Analysts say a handful of technologies are poised to change our lives by 2021.While Forester Research sees five of emerging technologies could shake things up in a big way for businesses and the public in general.

Those five:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT),
  • Intelligent agents,
  • artificial intelligence (A.I.),
  • augmented reality (A.R.) and
  • hybrid wireless technology.

“The technologies we selected will have the biggest impact on your ability to win, serve and retain customers whose expectations of service through technology are only going up. Our list focuses on those technologies that will have the biggest business impact in the next five years.

Hopkins said intelligent agents coupled with A.I. are becoming smart enough to understand users’ behavior, interpret needs and make decisions.

“By 2021, we think that automation, supported by intelligent software agents driven by an evolution in A.I. and cognitive technology will have eliminated a net 6% of U.S. jobs,” wrote Hopkins. “But the loss won’t be uniform. There will be an 11% loss of jobs that are vulnerable and a 5% creation of jobs in industries that stand to benefit.”

Another key emerging technology is hybrid wireless technology, like interfaces and software that enable devices to use and translate between different wireless providers, protocols and frequency bands. “By 2021, a virtual network infrastructure will emerge to weave together wireless technologies that globally connect IoT and customer engagement platforms,” Hopkins said.

As for IoT, it is expected to more fully engage consumers with their products and the companies that make them. “Theses software platforms and solutions act as a bridge between highly specialized sensor and actuator, compute and networking technology for real-world objects and related business software,” wrote Hopkins. “This technology gives firms visibility into and control of customer and operational realities.”
“Robotics could be the only hole I see,” he said. “I believe these technologies could fundamentally change the type of business people are in, change the way services are delivered and purchased,and change the ways businesses interact.”“Instead of having thousands of customer service agents on the phone or over web chat, companies can have A.I.-enabled chat bots do the same thing,” he explained. “This can lower cost, and even improve customer satisfaction because there’s no wait and the answers are accurate.”