2017 will be the year of mixed reality amid smartphone demise

15 Dec 2016

Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Fjord’s predictions for 2017 reveal humanised chatbots, mixed reality and a tricky time for brands, as mobile loses significance.

For the young generation that was raised on mobile phones and then smartphones, prior technology must seem like antiquated, dumb tools.

Since Nokia led the charge, Blackberry drove innovation and Apple changed the game, smartphones have become the centre point of an awful lot of modern society.

mixed reality

Greater connectivity and the introduction to the nascent years of internet of things have only strengthened this but, according to Mark Curtis, chief client officer at Fjord, the times are a changin’.

“The year is about making us smarter humans and fostering human potential by creating helpful, meaningful services across an expanded array of digitised environments,” he said.

“Interfaces are becoming faster, smaller and automated, and organisations will need to adapt to the kind of supercharged, responsive and immersive environments now possible.”

Fjord’s general reflection on 2016’s technological advancements paints a picture of demise, with smartphones in particular under threat.

The rise of the autonomous vehicle, smart homes and digital assistants – the latter of which has seen particularly intense competition in recent weeks – is creating new ecosystems that threaten the smartphone’s dominance as the main command centre of our lives.

The company highlighted eight key trends for 2017, with people at the centre of it all.

  • APIs will need to be rewired “for innovation”, transforming companies’ principles and practices.
  • Brands will need to stand out more than ever, as a fear of being “stuck in the middle” ensues. They will need to “change their strategies and either lean towards a clear purpose, or advocate a ‘we can do anything’ attitude”.
  • Beyond augmented reality and virtual reality, mixed reality will head towards the mainstream. “Organisations will turn away from single, siloed enhanced reality experiences to focus instead on harnessing and combining all types of reality – both enhanced and real.”
  • Autonomous vehicles are nearing the market, though still a bit away. In the meantime, organisations will “focus attention on the car as a connected mobile environment”, and integrating the car with the home will be key.
  • Home help, as we can already see, will explode. So much so, that Fjord thinks tailored home assistance, rather than general integration, will come down the line.
  • Brands will need to adapt to a world where “everyone’s a storyteller”, now operating in a world where customers tell stories through the brand, rather than the other way around.
  • Emotional intelligence will become immensely important as AI, and chatbots, spread throughout the consumer experience.
  • Finally, organisations will focus more closely on their social experiences to guard against unintended consequences of their activities.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented era of innovation, placing the need for companies to rewire in order to succeed,” said Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive, which commissioned the report.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic