Once again it's that time of year for Cyber-NY’s top tech trends that are likely to impact the way we create, develop and transact business. This year, we’re putting it in a simplified format of what’s in and what out followed by a short explanation.
1. Death of the Website Redesign
In: Rapid Prototyping and Iterative Development
Out: Project Based Website Redesign
To compete in today’s marketplace, businesses must continually innovate, test, and optimize their website. And the pace of technology changes too rapidly to utilize a “waterfall” style development process. Even agile methodology does not fully succeed without iterative development that allows for rapid prototyping and innovation. The days of a website redesign project as a large capital expenditure planned one fiscal year in advance and executed over another 6-months are no longer sustainable. Retailers must be nimble and find a process that fits their culture as well as accommodates innovation and experimentation.
At Cyber-NY we are moving clients to a monthly service model with shared goals and weekly collaboration time inorder to improve performance and keep their websites constantly evolving and adjusting to trends and new technologies.
2. Rise of the Platform
In: Products and Platforms
Out: Custom Development and OTS
Digital agencies continue the move towards product and platform based solutions in lieu of off the shelf (OTS) and custom development. Platform based products allow agencies to streamline deployment of digital services on a monthly subscription or SaaS pay model. Benefits to the client include a lower cost of entry and a combined fee structure for development, maintenance, and enhancements. At Cyber-NY we’re rolling out a line of integrated products this year that include content management (CMS) tools, ecommerce, and enterprise level platforms for multisite administration and order management systems (OMS).
Cyber-NY releases a new line of products for 2018 as part of their dedication to the platform model.
3. Security Takes Center Stage
In: Biometrics, Blockchain and EV SSL
Out: Passwords, HTTP, Flat Data
2017 has been a rollercoaster of previously unimagined security compromises that have exposed just how vulnerable our digital lives are and how ill-prepared businesses are to face this challenge. The user password model is the weak link in data security and the most impenetrable security protocols are only as strong as their weakest link.
Now we are seeing a new wave of technologies that promise to free us up from passwords and better protect our digital lives. Apple pushed biometrics into the mainstream with fingerprint and facial recognition. Google utilized its authority in the search market to force websites to conform to fully secured HTTPS or face being down-ranked in search results. But perhaps the biggest buzz in digital security surrounds Blockchain technology. A technology that came to greater prominence due to Bitcoin, a speclulative currency made possible through the mysterious power of the blockchain. But what is it specifically and how will it impact business?
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Alex Tapscott, Author of Blockchain Revolution
A shared public ledger that is distributed and encrypted so that it cannot be deceptively altered.
With the need to secure data as well as the continued mania surrounding Bitcoin, 2018 will be the year that blockchain gains traction and captures the public's attention. It is likely that large tech consultancies, data services and the financial industry will take the lead on blockchain application development with product offerings filtering down to small and mid sized organizations later this year. More about Blockchain from the folks at Blockgeek.com...
4. Saying Goodbye to Net Neutrality
In: Pay to Play, Power to the ISPs, Increased Cost of Access
Out: Open Internet, Regulation, Fairness
In a completely counter intuitive move protested by both consumer advocates and Internet titans like Google, Facebook, and Apple, the guys that once described the Internet as a series of “tubes” repealed net neutrality. But what does this mean for your business? If Internet Service Providers create pay for play fast lanes for content providers like Hulu and Netflix, they will likely pass on the charges to consumers. But it doesn't stop there because you can’t have a fast lane without slow lanes and that's where small and mid-size brands could reside if they can't pay for access. Envision a not too distant future where highly immersive experiences using VR and augmented reality are reserved for the largest brands, while emerging start-ups and struggling small businesses are left in the backwater low traffic lanes. What if the largest agencies and advertising conglomerates can pay for “bigger pipe” for their clients? Where does that leave smaller boutique agencies? Only time will tell as these changes will likely roll out over the next year as ISPs consider their options. More about Net Neutrality from Wired Magazine...
5. Consolidation Changes The Market Place
Out: Can Do Attitude
In: Do As We Say Attitude
Not since the robber barons at the turn of the 20th century, have so few wielded such unchallenged authority and profited from a technological sea change as what we are seeing today. While, railroads, mass production and electrification were the transformative technologies of the early 20th century, the Internet along with advances in machine learning, automation and globalization have disrupted modern day economies and lead to a similar consolidation of power within a few organizations. Google dominates search marketing, Amazon dominates commerce (online and offline), Facebook / Instagram dominate social marketing and public opinion.
What does this mean for businesses? At Cyber-NY, we have seen the majority of our retail clients hedge their bets by selling through Amazon stores even though they maintain freestanding ecommerce websites that sell direct to the public. And none are happy about it. It’s typically viewed as a necessary evil. Amazon takes a large cut but more and more, that’s where consumers are shopping. Selling on Amazon can generate a larger volume of sales but its important to take measures against cannibalizing higher margin sales from your existing customers. More about Tech Industry Consolidation from Forbes Magazine...
6. Design Thinking and Ideation
In: Creative Problem Solving and Group Collaboration
Out: Design by Committee and Top Down Management
As agile methodology supplanted waterfall in the early 00's, a new way of approaching problem solving that has been 50-years in the making is influencing the way businesses solve for their biggest challenges. Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy according to IDEO, a design agency and leader in the field.
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
Katie Fiore, Head of Conversion Optimization at SYZYGY recommends partnering with your agency and "power users" of your product or services to collaborate as a team and think outside the box. "Talk to your consumer, ideate as a team, and prototype and test your idea to give your business, and yourself, an edge." More about Design Thinking from Katie Fiore: 3 Ways Marketers Can Use Design Thinking to Innovate
7. Data Visualization
In: Advanced Visualization and Third Party Platforms
Out: Plain Vanilla Google Analytics
Google Analytics is not going anywhere but in its desire to become all things to all people and it’s propensity to constant change, its hard for a human to keep up. When you provide too much data and ways to view the data, clarity can be lost unless you have the ability to effectively filter and glean what is relevant from the statistical tea leaves. Analysts and statisticians may crave raw numbers but for most marketers, product managers and sales reps, a clear image of what is most important allows for better understanding and decision making. GA has dashboard widgets and visualization tools but they come in a DIY format that can be less than user-friendly for the uninitiated. Enter a new generation of digital visualization platforms with bundled support that seek to liberate businesses from number crunching and get down to problem solving and understanding that leads to better conversion and customer retention. The services often come at a significant cost but in many cases, the ROI is there and with wider adoption of these platforms, pricing structures and plans are sure to fan out to meet the needs of all business levels. Check out The 7 Best Data Visualization Tools of 2017 reported by Forbes Magazine
8. The End of the Digital
Out: Digital is Out
In: Everythin is Digital
The “digital” label has lost its punch in a world where the lines between online and offline are rapidly fading. As consumers are largely living in a digital world, it becomes redundant for agencies, products and brands to characterize themselves as “digital”. This trend was formally crystallized in the announcement by Brooklyn based agency Big Spaceship to drop digital from it’s branding and list of services. A bold yet common sense move that signifies turning the page on how we view our world. More about Big Spaceship Dumps Digital
Other dead phrases we should stop using in 2018 include Land Line, Mobile First and Responsive Web.
9. Immersive Technologies
In: 360° video, Augmented Reality, and Immersive Story Telling
Out: Gratuitous Parallax, Flat Design, Passive Story Telling
Well, this is a mouthful to unpack. Basically everything that was trending over the last few years has been beaten to death and we’re turning the page into new ways to engage consumers in immersive story telling. This year at Cyber-NY we were provided with 360° cameras and creative tools to play around with the technology and see where we land. Flat video and photography will be supplanted with VR-style experiences that engages viewers in a new way.
360° view of the Cyber-NY production loft as we ponder a selection Blu-rays sent over by the amazing folks at Shout! Factory
Augmented reality has the potential to transform the user interface and experience. Unnecessary animation effects often mischaracterized as “parallax” are finally receding and being replaced with more subtle and meaningful interactions that help to further recede the browser window frame from the user experience.
10. Rise of the Robots
Out: Possibly all of our jobs. :-(
All forms of automation abound in digital retail space from customer-centric personalization to ecommerce fulfillment. In the short-term you should take advantage of marketing automation, customer service and logistics support that AI and can provide inorder to wring out every extra sales dollar you can get. Long-term, sharpen your resume and be prepared to welcome our new robot overlords... Read more about the 5 Tech Jobs that will be improved through automation on ZDNet
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