3 Breakout Technology Trends in 2017
MCD has looked at the recent shifts in technology over the last year and aims to identify three of the most influential technology trends in 2017. Each example is experiencing major growth and will continue to create new value for businesses and consumers alike.
IoT (Internet of Things) — Voice Control
As processor speeds ramp up and are moved into the cloud, voice recognition software has been able to reach near 90% accuracy. This jump in technology has slowly started to create an emerging market for internet based devices that can control everything from lights to bank accounts. In more recent years, the driver of this new technology has been the Amazon Echo, but we’re seeing almost all major software/hardware companies jumping at the chance to capture the voice driven market.
While quietly launching in 2014, the Amazon Echo has experienced explosive growth in only the last two years. Going from 2.4 million in sales in 2015 to almost 8.2 million in worldwide life time sales by end of 2016. Sales have spiked by nine times from prior years as consumers aim to make their lives even easier and more hands free.
The backbone of this hardware has been Amazon’s open API that allows developers to create their own “skills” to help drive the platform. With over 6,000 of these skills currently in the marketplace, companies are able to tailor their own experiences to the Alexa platform and give their customers truly hands free experiences with low invested development time. In the fintech space, companies like Capital One have recently released their own Alexa skill to manage your credit card, pay bills, transfer money, and check on payment dates.
While Amazon’s Alexa is certainly the dominant story in this market, it’s not the only one. Google recently launched its Google Home device, plus Apple and Microsoft continue to push their hands free solutions with Siri and Cortana on their perspective platforms.
With all this investment into the IoT voice controlled world, MCD has seen some interesting statistics arise from consumers that help solidify this technology as a prime area for consumer growth.
- Voice Labs estimated this month that there will be 24.5 million voice-first devices shipped in 2017.
- Amazon started a $100 million fund to invest in companies that will push the boundaries of voice-based interaction and will launch an Alexa accelerator in Seattle next year.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.
- Voice search queries are up 35% since 2008.
- The global intelligent virtual assistant market is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2020.
- In 2017, the technology is becoming all but ubiquitous as it is integrated into cars, phones, televisions, refrigerators, and beyond.
Machine Learning — Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Although this subfield of computer science is nothing new (starting in 1959), in recent years it has become the backbone of Big Data and a driving force for automation in the marketplace. Simply put, machine learning gives “computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” In the past this technology was limited by computing power and limited sets of data; however, things are changing quickly.
With more than 40 percent of the world’s population now online and over two billion smartphones in operation, we have finally reached a sort of inflection point in technology between cloud based computing and massive amounts of user created data. This inflection point means we can finally allow computers to observe behaviors and make highly accurate decisions based on those behaviors.
This insight has kicked off a massive investment into the field in the last few years with an estimated US$1 billion amassed by machine intelligence startups in 2016. One of the major areas for this investment has been in the financial sector and is used to help combat fraud and predict consumer trends.
This shift in how businesses make choices by computer driven data has already had an alarming effect.
- Fraud prevention can now be determined in milliseconds.
- Financial institutions are moving to big data platforms like Hadoop to store and analyze their data.
- Revenue from insight driven business is expected to grow 25%.
- Insights-driven businesses will steal $1.2 trillion annually by 2020.
- Investment in AI will triple in 2017.
- Customer data management projects will increase by 75%.
The business driven bot revolution has grown seemingly out of nowhere and is just now hitting its stride in 2017. As consumers move closer to being “always-on” the demand for 24-hour support has increased. Couple this with consumer communication habits shifting largely to SMS, mobile messaging apps, and text; has lead to the need for chatbots that respond quickly and effectively.
Much of this shift can be directly related to the recent efforts of companies like Facebook, who in 2016 opened up its Messenger platform with over one billion active monthly users. Over 45,000 developers are now using the Wit.ai platform to create realtime bots. However, this move isn’t happening only because of Facebook.
The desire to improve chatbots can be directly related to the habits of Millennials. A recent 2014 Gallup poll shows text messages now outrank phone calls as the top form of communication among Millennials. In fact, 68% of 18 to 29 year-olds say they texted “a lot”, with many Millennials seeing voice-to-voice communication as “intrusive”.
Add all this data up and you can see the current race to create more efficient and effective chatbots is here to stay. The proof is in the numbers.
- 51 percent of people say a business needs to be available 24/7.
- 45.8 percent would rather contact a business through messaging than email.
- 49.4 percent would rather contact a business through messaging than phone call.
- Facebook Messenger alone now accounts for over 11,000 chatbots.
- People now use messaging apps more than they use social networks.
If you’d like to learn more about MCD’s technical capabilities or how these technology trends could impact your business, please contact us today.