Market musings

Which of These Business Technology Trends Have Already Arrived?

by Sasha Viasasha
August 9, 2017

You may have heard that the future has already arrived, but it’s not equally distributed yet. That’s a good description of the state the following futuristic business technology trends. 

While some media reports describe how new technologies may go mainstream sometime in the decade ahead, some early adopter businesses have already started profiting from advanced implementations.

Before you read the answers below, see if you can tell which of these futuristic concepts are on the market now and which are waiting in the wings.

  • AI Receptionists
  • Interactive Holograms
  • Natural Language Processing
  • 3D Audio
  • Global Wi-Fi from Space
  • Blockchain for Telecoms

AI Receptionists

Nearly 8 out of 10 businesses have already implemented or are planning to adopt AI as a customer service solution by 2020. Some AI deployments, like the receptionist for China Merchant Bank, can handle 1.5 – 2 million conversations a day. There are two main types of AI in use by businesses for customer service: 

  • Front-end AI-powered bots --  a conversational chatbot that interacts directly with customers
  • AI-assisted agents -- a human customer service representative who is supported by AI, often with translation in real time.

Verdict: Here

Interactive Holograms

Japanese digital image processor Asukanet demonstrated a new interactive hologram. The device that displays the hologram is called an Aerial Imaging Plate, which combines reflective surfaces with a tablet interface. They presented a floating hologram and demostrated how the viewer could interact with it like any  tangible object in the real world. The projection device then detects where the viewer's hand is positioned in relation to the hologram and makes it respond accordingly. Right now, the actual image can only be viewed from a single angle. 

Verdict: Near

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

The stock market and financial decision-making is leaving human control.

Machine learning algorithms are increasingly able to understand and act on information directly from human language instead of programming.

NLP is behind algorithmic trading, which reacts to market news many milliseconds faster than a human could. Currently, NLP is largely learning to digest information from news reports in English but analysts are working hard to expand its capabilities into other languages and cultures.  

Verdict: Here 

3D Audio

Just as the future of screens is all about achieving higher definition and more realistic imagery, the future of telephony involves recreating natural sounds in the space around you.  There are already 3D audio earbuds for Android that simulate the sensation of hearing sounds originating from various directions.

This will be used in concert with videoconferencing to differentiate speakers by projecting their voices into different spatial locations, personalized for each listener. There are likely to be filters that you will be apply to each voice based on the company or the sign-off authority level of each speaker. This can be developed into a competitive edge for remote teams.

Verdict: Here

Global Wi-Fi from Space

Elon Musk announced plans to launch 4,425 satellites to completely blanket the Earth with access to high-speed internet. SpaceX will start testing the satellites later in 2017 and have the first working prototype ready to go next year. SpaceX will start the long process of launching the their own satellites  in 2019.

In his application to the Federal Communications Commission for approval, Musk wrote, "Once fully deployed, the SpaceX System will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service. Every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite."

That also means there will be no more excuses for not calling back because you couldn’t pick up a signal.

Verdict: Near

Blockchain for Telecoms

Digital Econony Strategies (DES) identified 9 areas of research where telecom companies can open up new lines of business and define new industries by developing blockchain.



One of the earliest adopters was Verizon. Enrique Velasco-Castillo, senior analyst with DES described their project as,  “In August 2015, Verizon Ventures invested in Filament, a start-up developing connected modules to allow industrial assets to act as autonomous agents. These agents can then communicate via long-range, decentralised mesh networks and transact data using blockchains and smart contracts.”

Verdict: Here

Spoke’s Tech Roadmap

There are many more business technology trends that will be coming together over the next few years to amplify the effect of those that have already arrived in the marketplace. Visit our Knowledge Base to discover which trends are being incorporated into the Spoke network and which critical advances are on the next horizon. 

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