Part Two: Tech Works for the People
In part one of our What’s Next series, we understood that “what’s next in tech” is already here and that it’s reach into our lives has taken hold. However, that notion doesn’t always sit well, leaving individuals (consumers and employees alike) to explore different levels of recourse, particularly in data protection, to tailor this reach. In part two, we address the inevitable head on, and appreciate the influence that our targeted audiences will assert on whatever tech is next.
Giving the consumer what they want
The compression of the consumer lifecycle from awareness to purchase was already evident prior to the pandemic — it just accelerated it. Businesses know they need to cater and connect to customers. Customers demand service and this will continue to evolve as new ways to understand and optimize the consumer experience remains paramount to create advocates out of skeptics. Visions of the metaverse rely on widespread adoption of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, which have experienced a 26.4% YoY increase and are set to become much more common in the next four years.
Click and mortar
The pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce, BOPIS (buy online and pick up in store) and delivery. Brick and mortar retailers have had to adopt an Amazon-like model to satiate the instant gratification demands of consumers. Retailers are increasingly appealing to disruptor brands to increase their customer pool by luring Gen Z and Millennials who are more likely to discover brands online than in-store, and on average drive 14x greater dollar spend according to IRI. While shopping will always remain a pleasurable pastime, as this trend evolves, in-store shopping will be reserved for high-end luxury items, intimacy (like fashion) or “wants” but basic necessities will increasing be purchased online. This trend could lead to a growing desire for brands to provide individual, personalized needs as consumers to seek out more flexible options when shopping.
2021: The year of the great resignation
The battle for talent has never been tenser. Employees, like consumers are influencing how brands must behave. Employers continue adjusting their employee benefits packages to provide a feasible work-life balance to remain competitive and boost overall employee morale, satisfaction and retention. Self-directed and hybrid work are here to stay.
Taking a stand
While employees have already demanded action from employers, competition is stiff as more companies jump into the market with direct-to-consumer plays. What will drive consumer purchasing behavior in the coming year? Companies can no longer afford to stay silent on important social and environmental issues. As advances such as virtual power plants (VPPs) increasingly offer decentralized, geographically distributed solutions for harnessing renewable energy become more prominent, companies will need to align with employees’ as well as consumers’ personal values.
Virtual land grabs (gaming and crypto)
Virtualization of our lives is here to stay – known as the ‘Internet of senses’ is the merge of digital and physical experiences. Enterprise resource systems (ERP) are building ways to extend core data as new development tools become available. Sandbox is an example of blockchain technology within the gaming space that offers a decentralized virtual world experience and creates new opportunities for the players to experience NFTs, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.
Companies are quickly recognizing the potential of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to grow business models and drive new revenue streams. Public blockchains are exponentially growing the ability to digitally connect value represented by tokens, bringing yet another wave of seemingly limitless opportunities in the digital world. Fungible and non-fungible tokens are driving a segment of this new phenomenon — called “hyper-tokenization.”
Flying low to aim high
Much of this won’t be possible without 5G and low orbit satellites making the world even smaller. No longer confined to fixed positions over the equator and high altitudes, these new satellites will bring the IoT (machine to machine interactions) to life. Amazon’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites will enable expansion of cellular networks by cutting latency allowing for faster broadband speeds and support coverage in northern and southern regions.
The Matrix movie may no longer seem as fantastic as it once did as we find ourselves stepping into our own. With the advent of these technological advances and the introduction of the metaverse, the brand signals that currently surround us will become amplified as new mediums are tapped into. Siloed best-in-breed platforms will not be as viable in the long term as ones that are unified and integrated to harness the power of AI. Navigating this new reality — “a world where anything is possible” — will be critical, to not only survive, but flourish. Those that successfully turn the volatility into opportunity, will become the next generation of industry leaders.
Because of the speed with which our technology is changing the way that we live, do business and even socialize, it is more important than ever to have the best technology team working with your business to help you lead the pack in your industry. SSi People can help you build the right team. Let us know how we can help!