7 digital innovation trends that are not going away… yet

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.

Always dangerous to touch this subject as everyone has an opinion.

As soon as it’s written about it’s pretty much out of date.

However, here are seven of the top longer lasting innovation trends that we’re seeing in the market.

Feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the post to spark further discussion.

1. 4D printing

3D Printer

3D, 4D, how many Ds can there be? Well the correct name for these printing technologies is actually Additive Manufacturing. 3D printing has turned industrial strength after early tests in on-demand product creation.

This trend may be a little last year I hear you say, however I like the fact that it is actually making a difference within specific industries and delivering a ROI given the costs involved. For example hearing aids, dental implants, parts for military drones, and even human organs are all being created by 3D printing.

However watch out for 4D, the ability to program 3D-printed materials’ memory so that they self-assemble into the desired object when triggered by external stimuli such as liquid or motion. Imagine a golf ball sized product that forms into a knife for the military when it comes into contact with water. Heaven help us where this could all go. 

2. Phablets – size matters

Brick phone - Phablet

Who would have thunk it?

We had the phone bricks in the 80s and now phones are trending away from miniaturisation to tablet-size. Or what the cool kids are saying – Phablet.

Look out for Apple’s iPhone6, which is predicted to be in two sizes with a super-sized 5.5 inch screen. 

3. Programmatic buying

Programmatic buying

Google has been offering programmatic buying of display advertising since the launch of its demand-side platform, DoubleClick Bid Manager, in March 2012. And Facebook has also been offering programmatic through its Facebook Exchange since June 2012.

So not totally new, but certainly gaining growth momentum in 2014.

Is programmatic buying marketing nirvana? The ability to plan, book and buy display advertising across the internet with real-time bidding. Plus the ability to trigger programmatic marketing such as emails to shoppers who abandon carts or dynamic content to retarget customers with more relevant offers as they click to different sites.

Whilst programmatic buying has taken over from ‘Big Data’ in terms of buzz, you need to be careful. Where are your ads being placed? What is the value of the inventory being traded? And with a plethora of new service providers you need to be careful as to what all these providers are actually providing – AppNexus, Exact Target Marketing Cloud, RadiumOne, Mi9 and the list is growing. 

4. Retail experience gets connected

Bricks and mortar retailers are doing it tough. Tough economic conditions, e-commerce and fickle consumers have impacted on footfall and sales.

Kohl’s Department Store in the US is piloting the ‘Connected Fitting Room’, a more advanced system than pure augmented reality mirrors, integrating digital, mobile, cloud and analytics to enhance a customer’s in-store experience.

RFID tags allow the fitting room to identify clothes when people hang them up in the fitting room. This allows shoppers to use touchscreens to view different styles and mix and match clothes in the change room – alerting the shop assistant to bring clothes directly to their specific change room.

5. Virtual Reality grows up

You may or may not know that the leading virtual reality headset maker, Oculus Rift, was purchased by Facebook for $2b – however will these new headsets finally transform consumer experiences? Or will it be Google Glass?

6. Innovation centres

Well if Putin can have a James Bond-esque room under the Kremlin, then marketers should too.

Whilst many companies have invested in social media command centres, the next evolution is the integration of company wide data, executive manager dashboards and access to trends and industry knowledge in innovation centres. A more wholistic approach to business intelligence than just analysing social media.

Innovation Centres

7. Wearable technology

And to finish off, how could we ignore wearable tech. Wearable tech conferences, summits and predictions are the hot thing at the moment. Miniaturisation and more accurate data tracking allow T-shirts to track your heartbeat, bras to tell you if you’re eating too much, and an array of fitness devices to track your every move.

The early bracelets are integrating with smart phones and giving rise to a plethora of new options. Apple is set to launch its iWatch and Vigo has conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign for its wearable “energy gauge,” which gives you a nudge if you’re falling asleep and doubles as a Bluetooth headset. Great for truck drivers or people driving long distances.

However the enterprise tech juggernaut, Salesforce.com, has also entered the wearable tech market from a workforce productivity perspective – check out Salesforce Wear

Are you seeing other digital innovation trends that you would add to the list?

About Anton Buchner

Anton is one of Australian’s leading customer engagement consultants. With an eye for discovering greater marketing value and a love for listening to what customers are really saying about a brand. Anton has helped take global and local businesses including Microsoft, Nestlé, P&G, Gloria Jean’s, Foxtel and American Express amongst others to the next level. Check out Anton’s full bio here

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