Where will we be in 2024? A look into the future
Part 1, the bots are coming
Digital transformation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, or AI, VR and AR are buzzwords in 2017. What will they mean for the future? Really? Well, if I could answer that question, at least MY future would be secured. Nobody really knows, and that’s what makes it so exciting. But allow me to share a few guesses, thoughts and personal insights.
Let’s start with Eyjafjallajökull
The year is 2010 and thousands of people are stranded all over the world because of a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Why is that interesting? Because at the time, seven years ago, only one in five Swedes owned a smartphone*. 1 of 5. 20%. Take a look around you in the office, on the bus, train, café, or wherever you are. And imagine that seven years ago it was only 20% of those around you who owned a smartphone. Today it’s 4 out of 5. 80% of all Swedes owns a smartphone. And according “The Swedes and the Internet 2016” (soi2016.se), 100% of Swedish children aged between 12-15 years have access to their own smartphone. At least according to their parents.
That’s why I have chosen to look seven years into the future. 2024. Where will we be? Let’s have a preview.
Artificial intelligence and bots
More and more experts say that the machines will do our jobs in the future. And there’s obviously some truth to this. We are already seeing how “chat bots” can converse with people and solve problems for them. Bots are great for looking up, and searching through, already existing knowledge. Meaning that consumers can get faster service and support for simple, repetitive questions. Check this short video for more info:
Data, data, data
For the bots to develop intelligence, they need access to a lot of DATA to learn more. And the combination of big data and individual data will be critical for success. If the bots can find relevant ways to combine external environment data / trends / recommendations / history to give me exactly what I need, when and where I need it, at a cost which I think is reasonable – well then, I’m all for it! Bring them on! If that means I will get better, more relevant offers, the help I need – when I need it, and recommendations that actually make my life better, then I’m in!
If we’re talking about bots, we really need to talk about instant messenger apps. These “closed” social platforms are gaining much ground, especially in Asia. 3 of the 5 most downloaded apps in 2016 was “closed” social platforms: 1. Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. What do I mean by “closed”? Well, the user must actively add other users to their network, both friends and brands. (The other two apps were Pokemon Go in 3rd place and Facebook, 5th.)
Don’t leave me!
There are already bots for instant messenger apps. And some (Ted Livingston, CEO of Kik Messenger, for example) say that the messenger apps are the new Internet and bots are the new websites. The purpose of chat bots is, of course, that users don’t have to leave the app to do other things. Just keep on chatting with your bots: Calendar-bot, book-flights-bot, reserve-a-table-bot, map-bot, payment-bot, H&M’s shopping-bot, coffee-bot, etc.
In this scenario, for example, the “coffee-bot” will chat with you when you passed your local coffee house and didn’t buy coffee at your regular time. “Hey, don’t forget your salted caramel latte, Roger! You know how grumpy you get if you don’t drink your coffee. Should I make an order? You can pick up your coffee in 5 minutes “. You write, “Yes, with an extra shot of espresso, thank you.” Smart. And a little bit scary.
Make yourself available!
Everyone has a smartphone. And everyone uses messenger apps. The best thing you can do as a company is to ensure that it is possible to chat with you, or your bot, in the app that your customers prefer. That enables you to deliver the customer experience that your customers expect and demand.
The Future, part 2 – the sharing economy
My next blog post will be about the sharing economy, and how it will change consumption behaviour and the concept of owning in the future. Stay tuned! What do YOU think about the future? Comment or contact us!
* The Swedes and the Internet 2016, soi2016.se