We asked some of our esteemed eirSpiders judges what they felt the ‘next-big-thing’ in digital would be, and were not disappointed by their answers…
According to Robert Farrell there are three areas which could have major impact on the future of digital: Artificial Intelligence, voice search and video content. In terms of chat-bots, social media, online advertising, customer insights and operations, Robert believes Artificial Intelligence will have a major impact. We have seen this used very recently by VHI on Facebook, where you could engage in a conversation with ‘Vee’ (essentially a VHI chat-bot) who motivates you to start running with helpful tips and advice.
Robert also feels that voice search will continue to grow and will have big implications for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), eCommerce and the nature of brands.
Lastly from Robert, in a world where ‘content is king’, video continues to become more prominent in organisations’ content marketing strategies. According to Robert ‘we will continue to see organisations embrace content repurposing as we move from a blog-centred content strategy.’
Just Walk Out’ technology for Retail
The next big thing in digital for Ian Bergin is ‘how online and offline merge. We’re seeing this with Amazon brick & mortar acquisitions, online marketing to offline sales conversions & analytics.’
For those who are not in the loop, Amazon is experimenting with expanding its footprint into retail stores. Several bookstores have already opened where customers can use their Amazon accounts to pay for books, and get discounted prices if they are an Amazon Prime member. Additionally, the concept of a checkout-less grocery store is evolving. Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods, and is using that platform to expand upon their revolutionary business model. ‘Just Walk Out’ technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. This might feel like shoplifting but shortly after you exit, your Amazon account will be charged. With a newly acquired patent for the ability to control online access in a store, Amazon Books is creating a new way of retail for brick and mortar stores.
This development seems like something out of a sci-fi novel but the first ‘Amazon Go’ store is already in Beta testing in Seattle, Washington so you may be visiting a ‘Just Walk Out’ shop near you soon.
The Rise of Blockchain and Augmented Reality
It is Alan Devlin’s opinion that the digital world is already ‘heavily focused on machine -learning, augmented reality and we are also looking at blockchain platforms’.
You would have to have been living under a rock to miss the rise of augmented reality (AR) when Pokémon Go hit the market a year ago and the world went momentarily mad trying to catch a Jigglypuff on the way to work. But AR is being used in a range of capacities in areas outside of gaming. Marketing is a strong arena for virtual and augmented reality. Major motion pictures like Star Wars, Jurassic World, Insurgent, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and others have released virtual reality experiences to generate interest, excitement, and a strong memory associated with the brand. AR is also being used in other sectors like healthcare, education and journalism.
As for blockchain, 2008 saw BlockChain invented as a platform for the first decentralised digital currency, Bitcoin. Bitcoin was a revolution that meant low transaction fees, no middleman, and worldwide transactions. The dollar value of a Bitcoin is constantly changing, but is currently near the $3,000 mark with over 21 million Bitcoins issued. However, blockchain has extended far beyond Bitcoin – Ethereum, Corda and Chain Core all based around the distributed ledger system – and we can only expect to see this platform more frequently.
Robert Farrell, Ian Bergin and Alan Devlin will bring their expertise and foresight to the eirSpider Awards on the 30th November, 2017. Nominations close 27th of September, don’t miss your opportunity to be in with the chance of winning. Apply here.