5 Tech Trends That Will Change Your Business
At first glance, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may seem far removed from daily business activities. But, in truth, many of the technologies showcased there each year eventually find their way into the workplace.
That’s because consumer technologies have a track record of driving business changes. If you need proof, just think of the smartphone and how its adoption by consumers spurred workplace demand.
If this year’s announcements at CES® 2017 are any indication, business executives should begin to prepare their teams for a year of transformation. Artificial intelligence, robots and the Internet of Things (IoT) dominated this year’s show.
“The underlying theme is, everything’s becoming connected and everything’s getting smarter,” Gartner analyst Mark Hung told TechTarget.
These themes, paired with still-evolving technology and workplace changes such as collaboration and cloud, will revolutionize the future of work. With that thought in mind, let’s look at five technologies too big to ignore in 2017.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Voice Assistants
The most talked about products at the 2017 show were robots and artificial intelligence. For example, Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri is a domestic robot, designed to be a companion and virtual assistant. Using interaction design, machine learning and mobility, Kuri can play games, adjust the temperature in your home and chase the dog off the couch.
The star of the show, however, was Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, for which dozens of companies launched compatible devices. For example, the voice assistant appeared in refrigerators that make it possible for consumers to use voice commands to order groceries while viewing the fridge’s contents. How cool is that (pun intended)?
No doubt, as businesses seek to streamline and improve customer experiences, voice-controlled AI technology like Alexa will elevate service to new levels.
2. Internet of Things
Advancements in sensors, software and technology will enable more objects to be connected to the Internet of Things, greatly increasing the potential for new services. Ubiquitous connectivity will provide businesses with more data about how people live, thus providing valuable information that can be used to design products and customer service aligned to individual needs.
Further, smart homes and offices can transmit user data that can be used to predict customers’ needs before they are even aware of them. This almost certainly will transform the way contact centers operate, as data can be used to design new customer experiences and improve the ability of the contact center to generate more revenue with cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
3. Shipping and Delivery
As Amazon ups the ante with things like same-day shipping, businesses will look for ways to improve the customer experience. Automation is already improving the delivery process for eCommerce retailers as they integrate communications technologies to keep customers informed about order status and reduce package theft. For example, retailers can send a text message to the customer when an order arrives on their doorstep.
4. Integration of Chat Bots
Expect to see more businesses roll out robotic process automation in 2017. Chat bots can be integrated into devices, products and web services to improve the shopping experience, answer questions and resolve problems. This will make customer interactions faster, more personal and more effective.
5. Collaboration Tools
The workforce will continue to transform in 2017, as businesses increase hiring of freelancers, engage more remote workers and extend their businesses into new geographic markets. Collaboration tools such as video conferencing will become the linchpin for effectively managing a dispersed workforce.
These emerging technologies have vast potential to transform the way we communicate and collaborate. But perhaps what’s most exciting is the opportunity to build new business models and create more powerful customer experiences. That’s why, if these technologies aren’t on your 2017 agenda yet, it’s time to make sure they are.
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