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Futures: Back to the Futures

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The iGB Futures Survey was published in February. Since then, the results have been viewed differently. They are now seen as having the potential to shape and disrupt the future of this industry. This is what Josephine Watson writes

iGB’s first Futures study, released in February 2020 explored the impact of key disruptive technologies – AI, Blockchain, AR/VR and Internet of Things (IoT).

In the results, respondents expressed a great deal of excitement about AI and its potential for personalisation. AI/ML personalisation was voted as the most transformative technology in the igaming sector by 62.26% of respondents. This use case, according to one participant, is “low hanging fruit” for operators.

The respondents also expressed a high level of interest in blockchain, AR/VR, and other emerging technologies. However, the potential applications for both were, at best, limited. Only 28.3% of respondents ranked AR/VR technology as being immediately transformative. The naysayers blamed the inaccessibility to devices for this.

Similarly, 50.94% of respondents felt the industry lacked understanding about blockchain technology and its use in igaming. The evangelists insist on the fact that cryptocurrency will become the standard in the future, yet our 2020 results show that the technology is at best divisive.

IoT, edge computing, and cloud computing have been pushed to the side, mostly because their impact is minimal.

Our questions centered on the topic of innovation, who should be driving it and from where industry is expecting it to come. The race was close between tech giants and startups, with 37.4% choosing the former over 30.19%.

Since the release of our first survey in January, both the global and the industrial landscape have changed drastically. Has this changed the technology priorities or use cases?

A recent report by RELX on emerging technologies based on the results of a survey highlights the significant increase in AI use across all industries, with a 33-point jump since 2018. Over two thirds (68%) of respondents said their investments in AI technology increased due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

The survey did not focus on gambling, but it is easy to understand how the rapid development of capabilities and applications of AI could lead to a greater adoption in this industry. The report showed that AI was being used more for fraud detection, personalisation and retention – which are all very relevant to the gambling industry.

AR/VR has also had an upheavalous time in 2020. According to IDC research, the outlook for these technologies is bleaker due to the disruption of supply chains and the focus on cash conservation in corporate and commercial environments. In terms of perceptions of VR/AR, however, the global lockdowns has advanced the narrative beyond gimmicks and created a range of uses across industries.

We want to know how and why the industry uses disruptive technologies, whether it is due to remote working or the reality of redundancies, which leads them into optimising their work processes, or if they are shifting the market’s priorities.

We have broadened the scope of the survey this year to cover technology and M&A and to dig deeper into the facilitation of change.

With a new shift of priorities to a digitally-driven world, it is hard to say what will be the top priority. We could, for example, see an increase in interest towards technologies that were previously not as immediate, such as AR/VR and IoT.

The report and survey will be crucial in the launch of a new exciting initiative, the ICE Futures Week. Clarion Gaming, iGB and ICE will come together in February to create a multi-channel multimedia experience that discusses what the future might hold.

ICE Futures covers a wide range of topics, from emerging markets to industry forecasts.

Why don’t we kick-off ICE Futures Week by asking you to tell us what you believe is the most disruptive force: a pandemic around the world or new technology?

Photos by Bruno Thethe and Pexels

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