If there is one quote you should keep in mind when doing business in 2018, it’s this: “Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.”
Media critic Graeme Wood wrote these famous words in reference to how social media and technology is changing the way we communicate, something he calls the change pace paradox. However, this quote also perfectly describes how artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and other innovations are rapidly affecting the world around us.
To fully appreciate our new reality, one needs only to look at the rising number of connected devices hitting our homes and businesses. As Gartner shares, by 2020 there will be 20B of these smart products on the market. Whether it’s a new car, refrigerator, doorbell, speaker, or television, it has an Internet-enabled future. Consumers are quick to adapt to these new technologies, but businesses tend to lag behind when it comes to digital adoption. This trepidation can lead to demise of many successful companies, something we’ve seen historically with organizations that resist change.
For example, this is how Forbes describes why camera company Kodak failed, “There are few corporate blunders as staggering as Kodak’s missed opportunities in digital photography, a technology that it invented. This strategic failure was the direct cause of Kodak’s decades-long decline as digital photography destroyed its film-based business model.”
Today, entire industries are impacted by the new economy. Airbnb owns no property, but is the largest accommodations provider in the world. Uber owns no vehicles, but is the biggest taxi company in the world. To survive the change pace paradox in 2018, here are three technological trends that can help you stay relevant.
1. Chatbots Drive Customer Service
AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interaction and save companies $23B by 2020, according to Gartner. These chat bots are used widely on Facebook Messenger. Businesses create these messaging tools to automate customer service. Most companies can’t afford to have a human monitor their Facebook or website inquiries 24-7, so a chat bot does the heavy lifting. The majority of customer service requests are for basic info such as your store hours or store address, so it’s easy for machine learning software (early stage artificial intelligence) to do the job for you. Online educator Udemy has a course to teach business owners how to created a Facebook Messenger Chat Bot in under one hour (and it costs only $20 to register).
2. IoT Innovations Fuel Construction Industry
The city of Toronto is getting North America’s largest smart neighbourhood, thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs. According to the Toronto Star, this 12-acre space on the city’s waterfront will feature “an urban district that is built around information technology and uses data – about traffic, noise, air quality and the performance of systems including trash bins and the electrical grid – to guide its operation.” While this is a large-scale smart build, we’re seeing the impact of IoT products everywhere in the home. Whether it’s a NEST thermostat to monitor and save energy, a Ring doorbell to see on your smartphone who is at the front door, or a Wifi-enabled coffee maker in your fridge, the home is ground zero for connected devices.
3. Rich Content Dominates Digital Marketing
With a dramatic rise in the number of mobile devices, coupled with super fast Internet access, marketers must quickly change their content strategies. Rich content implies that the end consumer can interact with what you’re delivering, whether they click to play or swipe up to connect. The days of text-only and photo-only posts are well behind us as we enter the video-first era. Here are three stats from Forbes that back up this reality: Video is projected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019, 60 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it, and embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80 percent.
If today’s businesses are slow to adopt these new tech trends, they will get left behind as more agile organizations take the lead to pursue a strategy of constant and relentless adaptation.