Trends in tech

Augmented reality has started to pick up speed with new tools and autonomous cars have gone from future technology to early adoption. This is a quick guide to some more tech trends.

Virtual furniture is only the beginning

The last ten years have evolved around the shift from big screens (desktops) to smaller screens (mobile). We are currently in the early stages of a journey beyond screens and into more immersive user experiences. Augmented reality (AR) is in the driver’s seat for this blurring of boundaries between the digital and physical world.

Simply stated, AR adds computer-generated images on top of the real world, either through a dedicated device (e.g. Google Glass) or a screen device such as your mobile phone. It has been around for years, but recently AR has started to pick up speed due to two key improvements. First, processing power and camera improvements are making mobile phones great AR tools. They also happen to be the easiest accessible digital layer to place between people and the real world. Second, recent advancements in artificial intelligence and image recognition capabilities have made machines much better at understanding their environment.

The most famous and widely adopted use cases of AR are Pokémon Go and the Snapchat filters that adapt to your face. These applications are quite simple and only have a basic understanding of their environment, but were still expensive and time-consuming to build. That changed this summer with the release of AR developer kits from Apple and Google. Think of these kits as a bag full of “Lego bricks” in different shapes and colors that allow you to start building great stuff in no time. More than 500 million iOS and Android devices can now use AR apps built with these tool kits.

Experiments flourish, with one of the most remarkable being “Ikea Place”. It allows customers to test how Ikea products would look in their home (size, color etc.) We know from experience that strong visuals drive buying engagement and this will no doubt be a game changer in online retail. It took Ikea only seven weeks to build the app using these new developer kits.

AR as an interface is in its infancy, and we can expect to see a lot more use cases emerge in the coming months and years. And, will we even need a phone in the future, when we could have a digital contact lens between ourselves and the world?

/Marius Olsen, VP Product Strategy Office.

Blockchain popularity is surging

At the start of 2016 the total market value of publically tradable (most of them are) blockchains was seven billion USD. In Q3 2017 that figure is fluctuating around 150 billion dollars – that is 20 percent of Apple’s total valuation. The space is seeing a surge in value as the technology is in a positive spiral with mainstream attention and because more and more people are experimenting (and speculating) on what “programmable money” could do. Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, which can create trust between two unknown parties on the internet, without a central third party. This is an innovation with massive implications; blockchains will do to trust what the Internet did to information.

/Fredrik Haga, Investment Manager.

React while campaigns are running

Programmatic advertising is taking a big step forward, using data to understand user behavior. The Advertising strategic accounts team in Schibsted Spain is creating new attribution models that are taking this into account. Today digital campaigns are measured based on last post, clicks and impressions. But with more user data and new models, you can now define, identify and cluster much more specific user groups and reach them by programmatic buying. It also means that you can measure what perception and affinity users have towards a product or service, and their buying predisposition. This in turn, allows a much more efficient monitoring of behavior changes and reactions during the campaigns.

/Future Report

Clear road ahead for robot cars

Since last year’s Future Report, autonomous vehicles have gone from future technology to early adoption. Several real world tests are ongoing from the likes of Uber, Didi and Volvo.
Although the technology is increasingly likely to mature in time for general availability in 2021, challenges remain, such as regulation and insurance. New, behavioral issues are also being raised: Will self-driving cars clog roads instead of reducing traffic? That might be the case if cost conscious car owners let cars cruise the free roads instead of paying for parking. But, if there is a will there is a way, even for robo cars. Governments are starting to move, such as when the UK announced they aim “to be at the forefront”.

/Dan Ouchterlony, Investment Manager