The first innovation that business leaders need to understand are Automation and AI, which are everywhere. Automation is changing the way businesses operate, who they hire and what they can achieve. With this revolution, people are no longer required to do the jobs that machines can do faster, safer, cheaper and more accurately. Whilst this is not necessarily a new trend, real-life uses of automation and AI are taking us to new heights. For example, the world’s first AI news anchor who appeared on China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in early 2019.
With computers now able to learn in much of the same way as humans do, transformation is coming to every industry – from customer service to cyber security. We’re seeing a growing confidence in AI technology, and increasing deployments for functions such as HR where automation is informing decisions around logistics, hiring and firing, etc. This is the year tangible results are being seen from the use of AI.
Data continues to be the king of kings, dominating professional and personal life. Many people describe data growth as having data exploded; past tense. Data is still exploding. By 2020, it is thought that everyone will create 1.7 megabytes of data a second, and that’s on top of the 44 zettabytes of data predicted to exist in the digital universe by that time. Organisations far and wide are getting to grips with understanding their data and using it to drive competitive advantage.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. The application of data across business functions and industries can be complex, with a huge number of organisations unsure where to start. On top of this, there is a broader conversation about skills across APAC, namely whether the region has the Data Literacy levels needed to make successful gains. This presents an opportunity for marketers to lead the way in using data for understanding their customer better than ever before and giving them what they want.
With data on the rise, cyber security and privacy have become of international importance. Billions of dollars are lost each year to scammers thanks to the 6.4 billion fake emails sent worldwide every day – as a result, the pressure is on to keep business safe, and customer data secure.
In addition to data security, data privacy and ethics are also on the agenda. Data sovereignty, ownership, security and rights are hitting the national agenda as governments, businesses and civilians grasp just how important, and at risk, their data is. Furthermore, consumers are demanding to know how, where, and why their data is going to be used presenting a unique challenge to marketers to drive meaningful conversations with customers, within this wider context.
And finally, a significant area of growth continues to be found in the cloud, specifically on the edge. Storage, computing, advanced AI and analytics will all expand their capabilities if they move to the edge – so a huge number of businesses are thinking “why not?”. IDC forecasts public cloud services spending will reach $370 billion worldwide by 2022, with edge computing expected to account for a fifth of total IoT infrastructure investments. With the potential of edge computing yet to be fully seen, the opportunity in this field could be phenomenal.
How can brands leverage these trends?
Marketers need to understand the critical role data can play in advancing their connection with end-users. A data literate age means brands have to offer assurances on data privacy, control and portability – and accept that whilst data is the lifeblood of so much commercial activity, it may not always be forthcoming.
Differentiate by communicating how customer data is being used at each touchpoint. Beyond making assurances that customers’ personal data is secure, clarify what data is being used, why, and how. Experiment with how to say this at various touchpoints and use channel-appropriate content and language. The emerging voice channel represents a new challenge: how to talk about data privacy in an engaging way?
Also create incentives to share – this genuinely justifies checking the opt-in consent option. This includes great content, a birds-eye lifestyle narrative and context-savvy recommendations that come from analysing the multiple data streams in your customers’ lives.