AI: enhancing business
"Every year, technology evolves and develops to enhance our lives in different ways – and 2021 is sure to be no different. Last year saw the power of tech bring us together in ways we never imagined, and brought features such as the QR code to prominence again. Now, it’s time to uncover what’s next. As PHMG’s CTO, I explore some of the existing and new trends that will continue to influence the tech world in the coming months."
AI is a vast, exciting area of technology that’s already making our world smarter – and we can expect to see machines of this nature adopted for even more applications in 2021. In our home lives, this means more devices we can talk to – so it could become perfectly natural for you to give vocal commands to your cooker or converse with your vacuum cleaner. Yet in the business world, it’s poised to have an even greater impact. AI-driven financial analysis continues to grow, with a recent survey from Deloitte Insights revealing that 70% of all financial services firms are using machine learning to predict cash flow events, fine-tune credit scores and detect fraud. This also has scope for more accurate financial forecasting, and in a similar way, huge numbers of companies are also using AI to analyse and predict consumer behaviour – allowing for sophisticated, targeted marketing activities. Meanwhile in the delivery sector, self-driving vehicles have real potential to transform the industry as we know it – reducing logistics costs by an enormous amount.
There are other areas to watch too. As cyber security becomes increasingly essential, even government institutions are adopting protective measures such as Blockchain, and this will rise to even greater prominence in 2021. 5G’s impact will deliver abilities for more bandwidth at a greater range, further enabling the ‘internet of things’ with more reliable connections. And at a consumer level, health tech is a growing trend – as we see more online doctors, and wearables to manage everything from diet to exercise.
Music tech: a transformation in consumption and creation
PHMG creates inspiring audio productions that are powered by technology – so we always have our finger on the pulse of the latest developments that are influencing the way music is consumed and produced. In 2021, there’s a real revolution in music-making on the horizon. Capabilities for creation on phones and tablets are constantly evolving, putting the tools to make tracks in the hands of more people than ever before. Meanwhile, other specialist tech providers are breaking new ground too. PHMG Head of Creative Jason Lord is a distinguished composer, running a large recording studio in Dallas. His status means he knows a thing or two about the latest tools in music production and creation, and he’s pinpointed the following names as ones to watch:
“Swedish manufacturer Teenage Engineering has already blazed a trail in synths – and I’m sure they’ll turn heads as we emerge from COVID-19. And as collaboration is such an important element of musical creation, it’s very exciting to see how Source Elements’ Source Connect tool is bringing musicians together from any location – so they can jam together, even though apart.”
Jason Lord | Head of Creative
About Jason – Head Director of Extra Terrible LLC, Jason runs a renowned production studio for audio recording and media production – working extensively in the video game industry.
Check out Jason’s website
Looking at technology for audio consumption, we’re starting to see a rise in ‘pro-sumer’ products like Apple Airpod Max and Beats Flex, which are bringing a professional listening experience to a mass audience. The latest evolution of Airpod claims to offer ‘exhilarating high-fidelity audio’, adaptive EQ and up to 20 hours of listening per charge – illustrating how the average consumer is demanding the highest quality. The spatial audio and dynamic head tracking they offer very much represents the future of listening technology, so it will be very interesting to see how this new product is adopted into the market.
The cloud-enhanced infrastructure:
There’s no denying that technology was the saviour of many businesses in 2020, and as working from home remains the norm, we’re going to see even more companies adapt their infrastructure accordingly. The cloud is integral to this shift, with so many applications moving to SaaS (Software as a Service) – most of all, the telephone. Cloud telephony is already commonplace in many businesses, and as the fight against COVID-19 continues, the features of systems like these are really coming into their own. Softphones are downloadable apps or computer programs that allow users to make and receive phone calls from any device, often with chat and video tools integrated too. This is highly beneficial for employees, allowing them to connect, collaborate and perform effectively from any location. And for callers to a business, it ensures they receive the same level of professionalism, no matter where the staff of the company they’re contacting are based.
It's in the caller experience that cloud telephony really comes into its own. As well as the operational benefits, these systems facilitate audio branding in the most agile and creative way – unlocking the potential of the telephone by allowing companies to connect and communicate with their callers at every opportunity. Given these features, it’s certain that yet more businesses will invest not only in this technology, but in the expertise that will allow them to use it at its optimum.
It’s such an exciting time for technology, and the trends I’ve highlighted here only scratch the surface. Bring on 2021 – I personally can’t wait.