Wakanda-Level Technology for Your Office
Marvel’s Black Panther has proven to be one of the studio’s most successful films ever, having raked in $1 Billion and counting worldwide in the weeks since its release. In the film, outsiders who enter the mysterious country of Wakanda find a nation rich in resources and some of the most advanced technology ever seen—and that’s in a film universe where alien invasions are a regular nuisance.
While nobody in our world is toting around indestructible vibranium armor or gadgets for remote driving cars on the other side of the planet, you may be surprised to learn about some of the futuristic tech that’s becoming accessible to large and small businesses alike. Here’s a look at some real, cutting-edge technology rolling out into the business world that might seem more like something from a Marvel movie than a working office.
AI: Smart Assistants and Smarter Apps
Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been the source of sci-fi nightmares, but real-life AI has been creating efficiencies for business who may not even realize it yet. Commercial counterparts to smart assistants like Siri and Alexa have revolutionized customer service, allowing businesses to help customers find issues to common problems before elevating to human representatives. Accounting tools like Pegg use AI to process financial data and present it in intuitive, accessible language. Advanced machine learning methods have also made It easier for AI to find patterns in analytics data, offering businesses insights into their customers’ behavior and interests.
Flexible Screens: More Powerful, Less Power Needed
In 2016, LG debuted a new display that could change the way workers prepare for meetings and keep track of important documents. Eschewing the flat, rigid, rectangular shape we’re used to our screens taking, this new display is foldable like paper. In a few short years, LG has put this tech to work in the form of flexible smartphones and even a 65-inch television that can be rolled up like a poster for easy storage. Paired with Bluetooth and WiFi technology, “tablets” made from flexible displays could completely remove the need for printed meeting notes in the very near future, while using up less energy—and less table space—than a traditional laptop computer.
IoT: Letting Devices Do Their Job
The “Internet of Things” (known as IoT) refers to a recent trend in electronics manufacturing that has everything from thermostats to refrigerators to store room shelves connecting to the web. Some experts estimate that by 2020, there will be as many as 30 billion connected devices together composing a new Internet made up not just of servers and screens, but of devices that can track immense amounts of data and learn to do their jobs better. Imagine a warehouse that can learn how quickly certain items run out of stock and automatically order the right amount of inventory. Imagine remote work that allows employees to connect to important devices physically located in your office or factory floor. Imagine a coffee machine that can check your calendar and know when to have a fresh pot ready for you. All of this is already happening, and will only continue to become more prevalent as the technology becomes more affordable.
Self-Driving Cars: Safe Shipping (and Pizza Delivery!)
In late 2017, Dominos and Ford announced a partnership that promised to test the bounds of what the Internet of Things can offer today’s businesses. For a few weeks, Dominos used an autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid to deliver pizzas in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The experiment was a brilliant publicity move for both companies, and while we won’t likely see self-driving pizza delivery cars anytime soon, the fact that this experiment actually worked proves that we’re not as far as you might think from autonomous vehicles playing a significant role in business operations around the world. Self-driving semi-trucks have recently begun cross-country trips, which could have huge implications for businesses looking to lower shipping costs.
Much like Wakanda itself, much of this technology has already been out there for years, working in secret to help businesses create efficiencies and better serve their customers. What futuristic tech is your business using to gain an edge on the competition? Tell us about your favorite tools and gadgets in the comments below!