It seems there’s always a new technology entering our lives. Whether it’s a product meant to enhance everyday life such as the Amazon Echo or a more business-focused innovation like artificial intelligence, there’s always something new on our radar. Let’s take a look at a few of the most influential new technologies for your Agency from the year so far.
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When you think of virtual reality (VR), using it for work purposes might not be the first thought that pops into your head. Digital Trends described VR as a technology that “seeks to create a realistic three-dimensional image or environment that a human can perceive as real, and even interact with in realistic ways.” Yes, VR is fun for gaming and can make YouTube videos more interesting to watch, but now companies are applying this tactic to their marketing and business plans too.
Brands can use VR in a few different ways. IKEA, for example, has a VR-based “try before you buy” app called IKEA Place. With this feature, customers can create the kitchen they’ve envisioned before committing to it in “real life.” Through VR, the kitchen is created digitally. Customers can use the system to see if they like what they’ve chosen, if it’s functional, if the colors match, and they can even cook some of IKEA’s famous meatballs.
TOMS, the popular shoe brand that is known for donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every purchased pair, has also put VR into action in their own way. VR gives TOMS’ customers an opportunity to travel to the communities where the shoes are distributed, to see the recipients of the shoes as well as the area in which they live.
Atatl CEO Marc Murphy agrees that the VR landscape will shift to better accommodate business applications, saying, “The more impactful applications of AR/VR will emerge in a range of business domains and across the hard tech space.”
Utilizing VR in the workplace and for clients allows companies to become early adopters of the technology while strengthening and growing its benefits. If done correctly, VR will help businesses provide services that set them apart. And in most cases, that innovative use of VR for brand purposes was designed and deployed by a forward-thinking agency, if not several of them. IKEA partnered with a slew of agencies to create IKEA Place, including Space10, Assembly, Allison+Partners, and Amsterdam-based 72andSunny. All it takes to generate great VR ideas for clients is to have an eye towards concepts that are relevant, yet unexpected. The technology is so promising, and its promise so unexplored as yet, that some agencies now solely focus on VR and AR marketing and have built thriving businesses as a result.
The nature of this technology allows each agency or brand to create their own personalized VR experience for a client, and no two will look the same. Whether it’s creating a virtual kitchen with IKEA or watching the joy on a child’s face as he or she receives new shoes from TOMS, each experience is different but makes a lasting impression on the customer.
“The cloud” is a term that you’ve heard a lot these days, and for good reason. This technology has taken off and is being widely embraced by companies and individuals alike. It provides the ability to store and access data and applications over the internet rather than on a hard drive. This means data can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. Cloud computing provides a number of benefits for many industries, from the marketing field to the medical field and everywhere in between.
These advantages include increased data security, improved collaboration, and an enhanced and less expensive disaster recovery plan. As the internet continues to be the primary channel for work and personal needs, these three factors have become a top priority. When working with a cloud vendor, they become responsible for the company’s security while providing faster response times and a larger team to focus on potential issues.
Utilizing the cloud for collaboration is another highlight. The cloud is a centralized location where work, research, and data can be shared and transferred. The less exciting yet equally important feature is the disaster recovery plan. The cloud provides a built-in backup system, eliminating the need for a data center and resulting in financial savings.
Cloud technology offers substantial team- or organization-wide communication benefits as well. You’re probably using a form of this already. For example, systems such as Google’s G-Suite are used by thousands of agencies every day. Google’s suite of cloud-based productivity applications, like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Hangouts, have revolutionized the way we schedule, plan, and interact with one another.
According to Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, “The movement to cloud is an inevitable destination; this is how computing will evolve over the next several years.” With this in mind, companies should seriously consider integrating the cloud into their systems to streamline their operations and to create an image of themselves as innovators by making the switch.
AI is a software-based system that allows computers or machines to think, learn, and do tasks that once required human intelligence. This tech is employed in several different fields, and marketing is no exception.
AI can assist in the collection, organization, and presentation of data in a more cohesive format. It also provides insights on where and when ads will be most effective and can target customers based on browsing history and demographics. AI is also slowly but surely making an impact on content creation. Recently, this technology has been applied to the task of creating articles on its own, mostly about stocks and sports. When given data and statistics, AI can form a cohesive and comprehensible piece of writing.
A more well-known feature of AI is chatbots. When someone visits a website and a chat bubble pops up in the corner, it’s most likely a chatbot trying to assist. Thanks to these chatbots, engagement with and retention of customers has increased.
Because of AI, hundreds of hours can be saved on simple customer service tasks that human employees once had to carry out. These tasks are now moving toward full automation. Unlike the other technologies mentioned, this one has received mixed reviews. Some believe it will change our world for the better, while others believe it could cause more harm than good. Either way, it is sure to make an impact on our society.
Business mogul Mark Cuban once said, “Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, machine learning — whatever you’re doing, if you don’t understand it — learn it. Because otherwise, you’re going to be a dinosaur within 3 years.” The question, “What should I do?” has a simple answer: Stay current. Whether trying to learn about AI or working to create a new VR system for your business, it’s important to learn about these technologies and remain up-to-date. Advancements are happening rapidly, and if we fall behind now, it will be difficult to catch up.
Co-founder of Enlightened Digital
Sara is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues on Enlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or technology expert. Check out her site at Enlightened-Digital.com.