Trends and forecasting
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Trends in technology are rapidly changing the world we once lived in. From shopping behavior to buying habits to personal brand and product preferences, consumers now have a growing variety of means through which they can seamlessly “connect” with online data. This constant flow of data leaves a digital trail that can help brands customize and tailor their ads, services and communications to each individual consumer, creating a personalized relationship that establishes brand loyalty and builds trust. With the arrow mostly pointing up, these ten tech trends are the most influential in shaping the needs and behavior of the Connected Consumer.
Those using invisible analytics have the ability to follow consumers through their daily interactions with businesses, effortlessly charting their exact consumption-based behavior over time to make smarter decisions with that behavior in mind. From the time of day they are most likely to make a purchase, to the amount of ads they view while “connected”, consumers are generating data that could be extremely beneficial for businesses that know how to use it. But building a trustful relationship is an important piece of the puzzle, as many consumers have indicated they are sensitive to how their data could be and should be used.
The possibilities around virtual reality have tantalized consumers for many years, especially in the video game and entertainment industries. A truly game -changing technology, millions of dollars have been invested into developing the virtual reality user experience, but that’s only the beginning. As the technology continues to advance, other possibilities for uses of VR outside of entertainment are emerging for brands that are thinking ahead. Will industries like travel, retail, business and education be at the forefront of this innovation?
Wearables have the potential to offer enormous benefits to consumers, but adoption of high profile options, like the Apple Watch, have been slow. However, as recent research has indicated, the consumers of today value health and wellness above all else, which is mirrored in the purchase numbers of health and fitness trackers around the globe. Even the opportunities that wearables offer to travel and leisure brands are set to take off with personalized travel services. With a wide variety of wearable technology options in the marketplace, differentiation is paramount to success, as well as a clear communication of the benefits to consumers.
As technology advances, everything around us is getting smarter, including our homes. There are still some major obstacles for the smart home, but the possibilities surrounding it should have brands getting excited. Ideally, operating systems, along with appliances and devices, would operate in sync with each other to provide the home owner with a simple and seamless enhanced living experience. Things are not quite there yet, but there are opportunities abound for brand partnerships and collaboration in a product market that consumers are inevitably expecting.
Drones recently became a hot topic in the media as everything from their possible uses to their safety has been widely debated, all while the technology has been advancing and costs have been falling. Now, businesses and consumers alike are aware of and realizing the extensive capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles, such as commercial deliveries and aid deployment, to landscape mapping and mechanized farming. Can drones be an effective and reliable asset for businesses? That is the key as they evolve from a hobbyist market into a mainstream technology.
Artificial intelligence could take many shapes or forms, which is why major players in tech are now investigating this space. The race to harness AI and the millions that have been invested in start-ups shows the great level of interest s in machine learning, but of the many capabilities and technologies being developed, it’s not yet clear what will stick. As with any other tech trend, enhancing a product, service or experience for the end user with AI will be the difference maker, rather than simply developing technology for technology’s sake.
From streaming services to social media, online video is being created and watched by Connected Consumers across a variety of devices at a rapidly growing rate. Brands and businesses are already thinking ahead about how to reach the Connected Consumer of the future, and with the mass adoption of mobile, smart TV and on demand video streaming services like Netflix, it’s obvious that online video is leading the way. With this already huge market likely to further evolve, online video consumption looks like it will be a tech trend for years to come.
The mobile payments market is a complex one that varies geographically around the globe, with many mature markets using incumbent payment mechanisms that are proving difficult to supersede. However, a number of African and developing Asian markets have gone straight to mobile payments, creating a fragmented global environment that’s difficult for brands, manufacturers and retailers to understand. One thing is clear: Connected Consumers have indicated that they increasingly want to pay with mobile.
The explosion of the smartphone is a clear indication that constant connectivity has become a priority to consumers. And adding connectivity to vehicles has inevitably created the ultimate, connected car experience, with safety, autonomous driving and entertainment driving the demand. Connected cars are moving full speed ahead with consumers, as the technology is already available and newer vehicle models now offer connected features in some shape or form.
A market with huge potential, 3D printing allows both consumers and businesses to locally produce products and parts on-demand from digital 3D models. While this could drastically transform businesses’ manufacturing processes, it also carries the potential to create and leverage new data as products begin their life cycle digitally. Will Connected Consumers discover and eventually adopt this technology? Some are skeptical, but accessibility and affordability - two of the most important factors - are becoming closer to reality.
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