In the modern world, change is the only constant. The newest technologies are self-accelerating in that they use tools from the previous round of innovation to develop even faster. Staying on top of this rapid and constant technological evolution can be tricky, but the benefits are definitely rewarding. Here to help are five tech trends and tools we think businesses should keep track of to stay ready and relevant for the inevitable changes to come.
Big Data fortune teller
In your future, I see… more customers! Across industries, companies are collecting data at an ever-increasing rate. Connecting those data sources to get a complete picture of consumer patterns, however, can help marketing heads sharpen their focus with predictive analytics (PA). PA uses information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. At its most basic level, PA enables organizations to move from a historical view to forward-looking one of the customer.
It works most effectively in three ways: Firstly, it can help identify the best potential customers. Secondly, PA can be used to reduce the number of customers that leave your service or product, a.k.a. the churn rate, by creating models that anticipate who is at risk of churning. Thirdly, PA can help generate tailored product recommendations.
Going from gas to the grid
Shhh. Can you hear that? It’s the quiet whisper of electric vehicles (EVs) gaining on their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts in car sales. And while the gulf between the two is still wide, more and more obstacles tumble every day for consumers interested in the electric option. Several countries, such as Germany, France, India, China, Norway and Britain recognize the environmental benefits of EVs and have plans to phase out ICEs sooner rather than later. Additionally, technology development continues to extend battery life and range for the EVs. The last and arguably greatest hurdle is the EV infrastructure, building charging stations where none today exist. Airports, parking lots, grocery stores, malls, essentially anywhere people park is a perfect spot for enterprising businesses to install charging stations and help potential EV customers battle “range anxiety”.
Cashless and loving it
Talk about change! (Get it?) Financial technology, or Fintech, has redefined the way businesses do business by intertwining tech with financial services; all of it easy-to-use for customers. Every step of the payment journey can adapt from traditional banking instruments to Fintech tools. And its growth is fuelled by deep-pocketed investments, which reached $17.4 billion last year. New biometrics such as voice ID, facial recognition and fingerprints have made shopping much quicker, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have reached more than $300 billion in total value. Fintech offers businesses the opportunity to cut costs, diversify, meet regulatory requirements and track data, all while improving the customer experience.
Marrying AI to smart cities
I now pronounce you city and brain. The emergence of smart cities has set the standard for how city planners manage information, assets and resources using data collection to make their cities run smoothly. Now, imagine this was handled by Artificial Intelligence, where all infrastructural systems are revised in real-time. Actually your imagination won’t be necessary – this system is already at work in Hangzhou, China. The city of 9 million people is mostly run by “City Brain”, which tracks a myriad of data to make live traffic predictions, optimizing traffic flow. Since its implementation, average traffic speed has increased by 15% and traffic violations were reported with 92% accuracy. The platform can also automate emergency dispatching to get ambulances where they’re needed via the quickest possible route. It’s been recently announced that City Brain will be deployed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to help alleviate road congestion.
Rise of the bots
You may not have known it, but at some point in the recent past you’ve spoken to a bot. Even if you haven’t spoken to Siri or Alexa, you definitely messaged one. Typically embedded into a website to interact directly with clients, bots are computer programs that can serve customer’s needs via “conversations”. They can be an excellent source for interacting and engaging users. For example, automaker Nissan’s new Micra chatbot asks questions about your personality to make colour suggests for your new car. Going forward, as bots increase their capabilities, they could replace apps because they are just quicker to use. Instead of using a few different apps to check the weather, book a flight and let a friend know you’ll be in town, a bot will be able to do all of those for you by asking it a question or two.