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February 22nd, 2021
The pandemic has accelerated the trend of adopting new interfaces in both consumer and professional fields, according to Reply’s new research "New Interfaces, Zero Interfaces", based on Reply’s Trend SONAR proprietary data-driven platform.
The research explores the development prospects of state-of-the-art interfaces that are coming to prominence in this new normal by analysing significant studies, scientific articles and patents published in the last two years, while integrating them with relevant experiences from Reply customers.
Smartphones and their operating systems have been enabling completely new experiences for almost 15 years; now 5G, high-speed connectivity, and edge computing are set to provide a further boost for user interface technologies like wearables, smart speakers, 3D spatial interfaces, multimodal and brain-computer interfaces.
“Companies will develop more personalized and emotional interactions with customers, as well as new possibilities for the analysis and visualization of information,” commented Filippo Rizzante, CTO Reply. "Looking at the impacts of the pandemic on the interfaces we use today, there are two trends that more than others we are seeing growing: a wider demand for remote healthcare, and the need to reduce touch interfaces".
Voice is the fastest growing interface, thanks to its frequent use in daily life through smart speakers and cars. It is also increasingly being used for marketing purposes, allowing popular brands to literally speak directly to consumers – a much more intimate connection than the ones offered by traditional touchpoints.
Industries like pharmaceuticals, fashion, real estate, and travel are progressively implementing extended reality technologies through mobile apps or special headsets. Extended Reality is set to greatly enhance training and workplace collaboration, offering teams much better ways of meeting and sharing ideas and thoughts in both virtual and augmented realities.
Wearables are becoming steadily more relevant in the field of daily-use interfaces. Rings, glasses, and ‘hearables’ can be connected to smart assistants to help with daily life and monitor behaviour. Combined with next-gen smartwatches, these kind of wearables could become the first full-alternative, independent, consumer-ecosystem to the smartphone.
Gaze control and eye tracking will allow people to control, communicate and interact with machines based on eye movement patterns, fixations and pupil reaction. Brain-computer interface (BCI) technology is accelerating as well. The focus is still predominantly medical and scientific, however its diffusion into other areas is increasing, blurring the lines between computing and biology.
In the mobility industry, new interfaces will have a crucial role in the safety and the security of vehicle drivers and pedestrians, using new smart technologies to improve safety and communications with other road users. New interfaces will also make cars and trucks more customisable and predictive. Moreover, autonomous driving will enable greater development in entertainment and advertising within vehicles.
Retail-related interface development is experiencing seismic shifts as well, helping shoppers enjoy the benefits of physical shopping – tactile, sensory and social – in digital virtual spaces that enable frictionless and comfortable shopping while driving customer acquisition, retention and loyalty to new heights. The use of Artificial Intelligence-based and conversational interfaces will refine customisation down to the needs of the individual customer. AI and digital technologies allow for more personalisation for customers, from inspiration to tackling sizing and fitting issues in fashion retail.
With increasing sensor integration and natural embedding into the surrounding world, interfaces will be invisibly interwoven into everyday life and work environments, turning anything into an interface, seamlessly communicating with each other and expanding human cognition and senses.
For more insights download the full research “New Interfaces, Zero Interfaces”. This new research is part of the Reply Market Research series, including the recent “From Cloud to Edge” and “Rebooting Longevity”.
Reply [MTA, STAR: REY, ISIN: IT0005282865] specialises in the design and implementation of solutions based on new communication channels and digital media. As a network of highly specialised companies, Reply defines and develops business models enabled by the new models of AI, big data, cloud computing, digital media and the internet of things. Reply delivers consulting, system integration and digital services to organisations across the telecom and media; industry and services; banking and insurance; and public sectors. www.reply.com