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The Future is Now

Man with dark hair and mustache wearing a gingham shirt with a watch, large over the ear headphones and looking at a grey computer monitor.

Let’s examine a few of the current technologies and digital trends shaping our world in the near future.

This is the second blog in a series I’ve written about digital trends. I’ve previously discussed how different generations use technology.

Wearables

Wearables such as watches and fitness bands have become more useful with time and consistently more baked into our lives. The rising generations have embraced wearable tech as a natural extension of fashion and day to day life. For the rest of us, the industry has figured out that nothing will replace our phones, but consumers will augment them with smart and convenient accessories.

Smart wearables will continue to move from novelty to essential gear. Customer interfaces are continuously evolving and there have been hints that Apple will expand into smart rings and eyeglasses in the near future.

Companies looking to capitalize on the wearables market will need to prepare for this with smart data structures with real-time predictive data. If the data being streamed to bite sized interfaces such as watches, rings, bands, clothes and glasses is not personalized and extremely useful, users will simply not engage.

Voice-driven interfaces

Gen Alpha consistently chooses a voice interface over analog GUIs. I have witnessed this first hand in my Alpha child, whose perfect alignment with the generational descriptions is shockingly accurate.

  • Generation Alpha choosing voice interface over analog options.
  • 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business online.
  • 2 billion voice enabled devices in 2020
    • Will double by 2024

The use of these types of interfaces will continue to grow and influence the customer experience. Companies that prepare for this digital trend are creating strong foundations.

To be successful in the near term, keep in mind that voice interfaces are strongly limited by the AI that lives behind them. They currently require clear cut tasks that can be completed in any order. As AI gains in complexity, we’ll see gradual improvements to the complexity they can handle.

Metaverse

The ways in which the next generations will interact with not only brands, but each other can sound like science fiction, but the Metaverse is coming.

  • Metaverse: a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
  • Wearables are building towards the future Meta presents.
  • Not just entertainment
    • In the same way Facebook is not just social.

The metaverse is nothing more than virtual reality or augmented realities. Enabling people to have human interactions in a virtual space, well I think the change in work habits during the pandemic is a glimpse into our future. I am thoroughly convinced that the coming generations will latch onto this tech.

While virtual reality is not new, what is new is the way in which wearable technology, and overall computing power is making these dreams a real possibility. The most obvious evidence is the way titans like Facebook and Microsoft are moving towards this type of interaction. Facebook rebranding to Meta and Microsoft buying up Blizzard – these all point to a future where customer interactions are happening in ways we have yet to comprehend.

So how are you going to keep up? For starters, keep customer interactions authentic. Meet the customer where they are and cater to what they want and need. Leverage new platforms in an authentic way. If a platform isn’t a good fit, don’t force your brand into the space.

The next generation of humans and technology lead toward a future we simply must discover and rediscover as we seek to serve them in meaningful ways. Building a culture of experimentation will be critical to finding success.

 

Read the next blog in our series – UX Trends Shaping Interfaces Today.

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Patrick McNeil

Patrick is a UX Director at Perficient. He strives to bring user-centered design practices to the most complicated business problems. Patrick's background is in Human Computer-Interaction, and has published several books on various web-related topics.

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