Tech and Business Review: July 29, 2017

In Technology by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

Tech and Business Review: July 29, 2017Artificial intelligence is having a big impact on retail stores, VR is disrupting the real estate industry, smart glasses are replacing desktop computers, and the possibility of Foxconn building factories in the US are some of the interesting news we have for you this week. Let’s take a look at the tech and business news we found of interest this week.

AI and the retail store of the future. Artificial intelligence is already being utilized by many businesses today to improve efficiencies and increase revenue. Whether consumers realize it or not, advances in AI are sure to make both their shopping experiences more enjoyable and perhaps even their lives easier. AI-powered chatbots are being used to assist in answering frequently asked questions, providing assistance with customer service and the can also be deployed as “live chats” on websites providing nearly around-the-clock assistance to customers. AI is also being employed as a “shopping assistant,” offering recommendations based on past searches or buying behavior.

AI and deep learning is becoming a must have for retailers, especially with the ever increasing rate of data collection as consumer buying behavior evolves. Nowadays, shoppers make purchases in multiple ways including online, in brick and mortar stores, as well as through mobile devices and meeting the expectation of better and faster customer service is a must in today’s competitive retail environment. With the amount of data being generated at an all-time high, and of course continuing to grow, it can be too much to handle effectively without the help of technology—and that’s where artificial intelligence comes in. Want a deeper dive? This Venture Beat article shared by Brian Hurley does a good job of explaining other ways AI is disrupting the retail industry and what to expect in the future.

People are already replacing their desktop computers with smart glasses. Well, sort of. When I watched the movie Minority Report where people didn’t have to use a physical computer screen or hardware to access their information and data, I must admit I was fascinated and wished I could do it right then and there. Thanks to advancements in technology, this type of computing is now possible largely due to the advent of augmented reality technology. AR is technology that superimposes a computer-generated image over a user’s view of the real world, offering the user a composite view of the world.

One company experimenting using smart glasses to replace a traditional computer screen is Meta. This startup is building an AR headset with their employees helping to test it by putting away their desktop computers and using their new smart glasses to get their work done. Business Insider was given the opportunity to test it too and offers a play-by-play of how it worked in this article.  Check it out here.

You can also see the video on how it works.

VR adoption offers the real estate industry a new perspective. When you’re, looking for a new house or property to buy or rent for your business, photographs tend to be the most used medium to show off the best aspects of the property, whether through a website or brochure or other printed materials.

Thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, still image real estate photographs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Through 3D virtual tours, both residential and commercial real estate buyers can easily navigate properties virtually anytime. Real estate has always been particularly susceptible to the magic of virtual reality. Vincent Brissot shares this article from Tektonikamag exploring why this exciting technology is disrupting the real estate industry.

Good news and bad news? Foxconn is looking to expand in the US Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou announced this past week that the company will spend $10 billion to create a new manufacturing plant in Wisconsin plant that will create upwards of 3,000 jobs over four years with the potential of as many as 10,000 more in the future.

While this all sounds great considering the current administration’s promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, there is some potential bad news. Foxconn has somewhat of a spotty record in follow through with promises of expanding in the United States on recent years. Secondly, there is concern with the amount of financial incentives being offered Foxconn in exchange for the hope of creating more manufacturing jobs. Lastly, Foxconn isn’t known for the best of working environments, which have led to riots and even suicides in their factories in China. It will be interesting to see what comes to fruition, and if indeed factories do materialize, what kind of working conditions American workers will find in a Chinese-owned enterprise.

For more on this story and the debate whether this is positive step forward to encourage the creation of more domestic high tech manufacturing jobs, check out this article from CNBC.

Consumes agree: Security needs to be built into IoT devices.  It’s a given that the Internet of Things (IoT) is already transforming many things about the way we live. Also a given—consumers have an inkling about security concerns, but are not wholly sure how vulnerable they may be as a result of a lack of focus on security on the part of device manufacturers. The IoT is everywhere. Smart speakers, toys, thermostats, lights, doorbells, security systems, sprinkler systems, fitness trackers and other wearables, scales, medical devices, and cars (to name only a few) are present in many of our homes and offices and in use on a daily basis. Add to that the use of the IoT by manufacturers and in government infrastructure, and there are a plethora of opportunities for the bad guys to gain access to our devices, our information, and our lives.

According to the Irdeto Global Consumer IoT Security Survey which polled consumers in six countries: Brazil, China, Germany, India, the UK and the US, the vast majority of those surveyed (90 percent) believe security should be embedded in IoT devices. The interesting thing about this to our team: If consumers were really aware of the risks some of the IoT connected devices they’ve adopted pose, they would be a lot more nervous. Interested in learning more about the results of this survey? Head over to this IT Pro Portal article shared by Rich Miller on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Ana M. Pastrana Flickr via Compfight cc

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

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