12-18-18 – By Nigel Zelcer
With 2018 nearly in the books it’s time to turn our attention to next year and prepare for how digital transformation is impacting companies, consumers, and markets. Below are my top five predictions for digital transformation in 2019.
- The rise of AR applications – already we’ve seen that outside of gaming and some very limited healthcare use, Augmented Reality’s (AR) more well-known cousin, Virtual Reality (VR), hasn’t caught fire like it was anticipated to do. The technology is still too expensive and cumbersome while the experience hasn’t replaced real world interactions. AR, however, has already shown promise in retail, food and beverage, and other industries. Amazon is experimenting with AR shopping, brands are creating digital experiences such as 19 Crimes wine labels that come to life, and even The Weather Channel incorporated the technology into its visually stunning hurricane coverage this fall. This trend will advance even quicker and we’ll see AR become a staple customer experience.
- A shift in company culture – digital transformation doesn’t only touch customers, it also impacts employees and the type of workforce a company will employ. As new skills and talents are added, and new processes put in place to manage a digital shift, change management strategies must be updated and in place to accommodate the transformation. Look for companies to invest in change management as a necessity to implementing their new strategies.
- Data interpretation as a precursor to AI – I’m not ready to say AI is the future in 2019, but it’s close. We still need to master data interpretation before we can implement full AI strategies. Recent studies suggest we’ve created 90% of the world’s data in the last 12 months but are only able to use 1% of it. Companies will get better at data utilization and will then be able to turn that into meaningful AI practices.
- The rise of intelligent assistants and chat bots – ok, no one loves a chat bot, but their applications in B2B and B2C cannot be understated. From Microsoft Cortana to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, we’re seeing digital assistants do more and more. In fact, approximately 5% of large companies are planning to develop their own intelligent assistant platforms to assist with everything from teaming to scheduling and cross functional collaboration. McDonald’s has piloted fully-automated ordering within its restaurants. Companies will continue to implement chat bot functionality where basic human interaction isn’t necessary.
- GDPR becomes a gatekeeper – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation within EU law that deals with data protection and privacy for anyone wanting to do business with EU companies. To date, approximately one-third of companies are still not compliant. While the number of compliant companies will increase, it will also make consumers aware of who respects their privacy and who simply wants their data, and the free market will determine the winners and losers. In addition, I predict we’ll see more US companies adopt this stance even if they don’t do business in the EU as it will become a form of certification or credibility currency.
I’d love to hear what you think of my predictions and any of your own as we roll into 2019. We’re doing exciting work on many of these fronts and I’m eager to see what the future holds. Have a safe and happy holiday season!