Digital meets the physical

Gartner predicted in 2016 that by 2020 30% of web browsing will be done without screens. This may well be true if the accuracy and reporting for voice search is greatly improved.

It’s becoming less socially acceptable to sit glued to your phone, and people (like me) are making a conscious effort to use their phone/social media/the web less and looking for alternative ways to stay connected.

Fjord highlighted in their trends for 2018 “A major shift is underway in technology, fuelled by users’ growing angst about their “screen addiction,” and the disaggregation of core technology components, such as cameras, microphones, speakers and screens, which are increasingly being embedded in an array of different environments — especially in the home”.

Smart speakers saw a huge increase in 2017, with global growth YoY of over 700% (Strategyanalytics.com) – led by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (noticeably with no contribution in time for Christmas from Apple). We should expect to see the continued rise of non-visual experiences, including smart speakers, in 2018. Users are starting to interact with these devices as part of daily life and that’s going to have a huge impact on how marketers communicate with them.

Of course, all of this couldn’t happen without AI – which, I think it’s safe to say, will continue to be a key focus for 2018.

Forbes lists 51 predictions for AI in 2018, which envision it becoming more practical and useful, automating some jobs and augmenting many others, combining machine learning and big data for fresh insights, with chatbots proliferating in the enterprise.

Going forward, brands need to begin to place an emphasis on the physical presence while making the most of digital and data to improve a user’s overall experience.

Keep an eye out for our blog on voice search, the current landscape and the findings from our own testing.