Everything around us is getting smarter, from our PCs to conference room systems. We are adapting and evolving the way we engage with our technologies – in the workplace and at home – for faster consumption and productivity, and more convenient connections. In 2019, the dawn of limitless connectivity, full automation and immersion into extended realities will inch closer than ever before, shaping the way in which humans can harness smart technologies in the time of intelligent transformation.
TECH PREDICTION #1
Everything’s getting smarter, so what’s missing?
Smart spaces – whether physical or digital – are those wondrous environments where humans, devices and systems interact in open, connected and efficient ways. So where are the gaps? Based on recent research, our user experience team uncovered that saving time, creating comfort and enabling authentic human connections are what people value most in their technology.
For consumers, that means a much less frustrating and time-consuming experience when setting up their smart home with devices from a slew of different manufacturers with little-to-no integration. The adoption of PCs with smarter, connected features like voice recognition, biometric authentication and always-on connectivity, alongside an emerging category of smart displays that combine sight (touchscreen displays) with sound (voice assistants) will also evolve the way we engage with technology for faster information
consumption and more convenient connections.
In the workplace, it is all about the employee experience – not simply about tech or spaces, but about culture and how the three merge together. Forward-thinking organizations will start turning their attention to the concept of transitional, mobile engagement and spaces that foster greater collaboration and human connection. These communal spaces will require tools for instant collaboration and co-creation, including smart meeting room solutions, interactive displays and more.
TECH PREDICTION #2
Tech for good: How IoT, AI and AR/VR are making us happier and healthier
The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) will continue to scale into different verticals from manufacturing to education, retail and more in 2019. In fact, according to a recent Accenture study, 72 percent of health executives agree that extended reality will be widespread and impact virtually every industry over the next five years. AR/VR can be used to help patients visualize procedures to reduce anxiety. VR can also provide hospitalized children with the vital distraction needed through fun, dynamic entertainment, meditation exercises and therapeutic games to cope with their hospitalization.
In the education space, VR in the classroom allows students the chance to immerse themselves in experiences they normally wouldn’t have access to, like learning about wildlife on other continents through a virtual field trip. For those students facing physical, social or cognitive disabilities, VR creates an inclusive environment and potentially even levels the playing field.
Retail is also going through a transformation, with new ways to identify and engage customers early in the shopping experience, as well as enabling customers the freedom to purchase flexibly, whether via mobile, self-checkout, online or regular checkout. The drive to unified commerce applications in retail is leading a
revolution in transactional point-of-sale devices. These devices integrate with point-of-experience
interfaces for customer loyalty programs and IoT offerings to enhance retail with new technology in real-
time pricing, inventory management and customer analytics.
As new advances and applications make their way into various verticals, expect to see accelerated adoption as technology costs come down and organizational and business outcomes improve.
TECH PREDICTION #3
The future of security
Humans are often times considered to be the weakest link in security. The growth of mobility bring your own device (BYOD), remote working and the gig economy have all contributed to the security challenges companies are facing today.
AI has been touted as the pathway to protection; but as with many powerful tools, it can be used for good or for evil, as AI platforms are favored by cyber criminals too. We expect to see much more focus on machine learning to address security vulnerabilities, as well as more of a focus on end-to-end security solutions versus a patchwork collection of discrete tools. The trend from two-factor to multi-factor authentication on personal devices, for example, will continue to grow as security industry bodies like the FIDO Alliance integrate with Windows Hello to enable safer authentication.
The rise of smart devices in the home and office that are all interconnected will also introduce security vulnerabilities that will need to be addressed. A crucial aspect will be to learn from users through heuristics and new learning models addressing not just changes in technology but also changes in human behaviors. Companies will need to understand their multi-generational workforce, to better manage and
protect devices as well as develop strong security protocols and practices.
By Gianfranco Lanci, President and Chief Operating Officer, Lenovo