Every year we see improvements in technology, and 2023 is no different. The creation of new devices, software, and business processes continues. This year, the focus is on the Internet of Things (IoT), the Banking as a Service (BaaS) sector, and artificial intelligence (AI).
The retail industry has been one of the leading industries to embrace new technology in a bid to provide better service and pricing. In first-world countries, many big-name retailers like Walgreens and Walmart have even gone further to pioneer self-serving technology to enhance the customer experience. In Africa, retailers have also been striving to find ways to serve their customers better. In particular, South African brands like Boxer are pushing the envelope, despite being recognised as a provider of goods to low-income groups. They have been moving towards a more digital presence with an app where consumers can get all information concerning Boxer specials and competitions. They also have a YouTube channel to watch current TV commercials.
More tech advances are going to be applied in various industries. Here are the top 10 technology trends for 2023 that you need to keep your eyes on.
1. Digital Payments
COVID pushed us toward less physical interaction, and businesses were forced to develop processes that allow people to still make purchases from home. Delivery services and digital payment solutions came into play and allowed consumers more autonomy and choice. And this will become more popular, especially in developing countries. Banking services are working to develop multiple payment methods, such as the integration of third-party service providers in BaaS as well as NFC payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. In South Africa, these services are available from banks like Discovery and Nedbank. For small business owners, cashless payment options like Apple Pay help eliminate the majority of human errors and maintain business security. Going cashless offers consumers improved security, a reduction in withdrawals, and peace of mind when you remember you left your wallet at home.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
Faster internet and lighter-better hardware will usher in enhancements for businesses in the IoT. The availability of 5G and faster wifi, partnered with blockchain technology, will make for easier order tracking. Faster 6G technology is still in the works, but there is doubt if it will be unveiled this year. It will also allow for a more connected world and cross-selling as different service providers come together to improve their offering.
3. Subscription Based Services
More companies in the production space are also moving towards offering additional services on a subscription based model. Apple was one of the pioneers in this wave, offering added services through AppleCare, which went on to bundle in other services across the whole ecosystem. Companies like BMW have also been making the move towards this by adopting microtransactions for their premium car features, such as heated seats, for around $18 per month.
In the evolution of Web 3 technologies, blockchain will become more of a staple and will enter the business framework by allowing more transparency and trust. This, in turn, will cause massive disruptions in many industries, particularly finance. Middlemen in industries like insurance and banking might start to seem redundant.
5. Digital Identity
As the world moves toward e-passports and digital identity cards, blockchain technology may find more use in managing our physical and digital identities. In Germany, the application of this is being seen in a partnership between BMW and the government. They are using a blockchain based driver’s license in an effort to reduce identity fraud. In South Africa, Absa Bank is also taking a similar approach by adopting a digital ID to clamp down on abuse of personal data and identity theft.
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI’s unique ability to learn and improve itself will prove useful in inventory management, order and supply chain processes, and in the delivery of products and services to the consumer. No-code AI has seen a massive spike in interest and will soon be used in multiple sectors for service or product efficiency as well as customer relationship management.
7. Metaverse Technologies
Metaverse and metaverse-related services will become more popular, and big brands will jump on this opportunity, as seen with Nike for Nikeland and music shows being held virtually. 2023 seems like the year when more will be done to improve virtual workspaces and encourage collaboration without having to be physically located in the same place. This seems to be the push, as Gartner predicts 25% of people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026.
8. AR & VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality will continue to grow in the service and product sectors and in risk reduction. Employers and customers can engage with different types of training experiences within VR and AR environments to make mistakes without any real-world consequences. An example would be Accenture, which has developed a virtual workspace they call the Nth floor where employees can work on HR-related issues without having to be in the physical building. VR shows lots of potential for being applicable in education, and there is hope for its development in this regard.
9. Sustainable Energy
Sustainable energy will be the push for 2023, as rolling blackouts have hampered business and pushed overheads to near breaking point for most industries. As such, traditional energy channels are not capable of serving the growing population and business community. Solar and wind technologies have been identified as good alternatives to consider, and investments in these are set to increase in 2023.
10. Quantum Computing
Quantum computing, which uses subatomic particles to create new ways of processing and storing information, is a technological leap that’s expected to bring us computers capable of operating a trillion times more quickly than the fastest traditional processors available today. The development of this technology has been pushed into overdrive as developments in it will, to some degree, equate to industry and political dominance as countries like China, Russia, and the USA, as well as companies like Volkswagen, Amazon, and Google, have been pouring massive investment into it.