Trends to watch: Top Three
Intelligent agents, assistants and bots. The technology behind intelligent assistants and chatbots is developing rapidly. Enterprises should watch this trend carefully, invest in capability building, and start to put this technology to use, as it has clear potential to enhance customer satisfaction and accessibility, cost savings, and product development. Depending on what market they are in, businesses should be prepared to spend more than they would anticipate on content and dialog design. It’s important to treat a chatbot as another user experience channel, not a technical feature.
Wearables such as smart watches have become commonplace, but the technology is rapidly expanding in terms of both feature sets and interactions. For example, the new Apple Watch announced in late 2020 includes technology for measuring blood oxygen levels, a clear response to the COVID-19 crisis. Apple is also known to be in the later stages of developing its own augmented reality glasses. While it’s still unclear how far we are along the path to wearables being a “must have” instead of a “want to have,” fitness and medical monitoring are likely to drive the process.
Gesture recognition. Machine understanding and interpretation of human gestures such as waving or making “up” or “down” motions is an ongoing and promising research area, with tech at varying levels of maturity. Leap Motion and Kinect made hand, finger, and body tracking relatively useful, but fine-grained hand and finger tracking using only cameras — as for example in the Oculus Quest — is still developing. In future we may be able to approach “natural” gesture recognition with machines able to recognise gestures such as pinches and finger taps, or two-handed gestures such as resizing, dragging, dropping, or zooming in and out.