Keeping track of new developments and potentials is important for anyone working in e-commerce. Back in October, the American research and advisory company Gartner already defined the 10 most important technology trends for 2020. We’re taking the beginning of the year as an opportunity to have a closer look. In doing so, we’ll summarise the most relevant aspects for you, clarify technical terms and then explain the relevance for ecommerce and Shopware.
A look ahead: These are the 10 most crucial technology trends according to Gartner
Every year, the American research and advisory company Gartner predicts the ten most crucial technology trends for the following year. We have summarised the key points here:
1. Hyper automation
The goal: Recreating human support in a task. To achieve this, it becomes necessary to link multiple machine learning, software packages and automation tools together. Ultimately, companies can simplify their day-to-day work using hyper automation.
Side note: How does machine learning work?
Machine learning (ML for short) is a generic term for artificial generation of knowledge based on experience. In learning phases, the system gains knowledge from example data. More precisely: It is able to recognise patterns and regularities in the input data, draw conclusions from them and further develop as a result.
2. Multi experience
3D rather than 2D: By 2028, the customer experience will undergo drastic change and be characterised by technologies such as augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality, all blended together. We will perceive the digital world in an immersive manner and interact with it differently than we have done before.
Side note: What does immersion mean?
Immersion is a term that is increasingly mentioned in connection with virtual reality. Virtual reality is what a user perceives when they, for instance, wear a pair of VR glasses. Immersion is the effect that describes diving into the virtual world. The higher the level of immersion, the more realistically the virtual world is perceived.
This refers to the democratisation of technology and knowledge. It’s synonymous with a simpler and more ready access to technical or economic expertise.
4. Human augmentation
This describes the improvements of the physical and cognitive capacity of humans based on technological components on or in the body. This can include e.g. implants or wearables (wearable data processing).
5. Transparency and traceability
Data security despite the rapid technological progress: Consumers have a demand for transparency and traceability. This makes it all the more important for companies to invest in trust-building measures.
6. Edge computing (local cloud)
Edge computing is about decentralised data processing that takes place at the edge of the network. In this process, data from a local PC, a (mobile) device or server are processed directly, without being transferred to a computer centre. This way, edge devices can work in a more autonomous, resource-saving way and with less latency.
In the future, humans and computers will increasingly interact with each other.
7. Decentralised cloud (distributed cloud)
With the decentralised cloud solution, cloud services are distributed among several locations. This is in contrast to the centralised model. The goal of a decentralised cloud is to bring cloud services geographically closer to the user in order to reduce latency and increase performance. Compliance problems can also be solved this way.
8. Autonomous things
The experts at Gartner predict an increase in autonomously operating tools. They’re said to have a growing acceptance. For instance, the use of drones and robots that independently carry out tasks using AI is imaginable in any public space as well.
9. Practical blockchain
This refers to enterprise blockchain projects for which those aspects of technology are used that make sense for the company. Generally, Gartner holds the opinion that the blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise entire industries.
Side note: What was blockchain again?
Blockchain has been under discussion for years now. It’s a technology that can be applied in a variety of ways. Purely digital currencies (cryptocurrencies) such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are probably the most well-known applications. In very simple terms, blockchain technology saves data in blocks and links them together in a cryptographic process. In addition, the information is stored decentralised, i.e. locally on several computers. That’s why the technology is considered to be particularly safe: In order to falsify information, each individual computer in the blockchain would need to be hacked.
10. AI safety
As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being increasingly integrated into our daily life, new points of attack emerge and safety must be ensured accordingly. It’s necessary to protect AI-operated systems on the one hand, and on the other, prevent attackers from abusing AI. It ultimately also becomes possible to use AI as a defence mechanism itself.
Side note: What’s the difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning?
In practice, the terms artificial intelligence and machine learning are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, however, ML is a subsection of AI. The media likes to use this term a lot. They refer to nearly anything as AI that’s software-based and can solve problems autonomously. Experts know that as a subsection of AI, ML deals with making connections autonomously based on example data.
Cloud, decentralisation, automation and artificial intelligence are still crucial core topics. The aim is for companies to utilise the potentials these technologies have to offer in order to optimise products and processes. There are a variety of areas of application within ecommerce as well. As an example, the following provides a brief overview on the topic of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence in ecommerce
Especially the field of artificial intelligence provides a variety of areas of application that are relevant for ecommerce. From a marketing point of view, AI enables a better research of e.g. the sales funnel and customer journey. It can improve the shopping experience of an online shop and, for instance, deliver automated product recommendations. You can find out more in this blog entry.
In principle, there is already plenty of software based on artificial intelligence that is interesting to shop operators. You can also find plugins in the Shopware store that work with artificial intelligence. A few free examples for you:
- Apptus eSales for Shopware: AI and ML contribute to making your shop perform better.
- OMQ Contact: AI is able to autonomously answer contact forms.
- DooFinder – boosting site search: Contains several functionalities, including a self-learning search.
Chatbots also make use of artificial intelligence and can, for instance, advise your customers or process enquiries. You can read more about it here.