One size does not fit all. Every individual has unique requirements. Companies want to find the unique combinations that works for their customers to provide them with fine-tuned products.
That also means they will be collecting an increasing amount of data about individuals to understand how to market to them.
DNA data, for instance, is informing a lot of these choices — from Spotify’s partnership with Ancestry to create unique playlists that reflect different ethnicities and regions, to diet plans gauged from saliva samples.
The beauty industry, on the other hand, is using more straightforward methods like image recognition to create products unique to individuals.
Amazon and Apple are also working on adding personalised features to autonomous vehicles.
Senior citizens are no longer wary of technology like those a decade ago.
This creates a new market.
Unlike technology that needs user inputs to function — like talking to Alexa or fitness apps that require regular measurements — solutions for senior citizens are more passive. More along the lines of surveillance technology.
For example, Google patented the use of ‘always-on’ optical sensors that can capture data on cardiovascular function in January last year. Ideally, these sensors should be able to track changes in the colour of the skin in order to detect any blood flow disruptions.
Later in the year, Amazon filed its own patent to monitor ‘abnormal’ voice conditions in order to detect issues, like coughing and sore throats, suggest medicines and then, with the right programming, send a request directly to the doctor.
It’s not just senior citizens that reap the health benefits of technology. The scarcity of doctors has created tech startups that offer basic healthcare at home.
Checking for health risks using a at home DNA testing kit, and getting automatic refills for birth control are the most basic of applications.
Health kits at home also make regular monitoring easier since data stays with the users and a doctor’s appointment is not required each time they want an update.
Offline shopping may not be flourishing but shopping itself is more popular than ever. The shift in channels of how people are choosing to shop isn’t just about being online, but about changing the way offline shopping works as well.
Augmented reality (AR), smart factories and warehouses are also changing processes for shopping behind the scenes.
Google Maps is the go-to app for smartphone uses looking to find a bar, grocery store, bus stop and even shopping malls.
In 2019, maps will slowly start to become a layer on top of most processes — from communication to compiling data.
For instance, using past preferences, apps will be able to connect users to friends in the area or even warn them from visiting particular locations that pose a threat.
Google Maps already has a polling feature that allows users to create a list of places, which their friends can then rate to decide their final destination.
Even within a home, maps can dictate for automated robots can navigate on their own when users place a request like, “Get me a beer.”
Maps will become smarter and more complex in their functioning this year becoming the newest layer to dictate user interactions online.
Companies are still working the kinks out of autonomous vehicles but drones, also autonomous, are already aiding last mile delivery.
Delivering groceries and supplies is not as risky and already has use cases in place.
The technology is also easier to develop since it’s smaller and slower as compared to developing passenger vehicles.
Retailers and grocery giants in the US have already started to implement these solutions for last mile delivery within the country — and they’re reportedly saving on fuel and employee costs.
Smartphones are an integral part of most user lifestyles when they’re awake but now gadgets also have the power to improve your sleep. In 2019, wearable technology — like FitBit devices — can track you as you sleep to suggest how the quality of sleep can be improved.
Another company, Dreem, is selling headbands that can not only monitor your stats — like biological signals, brain activity, and heart heart — but also assist with meditation and breathing exercises to improve the deep sleep cycle.
China has always protected its data from the outside world and more countries are jumping on the bandwagon to protect their data.
Tech giants, like Google and Facebook, are pushing back against data protectionism stating that data isn’t oil but water. Their argument is that equal access to data will help young companies and startups grow rather than restrict them as they try and understand their audience.
India has already implemented data localisation guidelines for all non-local fintech companies operating within the country. Large companies like Google Pay, Mastercard and Visa now have to keep data of Indian users within the country.
It’s also working on a law to expand beyond just financial data. The Personal Data Privacy Bill is trying localise all data from Indian users, including e-commerce data and cloud data.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the move to localise data isn’t about protectionism, but a move to give Indian companies a fighting chance against global giants.
Corporate offices, coworking spaces, and home offices are looking to personalise these places for comfort — from ergonomic chairs, the right type of lighting to temperature control.
Electric vehicles might not become mainstream just yet but the public transportation system will see increased electrification.
Buses, for example, overcome a lot of the obstacles faced by individual users since their route is predictable and hence, easier to plan for.
Individual users who can afford to buy electric vehicles do so for two reasons — either the environment or luxury.
Either way, the vehicles take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to recharge, which means there’s a lot of waiting time involved.
Electric vehicle companies are turning this time into an asset by adding activities and creating centers around charging stations. So while people wait for their cars to recharge, they can browse through books, catch a quick nap or get some work done in a co-working space.
Currently, the world’s most valued private technology company is ByteDance valued at $75 billion. ByteDance is also the company behind the popular short video sharing app — TikTok.
Other tech giants — like Facebook and Instagram — have been trying to cash-in on the video trend with their own video integration tools like ‘Lip Sync Live’ and ‘Lyrics for Instagram’.
Facebook even launched an entirely new app for videos called Lasso, which is yet to catch on with users.
The tech industry requires new skills on a daily basis and employers are looking for specialised candidates. To keep up with the demand, colleges and institutions around the world are launching courses to train students on the exact skills that will need called ‘apprenticeships’.
The added benefit of apprenticeships is that a student only needs to pay their tuition once they land a job. The training comes with the promise of employment.
Tech companies are also latching onto the trend by offering apprenticeships within the company. They can train potential employees with the exact skills required for a particular job posting.
This does not mean that students will no longer opt for college courses, but it does give them an affordable alternative.
Just like people collect sports memorabilia, collecting merchandise from online games is the new trend. These goodies don’t exist in the real world but their online existence allows for customisation and personalisation.
In-game purchases include everything from character costumes to weaponry.
Companies are also creating a market around collectibles. CryptoKitties, for instance, allows users to buy digital cats that they can buy, breed and collect. The older they are, the harder they are to find, and more expensive as well.