The future of technology: Expert opinion

Technology trends can change, and change in an instant. Although the industry is progressing with new innovations, the global pandemic forced companies to swich their focus and ensure their tech solutions supported employees who were working remotely. As businesses (and consumers) look to adapt to the ever-changing digital interface, the likelihood of a future of AI and bots as co-workers, is looking ever greater. 

Technology trends such as the importance of Cybersecurity, were predicted to be a key focus heading into 2021. It is predicted that by 2024, organizations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture will reduce the financial impact of security incidents by an average of 90%. (Gartner)

Although Cybersecurity has remained a top trend and priority for professionals, there are other emerging technology trends which industry experts predict will have a major impact in 2022. 

Technology and Media in the UK 

There is no doubt that the technology sector in the UK has seen tremendous growth in recent time; with £25bn spent on content via Google and Apple’s app stores worldwide in the first nine months of 2017. Between, 2014-2017, digital tech employment rose by 13.2%; according to Tech Nation. 

According to CBI (Confederation of British Industry), there are currently 2,336,000 jobs, that depend on tech, media and telecoms. Technology, media and telecoms sector exports £65bn of goods. 

Digital applications are becoming part of our day-to-day lives. Booking appointments, communication needs, ecommerce transactions are only a few of the activities which consumers can complete using their smartphones. The more apps that are being created, the more convenient life becomes for the consumer – there are no signs of it slowing down. 

PwC is anticipating that Britons will download £3.8bn apps a year by 2022. 

Social media has become easily accessible from a mobile device, and that has contributed to the decline of printed media and newspaper articles; but other media sectors are seeing some success. 

Amongst the predicted sectors to see some growth in 2022 will be hi-tech entertainment, including Virtual Reality gaming and the emerging “esports”, which has seen millions of gamers globally, compete against one another. 

Chief technology officer at app developer Progress, Dimitri Tcherevik, believes that this is only the beginning of the smartphone revolution, with the likes of Augmented and Virtual Reality, to be controlled by AI in phones. 

“The smartphone is just getting started as the computing hub for new technologies, such as augmented reality, virtual reality and smart devices, all controlled via AI chips within phones.”

Data and Artificial Intelligence 

The use of collated data has become very important for businesses to ensure that consumer needs are met. Personalisation in marketing is now an essential part of strategy, but with what is done with the information which is retrieved from consumers, is examined to greater detail now. 

There are increasing calls from consumers to see extra measures to have their data protected. Neil Bellamy, head of technology, media and telecoms at NatWest, believes that AI will be a huge influence in the future office. 

“The human-to-digital interface is also becoming more complex, with the advancing need for personal clouds, biometric identity and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Most of us will have an AI co-worker and, as consumers, will increasingly interact with more bots than humans.”

Neil added: “The data universe is expanding exponentially and aggregated into huge data sets, which means that hyper personalised products and services can now be created to meet business and consumer needs,”

We are seeing various AI technologies being implemented to support businesses, as well as provide security for personal devices. Implementations such as personal clouds, or biometric identification which includes face-scan technology. 

The Financial Times reported that DeepMind and UK’s Met Office are to use AI to improve weather forecasts. As well as using AI to predict weather forecasts and potentially save lives from dangerous weather such as excessive floods, we could very well see AI become mainstream in offices around the UK. Virtual Assistants and chatbots are likely to be introduced in the next few years. 

Adapting To Change/Competitors

Adapting to changes may not be easy for all organisations, depending on the target audience and the competitors. The shift in technology has not only created solutions for the future, but at the same time, it has also posed some challenges for businesses. As well as data protection, some consumers prefer to block online adverts or pop-up adverts. According to a survey from Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) in 2017, eight of out ten respondents say online ads can impact their experience on specific website. 

Paid YouTube mobile advertising is 84% more likely to receive viewers' attention than TV advertising; due to the amount of time millennials spend on YouTube.

Gavin Mann, global broadcast lead at Accenture, the biggest issue businesses face is deciding how they can benefit from their current business operations whilst making a transition into the new way of working. 

“Media organisations are continuously having to evolve,” explains Gavin Mann, global broadcast lead at Accenture. “The biggest challenge is working out how you continue to benefit from your core business while preparing yourself for the new.

“Established players need to apply the full force of digital innovation, decoupling decision-making, operational processes and technology from legacy ways of working,” Mann said. 

According to Justin Taylor, UK managing director of software firm Teads, up to a fifth of internet users now use software to block adverts; and says that ads must be entertaining in order to prevent users blocking ads. 

“If we want to curb ad blocking, ads can’t be intrusive and need to be entertaining.

“For example, some video ads now include augmented reality tech that give you the option to ‘try on’ products like sunglasses before buying.”

Dealing With Online Data 

As mentioned earlier with the growing demand from consumers on data protection, media organisations are facing the constant challenge of evolving, as consumer behaviour changes. 

Facebook have been in the news a few times over the last year or two, regarding data privacy and data leaks. With one of the most recognised global social media names under scrutiny, focus on data security must be “paramount” for media companies, according to Abe Smith, president of EMEAI at Cision.

“I think we are at a crossroads,” Mr Smith continues. “According to a YouGov poll, 55 per cent of British adults say they hate targeted advertising.

“No one wants to feel a sense of ‘Big Brother is watching’, but mass media would bombard us all with an avalanche of useless content if unfiltered. Finding the balance is really where we are today,” he says.

Growing Technology trends 

Augmented Reality – Augmented reality applications are providing users with a unique experience, mixing the “real” world with virtual elements and information. The success of the Pokémon Go app in 2017, gave users a new outlook on AR.  

Virtual Reality – Like AR, Virtual reality is providing users with unique gaming, shopping, networking and general digital experiences. VR headsets are being used to showcase certain experiences. For example, gamers are increasingly using VR headsets for the best gaming experience, VR is becoming a growing shopping trend. 

5G – Although 4G is set to come to London’s underground stations by 2024, 5G will deliver speeds which could be hundreds of times faster than the 4G network; possibly playing a key role to self-driving vehicles. 

Voice Control – We now have access to voice control devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, could we see voice control installed into home televisions? 

Wearable Technology – Wearable technology such as WaveOptics’ “smart glasses”, enable users to see digital images overlaid on top of the real world

To Conclude:

The advancements in technology are set to be part of everyday life, according to our experts. They are predicting the continuous rise of VR and AR technologies, but expect to see them as the next computing platform after PC’s and laptops. Carrying devices such as a mobile phone or tablet may become extinct in a decade; and Dimitri Tcherevik thinks smartphones could one day be installed into our bodies! 

“The phone of the future won’t be a phone; it will be a tiny computer which will augment our nervous system, enhancing our senses.”