Monthly Archives: April 2018

Enterprise Tech Trend Predictions for 2018 and Beyond

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2017 was the year of disruptive innovation and 2018 will be about combining those disruptive tech innovations and putting them to work to fully experience their maximum business impact for enterprises. Taking into account the number of requests I received for a list of the enterprise tech trend predictions for 2018, I compiled six of the emerging trends that I believe will shape this year. This article will not only introduce potentially game-changing “new” technologies but also discuss what’s next with “now” technologies which have recently joined the established technology category.

Blockchain Will Continue To Evolve

Blockchain technology has been generating discussions since 2011, however, 2017 was the year when its real potential was unleashed. The reason behind this realization likely has so much to do with the drastic rise in the price of Bitcoin. What’s the next direction with this “now” technology? In 2018, blockchain will manage to spread outside of finance, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain.

In healthcare, for instance, IDC Health Insights predicts that 20% of organizations will have moved beyond pilot projects and will have operationalized blockchain by 2020. Speaking of vertical industries, the technology truly has huge potential to accelerate efficiency in the public sector. That being said, the initial point of bitcoin, for instance, was creating a tradeable currency which couldn’t be manipulated by governments. Therefore, it is hard to see how exactly this would play out but in 2018, we might see some governments adopting this technology as well.

In 2017, many capital ventures started hunting for companies that use blockchain technology in a creative and innovative way. In 2018, that exploration will come to fruition as we will see venture investors pouring big bucks into new cryptocurrency projects or blockchain startups. Good ideas are aplenty, however, because as Gartner agrees, many of the associated technologies will be immature for the next two to three years, blockchain investments may go through the same phase that artificial intelligence did. In the initial period of this technology taking off, we will witness some failed attempts that cause a costly waste of time.

Nevertheless, I believe, it will put us on the edge of our seats to watch how blockchain will continue to evolve from a digital currency infrastructure into a platform for digital transformation.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Hitting Mass Market

Although we have started to hear about the buzz for virtual reality more since 2015, the technology saw major improvement and penetration in the consumer market in 2017. Google has shipped more than 10 million Cardboard headsets since 2014, and it’s estimated to have sold between 2 million and 3.5 million Daydream devices in 2017 alone. Meanwhile, Samsung is on track to sell as many as 6.7 million Gear VR headsets this year, according to analysts.

As the swirl of AR/VR technology settled a bit in 2017, leaving a clear framework for the future, this year, it is expected to expand its footprints into the enterprise market. Targeted applications of VR and AR will start picking up speed but I do not think it will fully take off this year, at least not in the enterprise world. I predict it will reach that point in 2020. In fact, Deloitte LLP has a more specific prediction on the matter. “In 2018, there will be 1 billion AR apps on smartphones, and a billion users will create AR content at least once; currently 300 million users do so monthly,” Deloitte Vice-Chairman Paul Sallomi said in a statement. “By end of 2018, more than 800 million smartphones will have both an OS with dedicated AR support and sufficiently powerful hardware (CPUs, GPUs, DSPs and neural chips) to power them. Discrete app revenues for AR content and devices to be under $100 million globally in 2018.”

FINANCIAL SERVICES GO DIGITAL: FINTECH TRENDS OF 2018

Blockchain in Financial Services

The technology that underlies Bitcoin will take center stage in the development of financial services in 2018. If 2017 was mostly about looking into the benefits of blockchain and testing it, 2018 will see the first major blockchains in financial sector. For example, Ernst & Young and Maersk will roll out a blockchain-based marine insurance platform.

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In 2018, the finance sector will leverage everything the blockchain technology has to offer, across most financial services. Blockchain-based securities trading will reduce costs, minimize complexity, and increase the speed of trading and settlement processes. Blockchain-based P2P and SME lending platforms will help financial institutions scale easier and more efficiently. Cross-border payments and mobile payments will become cheaper and easier, as blockchain significantly reduces the number of participants and payment delay. Additionally, smart contracts will gradually bring automation to the majority of financial services — from trading securities to lending and insurance services. Initial coin offerings (ICOs), custom smart tokens, and identity solutions will also remain in high demand.

Most importantly, blockchain brings the highest level of security to finance industry across the board. As a result, financial services providers and their clients will always be confident the funds are secure.

Mobile Payments and Transfers

Partly owing to the adoption of blockchain, the usage of mobile payments and transfers will continue to grow. More and more millennials use financial services, and they prefer a digital approach that includes mobile. They also expect a better and much faster service, with as fewer steps as possible (older age groups follow suit quickly). Additionally, the globalised business environment increasingly relies on instant international money transfers. The ability to send and receive funds across countries in a matter of seconds becomes a must in today’s competitive business world.

To succeed, financial institutions and companies will follow the steps of J. P. Morgan and create their blockchain-based mobile payment systems. In 2018, the world will also see more blockchain wallet apps that instantly allow to transfer and exchange cryptocurrencies while staying incognito. The number of blockchain-based online exchanges like KlickEx will also rise, as solutions like this allow to process cross-border payments in a matter of seconds.

Finally, the demands of millennial clients will give a push to more digital-only banks and instantaneous smartphone payments at checkout (with Apple Pay, Android Pay, or other).

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Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

As the developments in the field of artificial intelligence continue to advance, and as more and more industries adopt it, the finance sector will follow suit.

The promise of AI is as big to finance as it is to any other industry. In 2018, financial companies will employ machine learning algorithms to detect fraudulent activities and potential hacker attack spots in FinTech software; use these algorithms to automate financial reporting, reducing processing time and human error; implement deep learning algorithms to quickly derive unexpected insights from Big Data and gain a competitive edge.

Finally, as the world continues to go mobile and stay busy, the need for more advanced financial consulting is growing rapidly. The solution comes in robo-advisors, which will be available mostly in FinTech apps. They will provide automated financial planning services driven by AI algorithms — for more solid, spot-on, and quick financial advices. Moreover, FinTech robo-advisors will allow younger and less financially savvy people to start investing.

Top eCommerce Tech Trends to Watch in 2018 and Beyond

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1. Enhanced Customer Experience

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) keep changing customer experience as we know it. Using AR and VR solutions a customer may take a virtual tour around a digital store, place the virtual products onto the real world objects and try on virtual clothes. For example, the new app by Ikea allows its users to visualize furniture in their homes using the mobile’s camera.

AR can motivate shoppers to buy as they get more enhanced customer experience. In short, implementing AR and VR can be the greatest shift in eCommerce technology since its beginnings.

One more trend that fits here is the rise of voice search. Humans can speak 150 words per minute vs type 40 words per minute. As the accuracy of voice search and voice recognition becomes more precise, eCommerce retailers should optimize their site content to be searched appropriately.

2. Blockchain Technologies

We will watch blockchain-based eCommerce platforms appear as a separate segment in eCommerce. OpenBazaar can serve as an example of a peer-to-peer platform where transactions are made through cryptocurrencies. Each action by the buyer or seller generates a block and ‘proof of work’ in the marketplace, based on which the other entity acts. The blockchain technology is already used in digital currencies and will continue to be used not only for payment transactions but in eCommerce apps as well.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Machine learning can contribute valuable options to eCommerce software. Intelligent algorithms become instrumental in customer segmentation and personalization. They help to identify patterns in customer’s web browsing and thus create huge possibilities for personalized recommendations. Implementing these technologies can boost sales up to 15%.

Order and inventory management can become more efficient with inventory forecast and predict market demands. Shipping software may benefit from anticipatory shipping algorithms which may predict shipping demand before an order is made.

Chatbots and the rise of conversational commerce present a separate distinct trend in eCommerce tech. In 2018 chatbots will widen their functions, from supporting customer service routine to more complicated personal shopping assistance. As customers are getting used to the help of AI creatures we will see more ventures developing chatbots for every possible purpose.

4. Automation software

eCommerce operations can be efficiently improved by using automation. Areas of eCommerce routine that need automation are order and inventory management, cart abandonment solutions, email marketing tools, accounting and bookkeeping and social media management systems. As the number of online shops grows, there will be a sizeable growth in demand for any automation solution for eCommerce.

5. Multichannel eCommerce

With so many different shopping carts and marketplaces, the future of eCommerce is multichannel. Selling across several channels is the matter of omnipotent importance. As more eCommerce entrepreneurs are employing multichannel selling strategy, there is a greater demand for software that can communicate with various sales channels via APIs.

If you develop eCommerce software, you may be interested in using API2Cart’s unified data API. It allows integrating your software solution with 35+ shopping carts and marketplaces, making the software truly multichannel. Don’t waste precious time, contact our expert today to get a free trial.