Technological trends that will change how we work and talk in 2018
By: Joseph Reis – X Tech News
The arrival of WhatsApp Business, the ‘boom’ of smart speakers or the rise of virtual reality will open new ways to communicate in the year that starts.
Surely you also welcomed the 2018 by expressing good wishes in a green sandwich or sharing a photo of the celebration in a social network. WhatsApp, Instagram and other platforms also have their own purposes for the coming year, and their news will occupy a good part of our time in the coming months.
However, the instant messaging app and social networks are not the only ways to communicate with friends, companies or colleagues that we will use this new year: the technological giants aim, among other things, to chat with machines.
Companies invade WhatsApp
Facebook has decided to make a space for companies that want to address the 1.3 billion users of the instant messaging ‘app’ par excellence. WhatsApp Business will soon allow small or medium companies and large companies (for which the service is expected to be paid ) to communicate with their customers through green chat.
The user can see at a glance if the account you are using the company has been verified , confirmed (the phone number matches the business) or the ‘app’ does not know anything about it. Although the application is currently being tested and it is unknown when users will begin to interact with companies via chat, it seems clear that many companies will be interested in offering this customer service channel that will make Facebook take advantage of WhatsApp.
The cylindrical Amazon Echo is not alone: the smallest Echo Dot, the Eco Show with touch screen included or the Echo Spot with alarm clock form part of the family of intelligent speakers with which the giant of Jeff Bezos wants to conquer every corner of our home. In addition, Alexa, the virtual assistant that serves as the brain to obey the orders of their owners , is integrating cars or televisions , and even has its own platform aimed at offices .
In addition, this year Apple will join the race of smart speakers with HomePod, which will interact thanks to Siri and start selling soon in some English – speaking countries . For its part, Samsung will launch a device with Bixby , its virtual assistant.
The fashion of the Stories
The spectacular growth of Instagram last year ( already has 800 million active users per month ) has all the signs to continue in 2018. In addition, Instagram Stories, the functionality that allows sharing images and ephemeral videos, already brings together more than 300 millions of active users every day, almost double that of Snapchat (just over 170 million), the ‘app’ from which it was copied. Facebook has taken the Stories to every corner of their domains, from WhatsApp to the very social network par excellence, whose stories could be integrated soon with Instagram .
The popularization of the Stories is attracting even the ‘youtubers’, who use Instagram as a complementary way to upload their videos after the monetization crisis on YouTube, which is hurting your pocket. Google’s popular video platform has gone through a bad time after some multinationals decided to withdraw their advertising upon discovering that it was appearing in terrorist videos . His reaction, for some too hard, implementing stricter advertising policies , has caused ads to be disabled in videos whose content, in the opinion of the creators, is not offensive.
That has made some seek alternatives to YouTube and take refuge not only on Instagram, but also on platforms like Twitch (Amazon). In fact, Google has tried to react with the recent release in ‘beta’ YouTube Reels, a platform type Stories where creators can upload short videos, ephemeral or permanent , and which can add ‘stickers’, music and filters.
A virtual Facebook
Zuckerberg not only want us to communicate through text or images, but also want us to experiment with virtual reality by creating our own avatar to enjoy games or participate in video calls in Messenger in a more immersive way. The social network par excellence launched a few months ago Facebook Spaces , an ‘app’ of virtual reality that can be enjoyed with its Oculus Rift and that since a few days is compatible with HTC Vive .
In addition, Facebook will launch Oculus Go, a virtual reality glasses without wires, independent of the computer or the ‘smartphone’, and affordable (cost $ 199).
For its part, many other companies could offer their products through augmented reality, as Ikea has done with its ‘app’ Place (based on Apple’s ARKit) to demonstrate that this technology is not only useful for games. The next arrival of the Magic Leap One, ambitious mixed reality glasses with its own platform for developers, could be another push.
The ‘chatbots’ of customer service
The travel agencies and some banks are already experimenting with the ‘chatbots’ to communicate with their clients at any time . Facebook Messenger or Telegram allow third parties to create ‘bots’, thus becoming the home of these intelligent programs that allow companies to respond to the needs of users without the need for human agents.
For its part, Twitter has just launched a new API (application programming interface, for its acronym in English) aimed at companies to facilitate precisely the deployment of these ‘bots’ talkative, and the arrival of WhatsApp Business could also mean the landing of these virtual helpers in the green chat . All this will undoubtedly contribute to the popularization of the ‘chatbots’: the consultant Gartner estimates that in 2021, more than 50% of companies will invest more money in creating them than in developing ‘apps’.
The email, a little closer to death?
Although it takes time talking about the death of email , the truth is that we are still using our inbox: only Gmail has more than 1.2 billion users . Now, it is undeniable that the appearance of ‘bots’ to serve customers and the rise of other platforms that allow workers to hold ‘online’ talks are an alternative to the more traditional mail.
The corporate communication tool Slack (which exceeds 6 million daily users and also hosts ‘bots’ of third parties), the arrival of Facebook Workplace, a service that is including more and more functionalities , or the momentum of Microsoft to Teams, that offers different options for workers to collaborate and that will replace Skype for Business, are some examples of this.
Express yourself based on ‘animojis’
Get the panda bear, smiling unicorn poop or replicate our gestures, speak for us and even interpret the most famous songs has become one of the most popular features of the iPhone X . Everything points to the expressive ‘animojis’, who imitate us thanks to the facial recognition system of the new flagship of Apple, will continue to be one of the tools that we will most want to communicate in the coming months.
In fact, there are already some ‘apps’ to create ’emojis’ animated (less precise than those of the signature device of the bitten apple) with other ‘smartphones’. In addition, Huawei has recently introduced its Honor View 10, a device that incorporates a similar system to Apple’s Face ID and that also allows to create animated ’emojis’.