It is imperative to stay along with the technology innovation to help propel the business and their clients' businesses forward. From artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR), here are the top tech trends to watch and start to leverage in 2018.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Businesses are using AI to help products, processes and business solutions become smarter. For marketers, AI is showing up across the marketing stack and driving everything from smart, real-time sales research to automated social media and email follow-ups, even bringing FAQs to life through chatbots.
Customers today demand personalization, and AI does the heavy lifting of aggregating customer data to serve personalized ads and information in real time. By continuously providing better analytics insights, this tech frees marketers from repetitive data-gathering tasks so they can provide more strategic insights for clients.
IoT-connected devices are one of the biggest trends in 2018. This means more screens and more opportunities for interactive marketing. Think about how grocers could connect with smart refrigerators or how a home goods store, like Home Depot or Lowe's, could prompt consumers to have more control over a water heater or more energy efficient windows, for example.
- Augmented Reality (AR) And Mobile
Look for an intersection of AR and mobile devices this year. Telecommunications companies are coming out with lightning-fast 5G functionality for smartphones, a great boon to mobile employees who need to stay connected to work. AR technology will take advantage of the enhanced mobile experience to immerse users and keep them connected at the same time.
AR will become the "next screen" for marketers to provide new experiences. From interactively trying on clothes or touring hotels or data centers, customers will have the chance to interactively experience products and services in real time without being in a store. Conversely, stores will be able to offer wider selections of products. Conferences and meetings will change with speakers showing up as holograms and participants joining from across the world without traveling to the conference location.
Look for giant leaps in robotics, thanks to technology innovation and decreasing prices of AI and motion-sensing technology. Collaborative robots will become even smarter, making them more efficient and better able to work with humans.
Whereas artificial intelligence augments digital interactions, robotics replaces manual actions. Their machine learning allows them to pick up new tasks easily, making them quickly deployable to a variety of working environments. And integrating AI with robotics makes collaborative robots more accessible to businesses to increase efficiencies, such as digital chatbots and answering customer questions.
Robots can take care of repetitive manual functions that humans do now and have the ability to replace retail work, manufacturing and more. Marketers can help the world become more comfortable with these advances and give displaced workers hope when becoming involved in the new ways their industries will need to leverage talent.
Machine learning and AI are the big focus for drone technology innovation in 2018. Drones can gather information for a variety of industries, saving man-hours and their associated cost. Today, marketers are using drones for photography, data analysis and interactive experiences like the light show at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Consider how a drone can help gather the data needed for aerial photography, mapping, entertainment and more. The key to drone use is leveraging AI to process all that data because, as companies use drones more often, the data sets get bigger. AI and machine learning and their algorithms evolve every day and are getting better and more exact.
Storage capacity is a driving trend for cloud computing in 2018 and will directly affect most companies. Experts predict that the storage capacity needs will climb to 1.1 zettabytes, double what it was in 2017. As data centers expand and offer more space, you have more incentive to use inexpensive cloud-hosted data storage space to store and support a variety of business data.
The more data you can collect, the better your business intelligence, so watch for increased cloud computing and storage over the next year. This expansion is likely to extend big data analysis and analytics to all businesses, from small and medium to enterprise-level. Marketers are leveraging big data and the cloud to provide hyper-personalized advertising and content marketing.
There is no doubt that the world is changing quickly. Smart marketers are leveraging all of it to provide better experiences for prospects and customers. It is an exciting time to work in the field.
This article was originally published in Forbes.