Looking back at 2018, there were a number of important progressions in the digital technology space. A few of the highlights seen in 2018 included:
- Intelligent Reporting – Data Visualization has come on leaps and bounds, and has become an adopted mainstream factor for an increasing number of businesses in 2018
- Data Science as a Discipline – ‘AI’, ‘Natural Language Processing’ and ‘Neural Networks’ have become entrenched in the business lexicon and begun to see practical applications in leading companies. Traditional segmentation models are now being eschewed by many in favor of algorithmically based machine learning groupings and BI powered groupings. If “Content is King”, then surely we can say “Data is the Government”, driving impact based on refinement of science and learning.
- VR Finding Its Path… slowly – Both VR and AR are waiting for the hardware capabilities to catch up with them, but the gap is closing. The release of the Oculus Go, the first stand-alone Wireless VR headset in 2018 has marked a milestone, as has “The VoID”, the first interactive The interactive multi-player VR multi-sensory experience, which debuted at cinemas in select markets across the country. On the AR front, an arms race is currently underway between tech giants (Google, Facebook, Apple) to bring the first wide stream Augmented Reality wearable tech to the market. In the meantime, devices servicing the medical space have started to surface, with AR glasses for the sight, such as OxTech’s product, now hitting the market.
- Streaming Services go for Cable’s Jugular – Emergent Over the Air (OTA) services such as YouTube TV, Hulu and Sling are more effectively bridging the gap to facilitate “cord cutting” without sacrificing Live streaming TV services, piling on pressure to services such as DirecTV, Charter and AT&T UVerse to retain their market share and competitiveness. While Netflix has cemented their offer as an alternative to the video library/rental market of the world, augmented with some tremendous self-produced content, the newer entrants such as YouTube TV include live streaming through direct partnerships with networks, as well as unlimited cloud storage. Combined, this created a very compelling, less expensive, and scalable proposition for those who would have not previously considered “cutting the cord” for library-alone based services due to lack of live content.
- Continued Expansion of Self-Service Kiosks – Although Panera Bread and a few other fast-casual chains have utilized kiosks and digital ordering installations for the last few years, the first major foray into Fast Food happened in 2018 with McDonald’s pursuing an aggressive implementation and expansion of Self-Service Kiosks into their stores, equipping 1,000 stores per quarter in 2018. The rationale behind this is not, as many have speculated, to reduce human capital in the locations, but is rather, rooted in consumer behavior. People have a tendency to order more (McDonald’s estimates 5-6% higher AOV) when presented with the greater customization options and time to decide that a kiosk offers.
That’s my Top 5 of 2018! To read about my Top 5 Digital Technology Predictions for 2019, Please check out the accompanying article here: