Biometrics could help conquer current cybersecurity concerns. Source: Shutterstock

Are these the new ‘disruptive’ technologies of 2020?

  • Digital transformation has been accelerated as a byproduct of the shift to remote working
  • But KPMG says tech adoption could change direction entirely. Here are three innovations stirring excitement in ‘new normal’ industry

The impact of the pandemic has been attributed to a widescale acceleration of digital transformation strategy across businesses. Suddenly having to shift an entire workforce ‘remote’ has its many challenges, the majority of which technology can provide some sort of solution to, or at least put businesses on a path to one. 

In the words of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella – and as a result of the demands of the pandemic – we saw “two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months.” 

But, according to a new report by KPMG, the effect is not just an acceleration of existing plans, it’s led to businesses to reevaluate the technologies they invest in entirely. With no ‘normal’ return to work in sight, digital transformation isn’t just a case of continued digitization — continued moves to the cloud or better-utilizing data — it means acclimatizing to a new world work entirely. 

KPMG found that 59% of global technology company leaders believe their business model will significantly or entirely change over the next three years. At the same time, more than three-quarters are optimistic about embracing new technologies. Here are three such innovations that KPMG highlighted: 

Digital assistants

The most advanced of these will combine artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning. They are poised to play an integral role with tech leaders ranking the tech on par with Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and robotics, and higher than 5G and edge computing in terms of technologies they expect to be using to transform their business three years from now.

In the ‘new normal’ world created by COVID-19, companies will lean on digital assistants to quickly deliver scalable, differentiated customer experience, reduce human error and increase efficiency in certain tasks (such as processing expense reports), and will allow employees to focus on more strategic, innovative work. 

Biometrics

The shift to remote work was met by an unwelcome spike in cybercrime — many businesses and their workforces were left vulnerable to attacks. Poor password management by an employee can provide the backdoor to a business’s entire network. 

Enterprises are exploring ways in which to make security seamless and less vulnerable to compromise by human error, and biometrics is one such solution. 

Defined as a person’s unique, measurable physical characteristics like fingerprints, facial structure, and retinal map, tech leaders ranked biometrics on par with 5G, robotics, and blockchain, and higher than virtual reality and edge computing in terms of technologies they expect to be using to transform their business three years from now.

Applications include automated identification, access control, and facility/system security. However, companies should recognize that there will almost certainly be new data privacy and usage issues that arise whenever new personally identifiable information is utilized.

Virtual reality

COVID-19 ushered in the era of remote work and customer interaction. Attention is turning once again to virtual reality in the quest to make these interactions more personal and immersive. Enterprise use cases include providing training in an immersive fashion while also reducing travel and practicing social distancing; increasing customer engagement, especially for high-end retail purchases and real estate; delivering innovative media, sports, gaming, and product demonstration experiences; and creating virtual offices to increase employee involvement and productivity during meetings and reduce feelings of isolation.