A glimpse into our tech-filled futures

With the first quarter of the year behind us, and the annual trade shows such as  Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and World Mobile Congress (MWC) done for the year, we are able to see what technology trends will shape the year to come for business and consumers.

This year, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, connected cities, IoT-everything, 5G, smart/ self-driving cars, robotics and more has cast 2017 as the year of connected technology. Providing consumers with ease of tech-use and connected experiences (autonomous cars, healthcare, wearables etc.), driving higher productivity and a better use of time.

Between AI, VR and Internet of Everything, built into stuff from cars to toasters- the trend is clear- consumer brands have recognised the need to streamline our connected lives, giving us more time for living and less focus on all work without play. Similar trends are surfacing in the world of Communications, with fast changing data and analytics technologies and innovations enabling businesses to enhance the way they connect with key stakeholders. A brief example which comes to mind is one from a client, Microsoft. The company started this trend by disrupting the traditional sense of customer engagement, with the launch of their Windows Insider programme – bringing their community closer to the actual development of the Windows 10 programme and updates thereafter and ensuring that the final product was as close to exactly how users would want it as possible. This sort of engagement will be key as the need to humanise brands and experiences becomes more and more necessary.

How we engage as communications counsellors will continue to change. However, in my opinion, just as our demands on technology are forcing a platform agnostic offering, the demand for brands to communicate and engage with their stakeholders across a multitude of media platforms, bringing with it unique experiences, has become increasingly more important.

How consumers engage with brands will be driven by experience, audience understanding, personalisation and content with purpose. Steering brands through multi-platform strategies to engage with their audiences in a diverse, targeted manner. Whether this hyper-targeted engagement is through:

  • Social media: video, chatbots, social engagement (Twitter/ Facebook/ Snapchat/ Insta and others)
  • Product/ brand experiential events
  • Purpose driven content
  • Owned

There is no denying that we live in an ever changing world. No matter where or in what industries and sectors we find ourselves living and working, the trends that transpire from events like CES, Mobile World Congress, SAPPHIRE, Oracle OpenWorld and many, many more, shape the way we engage with our world and connect.

Written By: Natassia Badenhorst, Account Director, FleishmanHillard South Africa 

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