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Congrats all! We made it to the last bit of 2017. As we patiently wait to see what the new year brings, there are many thoughts and ideas as to what we’ll face next year. Luckily for you, we added our predictions for what will disrupt your line of work in the very near future.
Trend 1: The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
AI is a buzzword that won’t be going away anytime soon. Intelligent machines can learn and mimic human behavior and will be further intertwined with business processes in the years to come. We can attest to this fact, as we have our own plans to leverage the powerful capabilities of AI and machine learning even further and into new markets (a decision made in part from our participation in the Watson Build challenge earlier this year).
In fact, according to Gartner, “the ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025.” Other predictions from the research firm can be seen below.
There is an immense opportunity in the coming years powered by AI for business leaders to delve into, including recommendation engines, smart agents, and natural-language processing.
Areas where AI will be most useful:
- Advanced healthcare technologies. In fact this year, a bionic hand which knows what it’s grabbing with an AI-powered camera has been developed. We will see more prosthetics with the ability to sense come to light in the next few years.
- Fraud detection. Finance organizations will use AI to visualize customer information better and offer more personalized services. Furthermore, IDC Financial Insights predicts total IT spending by financial institutions globally will exceed $310 billion by 2019 which proves there will be more use cases in the future.
- Virtual assistants for better customer experiences. 20% of enterprises will deploy AI to make decisions and provide real-time instructions. AI will suggest what to offer customers, recommend terms to give suppliers, and instruct employees on what to say and do — in real time.
- Gartner predicts that by 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for bot interactions, and by 2019, startups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.
Trend 2: Data-based Insights Will Dominate Business
Artificial Intelligence is and will be a huge success factor for businesses. But AI doesn’t even begin unless you have the data to support it. Data literacy is becoming a prerequisite for any portfolio, and it is no longer acceptable for data specialists to work in silos but rather be at the heart of strategic decision-making. In fact, by 2020 more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated, resulting in increased productivity and broader usage by citizen data scientists.
Traditionally, data used for decision-making has been highly structured, but in order to stay competitive and successful, companies must incorporate data and analytics into all aspects of their business processes (a message we reinforced at the 2017 Insurance Analytics Canada Summit).
Chief Data Officers will explore opportunities to innovate with data, either through analytics embedded in internal business processes or through new external data-enabled products and services, and Forrester predicts that up to 80% of firms will rely on insights service providers for some portion of their insights capabilities in 2018.
Trend 3: The Growth of the Cloud
Cloud computing has come a long way since its inception nearly a decade ago. 2018 will see an increase in wider scale investments in cloud applications as workloads and resources will be distributed intelligently and automatically in cloud environments. Workplace automation that provides greater volumes of data and information for analysis, and software resources that make it easier to generate reports or assess past records will continue to grow in popularity, and we’ll see a demand in more data analysis software that will become a necessity for businesses.
“As it enters its second decade, cloud computing is increasingly becoming a vehicle for next-generation digital business,” says David Mitchell Smith, vice president, and Gartner fellow. “By 2020, anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives will require justification at more than 30% of large enterprise organizations.”
As the technology matures, data security will also continue to reach new levels, as IT leaders will hold privacy, safety, and reliability at the forefront before making cloud-related purchasing decisions.
Trend 4: The Customer and the Connected Device
As we head into the first quarter of 2018, the average consumer will get accustomed to connecting up to eight connected devices every day. As customers evolve their digital identities, businesses of all industries can improve customer experience, enhance operational efficiency and profits.
- Winterberry Group estimates that by 2020, the customer data on-boarding market may eclipse $1 billion (a day).
- According to the Ericcson Mobility Report, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices are expected to exceed mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018, growing at a 23% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2021.
- Gartner, Inc. forecasts that worldwide use of connected things will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.
Regardless of if these predictions come true or not, one fact will always remain: that technology never stands still but is constantly in flux.
We’d love to hear your opinions, questions or even your predictions for 2018.