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Vonage 2018 Predictions: How Three of the Most Influential Consumer Technologies of 2017 Will Change the Way Businesses Communicate in 2018

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Omar Javaid, Chief Product Officer, Vonage

How Three of the Most Influential Consumer Technologies of 2017 Will Change the Way Businesses Communicate in 2018

As technology continues to develop and evolve, there seem to be two universal truths: an Apple device can always get skinnier and what happens in the consumer world, happens in the enterprise. 2017 has seen some waves of debate about artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, personalizable media (chat and social media like SnapChat, Facebook Messenger and Instagram) and most prominently recently, cryptocurrency. In general, the focus has been on the consumer side of these topics, but they have significant business implications as well.

Three standout consumer topics from 2017 were virtual assistants (voice-controlled AI), cryptocurrency, and chatbots. Each also has important implications for enterprise communications moving into 2018. Here's a look:

Every business will come with a butler: Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have given consumers a taste of what it is like to work in tandem with artificial intelligence. In 2018, enterprises will either roll out their own versions or announce integrations with existing AI. The same seamless ease that consumers experience at home when asking Siri to find them a pizza spot will soon follow them to work.

In the near future, employees across industries could find themselves saying, "Alexa, cancel my 10:30 and run my expense report." In fact, it's already happening. Financial and business analyst firms are already using Amazon Echo for research-- a BI growing startup called Sisense connected Alexa to their digital systems, to act as an analyst, at double the speed. They also connect the Echo to connect light bulbs, which glow different colors when Alexa uncovers potential issues. Amazon's major recent announcement of Alexa for Business will only accelerate adoption of AI in the workplace.

Having virtual assistants integrated into business communications systems will enable workers to collaborate more easily, work through projects more efficiently, and stay better organized. This seamless, connected style of work will become a new norm.

Cryptocurrency will creep into the enterprise: From SMS-enabled ordering to in-app transactions, connected payments methods have come to play a big role in business strategy. As the global consumer fascination with cryptocurrency and blockchain continues to grow, businesses will inevitably follow suit and start incorporating those technologies into their model. Already, major brands like Microsoft and even non-tech retailers like Overstock are accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment.

Eventually, communications will need to integrate with these currencies so that businesses can stay relevant.

Chatbots will get more personalized:  In the consumer world, personalized communications have taken the form of Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook Messenger bots that automate certain services or functions. In 2018, the integration of communications APIs into existing business applications will allow companies to evolve in tandem with consumer preferences, changing corporate bots' interfaces or functionality to support each user. As consumer preferences change, the communications systems that interact with them will adapt accordingly.

Communications APIs for chatbots can be flexible, altering to support different geographies, messaging channels, or types of consumers. Adaptive chatbots are frequently used by major tech-forward brands, but in the next year they will become commonplace for all digital businesses. Consumer preferences have been set, so enterprise delivery will have to follow.

Forward looking businesses have a lot to learn from the innovation currently upending the consumer landscape. Before long, it will be causing similar changes in the enterprise. Maintaining flexible, growth-supported communications systems will prove incredibly important in the coming months.


About the Author

Omar Javaid 

Omar Javaid joined Vonage in July 2015 as Chief Product Officer. Mr. Javaid is responsible for the Company's overall product strategy.

Mr. Javaid has more than 20 years of experience creating award-winning products in the technology industry with a focus on telecommunications, media and web product development. Prior to joining Vonage, he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Discovery and Cloud Platforms for Rovi Corporation, a cloud-based entertainment discovery company.

Prior to Rovi, Mr. Javaid held positions as Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Mobility, and Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Hewlett-Packard. He has also held executive positions at Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm, Inc. An entrepreneur, Mr. Javaid founded and led two successful technology startups. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan. 

Published Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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