As the year, and indeed decade, draws to a close, it’s important to reflect on how technology has shaped the world around us. 2019 will undoubtedly go down in history as the year when artificial intelligence (AI) went mainstream. Almost every home in the US now has a smart devicewhether a watch, smart speaker or digital assistant. Robots are delivering fast food around parts of California, and driverless cars are being tested in cities around the world.
The business world is not immune. Companies have been finding new and practical uses of AI within their business, from delivering operational insights and efficiencies to connecting employees to different resources. It also feels like 2019 was the year when the debate moved on from machines replacing humans in the workplace, to how companies can adopt a machine-first, human-optimized approach. No doubt this seismic shift towards automation, and adoption of AI is set to continue in 2020 and beyond.
We recently called on our industry experts from across SDL to think about how AI has changed their industries over the past year, and what they see as the big trends and predictions for 2020. Here we provide an overview of the top seven, looking specifically at how brands will use Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Translation (MT) and Content Management Systems over the coming year to power their content and customer engagement initiatives.

1. Shining a light on dark data: In a bid to gain global understanding, 2020 will be the year companies will embrace component content management systems to exploit dark data

This past decade has seen an explosion of data and information. In fact, data was valued the most valuable resource by The Economist in 2017. However, there is still much data hiding in the shadows ready to be untapped and utilized—like social media content scattered across the globe in different languages. The term ‘dark data’ sounds ominous, but it's simply unstructured data that organizations have collected or stored, lying dormant and unprocessed within and outside their organization. As much as 90% of unstructured information is never analyzed, according to analyst firm IDC, largely because it’s in foreign languages, formats and channels. One tool that can help unlock this data is a Component Content Management System (CCMS), across any language or digital format. Recent developments within the CCMS market enable companies to manage the data within content at a granular level by adding the right metadata and classification information, such as taxonomy terms. This helps to identify words, sentences and trends across any contentacross any language or digital format. A global electrical company was recently able to tap into its dark data by uncovering the information held by their CCMS. Tracing the paths of each element within their electrical products, they were able to make some shocking discoveries including finding pieces that had ended up in the wrong country, and even pieces that had not paid tax in the country in which they were distributed. By using CCMS along with other growing technologies such as IoT and AI, 2020 will be the year companies exploit dark data, in a way that adds value and insight to their businesses.

2. Moving beyond KYCustomer into KYCulture: Companies will go beyond KYC and KYCC processes and focus heavily on understanding the nuances of every culture in which they operate

Global regulation of money laundering, terrorist funding, bribery, corruption and other forms of financial market abuses has reached an unprecedented scale with skyrocketing fines and endless requirements for companies operating outside of the US. Compliance officers are challenged to understand compliance requirements everywhere they do business and communicate them to their global workforces or risk incurring the steep penalties. Never has knowing your customer (KYC) and their customers (KYCC) been more critical. We predict that companies will go beyond KYC and KYCC processes and focus heavily on understanding the nuancescompliance, language, etc., of every culture in which they operate. Through investment in sophisticated multilingual eDiscovery tools, which combine machine translation and automated data analysis, companies can benefit from instant global monitoring of content and conversations, ensure understanding and compliance with regulations designed to reduce risk and build trust among customers and regulatory agencies worldwide.

3. Your customers are talking multiple languages; it’s time to listen: listening and responding to digital conversations on a global scale will explode in 2020

Never has it been more important for companies operating on a global scale to keep a finger on the pulse of social conversations taking place throughout the world. All these discussions are creating just more ‘dark data’ for organizations. Thanks to developments in neural machine translation, we predict that listeningand respondingto digital conversations on a global scale will explode in 2020. Investments in media, social and digital listening and monitoring tools to track trending data, combined with machine translation, offer the possibility of instant customer support and the ability to respondin real-timeto comments and inquiries generated in any language. This will become a priority for companies looking to manage reputational threats, maintain brand health, and fuel their innovation funnel.

4. Increasing your appetite for snackable content: Intelligent content will enable organizations to embrace short-form content as a pillar of digital globalization strategies

Dieticians have long seen the value of small and regular, now it’s the turn of content professionals. We are seeing an increasing prevalence of short-form, interactive video and rich media content. Alongside the obvious champions of the well-established five second advert, new social media platforms are driving the culture of ‘snackable content’ in a more user-centric fashion, enabling users to create and engage with short-form, interactive videos. The popularity of these platforms has taken them beyond disruption, with many of them occupying the same space as, and even squeezing out their longer established rivals. In light of this, advances in video translation and AI’s role in promoting intelligent content will enable organizations and brands to truly embrace short-form content as a fundamental pillar of digital globalization strategies, not only dominating traditional video content, but also able to establish a presence on more user-oriented platforms. Companies will need to move quickly, adopting Linguistic AI, authoring and publishing tools to make this a reality. This ability to meet the market across an increasingly diverse range of video content platforms will not only maximize exposure, but also cultivate familiarity across a range of demographics with all these efforts coming home to drive growth.

5. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail: Late rush to be EU MDR compliant will create huge demand for language and translation services

Seismic changes are about to hit the medical device industry in the form of the EU Medical Devices Regulations (EU MDR). The new regulation, which comes into force in May 2020, covers more medical devices than ever before and expands the required number of documents to be translated. If that was not a daunting enough task, any medical device content will have to be available in all 24 official EU languages. It will require companies to cover far more ground whilst maintaining rigorous standards in their translation and linguistic validation processes. According to a survey from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society and KPMG, only 27% of respondents said they will be fully compliant by May. As a medical device manufacturer, the ability to secure language resources for translating mission critical labels and documentation is paramount or you risk having to withdraw devices from the market. We predict there will be a scramble to become compliant that will create huge demand for language and translation services. Any plan for compliance will rely on having qualified, and available resources to meet your translation needs, and such services are in limited supply.

6. Satisfying a multi-trillion dollar decarbonization bill from the UN: As the finance sector increases capital allocation to sustainable projects we predict the inevitable increase in the requirements to measure performance in environmental standards

Decarbonizing the Planetthe debate around sustainability will continue to roll-on, but companies are taking the issue more seriously than ever before, and not just for purpose to protect reputation, but as an integral part of the management of future growth. As part of that process we foresee more and more companies managing the compliance and processes required to achieve sustainable growth. The financial community will remain at the heart of this area, arguably performing an instrumental role in this process, not just through increased inward investment but through more sophisticated measurement of environmental targets. There remains a tilted scale, still, between the intent to want to improve the planet versus the level of capital that satisfies sustainable investments (65% v 39% UBS Wealth Survey 2018). However, as the winds of change must point toward increased levels of investment, albeit a daunting mountain to climb, given the UN’s 17 key Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the spotlight is well and truly on the international investment community to lead from the front. As the finance sector increases capital allocation to sustainable projects, we predict the inevitable increase in requirements to measure performance in environmental standards.

7. Getting to know your digital twin: 2020 will be the year when businesses use intelligent content to drive more virtual customer experiences

Forget clumsy headsets and nutty professors, 2020 is the year that VR goes mainstream. After all, what could produce a more personalized experience than one you are actually living? Consumer-facing businesses are already using Augmented Reality (AR) to perform a virtual shop assistant function, letting you use your computer webcam to remotely try on clothes and jewelry before you buy. Virtual Reality (VR) now allows customers to test drive cars without ever hitting the road or view a new house from the comfort of your current home. At the same time, companies bringing in new, untrained staff to plug looming skills gapson the horizon with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement agewill embrace VR as a way to overcome the skills shortages they face. All of this means that we spend more and more time functioning as our own digital twin, plugged into a self-controlled environment where we engage, learn and interact with friends, family and colleagues. Recent advances mean it’s now possible to translate and deliver content to any digital, or AR environment. 2020 will be the year when businesses start to adopt these new technologies, using their intelligent content in a way to drive more meaningful, virtual experiences with their customers around the world, while also using the technology to train young, upcoming talent.

Do any of these trends impact your business or industry? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook using #SDLPredictions.