We are at an interesting crossroad nowadays in regards to technology. All of the technological advancements we see around us on a daily basis have brought numerous changes to our way of life. The year 2018 will see an even greater focus on these types of advancements such as self-driving cars, drone deliveries and the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) programmes. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a software engineer or computer scientist to become a leader in the digital revolution. What is even more vital is the ability to match technological solutions with existing business problems in innovative ways.
Given that people nowadays are using mobile apps, connected devices, wearables, social media and the list could go on and on – the level of engagement with brands is unprecedented by using a vast array of digital technologies. Given this increased level of engagement, a business’ success hinges more often than not on the organisation’s ability to create an enjoyable experience for their customers. It is also true that recent research unearthed a strong correlation between superior customer experiences and revenue growth.
The technical director for Google Cloud, Jamie Erbes, has said that: “Consumer expectations are at an all-time high, and the bar will keep rising through 2020,” and “People want products and services that offer a high level of personalisation and adapt to their lifestyle. When that doesn’t happen, they quickly move on.” Many organisations have already started to build a strong foundation for a better 2020 digital experience. So what exactly is going to change?
- Data is all around us and it keeps growing
We as people are ‘producing’ a fantastic amount of data as we go on with our lives. From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to the digital footprint we create through the use of Netflix or Fitbit or even our connected systems at work. In case you were wondering, every second, 900,000 go on Facebook, 452,000 people post on Twitter, and 3.5 million people search for something on Google.
Given this fantastic rate of data creation means that every two years the amount of data is doubling. This is also known as Big Data. This massive explosion of data has made many other trends possible, and by learning how to tap into the insights will increase everyone’s prospects in just about any industry.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The field of artificial intelligence or cognitive computing revolves around machines or computers that are capable of reproducing or mimicking ‘thinking’ in a similar way people do – especially when it comes down to learning. Being a computer certainly has its advantages meaning that if you teach them how to learn they will do so incredibly fast and, as an added bonus, with a greater degree of accuracy than any human being would be capable of. The indisputable result is that they will become more knowledgeable and capable and able of finding solutions to problems.
It has been predicted that by 2020 half of online searches will be done by voice with 30%(!) of them being made by using devices with no screen whatsoever. For example, this year, BMW will launch cars with Alexa pre-installed, just as Ford has done. Businesses will increasingly use AI assistants in order to manage daily schedules and offer us information when we need it. Going even further, some people are talking about the opportunity to drive sales through the use of chatbots and ‘natural’ language-capable marketing tools.
The days in which we were adding a customer’s name to marketing emails are behind us. The more customers feel treated like actual people, rather than just numbers with money, the more connected they feel to the companies that serve them.
Blockchain represents the distributed, encrypted and ledger behind the now famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, it has uses far beyond making people interested in cryptocurrencies filthy rich. Experts have been saying that it represents a giant leap forward towards information storage and security. Simply put, a blockchain is a digital file in which blocks of information are connected to one another (or ‘chained’ together) and is secured through private key cryptography, making sure that only those with the right permit may edit only the sections of data they are entitled to. In other words, anyone capable of ‘installing’ blockchain technology to current business problems is very likely to find this particular skill in very high demand.
As people become more involved and vigilant about social responsibility and online security, blockchain will become tremendously important. For the organisations that actually have a nice story to tell, it will definitely be a valuable way through which transparency can be created and also building a brand in a way it was never thought possible before.
- Public Cloud
As mentioned earlier, the amount of data we create is doubling every two years. According to a recent study done by International Data Corporation, between the years 2016 and 2020, the worldwide spending on public cloud services will more than double, reaching a figure of $195 billion.
It will be a difficult and tedious task to move companies towards the adoption of public cloud services, but in order to advance IT departments and leaders will have to spearhead this necessary move.
After a couple of years in the training phase, IT employees should be ready to work side-by-side with their marketing colleagues in order to implement technologies such as AI, blockchain, and public cloud into the real world. Whether companies are ready for it or not, the technological advancements are going to be put into action. To keep moving forward, these are the top trends that organisations worldwide cannot ignore in the coming years, whether they understand them or not and they will have to be implemented so that they won’t be left behind.
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