In the era of digitalization, brands across the globe have left no stone unturned to give us a glimpse of what kind of things are possible to attain through disruptive technologies. From the time we wake up, to the time we reach our workplace, and come back home and hit the sack – there’s only one thing that remains constant and reckons like a force with us – technology.
As the startup ecosystem continues to grow with every passing day, innovation for a better future remains the core purpose. In addition to giving the much required ‘experience’ to consumers, technological innovations today, give vast opportunities to brands and marketers to reach out to their target consumers like never before. It’s just mind-boggling as to what can be expected and what next can be done.
With a thought to unravel this disruptive world of technology, MarkUp looks at tech trends adopted globally that are here to stay and make a difference in the realm of startups.
Set in the year 2035, Hollywood blockbuster ‘I, Robot’, portrayed robots serving humanity! An unpredictable plot sees robots turn hostile and embark on a mission to dominate humans with their strength and technical prowess. While the movie may seem far-fetched, robots or machine learning is becoming a reality as technology advances rapidly.
The relationship between men and machines are changing, and a lot of brands globally are already on the cusp of making artificial intelligence an everyday element of their customer offerings.
For example, Swedish retail bank – Swedbank integrated the technology tool Nina into its customer service strategy, with a goal of reducing the number of calls coming to its call centres. Nina, an intelligent virtual assistant, delivers automated customer service via the brand’s website in a conversational manner. This enables self-service capabilities, and quick and easy access to information for Swedbank customers.
Even Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, indicated what is possible with artificial intelligence, as he took this year to code a virtual assistant, Jarvis, for his house.
Who would have thought that one simple game can make users run around crazily, so much so that they are ready to risk with accidents? Yes, we are talking about Pokémon Go, an AR game, that exploded with over 100 million downloads and earning of nearly $10 million dollars a day during its peak last year.
While the enthusiasm for the game has eventually died down, the app has sent out a clear trend. One that users are ready for augmented reality (AR) experiences, and two, there is an earning potential for marketers.
Going forward, we can expect other brands following suit and coming out with AR games, AR ads, and to capitalize on AR apps that already exist.
Live video streaming
While streaming content or video marketing isn’t a new concept, sharing live video broadcasts, has opened a whole new spectrum of opportunities for brands and marketers, today.
Lately, we have been introduced to Facebook Live and a number of other competing social mediums that allow brands to bring valuable, interesting and informative videos in real-time to their customers.
With live streaming, brands can even educate viewers about their company and the products they offer. The audience can also get a peek into behind-the-scenes of their favourite brand that will not only excite them but also give brands better chance of converting them into paid customers in the long run.
Take for example, Dunkin Donuts who used live streaming during the sweet-heavy Valentine’s Day season. The brand, in the video, opened its ‘kitchen’ to the viewers, showing how it creates new products and creations, ending with a finale that involved creation of a gigantic, donut-themed cake. The video attracted more than 36,000 viewers.
Now, we even have 360-degree video features that make users feel like they’re living in the moment. The key is to provide some level of interaction in a way that makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
Internet of Things
2016 was the year where connected devices (or IoT) became a realistic goal, and marketers across the world started betting big on it. IoT essentially means the interconnectivity between unique ‘things’ using wireless communication technology that generates actionable insights about the ‘things’.
From Apple’s first wearable product, Apple Watch that sends unique messages and even takes calls with intuitive movement detection, to Fitbit that gives valuable look into the wearer’s overall health – connected devices has let brands and companies get free access – from food intake, to sleep habits that presents humongous opportunity for real-time engagement and customer service.
With 75 billion connected devices projected by 2020 across the world, one of the key values will be better ‘real-time’ insight about consumer behaviour. What is the consumer doing, when and why are they buying or not buying? – IoT will allow businesses to create informed marketing strategies and improve ROI.
Imagine wearing big glasses or maybe gloves and entering the world that doesn’t really exist. That’s what VR does for you. It’s a technology that has emerged from being a buzzword to being a reality. So much so that tech giants including Samsung, Google, and Facebook went all up and about to create new, and fantastically, almost real, and tailored experience for people.
For those who are innocent about the world around them, VR gives you an experience of a world that doesn’t really exist. It simulates bits of one’s imaginary world using high-performance computers and sensory equipment, like headsets and gloves.
While a common phenomenon in the west, lot of startups such as Absentia VR, and Drishya 360 amongst others have started focussing on VR technologies in India to create disruption across sectors including healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, and retail.
Beacons have been globally generating buzz since 2013, when Apple first introduced iBeacon technology. While analysts had then predicted, this new way of connecting with customers might be slow to catch on, its time has finally come.
So, what are they? Beacons transmit instant shopping alerts to all smartphone users inside the store area. They are a low-cost piece of hardware, small enough to attach to a wall or countertop that utilize battery-friendly Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.
Brands globally are adopting these devices to provide customers with product information, flash sales or deals, and to speed up checkout process with a completely contact-less payments system. Prominent stores across USA, including Lord & Taylor, Walmart, Urban Outfitters and Sephora, are using this technology to push targeted messages to shoppers on their smartphones. The most popular ones are, personalized coupons, latest products, and updates on what other people are buying. It successfully creates a buzz and translates into an immediate uptick in sales.