Technological trends have had a profound impact on communication. The widespread availability of high speed Internet and hand-held devices means that communication is happening in real time all around us. Here we look at how technology is driving communications, and note that the future demands not only an understanding of traditional and online media, but also a grasp of what technology will mean for communication methods.
Everyone is online
Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt made the bold prediction that everyone will be connected to the Internet by 2020. With the increasing use of Wi-Fi enabled hand-held devices and the development of 4G technologies this trend is already well underway. Coverage and pricing are becoming more accessible everyday. For the field of communications this means a much broader and better-connected audience. The global community already exists, but with the expansion of Internet services come the growth of this audience, to include previously unconnected populations.
The growth of video content
Video has the potential to boost sales and generate interaction. A recent Jellis Craig study recorded a 403% increase in property enquiries when the listing had a video. Initially the creation of video content was driven by higher bandwidths and device capability. As people become much more visually focused, video is the preferred method of interacting and gaining information. YouTube tells us that over 4 billion hours of content are watched every month. The potential for vlogging to overtake the influence of blogging and online advertising is credible. Communications strategies will need to account for this growing audience, and help clients to produce shareable, entertaining content; which can be just about anything, from case studies to product walk-throughs.
Starting with Google Glass, wearable computing looks to be the next big thing. In terms of communications, the potential of wearable computing to close the gap between real-time and virtual-real-time will be one of the biggest impacts. That moment when you toy with the idea of searching your bag for your phone (to post whatever it may be on the latest social platform) will no longer exist. A product with all the same capabilities as a smart phone will be on your physical being and controlled by your voice. By 2018 the world is expected to have embraced this technology to the tune of 485 million individual shipments a year.
For the field of communications this advance means an even more demanding focus on reputation management; two-way communications will be at its peak due to the simplicity of giving feedback. However, rather than actively monitoring social media, wearable computing will enable a social media feed to come to you. Hybrid apps will combine the activity on various social media platforms and effectively report back enabling a less active monitoring process.
Anarchic social networking
Not only will social networking further encourage the growth of the global community; experts anticipate it will form the basis of human social predictive models, models that will play a role in the formation of future communications tactics.
Fast Company says, “the dominant social networks of the future may not even be formal organisations, but rather anarchic collectives built on sophisticated variants of peer-to-peer file-sharing technologies.”
In order for organisations to leverage coverage content is going to dominate; news worthiness needs to be re-enforced by expertise provided from within the organisation. A strong online presence will require the sharing of a company’s intellectual property. It is not enough to have a strong brand; an organisation and its brand need to have a life their own to create a voice in the new online media landscape. The ability to tap into peer-to-peer networking requires an organisation to be a valuable contributor to the online community.
The final death of the traditional news media
The concept of ‘global-commons’ in relation to information sharing will overtake the traditional forms of media, and news organisations as we know them will cease to exist. Newsgathering, analysis and distribution will instead fall to individuals, including citizen-journalist and small-scale initiatives. This fragmentation means communication experts need to be across the diversified media and able to create content that is transferrable from one platform to another.
The personalisation of online content will see the fall of tradition TV channels, as people opt to select what they view. The ability to access on-demand content will automatically filter marketing and advertising. Successful communications will have to be more technologically integrated and specifically targeted.
The birth of self-publishing
As traditional media continues to fragment companies should look to creating their own content and be aware of platforms through which to publish this content. Blogs, vlogs and white papers are current examples, cross-device publishing is also a major trend as tablets and mobile devices take up more of the market. Content marketing processes will become more technologically integrated as the trend picks up, meaning competition in terms content marketing will grow.
Good PR practitioners have already begun to evolve into communications and marketing hybrids, capable of producing rich and relevant content for their clients. Good content marketing is driven by insourcing; using the knowledge of clients means work of a certain calibre is delivered which remains inline with the company brand values. Content will increasingly need to become more and more interactive or rich, no one simply puts out an article anymore.
Communications Collective is a team of experts with an extensive knowledge of online and traditional media. If you would like to learn more about the impact of technological advances and would like a comprehensive communications strategy contact us.