For most of us computer geeks, we've always been fascinated with the world of science fiction. The idea that man can use technology to travel farther, communicate faster and work more efficiently is part of what drives us to do what we do. And now we're seeing the fantasy brain children of past generations come to life.
In the 90's Star Trek the Next Generation set our imaginations aflame with its futuristic tech. The captain could say, "Computer, how far until we reach the next planet?" and the computer would respond, giving him exact coordinates. Doctors and nurses entered medical data into these slim, hand-held devices that recorded patient information and stored it on the main computer. Crew members entered holodecks and lived out fantasy scenarios for fun. It seemed so cool and so unrealistic.
But now we have products like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Just ask and they'll tell you where to find the nearest florist or order you an Uber. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are making great strides toward becoming a part of our mainstream lives and mobile devices like cell phones and tablets have become such an integral part of our daily fabric that they're almost old news now.
Science fiction has evolved into science fact, and that is changing not only our personal lives, but also the business landscape. So what are some of these trends and how can they affect you?
- Virtual Reality:
The last few years have seen an increase in the development and use of Virtual Reality, and that trend will only continue to rise. Proponents of the technology are looking to engage users in concerts and sporting events from the comfort of their own homes or local VR "kiosks." But how can this benefit businesses? Consider everything from Virtual Reality training opportunities to system prototypes and demos. There's also an opportunity for businesses to begin using VR marketing - engaging customers through targeted "ads" embedded in virtual reality experiences.
- Augmented Reality:
Like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is an opportunity to engage consumers through apps that enhance real world interactions. Pokemon Go, for example, was downloaded over 100 million times by users and savvy business owners increased their exposure and revenue by engaging with AR users. Whether you build your own AR app or use marketing and social media to tie in to existing apps, utilizing AR is a smart move for any business.
- Smart Home Tech:
As everything from our security systems and thermostats to our TVs and refrigerators are becoming "smart," our world is growing increasingly connected. With the aforementioned home assistants, we can manage our surroundings with the cell phones we carry everywhere. But if your business is not tied in to the "internet of things" you may be sacrificing some possible benefits. If someone asks "Alexa, where's the nearest deli?" and your corner shop isn't registered as a business with Google, you may miss out on a lot of directed traffic.
- Artificial Intelligence:
In the world of sci-fi, this seems like a scary advancement, but AI is becoming an important part of business. Having systems that can learn and adapt to users rather than follow pre-defined instructions will be key to growing applications going forward. The ability to learn and predict usage to augment future behavior will allow for the creation of smarter devices and programs. This technology could make everyday business tasks easier, like prioritizing your email. It's also predicted to drive most customer app experiences over the next 3 years.
Are you ready for the technology revolutions of the next few years? At Spud, we're always learning about new trends and how we can use them to help our clients grow into the future. If you want to take advantage of tomorrow's technology, we would love to help you - we'll even do those George Jetson-like video conferences if you want to feel super-futuristic.