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We are living through an unprecedented age of tech innovation. From the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) to the present and future of electric cars, today’s top tech companies and innovative startups are reshaping product categories, influencing market factors and shaping policy decisions.
While this movement has many expressions, the future of all emerging tech is really a story about the future of autonomy. Automation — the synchronous implementation of hardware and software features — drives user engagement, connecting data, information and analytics with precise movements and actions to provide a dynamic experience driving business outcomes, ultimately creating exponential value.
As a creator of autonomous products and a user obsessed with AI-powered technology, here are four ways that I envision the future of tech as the future of autonomy and the outcomes associated with these changes.
1. Products and software features fade to the background
The best products are those that people don’t realize they are using. They don’t require a guide or instructions. They can be used effortlessly and intuitively while enabling advanced software and hardware functionality. Automation is accelerating this trend, enabling more products and services to create streamlined, intuitive user experiences.
For businesses, the implications are obvious. Thriving in tomorrow’s tech reality will require companies to develop product and software solutions that mitigate interaction so that end-users are empowered to pursue other priorities while machines take over the burden of repetitive tasks that no one wants to do.
For example, once a dream, self-driving cars are now very close to reality, offering a compelling user experience where people can forget they are in a car, instead enjoying media, pursuing professional objectives, or even resting. This “use it and forget it” dynamic will become even more pronounced across services and sectors as companies strive to reduce friction and enable new possibilities with autonomy.
In the business sector, many enterprise technologies will advance as B2Bs consider how they can develop the data sets needed to automate products and features that can passively complete complicated tasks.
In addition, most factories have deployed some form of robotics that are becoming more complicated and advanced every year as they build increasingly complex products. For these companies to succeed, they will need to continue accelerating the hardware and software elements that often operate invisibly but enable production at scale.
2. Automation reaches physical spaces
Automation as a software feature is a well-established trend. Every day software solutions have been relying on automation for years, a reality that is ready to reach physical spaces.
For instance, according to Security Magazine, 71% of participants considered tailgating a serious breach, with more than half admitting a breach could cost their company $500 million in losses or more.
In response, facial authentication-based biometrics in security is becoming more prevalent with clear value in creating passive but very secure access anywhere in the enterprise, airports, hospitals and healthcare facilities. Where buildings previously required many products to create a comprehensive security footprint, automation enhances a security product’s capacity, allowing building managers to do more with less.
Additionally, occupancy and building resource management will be optimized using a combination of sensors, cameras, data aggregators and AI technologies, improving security initiatives, climate control efforts and more.
For industrial companies, they can look to automation to enhance everything from inventory management to product delivery. Many warehouses, which have struggled to control costs while adjusting to supply chain disruptions and surging consumer demands, demonstrate the centrality of automation as the future of tech development. Major online retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, are developing or deploying AI-powered robots to assist their expansive warehouse workforces.
The results can be transformative. As one analysis notes, “Robots and other emerging technologies help make supply chains more agile and resilient by increasing the accuracy and timeliness of product information.”
To make these possibilities replicable realities, businesses will need to invest in automation technologies that build upon existing solutions to improve overall capacity and outcomes.
3. Future-focused product development
Younger generations are truly autonomy-wired digital natives. They are naturally comfortable with complex technologies, and they are antagonistic to digital experiences that are not entirely seamless.
That’s why today’s most compelling products and services are building on top of existing iterations to enhance the automation technologies that came before them.
As a result, the only way to build new, innovative products is to heavily build on top of existing products and services while investing enormous amounts of money to compete in the market. Consequently, tech is becoming more complex as R&D, manufacturing and scalability are becoming increasingly more complicated, requiring significant financial and personnel investments.
That’s why, to truly advance the autonomous tech of the future, brands need to focus on developing better and more capable automation technologies before building on top of those existing solutions to launch newer and better tech for future generations.
4. Integration is the defining quality of successful autonomy
Moving forward, users expect their technologies to connect and communicate, sharing data and driving automation across platforms and bridging the gap between physical spaces, technology and software.
This will also enable new use cases and user experiences. Future product and service integrations will leverage automation to facilitate real-world outcomes. For example, a consumer might purchase a plane ticket to travel to an AirBnB. Automation services will automatically add this information to your calendar while enabling other services, like scheduling an Uber at the right time, effectively lowering the barrier between technology and real-world engagement.
Siloed automation technologies are minimally impactful at best, making integration the defining quality of successful autonomy.
A closing thought
For better or worse, future business growth is, in many ways, contingent upon technology development, including automation adoption and implementation. The tight fit between hardware and software is the key to unlocking business growth and empowering people across sectors and industries.
To be sure, the benefits of autonomy are far-reaching and multifaceted. We can free people from mundane tasks while empowering them to pursue things they love. At the same time, we will need to develop processes and protocols to safeguard data and ensure security to truly empower user trust backed by protected rights and access. Without that component, technology can’t advance for the betterment of humankind, but rather will serve as a resistant barrier that could hold back generations of evolutionary impact.
Ultimately, this is a unique moment to embrace growth and change, leveraging the future of tech to create inductive products and services that support business objectives and enhance future growth potential.
Vince Gaydarzhiev is the founder of Alcatraz AI.