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Customers to outpace companies

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As companies seek more ways to reach customers, the role of digital agencies will expand from just being tactical implementers to giving extensive strategic input across the business says BRADLEY ELLIOTT, director at digital creative consultancy Platinum Seed.

According to the Forrester’s 2017 Customer Experience (CX) Index, 30% of companies will see declines in the quality of their customer experience performance in 2018, placing their businesses at risk.

The report explains that customer expectations will outpace companies’ ability to evolve or invent experiences. This slow pace of transformation means companies can’t adjust fast enough or well enough.

The smart executives will be the ones to take proactive steps in turning their customer experience platforms into portals for truly compelling and meaningful engagements with customers.

As digital agencies and consultancies seek to gain distinction over competitors, the following seven trends will drive the development of digital in 2018:

  1. Data will fall

South Africa has some of the highest data tariffs in the world, restricting access to cutting edge applications at work and home. Due to pressure by #datamustfall campaigners, network operators have begun the long-overdue process of drastically cutting data prices, granting easier access to broadband Internet to South Africans, particularly the youth.

  1. The rise of online video

As data prices decline, video content is becoming an increasingly dominant part of the Internet, with video making up 74% of all Internet traffic in 2017, according to a recent report. This is set to increase further, with brands investing more on video across their functional divisions.

  1. Marrying tech with creativity

As marketing and core business functionality become increasingly intertwined, companies are breaking down the silos that separate their various divisions. Creative agencies and tech consultancies alike will need to offer integrated digital platforms with a range of applications, including admin, logistics and marketing. The various tools will be integrated into a single experience that takes the user seamlessly from the initial moment of gaining awareness about a brand or offer, to placing an order, tracking it, delivery, and after-sales service and monitoring.

  1. The Technology Revolution – IoT, AI and robotics
  • Big data analytics will become a vital input into marketing efforts and key business decisions, enabling the offering of targeted and personalised offers to customers through preferred channels. Automated artificial intelligence (AI) systems will allow much better precision and accuracy, improving click-through-rates and sales.
  • Feeding in the Internet of Things (IoT), the online world will extend further into urban planning through Smart City technology that connects public infrastructure such as traffic lights with smart devices such as vehicles and mobile phones. Already gaining momentum are location-based social platforms like traffic and navigation app Waze, which offers motorists the easiest and fastest routes to their destinations. At home, devices such as the Amazon Echo smart speaker, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant, offer a wide range of weather, radio, music streaming, shopping and general search services, offering deeper and richer connectivity to the online world.
  • Using AI, robotics will take on increasingly complex tasks, such as online retail delivery using drones, autonomous transport and hi-tech assembly and maintenance.
  1. Real Influencers

The flooded world of social media calls for brands to demand more out of their influencer programmes than just well-known faces. AI technology such as Continuon can identify the most active individuals who drive the conversation around a brand on social media. While not as famous as celebrity influencers, they are authentic in their engagement and effective in their ability to drive a meaningful campaign.

A host of new channels, devices and technologies are set to enter the market in 2018, however the overall trend is towards more personalised and meaningful engagements that recognise a long-term relationship between a brand and its customers and employees.

Using these tools and trends, digital marketers and tech consultants will be able to stay on the cutting edge at each step of evolution. Advanced technology will be meaningless without the intention of creating a world that enables the lives of consumers rather than clutters them.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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