The future is unpredictable. The study of the future therefore begins by accepting the insecurity of tomorrow’s world and using this freedom of creative vision as a source of new ideas and possibilities. Companies must develop a plan for the future. They have to think in possible scenarios and recognize and use the traces of change at an early stage. In the blog parade #Zukunftsblick of the Otto Group it’s all about the future of the essential areas of our daily life, such as communication.
Our communication has changed fundamentally in the past few years. With the advent of digital media, the former linear communication was replaced by a high degree of interaction; viewers became broadcasters. Companies had to get used to the fact that they can now receive direct feedback on their actions within seconds. They had to learn to use this kind of direct communication to their advantage. As digital change progresses, so does communication. It becomes more interactive, more targeted and dynamic. In the following, three major trend movements will therefore be examined in more detail in order to paint a picture of the future -- tomorrow’s communication.
Facebooks Social VR (Source: Oculus)
It’s almost two years since Facebook introduced their Social VR project for the first time. In his keynote speech at the “F8” in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg described his plans for the future of social media. Zuckerberg’s new use of VR aims to create a digital equivalent to face-to-face communication.
“We should build software and experiences that follow the way our minds work and process the world,” -- Mark Zuckerberg
Today VR chat rooms are no longer a pure vision, but have long since become reality for many users; however, the trend is only just beginning. With the proliferation of immersive technologies and the declining price of VR headsets, the technology is increasingly becoming the standard for some applications. Therefore, if one wishes to create a vision of the near future of social networks, VR will no longer be imaginable without this area. Avatars are the new image of our person and spatial restrictions will be a thing of the past. In this way, the social interaction and the analogous coexistence will experience a revolution -- whether for the good or for the bad remains to be seen.
Robots conquer journalism. More and more often, bots take over the work of journalists and produce texts for various media. This phenomenon among others is a reaction to the megatrend of individualization. The robot journalist uses predefined text modules to vary the content so that it can be individually adapted to our preferences. The art of writing thus becomes a mass product. According to the extensive knowledge, the robot is seven times faster in writing than the human reporter. Meanwhile, the machine texts can hardly be distinguished from human works, because the algorithm is constantly learning and developing.
“Algorithms and natural language generators have been around for a while, but they’re getting better and faster as the demand for them spurs investment and innovation.”. -- New York Times
The individualization of content will continue to play a major role in the future. The media adapt to the preferences of the user. But technological innovations are often both curse and blessing. With tailor-made content, people will be even more trapped in their filter bubble. As good as a pre-selection of content can be, deviating content is completely hidden from your own preferences. Man is thus increasingly being shielded from other areas outside his area of interest.
What does the entertainment industry of the future look like? Of course, this is also not protected from immersive media or artificial intelligence. From new insights that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can offer, to the entire cinema film, which is cut completely automated by the AI application, a lot is conceivable.
The Future of Media Streaming in Self-Driving Cars (Source: Volvo)
However, there will be a central demand for the media in tomorrow’s communication: new areas of life must be covered that have not yet existed. With the advent of autonomous automobiles, we are getting an unprecedented amount of free time to fill. Media companies and automobile manufacturers are therefore working on solutions for the media consumption of the future.
If you look at these three scenarios, it quickly becomes clear that communication will change fundamentally. It will break new ground and allow both content producers and consumers a previously unknown freedom. However, the media houses must not oversleep the change this time, as they did at the beginning of digitization. In order to develop successful strategies that guarantee a sustainable competitive advantage, companies must adopt an innovation culture. A rethink is required to help them cope with and accept change. This way you can prepare yourself for the future of communication.