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technology trends

The future of technology is more than just bots.

– by AccelerAsia

Towards the start of each new year, experts weigh in on tech predictions and have their forecasts. From AI to blockchain, the benefits of the latest “buzzword” are extolled and get given the spotlight. But while the world of tech is often fast-paced and transformative, one thing has always stood in the way – adoption. With the first quarter of the year coming to an end, we reached out to a few leaders and disruptors in the field to give their opinion on which tech-driven trend is on the rise, and why.    

On AI : AI will be more creative than us
Why? Because AI is beginning to show a bit more “personality”

“Current AI is already pretty smart. IBM’s Watson is winning debates with funny arguments and Alphastar just beat a Pro Player at Starcraft 2 using novel approaches. For marketing and branding, creative ideas can make or break a brand or campaign. And we are not the only ones developing creative AI Co-Pilots for ideation and Brand growth. AIs can already classify words and images better than humans. Putting them together in meaningful and creative ways is next.” – Dr. Jonathan T. Mall, Co-Founder, NEURO FLASH

On Medtech: Medical and insurance services will be more accessible to rural areas
Why? Because smartphone penetration is high in SEA

“In Southeast Asia, there’s a scarcity of hospitals, clinics and insurance providers outside of the capitals, especially in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines with hundreds of islands. But mobile penetration is increasing, with the region poised to reach 480 million internet users by 2020 (reported by TechCrunch), with roughly 90% of Southeast Asia’s internet users being smartphone users.Through this, the internet and smartphones will make insurance and healthcare accessible for everyone in SEA for the first time as people will be able to buy insurance and talk to a doctor from their phone.” – Nicolo Robba, Founder, LifePal

 On Retail Tech: Companies shifting from industry 2.0
Why? Increasing competition, with disruptors entering the market

“More and more traditional wholesale, manufacturing companies and retailers are starting to embrace e-commerce. This is great for them as it means an additional sales channel to increase their order intake, but the visibility of prices increases, which leads to higher competition, and in some cases even suppliers become competitors because of this development. This places pressure on margins that continue to increase, but there are two things that companies can focus on to solve this, which is decrease costs and increase efficiency. One major way is to reduce work capital that is stuck in inventory, where efficiency is focussed on simplifying the forecasting and purchasing process, which tech like ours already helps solve.” – Erik De Witte, Operations Director SEA at SlimStock

On User Experience: Increased seamlessness, starting with companies
Why? More and more large (legacy) organisations are putting customers first, digitally

“As we move further into 2019, I think we’ll finally see the concept of a true seamless customer journey and experience come alive. To me, this is an amalgamation of intent, technology and data. Companies of all shapes and sizes are beginning to embrace this – any and all interactions whether utility, government, banks, retailers and anyone in between, enjoying a seamless journey of engagement and convenience, with no hurdles to “happily” completing an engagement. Internally, this means starting to dismantle silos and working together to ensure the customer journey is the most important focus. Externally, this means a true online and offline journey enabled by technology. The technology already exists – AI, devices, CRM, apps, reporting tools, IOT, etc. as does the data to understand a customer and their engagement journey – but the intent, leadership and bravery to adapt has to be equal.“ – Stuart Thornton, Co-Founder, Hoolah

On AR and VR: The rise of quality content for AR and VR
Why? Because VR and AR wearable tech has reached a mature stage where adoption (by masses) is next.

“No big waves will be made in VR and AR technology itself this year because it is now at the stage where the overall pace of advancement is determined by players in the industry making small improvements to their products. And I couldn’t be happier about it. What we will see are technology, standards, and products reach maturity, which in turn will allow more quality content to be created. The thing to look out for: wearable AR glasses. Its success hinges on two aspects: utility and aesthetics. If both are sufficiently addressed, they will become as prevalent as smartphones in a decade.” – Rene Bokhorst, Tech Director, MediaMonks

On Mobility: Smart Mobility will be at the heart of Smart City development
Why? Thanks to the rise in the bike and ride sharing economy

“Smart Mobility will be at the heart of Smart City development. Beyond the increase in the  sharing economy, adoption also hinges on new paradigms being created with a shared agenda in each major city between local authorities, startups and large corporates in the Mobility sector. This is imperative in order to have real innovation implemented in a larger framework of transformation within day-to-day life.” – Yann Marteil, Executive Chairman VIA ID, Managing Director MOBIVIA

On Data Privacy: The future of data privacy lies in AI
Why? Because users are unhappy with companies collecting and using their personal information, and are getting smarter about it

“It’s clear that while consumers enjoy the benefits of targeted marketing efforts, they’d rather not give up their personal information to get them, despite the best efforts of marketers to personalize their offers. On-device artificial intelligence – or Edge-AI– is the future of privacy because it addresses users’ greatest worries, allowing them to retain their private data on their personal smart devices, without giving up the benefit of personal and contextual services. Growth in this specific area will be fueled in part by marketers using AI solutions to better protect consumer privacy, while also opening the floodgates for marketers to get creative on offerings for their customers.” – Udi Jacobi, SVP of Sales & Marketing, Anagog

On Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):
After-the-fact attribution will shift to in-the-moment optimisation with Intelligent Journey Orchestration
Why? Because customers are getting increasingly savvy  

“It has never been easier for customers to churn to a competitor, and as a result, we are seeing that the majority of marketing activities (particularly in the Financial Services industry), are aimed at attracting and retaining customers with the highest possible Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). The hitch is that while CLV attribution is absolutely essential, it is no longer enough. Businesses have the attribution data and analytics, but they are struggling to activate it, and that’s why we are starting to see a shift in marketing activities to actually using CLV attribution data to orchestrate customer journeys geared toward driving CLV. This year, we expect to see a rise in the adoption of Martech that enables businesses to orchestrate customer journeys with the help of AI-enabled optimization.” – Tomas Salfischberger, Founder, Relay42

On IoT in the Consumer Products Industry:
Brands are digitising products at mass-scale to make them intelligent, interactive and trackable on the Web

Why? Due to the increase in demand for more visibility into the global supply-chain  and the need to connect with end-users

“Conventionally, the consumer products industry largely flies blind with very limited traceability and visibility into the products they make and sell. But now, thanks to an upgrade to the ubiquitous barcode – used by more than two million manufacturers globally – the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming to everything, literally. Brands must respond to competition from e-commerce channels in a thoughtful and strategic way, and the digital switch-on of the world’s consumer products with GS1 Digital Link and EVRYTHNG digital identities creates an unprecedented opportunity to apply data science and intelligence to every product’s journey — connecting every product to every consumer.” – Simon Jones, SVP Sales, Europe & Asia, EVRYTHNG

On the influx of tech companies to Asia Pacific (APAC):
Businesses that have seen success overseas will continue looking to Asia for expansion
Why? Because APAC countries allow more room for development and have Smart City goals.

“Expanding a business into Asia is a challenging endeavour, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the region, its practices, and lack a team that can be deployed for local presence. So why do companies – like Dyson – still head over here, in particular to Singapore?  Beyond its envious geographical location in the heart of Asia and world-class infrastructure, Singapore has a ready pool of English-speaking talent that is backed by government initiatives to remain tech-savvy and digitally agile. It is also a cultural melting pot with global citizens who are aware of the nuances in doing business with different Asian countries. This makes it that much easier for companies to tap into local knowledge and gain a foothold in Asia, from Singapore.” – Joeri Giannotten, Partner, AccelerAsia.