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Prior to the New Year’s Eve, every decent tech or consulting company feels obliged to share its vision on technology development for the next year. Some of these predictions may sound pretty vague and as if inspired by sci-fi culture, but still give us good food for thought.

All in all, when there are so many examples of tremendous success done by pioneers of certain technologies, the fear of missing out becomes reasonable if you think of it from the business perspective. When a company opts to not implement a new technology, it may risk falling behind the competitors that didn’t miss that chance.

We want to look in details at several tech predictions that, as we believe, are among the most grounded, and definitely worth your attention – those concerning Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), and Augmented Reality (AR). Learn what to expect from these technologies in 2018 and what it means to your business – further in this blog post.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL)

AI was a hot topic in 2017 and will stay so in 2018. And whereas many people still treat it as a trendy buzzword and keep themselves busy with the never-ending discussion of whether AI would destroy a humanity, true entrepreneurs started introducing neural networks and Machine Learning for the benefit of their businesses. Thousands of companies around the world have already adopted it (Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, IBM, to name a few). But more and bigger opportunities are yet to come.

Deloitte foresees that the usage of ML by medium and large companies will double in 2018 and will continue growing after that. Healthcare, automotive, retail and financial sectors hold the greatest potential for product development and disruption due to AI, however, “no sector or business is in any way immune from the impact of AI” according to PwC analysis.

We personally believe that this year more medium and small companies will start using AI in the production environment. As barriers to entry become significantly lower, AI technologies are no longer exclusive to companies with big tech budget.

Augmented Reality (AR)

No, we don’t think that in 2018 AR headsets will appear in every household (even though its popularization is undeniable). But its wider use by businesses (and not only in the entertainment industry) is undeniable.

According to Deloitte, more than a billion smartphone users will create AR content at least once this year, whereas direct AR revenues will raise beyond $ 1 billion by 2020.

We foresee broader application of AR in construction, architecture, design, retail, military, education and science sectors, giving opportunities for both hardware and software providers, as well as AR content creators.

How to respond?

Certainly, the expected development of AI and AR doesn’t mean that every business needs to launch R&D projects urgently and invest all that they have just as if it’s a goldmine. These technologies are only tools, and success of their adoption depends on how and for what they are adopted.

Doing nothing is also not an option unless you operate in an economy with a low risk of disruption that might be caused by AI. In the long run, the policy of ignorance leads to businesses turning obsolete or uncompetitive. Skeptical about it? Paper yellow pages also were skeptical when the Internet appeared and promised that all data will be available online soon…

One way or another, 2018 is high time to switch on your business imagination, forget about usual barriers we restrain our brain with and think what areas of your business can be enhanced, optimized, what new value you can provide for your clients when armed with the new technologies.

Your business’ and your clients’ needs should stand at the origins of AI or AR adoption, not just a desire to implement the new tech just to have it or to keep up with competitors. This might sound obvious, but it’s a common tendency for businesses to think “How can we use this new technology in our company?” instead of “Where do we seek higher productivity, automation, or new value to be produced?” The latter mindset is crucial for successful exploration of the new tech.

The pilot projects or initial proof of concepts can be done in cooperation with IT companies specialized in these technologies. If it’s an internal standardized process that needs some AI enhancement, there is a chance to find a ready-made solution for it – there are various platforms, apps, and tools which enable AI-driven work similar to SaaS model. This way you can try waters with minimum resources and in the shortest period of time without skilled data scientists on board.

Developing your own AI forces from scratch should be a well-weighted business decision. Besides the justification for the investment, you should keep potential challenges in mind. A shortage of AI experts, technological capacity and access to data remain the main obstacles in this field. The first one explains why more and more companies cooperate with universities and try to hire young talents first hand from there or encourage their current employees to educate on AI-related subjects (luckily, there are many online courses for that).

…In case of any questions or doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to consult you on AI, AR and IT related issues, as well as bring your business ideas to life using the top-notch technologies.

Recommended reading:

The Business of Artificial Intelligence
Sizing the Prize: What’s the Real Value of AI for Your Business and How Can You Capitalise?
Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 and Beyond: Pace Yourself, for Sanity’s Sake
Global Predictions 2018: See What the Future Holds for Technology, Media and Telecommunications

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