B2L TechTrends 23: key takeaways

Our Marketing Lead spent Thursday morning at Brands2Life's TechTrend event where a panel of tech journalists took to the stage to share 15 minutes of their predictions for the coming year.  

Here’s our take on the key trends discussed:

Generative AI

We were all ears as generative AI was mentioned in the first few lines of André Labadie’s  opening speech. Was his intro written by ChatGPT? Well, if it was, it must have written it a while ago as for the most part of this week, the open source chatbot has been ‘at capacity right now’...

Parmy Olsen from Bloomberg predicted that not only is investment into this space set to continue, but that Apple and/or Google would likely buy a generative AI firm in 2023. Google in particular will likely be eyeing up a solution, after more details were announced this week around Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI and its plans to build the capabilities into Bing to rival Google’s search engine. (It was also noted that currently Bing owns 7% of the search market - a surprisingly high stat.)

Olsen also discussed how not only will the technology behind Generative AI continue to rapidly develop, but it will expand further into productised solutions as product teams, designers, and commercial functions join the force. 

Fields within Generative AI, such as synthetic data, have been combining engineers with product and commercial functions to build - and most crucially - implement this technology into large enterprises for a number of years. Whilst they have been fairly under the radar, these technologies will start sharing more of the limelight as the wider market develops.

The Times editor Katie Prescott also covered the AI space and spoke of her excitement about its impact on healthcare, particularly radiology. Whilst the media headlines about AI stealing radiologists’ jobs have been around for over three years, the narrative is shifting in the face of an over-stretched healthcare system to how this technology will complement and support humans.

Smart homes, smart glasses and two-way satellite: a potential growth area for telco

Lucy Hedges, Metro’s Technology Editor who was fresh off the plane from CES 2023, gave great insight into the technology and gadgets that will likely be making a splash this year. 

One of her key takeaways was the buzz around and promise of Matter, the smart home standard launched late last year, which will enable smart home devices to speak the same language and be used together. Originally started by Big Tech players Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung SmartThings and Comcast, there are now over 280 companies on board with the interoperability standard in an attempt to drive real impact from IoT within the home.

Smart home technology could be an interesting monetisation opportunity for many telcos. Insights about energy consumption and ways of interacting with space could be commercially viable insights, and could help customers save energy and money - a real strength in the current cost of living crisis. Using synthetic versions of this data could also ensure consumer privacy is kept safe.

Another big development this year will be two-way satellite communication. Until now this technology has been used for emergency calls (think Emergency SOS on iPhones) but that is set to change as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite launches for Android users, enabling them to send texts in both emergency and non-emergency situations in off-grid locations. 

The metaverse, Crypto, Twitter: more noise all round

Headline: we won’t see a slowing of any of these topics.

Fad or not, with Google throwing cash behind its own metaverse, and Apple predicted to launch smart glasses later this year (at the mass market ready price of £3k…), the likelihood is that at the least. 2023 will be the year that we find out whether ‘Zuckerberg’s metaverse bet’ will or won’t pay off.

In more practical applications of the metaverse, Katie Prescott covered the work already underway by Siemens and NVIDIA to create digital twins and seemed excited about the potential impact this tech could have on the education sector. 

Lots of elements still to be ironed out but we will be keeping an eye on how these developments - such as the built-in smart glasses camera - will work in conjunction with privacy regulation.

As expected, crypto and FTX, and Twitter and Musk were peppered throughout all the journalists’ segments, with the trend of decline being prevalent. Bloomberg’s Tech Columnist, Parmy Olson, stated that this year could see the end of an era for Twitter. The constant onslaught of press around Musk, Twitter’s culture, office policies, and layoffs have resulted in a drop in share price and an increase in advertisers, with 50% reported to have pulled spend from the platform. Twitter as we know it might be coming to an end.

Katie Prescott also drew upon the ‘slow collapse’ of crypto with more regulation, and less consumer interest as a result of the FTX scandal. She raised a point about how the last few months have been educational for people. Firstly, that there are deep links between crypto firms and secondly, the FTX news spam has created a space for honest admissions around the lack of understanding about crypto. This isn’t a new fact, but it is still a scary thought when the market’s latest valuation sits around $1 trillion. 

TL;DR: we all still need incumbent banks.


Whilst a lot of tech trade news over the last six months has been covering cuts in jobs and budgets triggered by the recession, Olson suggested that this shake up might not be a bad thing for innovation within big tech specifically. “Over the last 15 years, the most exciting piece of tech is still a rectangle in our pocket”. She suggested that the push to work harder and be leaner will drive a culture shift and wake many up from the post-Covid inertia. 

The broad takeaway is that whilst the main trends continue to be focused on Big Tech firms following each other’s tracks across and around the same technologies, there are interesting developments bubbling below the surface: startup funding rounds are still closing and areas such as Generative AI are rapidly having widespread impact.

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