionise' Australian manufacturing. The printer’s co-inventor said that with one automotive part, “we were able to bring the 3D print time down from about 100 to 200 hours to about 20 minutes.” 

Print-on-demand is already popular with some booksellers. But with 3D printing on the rise, it’s likely we’ll see a trend towards ‘print-on-demand’ carrying over to other product lines and industries. It won’t be too long before you can walk into a store and have products created for you on the spot.

5. Immersive video 

The video above10 looks like it was filmed with drones or moving cameras, right? Well the truth is, it was filmed on stationary cameras using high-resolution 3D representation, like with Canon’s Free Viewpoint Video System11 The technology combines footage from a range of cameras creating a 3D representation. The result is a completely immersive experience, making viewers feel like they’re really there.

Sports events are just one application of this technology. But immersive video could revolutionise virtual tours, customer demonstrations, training and education and enable advertising that really engages and excites the viewer. The opportunities are endless.

It’s clear that technology is exceeding our expectations every day. So, how will you harness technology and take your business into the future?  Make sure you’re ready for the opportunities technology can bring to improve how you interact with your customers, partners and bring new products and services to market.  

Sources:

  1. analyse and create DNA profiles of litterers - http://www.ecozine.com/article/the-face-of-litter
  2. shaking up business models - http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/convincing-c-suite-invest-ai-new-mode-roi
  3. Conversational software - http://www.digitalistmag.com/cio-knowledge/2018/01/03/innovate-your-business-model-with-conversational-ai-part-1-05673294
  4. Commonwealth Bank's Social Robotics department - https://www.commbank.com.au/guidance/newsroom/social-robotics-partnership-201608.html
  5. USA’s San Jose Orchard Supply Hardware store - http://www.lowesinnovationlabs.com/innovation-robots/
  6. many uses of augmented reality - https://www.lifewire.com/applications-of-augmented-reality-2495561
  7. Google Glass - https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/breastfeeding-and-google-glass-application-trial
  8. Charles Darwin University - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-17/nt-on-map-with-new-3d-printer/8716814
  9. have products created for them on the spot - https://www.inc.com/kayla-matthews/these-3-industries-are-making-the-most-out-of-3d-printing.html
  10. video of a football game - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqYNgzEqDsM&feature=youtu.be
    Canon’s Free Viewpoint Video System - http://global.canon/en/news/2017/20170921.html
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