“Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.” Ray Kurzweil
No one can predict the future.
But one thing is sure. If your company is designed for success in the 20th century, it is doomed for failure in the 21st century. If you want to stay in business you have to be the designer of disruption. You have to re-invent your product, find new markets, stay hyper-relevant, create brand value, leverage better technology and create brand eco-systems.
In short, reset the game of your business and become a living brand.
In this article, we explore the 10 growth trends set by Gartner and elaborate the opportunities that lie ahead in the rapid pace of technology innovation and the clear challenge for brand and business leaders. Keep in mind though, it is up to us, as individuals and collectives to shape the future.
1. Voice Search Will Increase Digital Commerce Revenue by at least 30%
With the rise of personal assistant devices, combined with the improved accuracy of voice recognition technology, voice search adoption is being embraced in the digital commerce. To prepare for the impact of voice search on B2B SEO, marketers should take steps now to begin optimizing for voice queries.
3 tips from Search Engine Land to optimize your site content for voice search
1. Mobile Managed
Voice searches are most likely to be conducted on mobile devices, so mobile optimization is more important than ever. But optimizing for mobile goes beyond simple responsive design — you’ll need to improve page load speeds, remove intrusive interstitials, abandon drop-down navigation menus and format videos to display in full-screen when held vertically to improve the mobile user experience.
2. Target long-tail keywords
Voice search queries are more likely to be longer than their text counterparts, and use more conversational language. Find relevant long-tail keywords, and target them in site content to cater to natural language queries.
3. Target featured snippets
When a featured snippet is populated for a query, voice search devices read the snippet and source aloud. This is a huge boost for brand recognition and authority, as Google essentially declares one company the expert. As far as voice search is concerned, “position zero” is the new page one.
25 Voice Recognition Innovations
The next generation of visual search turns a smartphone camera into a visual discovery tool. It uses image as a search query, which allows consumers to search for styles and objects that they would otherwise struggle to define. Popular visual search technologies are Google Lens and Pinterest Lens, but Amazon, Bing and a growing list of major retailers are all investing heavily in this area. Visual search is also a building block for augmented reality and virtual reality interactions.
Read the other 10 tips here.
2. Technology Leaders will Self-Disrupt Themselves to Create Next Leadership Opportunity
Brands are grappling with disruptive business models, disruptive channels, and disruptive technologies.
Examples of market leaders that failed to keep up with innovation include, Borders (failed to anticipate the the e-book revolution), Blackberry (missed out on the touch-screen smartphone market), Blockbuster (busted by Netflix and online movies), and Kodak (which didn’t foresee the huge popularity of digital cameras), are just a few. In hindsight it is easy to see why these companies lost their market lead to more disruptive competitors. But anticipating a future market disruption is much harder.
On the other hand, “when Apple released the iPhone, it disrupted the MP3 industry, in which its iPod made it a leading competitor. While the phone created competition for Apple’s own product, it also opened avenues to other industries when it began to replace navigation systems, digital cameras and other previously discrete technology.”
Now, Apple is making mega strides in DIY HealthTech.
It just so happens, over the next two years, residents of Singapore will be able to collect up to S$380 (£212) in rewards and vouchers while using an Apple Watch app known as LumiHealth to complete fitness challenges.
With the onslought of COVID-19, and purchases moving online, brands are gushing towards digitization at breath-taking speed.
3. The Banking Industry is set to Derive 1BN of Business Value from the Use of Block-Chain based Cryptocurrencies
Adopting blockchain technology does not need radical transformation in the banking and the finance sector.
Australian Securities Exchange is planning to use a new blockchain-based system to manage the Australian financial market at the end of 2020.
A recent PWC report states, 77 percent of financial institutions are expected to adopt blockchain technology as part of an in-production system or process by 2020.
Delve into Commerce of Fintech
Blockchain Disruptors in the 21st Century Trade and Commerce
4. By 2022 Majority of the Individuals in Developed Economies will Consume More Fake Information than True Information
Yes, it is happening now as we speak.
Liam Porr, a computer science student in Berkley used GPT-3, an AI content generating tool, to produce an entirely a fake blog under a fake name.
It was meant as a fun experiment. But then one of his posts found its way to the number-one spot on Hacker News. Few people noticed that his blog was completely AI-generated. Some even hit “Subscribe.”
“While many have speculated about how GPT-3, the most powerful language-generating AI tool to date, could affect content production, this is one of the only known cases to illustrate the potential. What stood out most about the experience, says Porr, who studies computer science at the University of California, Berkeley: “It was super easy, actually, which was the scary part.””
Fed with billions of words, this algorithm creates convincing articles and shows how AI could be used to fool people on a mass scale.
5. Through out 2022 Content Created by AI to Devise “Counterfeit Reality” will Outpace AI’s Ability to Detect it.
Digital Distrust is our Immediate Destiny Until Face to Face Starts Gaining Traction
“While fake news is currently in the public consciousness, it is important to realize the extent of digitally created content that is not a factual or authentic representation of information goes well beyond the news aspect.”
Brands need to monitor what is being said about them both in context and content. In the era of fakeness, face to face interactivity becomes paramount. Because, “AI can create counterfeit reality or manipulated media faster than it can detect it.”
6. By 2021 more than 50% of the Enterprises Will Spend More on Bots and Chat Bots Creation
The Emergence of “Post-App” era — traditional apps will not go away.
80% of sales and marketing leaders say they already use chatbot software in their customer experience or plan to do so by 2020 (source).
They will be one of the many options available to customers. “Chatbots will become the face of AL and bots will transform how apps are built.”
7. By 2021, 40% of the Information Technologists will be Dealing with Business Related Job Functions than Dealing with Technology
A New Concept — Versatalist: The Multi-Faceted Role of Tech Worker
IT staff who once only focused on closed stand alone systems and data centers now focus on systems in the public cloud as well.
“Over the past several years, industrial organizations have started to incorporate cloud into their operations to glean insights from large volumes of data that are helping achieve key business outcomes including reduced unplanned downtime, higher production efficiency, lower energy consumption and so on.
The cloud still plays a critical role in enabling new levels of performance through the Industrial IoT, where significant computing power is required to effectively manage vast data volumes from machines.
But as more compute, store, and analytic capability is bundled into smaller devices that sit closer to the source of data — namely, industrial machines — “edge computing will be instrumental in enabling edge processing to deliver on the promise of the Industrial IoT.”
— Hence, the need for versatality in the IT profession.
What Small Business Owners Should Know About Cloud Commerce
8. By 2020 AI Becomes a Positive Net Job Motivator; Creating 2.3 M Jobs, while Eliminating 1.8M Jobs
PwC predicts up to 38% of U.S. jobs could be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s, higher than Germany (35%), the UK (30%) and Japan (21%) (source).
Forrester predicts cognitive technologies such as robots, AI, machine learning, and automation will replace 16% of U.S. jobs by 2025. Of those jobs, office and administrative support staff will be the most rapidly disrupted (source).
The impact of AI technologies on business will boost labor productivity by up to 40%, according to Accenture (source).
“The big game changer is AI, and how much value potential is up for grabs. AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030, more than the current output of China and India combined. Of this, $6.6 trillion is likely to come from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion is likely to come from consumption-side effects.”
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,
but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”
9. By 2020 IoT will be Embedded in 95% of the New Electronic Product Designs
Traditional Businesses will Develop New Business Models Out of IoT
A number of small, rural utilities have begun to sell broadband services by leveraging their investments for smart meters in a new way. Large utilities and manufacturers study plans to commercialize their in-house IoT applications for predictive maintenance. Equipment makers are attaching value-added services to devices they sell. Companies initially invest in IoT to save money, but over time they will look to the same systems to generate revenue as well.
Questions for you to explore: Why real-time data will rule and how industrial applications could drive market growth, and why the need for edge computing will become more urgent.
10. Through 2022, Half of all Security Budgets for IoT will go to Fault Remediation, Recalls and Safety Failure, rather than Protection
The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon’s Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home’s lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the internet. IoT security has been a predominant topic of discussion, both for IoT businesses and their end users, for the last decade. Several widely publicized incidents demonstrated how easy it was for unsecured IoT devices to be manipulated for malicious intent.
Get the IoT Checklist
“The future is filled with technology-based innovation and disruption. Yet, the pending disruptions are taking on new forms and increasing in speed. Most organizations are struggling to keep pace with the latest technological advances. Before one innovation is implemented, two others arrive. To cope and compete, CIOs in end-user organizations must learn to develop an appropriate pace for digital change.”
Listen to the archived webinar here
Download the slides here.
What Happened when Coronavirus Set In?
Chatbots Made Mass Entry
High-tech companies closed call centers and turned to chatbots created by technology company LivePerson or to AI platform Watson Assistant.
“I really think this is a new normal–the pandemic accelerated what was going to happen anyway,” says Rob Thomas, senior vice president of cloud and data platform at IBM, which deploys Watson. Roughly 100 new clients started using the software from March to June.
The future of chatbots looks bright.
Microsoft recently was granted a patent that lays down a process to create a conversational chatbot of a specific person using their social data. “In an eerie twist, the patent says the chatbot could potentially be inspired by friends or family members who are deceased, which is almost a direct plot of a popular episode of Netflix's Black Mirror.”
Robots Repalced Labor
Robots started cleaning floors at airports and taking people’s temperatures.
Salad -making robot Sally, created by tech company Chowbotics became popular in hospitals and universities, replacing dining-hall employees.
Knightscope security-guard robots started to patrol empty real estate.
Companies that manufacture in-demand supplies like hospital beds and cotton swabs turned to industrial robot supplier Yaskawa America to help increase production.
Robots have been deployed during the pandemic to meet guests at their rooms with newly disinfected keys. “No tip required,” mechanical butler designed by robotics company Savioke got busy delivering towels and toothbrushes.
In the past, when automation eliminated jobs, companies created new ones to meet their needs. Manufacturers with production prowess, created more goods using machines, needed clerks to ship the goods and marketers and sales people to reach additional customers.
“Without technological advancement, much of the American workforce would be toiling away on farms, which accounted for 31% of U.S. jobs in 1910 and now account for less than 1%.”
In theory, automation and artificial intelligence should free humans from the monotony of the mundane and empower them in intellectually stimulating assignments, making companies more productive and raising worker wages.
In practice, this is what happened.
“The U.S. shed around 40 million jobs at the peak of the pandemic, and while some have come back, some will never return. One group of economists estimates that 42% of the jobs lost are gone forever.”
COVID-19 was simply a catalyst in the process.
The Backdrop for the Cause of Concern
The U.S. government incentivizes companies to automate, he says, by giving tax breaks for buying machinery and software. A business that pays a worker $100 pays $30 in taxes, but a business that spends $100 on equipment pays about $3 in taxes, according to Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist who studies automation and jobs.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered taxes on purchases so much that “you can actually make money buying equipment,” Acemoglu says.
Fast forward 3 years, we have a planet programmed pandemic.
This is how some companies reacted.
Facing the Facts
There is no denying the fact that automation lets companies do more with fewer people. The most valuable company in the U.S. in 1964, AT&T, had 758,611 employees; the most valuable company today, Apple, has around 137,000 employees.
LivePerson, which designs conversational software, could enable a company to take a 1,000-person call center and run it with 100 people plus chatbots. A bot can respond to 10,000 queries in an hour; an efficient call-center rep can answer six, says, CEO Rob LoCascio
Though today’s big companies make billions of dollars, they share that income with fewer employees, and more of their profit goes to shareholders. Again, in the words of Daron Acemoglu, “Look at the business model of Google, Facebook, Netflix. They’re not in the business of creating new tasks for humans.” ... Now, that's a sobering reminder.
Looking Ahead — 'Reskilling Revolution'
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for change, by disrupting economic activity and fast-tracking automation and digitization, “creating both devastation across labor markets and new opportunities for online learning, redeployment and reemployment.”
According to data gathered by LinkedIn, Coursera and the World Economic Forum in the Future of Jobs Report 2020, projects that by 2025, the hours of work performed by machines and people will be equal. Around 85 million roles are set to be displaced by automation – primarily across manual or repetitive roles spanning both blue-collar and white-collar jobs – from assembly factory workers and accountants.
The most in-demand roles in future job markets include Data Analysts and Scientists, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Robotics Engineers, Software and Application developers as well as Digital Transformation Specialists, Information Security Analysts and Internet of Things Specialists.
The most in-demand skills of the future will include working with people, problem-solving and self-management skills such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. This increase in required self-management skills is clear as workers face a range of pressures to adapt to new, more digital ways of working. Product Management, Digital Marketing and Software Development Lifecycle are among the core set of specialized skills required for emerging professions.
According to the report, reskilling for the roles of the future will require a time investment ranging from three weeks to five months. That is the good news.
Stay Safe. Stay Positive. Celebrate your uniqueness!
CNBC, World Economic Forum, Time, MIT News, Forbes, Ernst and Young, USA Today, Edelman Trust Barometer, Forrester, Prosper Insights and Analytics, Autodesk, Bill Gates, Pega, BBC, CareerBuilder, Daniel Susskind, Capittal IQ, Financial Times, Grocerydive.com, popularmechanics.com
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