Written by Aung Thu Hein, CTO and Co-founder, and Jadapa Anantanikorn, Managing Director at TRENDS Digital
Crisis both inspires and escalates widespread technological innovation. We have witnessed this throughout history as a necessary reaction to wars and health pandemics as we adapt to rapidly changing and challenging environments. This recent time is no exception. COVID has forced major changes in how we all use technology in our daily lives. We are all increasingly living in a digital world.
Based on our hands-on experiences of providing digital consultancy services for MNCs and NGOs across Asia, our team at Trends Digital have put together some innovative tech trends within our ecosystem with a 3-5 year point of view. While this list is not exhaustive by any means, we hope it provides some insights when building out your strategic digital plan.
Innovation is a broad term so we have focused on trends that apply to corporates, SMEs, and startups along with key emerging technology trends to watch for.
CORPORATE TRENDS: Customers expect companies to have an online presence
Corporates have been investing in technology for years yet few could expect the digital needs required in a COVID environment. Companies continue to digitize their workforce, from managers to executives, however that takes time, investment, and training. Below are some recent trends for corporates.
● COVID led to the significant increase of technology adoption rates in everyday life for consumers. From e-commerce stores to super apps that do everything from restaurant food, grocery store items, or even bubble tea. It has never been easier to order items online. Platforms and apps that offer ease, convenience, and great user experience are emerging as leaders in this long race.
● Whether your market is mass consumer or elite and niche, you will still require a professional online presence. B2B and B2C clients are doing research before, during, and after purchase. This is a good thing, since building loyal customers through online channels is an effective way to grow your business.
● From a governance perspective, most if not all executive boards are being asked to firm up their cyber and IP protection. This is reasonable since risks of online scams and intrusions have been increasing. It is well advised to demonstrate and action best practices in managing your clients and company data.
● It is important to have and update your digital communications strategy. This playbook should layout which digital channels you will use when engaging external stakeholders, partners, and potential clients. Be prepared.
SME TRENDS: Extensive digital opportunities for SMEs and startups
● Some good news for SMEs and Startups is that advertising online has never been easier and affordable. You do not require a large budget in digital to get started which levels the playing field for small businesses to participate in. Video platforms such as YouTube and Instagram remain good for audience reach.
● If budgets are tight for content planning and production then look to hire freelancers to get started. The growing pool of freelancers can help with website development, social media, etc.
● Many SMEs have found themselves needing to revamp their online presence. When in doubt, keep it simple such as your your website, Linked-In, Instagram or other channels that make sense for your business. It is advisable to focus on a few channels and manage them well through quality versus quantity to start.
Emerging trends in technology
1. Big data for predictive analytics
○ There is immense access to data, the key is now how we process that into meaningful and actionable data. As an example, predictive analytics are recently being used for supply chain monitoring to alert when key equipment needs to be maintained before costly breakdowns.
2. Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning
○ AI helps us make decisions when we input our known variables, yet machine learning takes this further. While an AI coffee pot makes a cup of coffee on time, a machine learning coffee pot will adapt to make you the best cup of coffee everyday. Machine learning is a game changer.
○ Cryptocurrencies, best known through Bitcoins, will continue to go mainstream despite scams and negative press. The technology and infrastructure behind many of the cryptocurrencies exchanges are impressive. While we expect the volatility to continue, digital currencies are becoming more widely accepted globally. While Bitcoins dominate the headlines many lesser known cryptos offer better opportunities for the speculators. Despite the frequent bubble and bust cycles, we expect crypto currencies to gain in popularity.
4. Digital Privacy
○ Large adoption of citizen’s digital data for health and location tracking helped contain the spread of COVID but raises questions about personal privacy. Many people are willing to give up their privacy to help contain a deadly virus. However most people also expect governments and companies to manage that personal data with appropriate care and trust.
5. Quantum computing
○ Quantum is an exciting area for advanced computing. Canada is currently a world leader in the complicated production of commercial quantum computing. Canadian made quantum computers are now used in critical areas such as healthcare research and space exploration. With the emerging hardware and software is still under development, quantum computing is in the early days of a long term trend.
● Countries globally raced to use digital data to measure and contain outbreaks. Transferring key virus information with healthcare professionals and scientists was also a significant driver for research in vaccines produced in record time.
● Corporations all over the world have reiterated their focus on online and e-commerce strategies. Consumers are expecting companies to have an online presence with a modern and well designed user experience.
● The Internet of things (IoT), connected devices, and 5G has just started. Digital content, education
● As work from anywhere becomes a more common practice for many organizations big or small, focus has shifted to digital training to equip key personnels in efficiently managing remote teams and stakeholders.
● Our team this year is seeing increased demand for social listening, crisis management, digital & social audits, consumer research, strategic research, and digital corporate training. The digital landscape continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. At Trends Digital our key objective is to help our clients adapt to this ever changing digital world.
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