One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”
The evolving relationship between humans and machines will dominate the path to emerging technologies, says anlayst Gartner.
For its "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2013" report Gartner has focused on areas such as smart machines, cognitive computing and the Internet of Things.
The report covers over 2,000 different technologies grouped into 98 areas, but the relationship between humans and machines provides a focus for Gartner's predictions.
Gartner analyst Jackie Fenn said: "We are encouraging enterprises to look beyond the narrow perspective that only sees a future in which machines and computers replace humans. By observing how emerging technologies are being used by early adopters, there are actually three main trends at work."
Fenn said these were augmenting humans with technology, like an employee with a wearable computing device [such as Google Glass]; machines replacing humans, like a cognitive virtual assistant acting as an automated customer representative; and humans and machines working alongside each other, for example a mobile robot working with a warehouse employee to move boxes.
Gartner analyst Hung LeHong said: "Organisations of the future will use a combination of these three trends to improve productivity, transform citizen and customer experience, and to seek competitive advantage."
LeHong added: "Machines are becoming better at understanding humans and the environment, for example, recognising the emotion in a person's voice; and humans are becoming better at understanding machines through the Internet of Things concept. At the same time, machines and humans are getting smarter by working together."