CES is the world’s largest annual tech convention. Don’t worry if you can’t make it this year. In this post, we will fill you in ahead of time on a few of the hottest emerging technology predictions and trends everyone will be talking about at CES. But, if you happen to be attending CES, here’s a quick, shameless plug for Dialexa Labs portfolio company, Vinli, which will be powering all of Uber’s cars at CES with free WiFi.

There are a lot of product development firms competing to build mobile apps and websites. For emerging technology companies like ours, mobile and the web is only a small subset of what we do. We look at all our client’s solutions holistically, particularly as mobile gets more and more complicated with the Internet of Things. Autonomous robots are set to surpass expert systems.  “By 2020, all products costing more than $100 should have sensors embedded in them and should offer services on top of the products,” says Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President and head of research at Gartner.

We are bullish on these three technology predictions: artificial intelligence, emotion sensing technology, and virtual reality/augmented reality.


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Powered by Artificial Intelligence

When people hear Artificial Intelligence or AI, the first that comes to mind are robots acting and reasoning like humans. But that is generalized AI. What is growing right now is specialized AI. Without realizing it, everyone is using products leveraging specialized AI every single day. Facebook, Google, Apple’s Siri, and even Dialexa’s meeting scheduler, Amy, are powered by specialized AI.  Simply put, specialized AI is a combination of technologies, data mining, algorithms and machine learning that helps us make better decisions and carry out specific tasks.

While the topic has been interesting for decades, we see a resurgence of Artificial Intelligence as self-driving cars, smart homes, and intelligent interactive agents have become a reality in 2015. The topic is so hot that a group of Silicon Valley billionaires, which includes Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, have put $1 billion into OpenAI, a new non-profit artificial intelligence research company whose goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity (and not destroy it!).

One area of AI that will be particularly interesting in 2016 is deep learning. Deep learning is an architecture that uses algorithms or a computational model to exploit a pattern classification for a feature or representation learning. Deep learning can take a data set, such as classified cat scans of cancerous and noncancerous chest cavities, and build a model for predictive analysis of the same data. The use of AI will allow us to create better product/market fit using predictive data. Rather than guessing which feature to implement next, you can use data to create your product using data set experiments.

Emotion Sensing Technology

Emotion is a critical driver of human decision making. Yet as the world becomes more digitized, we are losing our connection with human emotions. By better understanding how someone feels, we can create better products, services, and experiences in ways that a binary “Like” button cannot do. Emotion will become a critical differentiator in how products get made and shipped. Companies will no longer be able to leave emotion out of the decision-making process when interacting and delighting customers via technology.

Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony are some of the major companies that have been thinking about how to address this gap for a while - each filing patents around emotion and technology. These patents range from the ability to create an “emotional database” advertising service, to storing emotional signals, to enabling emotional targeting in advertisements. 

Companies like Kanjoya are using natural language to understand the meaning and intent in what customers and employees say and do, to predict behavior and provide better service. Combining AI, sensors, and facial/voice recognition, the sky's the limit in what can be achieved.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Goes Mainstream

Augmented and virtual reality are set to hit $150 billion, disrupting mobile by 2020. This technology has been around for many years, but we are finally at an inflection point where the use cases make more business sense. For example, PepsiCo developed an augmented reality app for its sales force so they could reimagine what a product display would look inside a grocery store. AR/VR will not only go mainstream in 2016, but it will also be the very disruptive to enterprises, particularly early on in two areas: training and data visualization.

It may be confusing at first as AR and VR  are sometimes used interchangeably. AR is the blending of virtual reality and real life, as in the PepsiCo example. You can take a digital product display and overlay it in a physical space to reimagine what something will look like in the real world. Virtual reality is creating a completely new alternate reality (with goggles that go over your eyes and block out normal vision). Products like Oculus, Google’s Cardboard, Samsung’s Gear VR play are VR headsets whereas Microsoft Hololens, Magic Leap, and the new Google Glass for the enterprise are AR headsets. Another cool example of AR will be helping architects and real estate developers visualize what a new building or renovation project will look like in the end.  Companies like JLL, CBRE, and HKS Architects can save time and money by implementing AR into their workflow.

These technology predictions may sound futuristic, but they are not. Maybe we are a bit jaded as we see and build disruptive technology at Dialexa, but we are extremely excited about where things are headed in 2016. We know we can make the future a reality and technology will make it easier for companies to innovate, create new markets and ultimately win new business.

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