French novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously said: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This may be true for many things, but when it comes to 21st-century digital trends, nothing stays the same for long. As we enter 2019, we take a look at some of the digital trends companies and brands should prepare for.
Videos tell a story within a short time period and can grab attention quickly. People often feel like they can connect more easily with a company, brand or product after watching a video on a topic. Compiling a short video clip, with good content, is a great way of keeping your audience’s attention and ensuring they understand your company or brand better.
There are different types of video offerings, depending on the platform and the purpose of the video – from live video stories on social media and embedded self-hosted videos on corporate websites to YouTube videos on company channels.
It is important to have a platform in mind when creating a corporate video, and to place it on the most appropriate and user-friendly platform, based on its content. Live videos are great for event coverage, as they make viewers feel close to the action, while YouTube videos are ideal for interviews, for tutorials sharing news, how-tos and information, and for reviews.
Augmented reality (AR) is the blending of computer-generated online intelligence with a real-world environment by adding new information, creating an “augmented” composite view. The advantage of AR is that the technology is specific and measurable – it allows a company to see how the customer is engaging with the brand in real time. The company can also see what aspects of the experience the customer is engaging with. This makes it easier to create customised content tailored to the audience’s interests, and provides the opportunity to see how well such content is received by tracking the level of engagement.
AR allows a prospective user the opportunity to visualise a product or place in a realistic form before committing to a purchase. It also adds value to the buying process as it creates interaction between the customer and the brand. Users can take virtual tours of a property before deciding to buy/rent a house or apartment, or they can have a virtual experience of driving a particular car before buying it.
Companies will increasingly be using big data to gain a competitive advantage. The term “big data” refers to large amounts of raw data collected, analysed and used by a company to gain better insights into its target audience’s habits. This data enables it to take informed decisions about the best strategies to reach its audience most effectively.
The more efficiently a business uses its data, the more potential it has to grow. When a company has knowledge of the industry trends and the behaviour patterns of its target audience, it is better able to create content and products that resonate and hit the mark. Big data can also give brands insight into current perceptions about their products and their reputation, and help influence those perceptions to their benefit.
Robots are taking over the world! While some people have not yet warmed to the notion of artificial intelligence (AI), it is definitely a big trend to watch in 2019. AI is a technologically enabled functionality that works automatically using digital software. It is the simulation of human intelligence activity by machines.
Some advantages of AI, also known as machine intelligence, are that it eliminates repetitive tasks such as scheduling, and other tasks that would otherwise require intensive human labour – for example, machines being used in mining operations or at manufacturing facilities. This also helps with reducing costs and the time of performing tasks.
Chatbots are becoming more prominent in this space – this is software that one can “chat” to online and that is programmed to respond as a human would. Call centres are increasingly using such technology to help deal with the high number of callers and online queries.
5G is the next edition of cellular network communications that is succeeding 4G, which is the current generation of mobile internet connectivity. 5G is set to be much faster than 4G, with average download speeds of around 1GB per second.
This faster connectivity will help provide the infrastructure to carry vast amounts of data, making the world more connected. This will allow companies to process intel quicker and optimise their businesses. It opens up the opportunity for companies to launch new products and services that weren’t possible before, and to enter new markets and increase productivity.
Blockchain is a form of digital currency that allows people across the globe to trade using cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the record-keeping technology behind bitcoin. “Block” refers to the digital information and “chain” is the public database where the information is stored.
The blocks in the blockchain not only store information about financial transactions, they also allow blockchain to store data about other types of transactions, such as property exchanges and lapses in a supply chain. Blockchain has the potential to decentralise record-keeping, reduce the frequency of errors and bring down processing costs in a business environment.
Technology continues to bring exciting changes to the world, and 2019 is set to be filled with exciting new developments.