The consistent feature of life in the 21st century is of technological change, and that change has served to transform so many aspects of our lives, from the way that we socialise to the way that we shop. The changes have been so dramatic that modern society would be barely recognisable to anyone from the 1980s or earlier generations.
Modern-day shopping is a phenomenon largely conducted digitally. Millions of us order our weekly food shopping through supermarket online sites, while online companies such as Amazon provide access to almost any item you can imagine, at the click of a button. Banking is increasingly being done online, and as the financial services market is increasingly disrupted, new ways of making digital payments from eWallets to contactless cards are coming on-stream every year.
Even the way that we gamble has been transformed by the development of the online betting industry, with the rapid growth of online gambling sites, and UK bingo sites. Such is the growth, that online marketers spend considerable amounts of money on search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for search terms like ‘bingo sites UK’ and ‘casinos online,’ making it possible for people to play their favourite games from the comfort of their own homes.
All the evidence suggests that the digital revolution is only going to speed up in the coming years as technology grows more sophisticated and human creativity continues to exert itself. Here are some of the main areas that are likely to see rapid digital development in the next few years.
The technology behind augmented reality (AR) has been around for a while, but it is comparatively recently that we have been able to utilise it in a practical way. AR offers the ability to incorporate information and abilities into the way that we look at the world, all of which can enhance our lives.
For example, if you are wearing AR glasses while looking at a movie poster, you could have the capacity to immediately buy tickets to see the movie, or you could update your AR wearable tech to warn you if a food item you are about to buy may trigger food allergies. AR technology has huge potential for industrial companies, providing on-site support and collaboration platforms for technicians.
Natural Language Processing Technology
If you ever find yourself talking to your appliances, this habit may come in handy in the next few years as natural language processing (NLP) is set to become standard. NLP enables us to communicate with the digital devices we use on a regular basis, and in the business world, the potential for NLP to enable bots to interact with people promises a revolution in several areas, from customer services to productivity, workflow and problem-solving.
The Digital Workplace
As the digital revolution has transformed our personal lives, our workplaces and employers have been slow to catch up. Many of the existing work systems are out of date, which can lead to frustration and missed opportunities. Over the next few years, we can expect businesses in every sector to start introducing digital innovations, such as scheduling software, productivity platforms and new ways to communicate quickly and easily with colleagues all over the office and, indeed, all over the world, helping employees to be more productive and more effective.
The Internet of Things
This is one area of digital transformation that has been much forecast, though the full extent of the changes that it may bring are yet to be experienced. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the inter-connectivity that digital technology makes possible between household appliances and other, larger devices. For instance, the fridges and freezers of the future will be able to maintain an inventory of their contents and automatically order replacement items online.
The IoT also has huge potential for industrial and large-scale operations. Production line devices that can talk to suppliers and logistical platforms could enable factory production to become dramatically more efficient, while major utility networks such as water treatment and electrical networks could benefit from the ability of each part of the network to communicate important information directly.
Consumers are already becoming accustomed to a degree of digital inter-connectivity in the devices and appliances that they buy, and as the IoT becomes ever more real, manufacturers will be challenged to hone the supporting technology and to fit IoT connectivity as standard.
While there have been many exciting innovations that have transformed our lives in recent years, in many ways, we are still only at the beginning of the digital revolution. As AR, NLP and the IoT become standard, new developers will be coming up with fresh ways to enhance our lives through digital technology, transforming every aspect of society and pointing the way to a better future.