Every January, the world’s tech industry kicks off the year with the CES conference in Las Vegas. Once known as the Consumer Electronics Show, the event is staged by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and showcases the latest developments and trends across a broad spectrum of users and industries.
What does a consumer electronics exhibition have to do with technology for business? The answer is the phenomenon called the “ consumerization of IT,” which refers to the tendency of tech trends originating in consumer markets to spread rapidly into business organizations. In short, what rolls out at CES in January may rumble through your company by December.
Why does IT consumerize so fast? Because every member of your staff is a consumer, too, including you. And in today’s digitally transformed world, the quality of gadgetry and online services that enchants us in our homes tends to raise expectations of the technology in our workplaces.
So, we reviewed CTA’s list of “2018 Tech Trends to Watch” -- along with other articles on the subject – and pegged three hot technologies you may see involved in your business sooner rather than later:
- Virtual Assistants
In a recent post, we predicted virtual assistants would be one way Artificial Intelligence (AI) would enter your business in coming years via applications such as chatbots and mobile messaging. Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri the work of virtual assistants already is well-established in the consumer realm. In 2018, they will enter the workplace, too, in the form of tools designed to boost human productivity by sharing information and supporting typical business functions. Per HubSpot columnist Amanda Zantal-Wiener, virtual assistant technology will make strides in “ conversations with context” during 2018. They not only will speak more like humans but also be able to explain why certain recommendations were given or specific actions taken on behalf of you and/or your employees and customers.
- Voice Recognition
Speaking of virtual assistants, they are one factor driving rapid development in voice recognition technology. Per Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers, voice recognition software is becoming “better at recognizing speech than human transcribers.” He foresees 2018 as the year we see the “manifestation and solidification of seamless conversation” with our devices and services. How can companies use this type of “conversation” as leverage? Zantal-Wiener calls voice the “fourth sales channel” and recommends business leaders “merge your brand with voice assistants and see how you can create content exclusively for that medium.”
To carry the escalating traffic and chatter of DeMers’ “seamless conversation” and Zantal-Wiener’s “fourth sales channel,” companies will need better wireless networks. Dubbed 5G, this next generation wireless promises to be as much as 10 times faster than predecessors, with greater capacity and fewer delays. And while implementation probably won’t be completed fully until the end of 2019, DeMers predicts 2018 will be a “year of massive preparation for engineers, developers and consumers, as they gear up for a new generation of internet.”
Whether virtual assistants, voice recognition and/or 5G networks come to your company now or later, the support of an IT Managed Services Provider ( MSP) will help integrate these hot technologies into your everyday operations, especially in the critical areas of cybersecurity, mobility and cloud computing.