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Thirty Tech Trends from Wikibrands and Thirty CX Intersections

By Special Guest
Shrey Fadia
January 07, 2019

Sean Moffit, managing director @wikibrands, last year published this infographic of what he sees as “The 30 Technologies of the Next Decade.”

Robert Beck, Founder and CEO of CR-X, a global big-data science, management and platform company based in Australia, was drawn to this set of thirty megatrends, and challenged his team to think creatively about how Customer Experience (CX) crossed over into each of the trends.

“Big data is obviously a part of every technology going forward,” Beck said, “as will be artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the rise of automation. We’re seeing this across the board, with a diverse set of enterprise customers we support. And while CX itself was listed as one of the top thirty trends, it occurred to us that every digital service will require some parallel form of CX, so we decided to think through that and understand exactly how and why.”

The CR-X platform is the basis of CustomerView, an open cloud-based software-as-a-service contact centers use to analyze every interaction, including voice, chat, text, social and other embedded channels, and provide insights in near-real-time.

“As our hyperconnected world continues to infiltrate nearly every moment of our lives, and as we humans become more intuitively reliant on machines, including voice activated assistants, the demand for convenient and accurate support will continue to grow,” Beck said. “CX is at the crossroad of everything from our mobile devices to our smart cars, inside our smart homes, part of our virtual game play, and part of what makes smart cities run smarter.”

After taking on the internal challenge to identify where CX innovations had the potential to make those innovations more attractive to the market, and more competitive, “in each category, we found that with easy access and intuitive interactions, these technologies can be enhanced in action with smarter service.”

Following are the thirty opportunities Beck and his team identified.

  1. Artificial Intelligence – CustomerView, powered by the CR-X Big Data Innovation engine, is using AI to interpret massive amounts of data based on contact center conversations at scale. This enable enterprises to not only serve their customers better but improve their products and enhance their brands with continuous input from the real world.
  2. Internet of Things – CR-X that powers CustomerView, a leading CX platform, also drives massive IOT networks and IoT connected products. With hundreds of connected devices in the smart home of the future, for example, consumers will need easy and intuitive ways to install and interact with security systems, smart appliances, cameras, sensors and more.
  3. Mobile/Social Internet – with access to everything, including your favorite friends and brands while on the move, the bar is being set higher for “one touch” service. In the future, the smartphone owner will expect nothing less than a perfect experience with all the applications they choose; they will also rely more and more on their mobile devices to get support, and when they do get great support, they will happily share with others on social networks, all within seconds.
  4. Blockchain – with security and privacy top of mind, blockchain’s distributed, immutable ledger will be the foundation of new data management and identity access control services. CR-X offers unparalleled security solutions to regulated industries, such as healthcare, using private blockchain solutions that ensure private data stays private, making more sophisticated e-health solutions possible, including those delivered sensitively on mobile devices.
  5. Big Data – as we enter the Extabyte era, and as the cost of cloud storage and computing continues to go down as more capacity is made available, the economics associated with capturing and analyzing “oceans” of data unlocks the ability for brands to predict what specific consumers need. CR-X is an expert in the management and science of big data, applied to CX through our CustomerView platform.
  6. Automation – there’s no turning back when it comes to the amount of CX “sessions” given the multiplicity of many channels, many new products and services, and the globalization of brands. It will be literally impossible to manage all this “manually” – automation of mundane tasks, including contact center agents having to pull up records and decipher large quantities of data, will provide faster, better answers and assist the live human agents who are made “experts” with the right data delivered to them at the right moment. IoT is about automating end points in a robotic world.
  7. Robots – in the CX world, robots manifest as chatbots, and with natural language processing and the development of “virtualized empathy” we will see extraordinary innovation in this domain. Chatbots will ultimately become more sympathetic and empathic, however the yearning for speaking with another live human is something we’re seeing trending among consumers, and more deeply understood by brands. In general, physical automation, robotics can only truly be efficient via IoT.
  8. Immersive Media – with more powerful mobile devices all the way up to massive HD smart TVs, consumers are in for more exciting experiences, including those made possible using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) “goggles.” Consumers who want to get the most out of their investments in devices and subscriptions to immersive content will need support, and traditional CX will never measure up; immersive CX has huge potential.
  9. Mobile Technologies --–CR-X has been integral to enterprise mobile networks since inception. From network management to transitioning mobile technologies from voice to data and now human interactions to IoT, CR-X continues in the forefront of these transformations, and with 5G and other advanced transmission technologies on the horizon, the potential for mobile broadband and services is unlimited.
  10. Cloud Computing – may be the biggest disruptor in the technology space. By hosting applications and processes on cloud, we see massive reduction the cost and complexity of owning and operating computers and networks. Best of all, it becomes an operating expense, paid for by the month, instead of tying up masses of precious capital budget reserves. Cloud computing at the edge of the network is another important breakthrough, particularly when it comes to real time or near real time closed loop solutions, where local processing means lower costs and faster performance.
  11. 3D Printing – where 3D printing becomes most interesting is in the personalization of everything from high-end automobiles (for example, look at the company and the tiniest of embedded medical devices including protheses for limb replacement or enhancement. Where Customer Experience comes in is in the workflow associated with 3D Printing, involving the end user in the design, engineering, testing and manufacturing process in a world where highly customized physical products can cost efficiently be produced, one at a time.  
  12. CX – It goes without saying that Customer Experience deserves its position in the top twelve technologies of our future. With little else to differentiate products and services for the modern consumer, excellent, consistent customer experience will separate elite operators from the rest. CustomerView leads the pack in CX.
  13. Energy Tech – Connected devices and IoT will continue to play a big part in energy generation and distribution efficiency, including the rise of more sustainable energy solutions. Customer Experience will undergo tremendous improvements, as consumers, for example, enjoy real time information about the energy they are consuming at home or in their cars, enabling and “empowering” them to manage energy use and related costs. This information can likewise help energy providers with conservation at peak times, and in total lead to less reliance on fossil fuels, greater adoption of solar and wind power, and all this leads to a healthier rather than doomed planet.
  14. Cybersecurity – is network security on steroids. CR-X has been at the forefront of network security for 20 years and will continue to be part of the expanding Cybersecurity ecosystem, even as society must act to stop political and digital warfare. The fact, according to Gartner, is that cybercriminals spend 10X more on breaking into enterprise data systems than all enterprises, governments and educational organizations combined.
  15. Voice Assistants – Chatbots, Interactive Voice Recognition, and Natural Language Interpretation have all been integral components of CustomerView since inception, and with advances in the high definition quality of voice, and better networks for clearer signals, AI can now be effectively used when engines can better recognize “voice clues” in real time.
  16. Nanotechnology – as is the case with many of the technologies included on this infographic, nanotech will make a greater impact when used in combination with other major technologies, primarily “connectedness” through IoT. For example, nanotech is being used to develop inexpensive form-factors for desalinization (condensation devices) enabling the production of clean drinking and cooking water where little or none has been available in the past, using superamphiphobic film. When hundreds or thousands of these nanotech devices are connected, fresh water farms can serve entire communities.  Nanotech is the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.
  17. Collaborative Tech – is about using all the resources available, including opensource, to build the best applications, processes and networks possible. CustomerView avails itself of some of the best off the shelf resources and matches them with best of breed established capability. In fact, our CX platform is the ultimate in enabling teams to work together to deliver the ultimate in customer service that extends beyond the contact center operating team to sales, marketing and accounting teams who now have more and better data enabling a deeper understanding of customer behaviors.
  18. Health Tech – has been expanding its reach for over a decade. CR-X has been harnessed to build robust, secure, heterogeneous health information networks around the world, and as the delivery of healthcare through telemedicine and telehealth moves to digital, we will be helping our clients create intuitive, secure and extraordinarily cost-efficient ways for patients and their care teams to stay connected.
  19. Human Computer Interaction – Voice Biometrics and other human recognition technologies have been and continue to be incorporated into advanced CX systems; in smart factories, HCI will change the way workers interact with manufacturing equipment, using voice commands and supporting “co-botting” where robotics handles mundane tasks, and humans help manage those robots without having to physically touch them.
  20. Geo-Spatial Technical – location identification and visual representation of time and place are so integral to modern advance CX systems like CustomerView. This applies also to the next generation of martech, where smartphones and smart car systems will automatically understand where an end-user is and is going, and help guide the journey towards purchasing of goods and services; for example, smart cars in the future will be able to communicate to a driver (or a rider in an autonomous auto) that there is a charging station in X miles, a Marriott hotel in the next town, or a Starbucks drive-through coming up in five minutes.
  21. Advanced Materials – have the potential to dramatically improve the response time of mobile devices, and more; this is one of the most exciting areas in emerging technologies, as breakthroughs including fabricated lateral graphene heterostructures have been proven to demonstrate a high speed metal–semiconductor–metal photodetector (<10 ns response time), with a broadband response from deep-UV (200 nm) to near-infrared (1100 nm) range. Thanks to the high-quality surface with fewer defects due to “soft-patterning”, developers of new devices are achieving unprecedented high deep-UV region photoresponsivity as well as the ultrafast time response. This will feed innovation of new devices for the ultra-instant-gratification generation. CX will need to keep pace by providing even faster, smarter and more intuitive support for end-users.
  22. New Touch Interfaces – another set of technologies contributed to by many on this infographic, perhaps the most inspiring may be the development of exoskeletons, the external skeleton that supports and protects a body, in contrast to the internal skeleton (endoskeleton) of a human. We are already seeing deployments in military use cases, in orthopedics where those who could not stand and walk can now do so, and in manufacturing where workers are outfitted with “shells” that improve their ability to safely create and build. Data can be captured from instrumentation embedded on exoskeletons (and other such new touch interfaces), processed and analyzed, leveraged for improvements in outcomes, including yields and safety factors.
  23. Wireless Power – without outlets, backup batteries, annoying cables, true wireless power, as originally envisioned by Nikola Tesla in the early 1890s, will go way beyond charging our smart phones on a pad.  Wireless power is continuous power, and companies like Energous and Ossia are working to bring it to market at scale. Both focus on over the air (OTA), and may ultimately bring an end to cables and other tethered charging solutions. The impact on consumers and businesses will naturally be very positive but will require companies providing this power to develop new ways to interact with their customers, including how those customers are billed for power consumption. This is a great challenge for the CX world to tackle!
  24. Clean Tech – also referred to as clean technology began as a new investment asset class, referring to the collective clean energy, environmental, and sustainable or green, products and services. Over the last decade, the “category” became more largely known as a descriptor for businesses working in solar, wind, water purification and biofuel industries, and is now influencing the very way in which devices and endpoints (like smartphones and sensors) are manufactured. The level of awareness today transcends the investment and business community as more and more consumers are making choices based on the environmental impact (or lack of impact) of certain products and services. CX strategies can help brands promote not only their core products and services, but the brand’s commitment to responsible sourcing, production and consumer safety and health.
  25. Quantum Computing – essentially harnessing and exploiting the laws of quantum mechanics to process information better than our “zeros and ones” approaches can today. A quantum computer uses quantum bits, or qubits that encode the zero and the one into two distinguishable quantum states. Because qubits behave quantumly, systems can capitalize on the phenomena of "superposition" and "entanglement” in a seemingly impossible connection Einstein described as “spooky action at a distance.” Practically, this will manifest when difficult tasks that have been thought impossible for today’s computers can be achieved quickly and efficiently by a quantum computer. In the world of CX, this means even more powerful “relational” computations in real time, including analysis of emotional states and behaviors.
  26. Smart Cities – based on IoT principals will make inhabiting and functioning in large cities sustainable. Without the assistance of interconnected smart systems, cities will outgrow their usefulness due to congestion and lack of cohesiveness; Smart Regions are now growing faster than individual cities, as various agencies are coming together, including with academic and research institutions, with a more collective approach, reducing risk and sharing gains across multiple cities – especially in urban areas, which are becoming unlivable without smart solutions. CR-X and CustomerView see huge opportunities in the future to provide data management and human interactive service solutions these projects need in order to be successful.
  27. Edge Computing – is about distributing processing tasks and power, moving it closer to the source of data and then using advanced networking to harvest output and consolidate centrally. CR-X is at the forefront of managing edge devices and their interconnected networks, supporting applications that would not have been possible without processing at the edge (and cloud for different application that are not as reliant on low latency analytics). Mobile Edge Computing will, for example, deliver video traffic directly to users, instead of running back and forth between a centralized network, to provide soccer fans access to up-close-and-personal views of what’s happening on the field, regardless of where they are in the stadium. These new applications make CX so much richer!
  28. Faster Better Internet – what’s not to love about this? For those of us who remember what the dial-up modem sounded like, instantaneous, ubiquitous, untethered ultra-high-speed broadband, including broadband in motion, will unleash tremendous innovation resulting in products and services yet to be imagined.  New applications that make consumers lives better will need new innovations that embed service into how those innovations help.
  29. Proximity Tech – when it comes to the intersection of martech at physical retail, nothing compares to Proximity Tech, including the use of beacons and other IoT solutions which deliver hyperlocal, in-store advertising, attracting customers when it matters most – while they are moving through stores.  These ads can be tailored to a specific subscriber on a mobile device, including offering discounts and other offers. Add live customer service to answer questions in real time? This changes the game and keeps shoppers in stores vs. switching to competitive online options.
  30. New Screens – when it comes to multiscreen experiences, we believe a great CX will change the game. Smart TV’s making it possible to immediately order a product seen on a show? No problem. In-store kiosks where real-time help from experts may be available based on the product the consumer is interested in? As easy as a one-touch screen to access that brand expert. Delivering that centralized expert support is now possible, through the art of connecting consumers via networks, cloud and applications to the right human at the right time. This is game-changing for physical retailers, especially when that consumer’s information is captured, and that consumer can be supported beyond the sale of the product.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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