Mobile online checkout and AI to be front of mind in 2016: Deloitte

Deloitte's latest Technology, Media & Telecommunications report has predicted the time it takes for consumers to browse and checkout will be reduced, and enterprise software companies will integrate more cognitive technologies into their products.

Mobile online checkout and cognitive technologies are set to boom in 2016, according to the latest predictions made by Deloitte.

In the Technology, Media & Telecommunications 2016 report, Deloitte believes the number of individuals who use a third-party touch-based payment service to make a purchase on their devices -- which covers both smartphones and tablets -- will increase by 150 percent to reach 50 million regular users.

Deloitte also believes the friction, and the time it takes to browse and checkout will be reduced, as more retailers take advantage of the biometric element integrated into most smartphones.

Richard Miller, Deloitte Payments Advisory practice leader, said the big difference in 2016 is there are now requisite preconditions in place to improve the online checkout process.

"The technology you require on the device, the secure element of the fingerprint reader, those are now present in over 60 smartphone models, whereas last year it was less than a dozen.

"The merchants who need to be able to offer these capabilities at checkout are quickly getting on board, whether it's with PayPal, One Touch, or MasterPass. Ultimately, the financial service infrastructure that is required to support this to actually move the funds have also got on board to support it.

"So those necessary preconditions are all now in place, and suggest there is significant opportunity to only make our lives easier, reduce up to 80 percent cart abandonment rate that online retailers experience today, and speed up the velocity of purchasing as well," he said.

Deloitte also predicted that by 2016, more than 80 of the world's 100 largest enterprise software companies by revenue will integrate cognitive technology to enhance their products. Deloitte said the top three forms of cognitive technology that software companies are most likely to integrate are machine earning, speech recognition, and natural language processing.

Deloitte Technology partner Stuart Scotis said this year will be the year when cognitive technologies becomes mainstream, noting leading the pack already are solutions such as Apple's Siri and voice-activated televisions. He also said that since 2011, venture capital investments have raised $2.5 billion for companies to integrate cognitive technology into existing enterprise software.

"Whilst the perception of artificial intelligence is that computers are becoming smarter than humans collectively, the reality is the individual cognitive apps are doing specific tasks better, or are improving incrementally to do individual tasks only humans could previously do in sight, sound, and touch. We're seeing those cognitive apps individually become better," he said.

The report also touched on the topic of women in IT jobs, and how education, along with hiring, recruitment, pay and promotion, and retention are large hindrances on why fewer than 25 percent of IT jobs in developed countries globally will be held by women by the end of 2016.

From a local perspective, Deloitte reported women make up 28 percent of the total Australian IT workforce, which national media lead partner Clare Harding said is neither ahead nor behind the rest of the world. She also noted that it will take decades to correct the gender issue that currently exists in the industry.

Another finding of the report was people between the age of 18 and 24 may be mobile-centric users, but are also pro-PC buyers and users. From this finding, Deloitte has predicted that people in this age group will likely have higher ownership, intent to purchase, and use of PCs than any other age group in 2016.

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