The tech trends set to make an impact in 2020

Ben Shipley, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, Ovato

This is the third blog of the 2020 Visions series from Ovato.

2020 is less than a month away, and it’s fair to say that technology - at home, in the office and in the world at large - continues to develop at a breathtaking pace.

While we don’t get around in flying cars just yet, technology is embedded in every part of our day-to-day lives. As marketers, it helps us to work more efficiently and productively. Used properly, it makes our lives easier, allowing us to better balance the demands of work, family and leisure.

In 2020, there are two emerging technologies that we see undergoing maturity and beginning to make a real impact on our workplaces and by extension, the rest of our lives.

Robotic Process Automation

Repetitive tasks are the single biggest drag in the workplace. Thankfully, relief is on the way as the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) gathers pace.

RPA is software running on a physical or virtual machine that automates rudimentary business processes. By using RPA tools, you can create automation that processes transactions, adjusts data and communicates with other systems. Basic RPA uses range from generating an automatic response to an email to carrying out automated jobs such as data migration and entry, the data scraping of websites and even customer service.

RPA bots carry out tasks with no mistakes, at a high volume, and with speed. They’re also designed to be low-cost, are easy to implement and don’t require custom software or specialised systems integration to get up and running.

Forrester predicts the RPA software market will total US$2.9 billion by 2021, a huge increase from only $250 million three years ago, as artificial intelligence capabilities are added to RPA to enable more sophisticated automation opportunities.

Despite difficulties in implementing RPA – installing bots can be time consuming and costly - handing over repetitive processes to a computer means your people can spend more time doing things that are challenging, brilliant and innovative.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The likelihood of escaping talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is low as we approach 2020.

People tend to use both terms in a game of Buzzword Bingo, but there are real and measurable improvements to your business that can be delivered by AI and ML. Which explains why IDC predicts companies will spend $57 billion on AI platforms by 2021.

Artificial Intelligence is the umbrella term used to describe the creation of intelligent machines. Machine learning refers to systems that can learn from experience, or in other words, that learn by doing. It’s the core technology used to analyse information to understand existing patterns and plan accordingly.

ML has many fascinating applications across a variety of industries. In marketing, it can be used for ad targeting and customer personalisation. Another use is in recommendation engines that suggest products a consumers might want based on their browsing histories and shopping behaviours.

By applying machine learning to your own first- and third-party data, you can uncover trends and other information to power your decision making, allowing you to make the right business call or uncover a new group of potential clients. Just make sure you spread the insights you gain to other parts of the business so that everyone can take advantage – data is a powerful integrator.

It’s worth noting that while ML can provide answers to some of the questions you’re asking about your business, it can also throw up just as many questions. Don’t shy away from this challenge, as answering them will teach you a lot about your business, and its goals, opportunities and threats.

As ML and AI become increasingly accessible as business tools, predictive analytics will soon be an important driver of business decisions.

Making the most of it

Working smarter, not harder, is something we should all set our minds to as 2019 ends. From a personal perspective, it gives you the time to enjoy life outside the office by using tools that make you and your business more efficient and more cost effective.

We are less likely to disconnect from work thanks to email, remote desktops and smartphones. But we owe it to ourselves to take that break, to recharge and be the best we can be.

New tech innovations such as RPA, AI and ML allow us to do that by automating repetitive tasks, and by parsing large datasets for information that would otherwise require human input. Efficiencies free up people to do more creative and exciting work, work better suited to humans, while also giving us all time to be ourselves.

What more could we want?

Let us help you find the latest tech trends that can supercharge your marketing efforts