The speed at which technologies evolve and change has never been so high. What seemed like a dream of the future a few months ago is now everyday life. Just think of digital assistants or smart homes. But not only technologies are evolving, but also the way people talk, think and feel about them.
To find out what these trends mean for brands, the communications agency FleishmanHillard has analyzed over a billion technology-based interactions on Twitter and added estimates from technology experts. The report “Tech Trends 2019: The Fads: The Fears: The Future.” shows which technologies you should pay attention to in 2019.
Also interesting: The 7 Content Marketing Trends 2019
Artificial Intelligence (AI) gets more detailed
Brands that use AI to engage in detailed and explanatory interactions with their customers – bringing artificial intelligence into a realistic context – are the big winners in the coming year. The discussion on the term Conversational AI, that is, the interaction of people with AI systems using natural language, increased in topic volume on Twitter by 54 percent in the period under review.
Even the federal government has recognized that AI plays a central role and in 2018 passes the “Artificial Intelligence Strategy”. Above all, start-ups should be financially supported. However, it still has to be seen whether the program actually makes Germany an AI heavyweight or whether it is “marketing bullshit”, as critics complain.
Also interesting: Curse & Blessing: What we can expect from Artificial Intelligence
Privacy becomes even more important
Our report found that over 80 percent of consumers rated data security and protection as important. As a result, responsible data protection measures will become increasingly important in 2019. Not surprisingly, data scandals have made even technology-friendly consumers and businesses think.
As a hotel chain 500 million records of guests are lost, and an analytics company sucks over 80 million user data from Facebook. And then there’s the General Data Protection Regulation. It wants to be a kind of Chinese wall, behind which data from EU citizens are safe. Let’s wait and see, because even the “real” barrier in China could not prevent the Middle Kingdom from being overrun by the Mongols.
Augmented Analytics becomes mainstream
The potential of AI to improve rather than replace human intelligence is a key issue in Twitter discussions. A prime example of such a symbiosis is augmented analytics. This technology is virtually a virtual data specialist on board. He takes over the work in the “engine room”, ie the collection and consolidation of data as well as the search for patterns and dependencies. And at the end he makes you suggestions how to interpret all this.
But be careful: consumers will want to know how companies and agencies use augmented analytics, and your boss will ask what this technology “brings” to their own business. It will therefore be important to develop well-founded use cases.
New applications for the blockchain
Okay, we better put the project “Get Rich with Bitcoin” on hold. Because the cryptocurrency, which is based on Blockchain, is currently going through hard times. But Blockchain remains relevant. An indication of this: The proportion of discussions on Twitter on the subject rose by 52 percent in 2018. German companies also see a whole range of application areas for the technology, for example as a platform to make transactions with customers and suppliers comprehensible.
The distributed database technology will also play a key role in Smart Citys. Whether we do not have to congest that often or drive to the office in a crowded bus?
Also interesting: Blockchain in practical use
Edge computing will come to the fore
German mechanical engineers and Industry 4.0 specialists love Edge Computing. Because this technique solves a problem that plagues many IoT (Internet of Things) concepts: it just takes too long for data to be transferred from sensors to machines, compressors, or pumps to a remote IoT platform for analysis. This is now being done by systems at the scene.
That does not have to be a factory hall, by the way. Even a retail shelf or the cow in the pasture can be equipped with sensors that pass information to an edge computing system. And in the wake of IoT and edge computing, another technology is important: 5G mobile radio for the rapid transmission of data “over the air”.
Strong marketing for strong brands
Digitalization should bring growth, but not just for the big players. The middle class also uses this opportunity for itself. Only how, is the question. For example, how does Sport Schuster act in terms of marketing? The LEAD Bookazine 3/2018 shows how small and medium-sized businesses shape marketing in the digital age. Customer needs and own values - that’s why it should work.
Immersive Reality is changing other sectors
Even though some gamers hate us now: Virtual reality in computer games is a “lame duck”. But Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality are conquering other areas of application, such as in industry. With data glasses from SAP and DAQRI, Skoda workers, for example, can see at a glance what the health status of a machine is like.
However, VR, AR and MR will also show their potential in retailing, for example on a virtual tour of the apartment, which was equipped with IKEA furniture, which is also virtual. An augmented reality app from the manufacturer shows the customer how the bright red leather couch would do in the living room.
“Smart” textiles are coming into fashion
Parading a few models in the exoskeleton over the catwalk? This idea would have pleased the eccentric fashion designer Alexander McQueen certainly. For the time being, however, such “garments” will primarily help employees in production plants and the logistics industry in physically demanding activities. People with a disability will also benefit from exoskeletons. And the poor fashion designers? You can look forward to intelligent substances.
The imagination knows no bounds: blouses and T-shirts that can change their color thanks to integrated light-emitting diodes or photosensors, sportswear with integrated micropumps that absorb sweat, and costumes and suits with integrated solar cells that charge the smartphone. Such technologies could help the textile industry make a comeback in high-wage regions such as Europe and the US, industry experts said.
Conclusion: The direction must be right
The speed at which technologies evolve and change has never been so high. But, as one of the experts in the report states, “The pace will never be that slow again.” What does this mean for technology brands and their relationship with their customers?
On the one hand, they have to deal with this technological evolution. On the other hand, companies should make good use of the data provided by such technologies – about (potential) customers and their preferences, about market developments and the success of marketing measures. In short, the direction must be right. Then ultimately all players benefit.
To the studyThe FleishmanHillard Tech Trends 2019: The Fads The Future is based on a social conversation analysis based on the Gartner Trends 2018 and 2019. The results were then reviewed by 25 leading companies, research institutions and non-profit Companies from the technology industry added to their assessments.
About the author: Enno Hennrichs leads the Technology, Manufacturing & Industrials Practice at the communication agency FleishmanHillard in Germany. With teams in Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt, he manages a portfolio of clients in the technology sector, ranging from small and medium-sized companies to global corporations.
I beg your pardon?
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