In the world of tech sorting out the fads from the game changes is tricky. Here are five trends you should follow:
One day soon you’ll be able to use the ATM through retina scan and voice recognition. Smartphone developers are adding fingerprint scanners to devices, financial institutions are testing voice and facial recognition security to identify customers, and the British government already uses the technology for residency applications. BCC Research predicts that the global biometrics market will grow to nearly US$27.5 billion by 2019, with annual growth of 19.8 per cent. However, not surprisingly, privacy remains a discussion point.
2. 3D printing
3D printers have the potential to change markets in a way we’re only starting to grasp. Broke your coffee cup? Just print another one. The technology will allow companies to rethink inventory, especially low-volume obsolete parts which still need to be available. A PwC report suggests manufacturers that print parts otherwise warehoused, could make big savings and get products to customers faster.
3. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (“IoT”) is the continuing expansion of data networks so the Internet becomes integrated into almost every kind of device. According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020. Most gaming consoles are now connected and in the near future our motor vehicles and household appliances will be hooked in. This concept is not new but businesses need to understand its value and applications to their specific industries. Microsoft is trialling loT to provide faster access to patient data for doctors while Tesla is testing loT to support vehicle maintenance.
Smart watches, glasses, bracelets and other devices have brought technology into situations beyond the reach of PCs, laptops, and even smartphones. What Deloitte has termed ‘just in time digital logistics’ has the potential to give companies a much deeper understanding of their customers, while allowing them to interact in a more personalised way. We are still in the early days, but Gartner values the wearable fitness and personal health devices market at US$5 billion by 2016.
5. Big data
The key is understanding how to leverage “big data” in your business – for example by crunching sales patterns to plan inventory levels, cutting staff expenses by analysing employee overtime and rearranging work schedules or using social media data to gauge what customers think about your business and competitors. For the tech-savvy business leader, these hot tech trends offer opportunities and solutions that shouldn’t be ignored.