Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Danu Abeysuriya, CEO of Rush Digital for the Tech Marketer Podcast. Danu knows his stuff when it comes to tech. His agency has created award-winning campaigns for Microsoft, National Geographic and TVNZ using everything from virtual reality to facial recognition to augmented reality.

I asked Danu to gaze into the future and share the tech trends he thought would change how we communicate in the next 5 years.

Here’s what he said we need to be looking out for:

1. Ubiquitous computing

Danu’s first prediction was that computing would become “ubiquitous” or everywhere in the next 5-10 years. His goes beyond computers in our phones and watches (yup, that’s already here), predicting computers will be everywhere. Sound extreme? Computers are already in our cars, and driving them. They’re in our music speakers. They’re taking our order at MacDonalds and writing our news.

We’re fast approaching ubiquitous computing already.  Maybe this shopping experience isn’t far off!

What does this mean for marketers? It’s not just about wearables, expect your content to be everywhere in the future. Make sure you’re crafting content that starts with the ideas/problem to be solved and then brings in the tech to deliver it.

“People buy on emotion… technology is a tool for emotion. You should be working with the idea first, rather than the technology first” ~ Danu Abeysuriya, Rush Digital

The John Anderton scene from the Minority Report may seem confronting, but marketers already hold all the personal data required to make this scene possible with the addition of geo-location data on the shopper. We need to act responsibility and make the best use of this technology to ensure a rewarding experience for consumers that doesn’t freak them out. At least until this becomes the new norm!

2. Bots vs humans 

As marketers we’re still at the mercy of tech fragility. We’ve all experienced a terrible Skype call connection. At Rush Digital they plan for the inevitable failures of tech. When they ran their NZ-Australia virtual tug of war for The Amazing Race, they were on their 4th backup system. Knowing how tech can go, they had 7 backup systems in place!

A bot is a simple computer program, that makes things happen based on some input. A chatbot is a bot that lives inside a chat product, for example a messaging app. Computers are good at computation – data, calculations and facts. They’re not so good at emotions.

“Bots are very interesting because they can solve one of the biggest problems with technology, which is fragility… Technology doesn’t quite know want you want. AI and bots have the ability to help us smooth over these bumps” ~ Danu Abeysuriya, Rush Digital

Danu’s perspective on bots was refreshing. We’ve heard so much hype about bots being the end to humans in customer service so it was interesting to hear a perspective that involves teaching a computer to be more human! Danu’s gave an example of a Skype bot learning to switch to an audio only call to keep a conversation going when wi-fi signal was weak. This showed how bots might make technology more helpful and human, rather than trying to replace human connections.

So if bots can’t read between the lines and make us feel better, what are they actually good for? Turns out that with today’s and tomorrow’s technology, they are good for simple, low-level, repetitive questions and tasks. That’s it. If you want to know when your next phone bill is, a bot can tell you. How much it will cost? A bot can tell you. But why you might have been over-charged? Time to talk to a human. ~ Paul Adams, Intercom

What does this mean for marketers?  For now, keep computers doing the low-level grunt work. Find ways for bots to make technology more helpful rather than replacing current channels of support. Don’t rush off to replace your online comms with bots. The people your talking to might actually prefer talking to a human!

3. Fintech

Fintech is the cross-section of finance and technology. Experts are predicting massive disruption in the banking world as technology provides new, easier ways to move money and make payments.

While most of the hype around fintech has focused on the technology side, Danu again offered a refreshing perspective. He predicts fintech will allow a greater transparency and financial literacy, leading to changes in consumer behaviour as we rely less on banks.

“Technology brings a element of education, people will be more savvy about how money works, leading to different purchasing behaviours. Fintech leads to different business models that don’t require banks… The way we think about buying and ownership is going to change” ~ Danu Abeysuriya, Rush Digital

What does this mean for marketers? It’s hard to know what payments and banking will look like in the future but expect to evolve with your customers, reducing the friction to payment will always be a good thing!

We’ve seen tech companies like Nest run into issues when software products have been shut down, leaving hardware useless. Educating customers on the “expected lifetime” of a software product and whether tech hardware is owned or rented will be an interesting challenge for marketers in the near future.

You can hear the full interview with Danu Abeysuriya on iTunes or on this post.

Header image credit: youflavio on Flickr 

Weekly Newsletter

Posted by Nicole Williams

I'm a marketing geek with a passion for tech. Previously, I was the marketing manager for SilverStripe (open source CMS and cloud PaaS) Currently, podcaster and blogger for and founder of Wellington Marketing meetup. Currently exploring Europe and living the dream! I'm always up for a chat about marketing and I love sharing my experiences so that others don't have to learn the hard way.

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