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07 March 2019

From Chatbots to AI, How Tech is Changing the Future of Business

Posted By: AIB Business
business person on laptop

Technology is changing at a rapid pace, so quickly in fact that it can be hard for businesses to keep up. Here are three pieces of tech that experts are predicting will make a huge impact on business in 2019, and beyond.

Chatbots and AI

If you were lucky enough to interact with a chatbot circa 2015, you likely left the experience bemused, frustrated and maybe a little underwhelmed. But the technology behind this innovation has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years, as it merges with the power of AI. Natural Language Programming (or NLP as it’s known) has combined with machine learning to create a chatbot experience that’s now much closer to human interaction. The tech has become so popular that a recent study revealed 40% of large companies will implement it by 2019.

To date, chatbot technology is synonymous with customer service – and for good reason. With potential for 24hr instant responses, it can free customer support teams up to apply their human intelligence to the more complex queries.

 

It’s not just customer service where this tech is taking hold. It’s also being deployed by recruitment agencies to help screen candidates (although this hasn’t been without setbacks), and can be used as a personal assistant, able to manage your busy calendar.

Blockchain

Bitcoin was big news in 2018, but this year, it’s the tech behind the currency that’s taking centre stage. Blockchain is a digital ledger that’s incredibly secure - which is why a currency was the perfect fit for it initially. Now, its secure nature is being put to a variety of other uses, like the storing of medical records, and secure payment processes. In other words, this technology has many more uses than just Bitcoin.

AR and VR

Ireland has historically punched above its weight in the AR and VR space. While traditionally associated with gaming, the technology is now being put to use in areas like Irish healthcare, by the likes of 3D4 Medical and Neon.  Adding an element of functional AR to your marketing strategy is a great idea if you’re selling something users would like to try on in the comfort of their own homes. Make-up and hair brands are increasingly offering a virtual ‘try-on experience’, as are online glasses and jewellery stores. 

IoT and Connectivity

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the ‘smart home’. In fact, you may even own some smart devices yourself, with heating systems and voice assistants growing in popularity in Ireland. Now, the technology is extending to the workplace too. Connected workplaces offer huge benefits, especially to logistical operations and manufacturing.  Factory machines can now easily communicate with each other on complicated tasks, allowing you to streamline your processes and substantially cut costs in the long-run.

According to the latest JWT Future 100 report, the next wave of connected tech is shifting the focus to cities, in an effort to make them more connected too. Google’s ‘Sidewalk Lab’ for example, has proposed developing Waterfront Toronto with elements like a thermal grid that heats and cools buildings, and sensors that gather real-time data on the physical environment.

The Ethics of Tech

Finally, if all this tech has you fearing that the robots are coming for your job, you might appreciate the burgeoning interest in tech ethics. Many think tanks, tech leaders and brands are proposing we look at the ethics behind tech and its impact on society. As Apple CEO Tim Cooke noted: “Now, more than ever, as leaders of governments, as decision makers in business, and as citizens, we must ask ourselves a fundamental question: “What kind of world do we want to live in?’”

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Please be aware that all of the views expressed in this Blog are purely the personal views of the authors and commentators (including those working for AIB as members of the AIB website team or in any other capacity) and are based on their personal experiences and knowledge at the time of writing.

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Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.

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