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Monday, 08 January 2018 22:40

Avanade predicts the three revolutionary technology trends for 2018


Global professional services company Avanade Technology has released its predictions for what it says would be big news in tech in 2018, ready to revolutionise Australian business.

According to Avanade, 2018 will see augmented reality in retail, technology-infused employee experiences and virtual assistants in the workplace. Avanade claims these three innovations will drive organisational change around the world, equally in Australia as the US or elsewhere.

Avanade’s previous crystal-ball gazing has proven successful, with the organisation stating 12 months ago that Augmented Reality would accelerate in 2017 beyond video games and become a new enterprise reality, innovation would be led by design thinking and augment the human experience, and digital ethics would become prevalent with the explosive rise of digital devices tracking consumer and employee data.

Avanade 2018 technology prediction 1 – rich digital experiences will become the new normal, online and even in-store. Augmented and virtual reality will be “retailer’s best friends”, Avanade says, citing research by analyst firm IDC which predicts that by 2020 we will see 40% of leading brands offering digital experiences enhancing retailer’s physical offerings with augmented digital properties, visible to those using mobile technology.

Avanade encourages Australian retailers to experiment with new digital technologies finding ways to complement the in-person experience. An example is leveraging AR and VR to easily demonstrate different clothes on the customer, while another is deploying chatbots to provide virtual customer assistance or even interactive merchandise tables in stores and supermarkets.

“More than half of retailers we surveyed plan to use AR/VR and robotics in their stores in the next one to two years, and it’s important to understand the impact of those technologies on the workforce,” said Sarah Adam-Gedge, managing director at Avanade. “Digital tools that help train staff and provide personalised employee experiences are as important as those that engage the customer.”

Sarah Adam Gedge 1

Avanade 2018 technology prediction 2 – automation and technology will reinvent the employee experience, providing organisations with the opportunity to reinvigorate how employees work. Typically the task of employee engagement and workplace satisfaction is the domain of Human Resources or People and Culture divisions. However, Avanade predicts in 2018 technology leadership will be called on as consultants to help drive engagement, productivity and business value through digital adoption.

Avanade points to research coming out of the MIT Centre for Information Systems Research which shows large companies in the top quartile of employee experience are twice as innovative and 25% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile.

The MIT findings indicate digital transformation efforts on customer experience must shift to equally prioritise the employee experience.

“Organisations need to create a digital adoption strategy with personalised productivity and communications tools to support and augment how the employee works,” said Adam-Gedge. “This can lead to a more productive and social way of working, a more engaging user experience, an improved ability to attract and retain top talent and more – all pointing to improved employee engagement and efficiency.” 

Avanade 2018 technology prediction 3 – voice and virtual assistants will move into the workplace, providing new opportunities and experiences. Avanade says 2018 will be the year of voice, especially outside the personal, consumer realm.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts early adopters who redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will see increased digital commerce revenue of 30% by 2021.

Initially, voice and virtual assistants will enter organisations by aiding with time management and thus increasing productivity, examples being finding and booking travel while engaged in other activities, or developers using voice to search for open-source programming code.

“Virtual assistants allow the potential for countless businesses and organisations to incorporate them into daily work for increased efficiency and productivity,” said Adam-Gedge. “These virtual voice assistants like Cortana, Alexa, Siri and Google Home are the leading assistant platforms at the moment, but with the expansion into the workplace, this list will likely grow, adding new entrants, possibly ones for business, and de facto standards will also emerge.”

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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