Businesses in the know are using trend analytics to predict major technological shifts – they need to, as they’re happening at the speed of light. And it’s not just that brands need to be aware of new technologies that could enhance their business – they need to be dialed in to the ones that could prove disruptive as well.
We’ll dig a little deeper into the emerging trends in technology from a market intelligence perspective by looking at:
- How quickly technological shifts can occur.
- How brands can make the most of novel trends.
And before we get going, here are a few tech-related statistics that we think you’ll find interesting:
- The emergent quantum computing market is expected to top $2.5B by 2029, split between hardware, software and cloud-based services.
- At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.7%, IoT global market value is forecast to reach $1.1T by 2026.
- 95% of businesses say that managing unstructured data is a problem, while 97.2% are investing in big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
With that, let’s look back at how quickly new technologies have changed in recent years.
Technological Shifts Have Easily Surpassed Sound Barrier
Back in the 90’s the internet was trickling through dial-up modems into a comparatively small number of households. And AOL, Windows 98 and Netscape Navigator sound ancient now, but were some of the early tools in a then emergent technology that revolutionized the way the world works.
Speed and accessibility have skyrocketed in the last twenty years to where it’s so ingrained in our culture and livelihoods that it’s arguably as necessary as water and indoor plumbing.
Google was officially launched back in 1998 and was so successful it became a verb. On Valentine’s Day of 2005, Chad Hurley registered the domain name for YouTube, addressing a lack in ways to share user videos online. In 15 years it’s become a $15B a year goldmine for Google, who bought it in 2006 for $1.65B.
During the early days of the internet however, some companies like Blockbuster and Kodak simply could not effectively navigate the technological shift that the internet was creating. Blockbuster even turned down Netflix offering itself up for acquisition – and the once vast video rental empire is today reduced to one solitary store in Oregon.
But even before there was any social media to listen to, Netflix saw the changing tides, adapted its business model in favor of it and is today a household name. Netflix was formed in 1998 and became Blockbuster’s direct competitor. But it wasn’t until 2007 when it announced that it would begin streaming services that the company found its bread and butter. And the rest is history.
Stories abound of companies like Spotify riding the waves of technological change. And the timelines are getting shorter as the years tick by. Spotify, for example, was only launched in the U.S in 2011 and since has helped seal the music industry’s move from mp3 downloads to streaming.
But even that pales in comparison to how fast technological shifts have occurred this year in response to the pandemic. Retail did an about face and ran full speed into ecommerce, healthcare threw everything it could into the telehealth spectrum and office space sits empty as corporate embraced digital solutions.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily these days though, we can use next generation artificial intelligence (AI) to power our market intelligence, revealing emerging trends so we don’t end up with a Kodak moment.
Making the Most of Novel Trends
In the hunt for emerging trends, it’s important for brands to understand the macro level ideas that trickle down into industries, driving innovation. In technology the foundational ideas revolve around IT, cyber risk and core modernization. Enabling technologies revolve around digital experience, analytics and the cloud. Potential disruptive technologies include digital reality (AR/VR), blockchain and cognitive (AI) tech. Forward looking technologies include ambient experience (context-aware) smart devices, exponential intelligence and quantum computing.
Think of it as a framework from which to judge emerging trends on relevancy as they pertain to your industry.
In the discovery phase of emerging trends, it doesn’t always look like what you might expect. For example, telehealth has been on the rise prior to the pandemic, but really hit the gas as a result of it. So, an overview of the conversational timeline should reflect that right?
Well, perhaps if our timeline started back in March. But if we zoom out to start in January 2019 it looks nothing like what you’d expect. The conversation drops off precipitously with the onset of the pandemic in March. And that’s how you would have been looking at it in real-time.
And had we been monitoring this conversation on a weekly basis we’d have seen a two-week gap in the conversation in mid-March indicating a sudden shift.
Following Red Flags
The drop in conversational volume is a huge red flag here. But what was happening was much of the media peeled itself away from this topic as news of the coronavirus spread. Zooming in with a stacked bar chart shows us how the tone of the conversation shifted.
Taking a closer look at the main conversations ‘post-COVID,’ we find stories on increased adoption, how telehealth shines and accelerated advancement.
It gives us a preliminary indication of core modernization in the telehealth space and a jumping point for more targeted research. And separating the post-COVID telehealth conversation by tags illuminates our needle in the haystack.
Likewise, when we look into the financial services sector, we see a similar situation happening in mid-March. It’s not nearly as stark as the telehealth conversation, but it’s telling nonetheless.
Since financial services includes fintech, we’ll again extract the post-COVID conversation to find the relevant technological insights left over.
As you can see, our filtered conversation is still deeply intwined with the broader conversation, but a few technological clusters stand out. Further isolated, our Fintech post-COVID conversation reveals articles concerning blockchain and cloud services; topics of interest from our macro framework.
A closer look into the blockchain cluster gets us dialed in to the most recent conversations in an emerging trend that informs our technological interests.
As we’ve discussed here, technological trends are on the fast track and show no indications of slowing down. Insight into emerging trends is ripe for the picking with an understanding of your macro themes and diligent market intelligence. Market leaders are using powerful next generation AI to stay on the innovative edge of their industries – and you can too. Be sure to reach out for a demo for a whole new window into the emerging trends in your category!