Which technologies are going to shape the future?

Trends shaping the future

Every year technology evolves, changing everything from what products, content and media we consume, through to how and why we consume it.

This year Fjord Accenture provided us a thought-provoking view on which technologies are likely to have a real impact over the next two years at the Society's Digital Trends event.

Comfortably seated on the 31st floor in a mini auditorium we listened to Fjord co-founder, Mark Curtis. His presentation covered seven different trends (all of which are detailed on the Fjord website), two of which are already starting to have a considerable impact and marketers need to cognizant of:

1: Slaves to the algorithm

Technology is deeply integrated into our lives. Digital is not new, it’s the norm.

Every new generation of mobile device brings new technology, which despite being increasingly invasive (fingerprint readers, retina scans, facial recognition) is adopted with almost no resistance. Their success implies that the convenience of leveraging these technologies outweighs the consumers concerns of privacy and risk.

The convenience may be dangerous for brands though. Amazon’s echo allows for instant voice-based purchases, where the preferred brand is selected by Amazon – if not explicitly specified by the user. This has already benefited Amazon-basics battery sales which have seen 93% year-on-year growth and accounted for 94% of all online battery sales in the US.

“Has the bunny been killed by Amazon basics batteries?”

The proliferation of devices like Google Mini’s and Amazon Echo’s make it clear that at a minimum every marketer needs to start designing for voice search. Really though, they need to focus on developing their customer experiences to prevent commoditization. As one member aptly put it “coffee used to be free, now people pay a premium for Starbucks”, if we don’t develop our brands similarly, perhaps we deserve to commoditized.

2: Physical Fights Back

In 2012 the Burberry’s flagship store famously debuted technology like magic mirrors and mobile identification apps, which provide an incredible amount of personalization – that technology is now widely available.

With new concept stores like the teller-free AmazonGo (USA) and Tao Café (China) taking things even further, digital integration into physical spaces is becoming the new standard. These technologies add convenience but remove personality, which puts more importance on creating real (interpersonal?) experiences and finding ways to develop brand loyalty.

“I’m just disappointed that my robot lawnmower doesn’t say ‘Thank You’ when I rescue it from a rabbit hole”

Final thoughts

There is a constant onslaught of new technology, it’s not going to be a differentiator, everyone will have access to the same technology.

More than simply delivering convenience, your technology should add value and further develop the customer experience.  

Automation can make check-out instant, but having a person that speaks to you nicely adds personality.

Kameel Vohra, marketing innovation strategist, Dell