The the five major technologies that are revolutionizing communications consultancy
During the period 1995-2000, Cisco Systemsstaked its entire strategic vision on the beliefthat the future of communications was going to be based on the concept “IP Everywhere”, i.e. operators would not provide “smart” networks and “value added” services, but rather the “intelligence” of the web would be in all the devices connected to it and the web would be merely a standard pipeline through which all the information would move, whether voice, text messages, images, files or conference calls. This vision, which initially appeared to be a breakthrough limited to the technology and communications sector, has changed most sectors and companies throughout the world in just 20 years.
To give example, the record industry ignored this phenomenon, failing to see that this protocol would allow the rollout of peer-topeer file transfer services and offered a new distribution and sales channel for music, which gave rise to the emergence of enterprises such as Napster, Itunes and Spotify and, consequently, the transformation of the entire music industry, spelling disaster for the record industry.
“Segmenting messages to defined, complex socialdemographic profiles is no longer sufficient; it is now necessary to send the right message”
In recent years, increased computing, storage and information transfer capacity, on the one hand, and the consequent cost savings, onthe other, have opened the door to several technological phenomena that are largely transforming society and the economic sectors.
Technologies such as the appearance and development of cell phones or virtual reality, which put hyper-personal spaces at users’ fingertips, force communication to be personalized, adapting not only to individuals, but also the time and place those individuals are in. Segmenting messages to defined, complex social-demographic profiles is no longer sufficient; it is now necessary to send the right message for the specific time when the recipient receives the communication.
If you receive an advert on your cell for the type of hotel you would normally want to book for a business trip, when you are actually looking for a hotel for your family vacation, far from meeting your needs as a client, this could actually be annoying, since the channel is your own phone so it is invading your “private space”. This is not so irritating when the adverts are broadcast on television, a “public space”, where if you are not interested you can disconnect for a moment until the next advert or program begins.
“Over the past five years, technological trends that have revolutionized society have matured -not emerged thanks to this increase in technical capacities and lowering of costs”
Over the past five years, technological trends that have revolutionized society have matured -not emerged- thanks to this increase in technical capacities and lowering of costs, allowing large players such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, with their cloud services platforms, to make their use more democratic.
All sectors have been or will be affected, including communications. These five major technological trends are an example of this:
1) Artificial Intelligence: chatbots and virtual assistants that “humanize” conversations that someone may want to have with us, allowing us to identify their needs and respond with adequate information.
It also enables us to use new devices such as smart speakers to activate other communication channels with our stakeholders.
2) Big data storage, together with increased computing capacity, thanks to the development of server hardware and distributed computing (capacity of computers to work together on a particular task), enable us to obtain and store the information that our stakeholders are giving us directly or indirectly and analyze it, for example to identify early alerts, and even use predictive models to foresee them so that we can put into place actions to mitigate, amplify or boost the event, as appropriate, even before it occurs.
These technologies can also help us to identify latent trends in our communities so that we can plan ahead and lead the necessary changes to meet those needs.
3) Blockchain technology provides companies with channels to manage transparent, traceable information, with mechanisms that guarantee the integrity and truth of that information.
4) With the new 5G communication networks, IoT (Internet of Things) technologies will take off, and in the near future it will be possible to have over 20 billion devices connected to the web. Those devices will be new information and data transmission-reception channels and, therefore, distribution channels for our messages.
5) And finally, Virtual Reality. Although this may be considered less influential at present, it is sure to revolutionize the communication sector, bearing in mind that the evolution of technological capacity is not sequential but exponential (since each breakthrough stems from the bases left by the previous period). There are currently companies using this technology to improve spokesperson training services, for example, but in the near future, virtual reality will establish new channels and formats for communications between companies and their stakeholders.
“We need multi-disciplinary teams (…) who have an unconventional outlook, who understand the client’s business and challenge them, enabling them to anticipate this maelstrom of continuous changes”
In our sector of communications consultancy, all these transformers also force us to live in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environment, where not only do we have to provide our clients with standardized, commoditized products and services that previously met their needs, but also our clients now expect us to plan ahead and adapt, providing adequate solutions for their increasingly complex problems and needs.
As Linus Torvards once said, “the era of simple solutions to simple problems has ended”; now we need multi-disciplinary teams who can propose challenging results by combining communication, strategy, big data, commercial intelligence, technology and disruptive innovation, with an unconventional outlook, who understand the client’s business and challenge them, enabling them to anticipate this maelstrom of continuous changes.