Fjord predicts the blending of the digital and physical, blockchains and collaboration with AI

Navigating through rapid technological advancements in 2018 will require individuals and organizations to create experiences that blend the physical and digital world, develop greater transparency through blockchains and collaborate with AI, according to Fjord Trends 2018 report.

The latest predictions come from fundamental tensions, says Mark Curtis, co-founder and chief client officer at Fjord in a statement.

“Digital versus physical, human versus machine, centralized versus decentralized, speed versus craft … winners in 2018 will be those who best navigate these tensions and seize the opportunity to collectively design the world we’ll be living in,” he says.

Digital experiences have plateaued, suggests the report, opening the door for more seamless solutions that combine the digital and physical.

Fjord pointed to Carnival Cruise’s on-board experience and medallion wearable, which connects customers to a cruise ship through a digitally-enabled service called the Compass. The wearable allows customers to schedule activities, get personalized service, notifications about nearby events and order food and drinks. According to user responses, 59 per cent of people are happy about this prediction.

New applications of computer vision are also on the horizon. Fjord’s report cites Nanit’s baby monitor as an example, which watches a child sleep through a camera and processes the information, providing insights on patterns impacting sleep quality. Fifty-two per cent of poll respondents were happy about Fjord’s computer vision prediction.

Fjord’s third prediction involves chatbots, and a deeper application of algorithms in customer service.


The Fjord Trends 2018 report predicts a deeper application of algorithms in customer service.


“Organizations must get a grip on these new algorithm gatekeepers and learn to navigate and engage with them,” says the report. “They will need to explore which aspects of their brand architecture to play up and play down.”

Nearly 40 per cent of survey respondents were curious about this prediction, and only 29 per cent were happy.

The combined efforts of brain power and AI power will open new doors across multiple industries, says Fjord, pointing to a Harvard-based pathologist team that partnered up with their AI solution to accurately identify 99.5 per cent of cancerous biopsies. Fjord’s poll says 47 per cent of users were happy with this prediction.

Blockchains, created to handle transactions and record keeping for Bitcoin, will increase organizations’ transparency with customers.

“One immediate challenge will be to get people to understand it, another will be to encourage them to trust it,” says the report.

The prediction resonated with users, as nearly 50 per cent of people said they were happy about it.

Lastly, Fjord says organizations will have to be proactive and take a stance on issues concerning their customers and employees, while the demand for products to be delivered and scaled quickly will force designers to be more creative in order for their product to stand out.

Survey results show that 76 per cent and 56 per cent of people, respectively, are happy with those two predictions.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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