Digitalization and introduction of new technologies have become an indispensable trend in the development of any field – financial, automotive, healthcare, retail. To remain competitive in the modern market, business leaders are already introducing innovations that will become engines of the industry development in the near future.
What digital innovations are waiting for us in the future? Digital platforms, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and design thinking. It is expected that these trends will significantly change our world in the next few years.
Artificial intelligence will not only bring new opportunities for business growth and cost savings, but also change our perception of work and everyday tasks.
While the first automation systems based on local networks and servers were replaced by mobile devices and cloud technologies, the current ones are likely to be replaced or significantly supplemented by artificial intelligence. This trend under the name “cognitive computing” has already developed quite well over the past few years. In particular, in the recognition of speech, persons, objects and even emotions, artificial intelligence has already caught up with human capabilities. In the driving skills artificial intelligence came to the level of super-human and it copes with this task better than most of us.
While Tesla allows drivers to turn on an autopilot on a condition of watching the road, a few months ago, Uber has launched about a hundred autonomous vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh. However, this program is running in test mode, therefore, an employee of the company is constantly in the car to monitor the algorithm and security.
Such technological giants as Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon continue working actively to improve solutions with artificial intelligence, so within a year you can watch exciting new products in this field.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Many companies have already started experimenting with virtual space. In 2016, the world-famous network IKEA launched a pilot virtual reality program IKEA VR Experience. Using the headset, a user enters a virtual kitchen, where he/she can change the size and color of furniture, move around the room and change the camera angles. Such technology has an opportunity to change the approach to the process of buying goods altogether.
Augmented reality devices for the mass consumer are still at the development stage and exist in the form of laboratory specimens. However, the level of investment in this technology is impressive. For example, over the past 2 years, the California-based company Magic Leap has received $ 1.4 billion from several investors, including Google and the Chinese giant of electronic commerce Alibaba, to develop its revolutionary and fairly secret product.
It provides a huge potential for transformation of industries, in particular medicine, retail trade, education, engineering and others. Technologies of virtual and augmented reality can be used during training and education. It allows you to connect video, audio, graphics and special effects with a wide variety of content to create a maximum feel of presence and interaction with objects, which leads to a fundamentally new user experience.
Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Booking are examples of the popular digital platforms that have already dramatically changed a business model of hundreds of thousands of companies around the world. Platforms have gained popularity by applying an effective scheme of interaction between the supplier and the client, thereby questioning the very format of the work of traditional travel agencies or taxi services.
Recently, we have seen more cases when food companies switch to a new business model -“platform”- adding their partners, customers and consumers to the ecosystem of business.
The idea of a business platform itself is not new. Traditional platforms can be found on the example of shopping centers, markets. However, the fact that the platforms do not attach to a physical place provides huge opportunities for suppliers and customers to interact and creates a network effect, which can lead to potential growth of users.
For example, Nike has introduced the Nike + platform, which has allowed millions of consumers of this brand to be integrated into a social network, to significantly increase the number of fans of active sports (in particular running) and, as a result, to get new loyal customers. Today the company continues developing a competitive advantage by attracting both well-known device manufacturers such as Apple and Garmin and smaller technology companies (start-ups) that build a new business based on access to consumers and their data.
Design is not only the appearance of products or platforms, but it is also how they work. It is more commonly that brands are becoming recognizable because of the convenience of using their products by customers. This means that the user’s experience can distinguish the company among others, especially in the field of goods or services of mass consumption: banking services, retail trade and other sectors, which are now being transformed under the influence of the appearance of new digital solutions.
Design of interaction with the user (experience design) will continue to develop rapidly, bringing digital systems closer to people. Traditional interfaces will be replaced by voice or even neural interfaces “brain-computer”. What will remain unchanged? The fact that in the heart and mind of consumers no additional feature of a program or appliction will ever become more valuable than the convenience and practicality of the program as a whole.
This technology has already engaged the attention of companies in financial services, but according to many experts, it will become the driving force for transformations for of government, healthcare and other regulated industries as well.
With the proliferation of online banking and the ability of making financial transactions via the Internet, payment terminals, banks and so on, it would seem that they began to earn significantly more. However, electronic transactions still require a large number of office clerks to verify payments.
With the advent of blockchain, the situation will fundamentally change in the next few years. Bloomberg news agency notes that the cost of settling transactions in the financial industry today reaches $80 billion a year. If you take into account every transaction that requires the identification of a person, this figure will be much larger. The digital algorithm allows to significantly optimize the number of people involved in the verification of payments, not to mention the reduction in the timing of transactions from days to minutes or a maximum of hours.
Security-wise, blockchain technology uses decentralization and continuous data protection. One of the advantages of blockchain technology is the absence of intermediaries – may be the next step in development for the economy of joint consumption. For example, now the model of operation of such services as Uber or Airbnb assumes the existence of a central authority that confirms transactions. The technology blockchain allows a supplier and a client to do this much more efficiently without intermediaries.