Recognising and coming to understand emerging digital trends brings a number of benefits. Most crucially, we get an insight into the mechanisms of a fast-changing world and stand to gain from improvements in our own lives, whether it be from increased comfort or efficiency.
Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia Group, expressed it beautifully when she said: “Trends are a way of seeing and interpreting our current reality, providing a useful framework to organise our thinking, especially when we’re hunting for the unknown. Fads pass.” In our business of building apps at hedgehog lab, we’re constantly on the lookout for upcoming trends, helping our clients stay ahead of the competition. In this blog - the first of a series on the subject - we will explore a few technologies set to be game-changers across multiple industries.
Personality tracing programme
Using complex algorithms, this technology can predict personality traits through scanning personal data. We believe it will be most disruptive within the financial industry, particularly the lending and insurance sectors, with banks and other financial agencies potentially seeking to assess customers through the likes of social media, their friend circles and subscriptions before deciding on a loan application or providing an insurance certificate. As an example, consider two individuals with roughly equivalent social, economic and professional backgrounds, except for the fact that one has done well academically, the other less so. Should each apply for a loan, the crude assumption may be made that the former would likely have a higher IQ, and thus better cognitive skills. This individual, it may be assumed, will therefore have higher earning potential and be able pay off the loan quicker. Repayment failure, meanwhile, would be considered extremely unlikely.
The word may remind you of the film ‘Transformers’, but don’t panic when we tell you 2017 will be the Year of the Bot. This tech comes in peace - and is geared to solve our problems with staggering efficiency.
Consider the above invite, generated on Slack by a bot, as instructed by our community events manager. Instead of writing an email and sending a calendar invite, she uses a trigger word or phrase to get the response from the Slackbot.
Bots have four key capabilities: they provide great interaction with users, they exist on multiple platforms, they perform better with repeated use and they collect unique data about their users.
This type of technology enables software programmers to build firmware into their products that means issues with hardware can be fixed without disturbing user experience. On the downside, it can also be used in a clandestine fashion for snooping into our personal data, including emails, chats and social media conversations.
Best known as the core component of the digital currency bitcoin, a blockchain is essentially a distributed database that maintains a growing list of ordered records or ‘blocks’. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block, meaning the system is inherently resistant to modification. By storing data across its network, blockchains also eliminate the risks that come with it being held centrally.
A method for securing online transactions, the use of blockchains could bring significant efficiencies to global supply chains. And while some industries remain wary of putting their faith in this new technology, take-up is increasing rapidly among sectors ranging from insurance to healthcare, in which it being used to develop information systems for medical records. Major portions of the financial industry are also implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking.
These are just some of the current technological advances that are helping us improve our daily lives, while providing impetus for further innovation. In our next blog, we explore more such improvements in the digital space.