As we look ahead to next year, we asked our portfolio companies to share their top industry predictions for Sports Tech, AI, IoT, and beyond. With sports tech becoming more prevalent, smart assistants ushering in the “year of voice,” and smart cities using ML & AI to tap into decades of siloed data, 2018 looks to be marked by a major shift to more tangible, mainstream applications of this next-gen tech.
Sports enters the tech scene
The automation of sports video recording and broadcasting is becoming ever more present as professional-level sports teams and facilities look to install sophisticated video hardware and software. From camera tracking technology (like our 4k SmartTracker in basketball) to multi-angle synced video and HD live streaming, athletes and sports teams are looking for products and services that will lead to better performance, reductions in costs and greater operational efficiencies.
—Chen Shachar, Founder and CEO of PlaySight
AI moves from perception to action
The commercialization success of AI has largely been due to applications in imagery, video, text or other sensor data. In 2018, we’ll see AI take on larger actions as human trust in the technology continues to build. This can include cyber security systems autonomously acting in response to a threat, or remediation controls automatically kicking in at a large industrial facility when AI prognostics determines that a failure is imminent.
—Amir Husain, Founder and CEO of SparkCognition
Year of voice
Alexa, Google Home and Siri are getting smarter and reaching more critical masses. This will create new opportunities for brands to connect with customers in new ways and build new data-powered services. It will be the wild west for a while, and as marketers begin to build new experiences for these devices there are things that they must take into consideration like: privacy, divulging personal information, and timing. Voice will allow marketers to deliver relevant information immediately, but marketers must tread carefully.
—Mike Herrick, Senior Vice President of Urban Airship
Conversational UIs will start to matter
Conversational UIs will become more mainstream due to continued improvements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data and processor speeds combined with customer adoption and comfort with the technology.
—Chris Spanos, President and CEO of Urgent.ly
IoT becomes the next cloud
High-bandwidth, low-power IoT wireless technologies are becoming more and more available, ultimately increasing implementation within the enterprise. To reach new levels, successful companies will have an internal IoT division dedicated to implementing and optimizing IoT applications for their specific business goals.
—Mark Chung, Founder and CEO of Verdigris
Marketing adapts to the digital era
Customers are increasingly impatient and tone deaf to broad-based promotions that don’t speak to their interests, actions and behaviors. We are finally entering a period where true one-to-one marketing will become one-to-moment marketing. Real-time data, automation and AI will enable responding to and anticipating customer interactions in order to enhance their experience and loyalty. As customer journeys become more self-directed, spanning more devices and channels from websites and apps, to voice assistants and chatbots, brands need to be there for customers in more and more places—and have complete customer context in tow.
—Brett Caine, President and CEO of Urban Airship
Healthcare will be boosted by Alexa and M&A
2018 will bring a shake-up in healthcare. From the very simple - Amazon Alexa providing prescription reminders and integrating with prescription ordering - to huge consolidation such as the recent announcement of CVS purchasing Aetna.
—Chris Spanos, President and CEO of Urgent.ly
AI and ML Help Transit Systems Improve Operations
Cities are sitting on decades of siloed data about roads, routes, patterns and riders. Machine learning and AI have the capability to tap into this valuable information and leverage it to improve inner transit systems. 2018 will bring new advances in ML/AI to the historically conservative industry and change the way operators and agencies operate for the better.
—Amos Haggiag, Founder and CEO of Optibus
Edge Processing and Analytics Start to Become Mainstream
We will see growth in edge analytics and edge processing across the board in 2018. Edge data sources can be anything from a car or wristwatch, to an industrial component which gathers data from several machines in a factory. You'll also see more and more edge processing in 2018, which will be used to perform data collection and analysis at the edge of the network, near the source of data.
—Asaf Somekh, Founder and CEO of iguazio