Are you up to speed with tomorrow’s trends ?
Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 report gives insight into what we can expect in 2019 and beyond. Here is our layman’s guide to some major trends:
B2C customers are increasingly – particularly at the upper price point – demanding personalisation and customisation of their purchases along with rapid delivery times. Japan’s online clothing retailer Zozo makes clever use of technology to offer made-to-measure clothing without ever visiting a store. Prospective customers are posted a stretchy black catsuit covered in white dots. They then take multiple photographs of themselves wearing the suit using Zozo’s app – see how it works here. Another good example of customisation is Gillette’s online service for a bespoke, personalised razor.
Artificial intelligence (‘AI’)
The term used to describe when machines emulate human reasoning, i.e. gathering information, learning rules for interpreting the information, using these rules to draw conclusions and learning when these conclusions prove incorrect. AI will drive massive change in everything from catching corrupt officials to writing articles such as this to inputting data into Microsoft Excel.
We are already familiar with virtual reality, whereby we are presented with an entirely computer-generated virtual world to utilise and explore – an obvious example being computer games, or films such as Toy Story.
In the case of augmented reality, digitally-generated artefacts are layered on top of the physical environment allowing the user to experience the interplay between the two. Pokémon Go was a ground-breaking example which allowed users to view digital characters superimposed onto the natural world when viewed via their phone optics. For those of us who haven’t played Pokémon Go, here is an example from Mercedes Benz, who also use it to train staff.
Mixed reality (‘MR’) is the next step implementation of the above wherein physical and digital worlds merge seamlessly. At any given moment the experience could be entirely real-world, entirely digital, or any permutation in between. Imagine sitting in a boardroom in which no other chair is physically occupied, however when viewed through an MR headset (or MR browser on a pc) each chair is occupied by a 3D hologram of your colleagues. Software manufacturers are already developing browsers to cope with MR inputs, examples being Mozilla’s Firefox Reality and Microsoft’s Windows 10 update. And if you’re not able to be in front of a screen or wear a headset you can always have an AR implant directly in your eye.
Distributed ledger (‘DL’)
Historically, transactions of any sort were recorded only in the ledgers of the parties involved. In special cases (such as share trading) all trades are routed via a central exchange which invigilates and records each transaction such that three parties – the buyer, the seller and the exchange have transaction records. Advances in cryptography now allow transaction details to be securely stored across multiple locations, i.e. a ‘distributed ledger’. In that way every transaction record also contains the details of every previous transaction of that product. An example of this in action is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the DL technology which underpins it – Blockchain. This is considered such an important future technology that the UK government commissioned a report into its likely impact and use.
However, the viability of DL technology depends on the security of its encryption. In the event that these cryptographic algorithms are compromised the possibility exists to falsify transactions. Existing computer technology cannot perform the calculations necessary to ‘crack’ lengthy encryption keys however the next generation of processors – quantum computing – will be a game-changer.
IBM recently announced the world’s first commercial quantum computer. Quantum computers use an entirely different technology to current binary electronic versions and are exponentially more powerful. Once fully developed they will have the capacity to swiftly decode the encryption upon which DL depends.
To discuss the impact digital transformation will have on your industry and/or organisation please contact Steven Godfrey.