Machine learning and augmented reality are about to take off in Australia

Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

Augmented reality and machine learning will be embedded into business practices in 2018, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions.

And the annual predictions show that smartphones will be more distracting than ever before as they become more a part of the business day.

“We’re at the tipping point of widespread adoption of a number of technologies,” says Kimberly Chang, Deloitte Australia’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader.

“In 2018 we will finally see business challenges being addressed by what has to date been consumer driven technology. But it will be a year of trial and error,”

Some of the predictions from Deloitte’s report:

  • More than a billion smartphone users will create augmented reality content in 2018
  • Enterprise machine learning predicted to double this year, powered by new chips and better software tools
  • Smartphone penetration to pass 90% globally by 2023. Australia to exceed 90% by end-2018
  • China will likely remain the largest market for live streaming at $4.4 billion in 2018, an 86% increase from 2016

Augmented reality, a special effect that enables digital images to be superimposed on real ones, has become an increasingly popular smartphone application, often for entertainment applications such as face swapping or live face filters.

“We expect to see a lot of experimentation in 2018 but we don’t see AR (augmented reality) becoming truly mainstream until internet speeds increase, the technology becomes cheaper and wearable and doesn’t overheat mobile devices or drain batteries,” says Chang.

“It’s the companies who identify ways of using AR technology to respond to specific business challenges and attract the right talent that will set themselves up for success in 2018 and potentially put the budding Australian AR industry on the world map.”

Deloitte predicts the number of projects using machine learning to double from 2017, with two-thirds of large companies having 10 or more implementations and a similar number of pilots.

So far the uptake of machine learning in Australia has been slow, but Deloitte expects to see more work related to consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, finance, insurance, human resources and clinical operational diagnosis in healthcare.

“Machine learning is not a new concept, but it is about to revolutionise our daily lives,” says Chang.

“A game-changer in 2018 is the dramatically enhanced processing power of a new generation of chips which can be used in smaller devices, consume less power, are more responsive and capable.

“However, there is currently a skills gap in Australia around the application of machine learning.

“In order not to fall behind the rest of the world, Australia needs to ensure we are producing a future workforce that doesn’t just understand the algorithms but also how to apply machine learning and fine tune those algorithms to gain maximum impact for both the business and consumer in terms of value, cost savings and customer experience.”

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