Seven Key Digital Trends to Watch in 2015

Here are some tips for you to stay relevant as the Digital Age morphs into the Age of Wearable Technologies and the Internet of Everything. 

By Reading Room

Here are some tips for you to stay relevant as the Digital Age morphs into the Age of Wearable Technologies and the Internet of Everything.
The pace of change is increasing, with disruption driven by relentless technological advancements. We willl see digital undergo a further transformation in 2015, particularly in Asia Pacific, where technology and consumer behaviour are reaching a tipping point. Therefore, organisations need to deliver real products and services quickly, as well as respond to issues as they arise throughout projects.
This requires an agile consultancy and delivery approach engineered to embrace change, powered by a combination of strategy, technology and multidisciplinary consultancy.
So, what’s in store for organisations and digital marketers in the coming year? Here are seven digital trends that Reading Room would like to share with you.

1. Integrating Generation Z into business

Generation Z, who are true digital natives born after the mid-1990s, are used to a wholly different way of engaging with people and tasks to previous workforce generations. This is especially true of those in Southeast Asia, where they live and breathe digital, mobile and social media. Companies that have spent so many years adapting to the digital age will need to change again, such as the way of thinking and organisation structure, to be more agile and to accommodate these new attitudes and behaviours, or risk alienating (and not getting the best out of) their younger workforce.

2. Quantify that drink and shout about it

Over the past few years, apps and wearable tech from Nike, Run Keeper, my fitness pal and more have encouraged people to track everything, from body mass index (BMI) to regularity of dreams. The latest iPhone and iOS have made such technology no longer just a tool for fitness fanatics and dieters. With support for ever more life logging in a completely passive and unobtrusive manner, intimate details of your day recorded by a connected device that lives, works and sleeps with you are being gladly exchanged with your social networks and, by extension, with brands.
In the meantime, such behaviour has presented brands with a huge amount of data. Turning that data into real insights that will help them reach target audiences and meet their business needs will become a big challenge, which will require analytical capabilities to tackle it and feed it back to the product and service development to adjust according to the market’s needs.

3. 2015, the year of the micro

Micro-animation interactions in the interface will offer a smoother and more considered approach to content consumption, rather than shoving information in front of a user in the current web sphere.
Micro-screens will also redefine how we develop our content, from retina sharp images without the bandwidth bloat to highly optimised content for immediate, scenario-based interactions. 
Coupling micro-interactions, vector-based imagery, reaction-served content and just-in-time loading of required page components will offer performance gains in double digits.

4. Community troll hunters

In 2015, social networks need to respond and work out how to control the trolls. Otherwise, users who take the issues seriously will leave for other platforms.
There is also a cultural issue to consider over what constitutes free speech and fair comment, and when it passes into threatening and offensive behaviour. The issue is complicated by differing national legislation and cultural norms.
However, even giants such as Facebook and Twitter are not immune to the threat that this issue poses—people have already started leaving them. So, the answer to this challenge may lie in the strength of the communities themselves to ‘self-police.’ Social networks really need to respond quickly, adapt to communities’ changing needs, and give them the tools to do that.


5. Content strategy & UX for voice interactions

How do we localise content spoken by machines across different regions and languages, or the design of a voice interface? And how will people respond psychologically to objects that speak and act independently?
There are an increasing number of voice interfaces emerging, especially in the wearables and Internet of Things space. More and more focus will be aimed at how people and technology interact through things such as verbal commands and personal assistants.

6. Imagery: vector & photography

Icon fonts, SVG elements, typography rendering, optimised multi-sized imagery: pixel density is becoming higher and higher.
What that means for our industry is that we’ll reach a point where designing in a rasterised format and optimising in retrospect is no longer viable. Some would argue that we have already passed that point. We’re moving towards a blend of vector assets and high-resolution images, which will have a huge impact on our workflow.

7. Blurred lines

The line between online and offline environments has never been more blurred. Almost every human activity, whether work or leisure, has a connected element to it.
2015 could be the year when places such as retailers and tourist destinations finally figure out how to truly enrich people’s experiences—and make money out of them—by using mobile technology. iBeacon, NFC, augmented reality and responsive design all have the potential to create meaningful—not gimmicky— experiences for users, whether it’s for storytelling, ease of experience, or something we haven’t thought of yet.
To deliver relevant, useful content and meaningful experiences, it requires strategic research to understand and leverage context in a way that proves beneficial to both the brand and the end-user. Then plan, create and maintain content offerings that are intelligent enough to perform on different devices and platforms, at different times and in different places.
Digital is now being recognised clearly as an integral part of business, so full engagement across C-level and all functions of the organisation is imperative. Companies need to change their mindset and organisation structures to be more flexible and focus on their strategic business goals. This will require multidisciplinary teams and different research approach to deliver real products and services fast and adopt iteration throughout.


- END -