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COMMENTARY

Immersive technology: using data to drive new workforce and customer experiences

TECHNOLOGY is immersed in our lives and our businesses more than ever: it is increasingly pervasive in the way we work and lead our organisations. At the heart of this is data, which organisations have been stockpiling for years. By 2020, this data volume will reach 44 trillion gigabytes, or 44 zettabytes, and organisations are already working hard to extract greater value from that data. What's driving this is experiences: of being an employee, or a customer, or a business leader. The importance of data-derived insights in transforming experiences - within the workplace and outside - will continue to grow and is set to define many leaders' priorities as they work towards creating digital-first organisations.

Why is experience a driver? Look at the expectations of the workforce today. Generation (Gen) Z, the first true digital-natives who are just starting to enter the workforce, provide a timely example. According to our latest study, Gen Z: The future has arrived, 98 per cent have already used technology as a part of their formal education, and 85 per cent want to work with cutting-edge technology in their future careers. For this generation, technology is an expectation, not a new factor in their lives or work, and an underlying and pervasive element.

Organisations are being challenged to think about how they can attract the best talent, by re-examining the entire experience they are offering their workforce: from learning, to a commitment to accelerating career paths, to genuine enablement through technology. These are strategies that have a direct impact on business outcomes.

To the latter point, immersive intelligence will continue to transform the workforce experience: half of business leaders expect to learn on the job with augmented reality (AR) by 2030. The PCs and devices we use every day will continue to learn from our habits, proactively booting-up with the right apps and services at the right time. Advances in natural language processing and voice technologies will create a more productive dialogue with machines, while automation and robotics will create faster, more fluid collaboration with technology to get more done. With augmented and virtual reality (VR) applications creating workplace and home experiences, people will have access to the data they need to do work whenever, wherever they are.

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CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Immersive experiences are quickly becoming a focal point for companies' customer engagement strategies, too. Across the region, eight in 10 business leaders expect that they will be delivering hyper-connected customer experiences with VR, by 2030, according to our research. By combining machine intelligence with the latest augmented and virtual reality solutions, providers of consumer technology are making virtual assistants more intelligent and accessible than ever before.

With the rising number of smart home technologies, "things" and connected cars - all of which can learn our preferences and proactively serve up targeted content and information based on previous interactions - immersive intelligence will be increasingly important in terms of its pervasiveness and its impact on the way we work, live, and play. From enabling machine automation in the workplace to tracking our personal health, the possibilities are endless.

PUTTING DATA AT THE HEART

To deliver these experiences, organisations across the APJ region need to create an experience-focused mindset that is built on extracting value from data. The region is advanced in its innovation around emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things, and the application of data in this ecosystem of technologies has the potential to set organisations in this region apart. Leaders here recognise this: eight in 10 believe that emerging technologies like AI need to be at the heart of their transformation, and data's role as an enabler is core to this. Around eight in 10 also predict they will be using AI to pre-empt customer demands within five years.

As organisations derive more value from data - with those insights driving faster innovation and more efficient business processes - exciting times lie ahead for the technology sector, and for the customers it serves. Digital transformation will strengthen organisations' business posture and allow them to remain competitive - using data and emerging technologies to create powerful new experiences.

  • The writer is president, APJ Commercial, at Dell EMC