The space between the digital and the physical world shrinks with each year. Here's our forecast for 5 communications technology trends on the horizon so you can prepare your internal teams and marketing strategies.
Technology plays a huge part in business communication and the availability, quality and volume of this dialogue is expanding at a dizzying rate. Trends in ICT will see the speed and accuracy of communication improve greatly through advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and on-demand apps.
As social media dominates an expanding space in our lives and increasingly sidelines more traditional methods of communication, it's inevitable that businesses will get more involved in this dialogue. Social media has evolved into a platform for customers and leads to interact with businesses and this will continue to grow steadily.
Company websites are often no longer the first port of call for prospective or current customers. Corporations are investing heavily in strong social media branding and are now using a more fluid form of communication which is not constrained by the limits of traditional tools. Social identities, based on the rich history of information that individuals leave in social networks, will become much more valuable to businesses than the traditional and isolated information they get when an individual registers on their company website.
AR and VR
The last year has seen many major advances in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. Pokémon Go, an AR game, exploded in 2016 with over 100 million downloads. The market is now gearing up for more AR and VR, and while there are some early-stage devices and technology for these applications, 2018 looks likely to be the year where AR and VR leap from the niche market to become part of the mainstream.
One of the most significant recent trends in communication has been the development of AR and VR versions of an incredible number of applications including offsite work conferences, remote employee training and virtual sales customer experiences. There is also incredible scope for marketing opportunities which engage customers with an increasingly life-like experience of the products.
VR and AR expert Jeremy Dalton notes, “With the release of standalone virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Go set for early 2018, we will see a significant increase in adoption of VR technology by consumers. Standalone headsets mitigate two of the serious challenges VR is facing in the goal for mainstream adoption - cost and user experience.”
Smartphones are giving us access to a practically infinite supply of information, but also provide businesses with an endless supply of data. Data analytics and information management solutions work together to process this stream of information. Options like site-to-store purchasing, which enables customers to buy online and pick up products in a physical retail location, are just the start of continued integrations between physical and digital realities.
Everything on demand
The expansion of brands such as Uber, Uber Eats and similar phone apps are making waiting times a thing of the past. There are an increasing number of companies offering these products and services from transport to food deliveries, and even accommodation options seem to rise by the day. With the competition hotting up amongst businesses and the thousands of apps available to us, it means that this latest technology trend in communications looks set to become more commonplace in 2018.
Intelligent devices in ICT
Devices and machines are improving through applied machine learning to interact with their users and surroundings more naturally and effectively than ever before. This artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly be embedded into everyday things such as domestic appliances, interactive speaker systems and medical equipment.
We expect that, as part of the latest trends in communication technology, intelligent devices like drones, autonomous vehicles such as self-driving cars and smart appliances will be further integrated into synchronised and collaborative systems. Forbes Magazine described how AI is not only improving, it is also getting significantly more funding from large companies who have seen its potential. According to Jayson DeMers, "AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018.”