Norfolk Network stories

Top 10 tech trends for a post-pandemic world

Rachel Buck
Digital Marketing Consultant

Zooming from sunny Bournemouth Adam Greenwood, CEO of Greenwood Campbell, paints a technological future changed by lockdown. He believes the pandemic may alter how people view technology, paving the way for greater acceptance and applications. Adam is no stranger to change. In 2017, having observed a changing digital landscape, he decided to move his agency away from traditional web design. He embarked on a “tech pilgrimage” to Silicon Valley, where he saw technologies like drones, autonomous vehicles, and voice tech in action.

“This really fuelled my passion for the future,” says Adam. Greenwood Campbell now exists to improve people’s lives using technology, such as alleviating loneliness and saving lives at sea.

While Adam admits it’s almost impossible to predict what the future will look like in five years, he believes it’s worth thinking about future trends. “Not just how the trends will affect your business, but how they may affect your customers, the supply chain, and your competitors.”

1. Digital Communications

During the pandemic businesses have had to get creative with communication using tech like live chat, social media, chat bots, and video calling.

“After the pandemic I don’t think this will be over,” says Adam. “People have become accustomed to not commuting as much and customers are more comfortable dealing with brands digitally than ever before.”

2. Multi-Experience

Multi-experience combines technologies such as AR, VR, and gesture control into a cohesive customer experience. For example, “you can pretty much have the same experience with a bank now whether you go into a branch, use their website, or app,” Adam explains.

He believes more industries will move away from the concept of channels. In fact, your business may already be on the journey, though you may call it something different.

3. Chatbots

During lockdown chatbots have become more popular, particularly in call centres. “As long as your chatbot is easy to use people are becoming more comfortable talking to AI,” says Adam. When combined with Sentiment Analysis, your chatbot can even tell when customers are frustrated by it.

4. Shared Digital Experiences

“This is a trend now and we think it will be post-pandemic too,” predicts Adam.

With fundraising events cancelled, charities have had to connect with people digitally to raise money. For example, when the London marathon was cancelled people raised money by completing challenges related to the numbers 2.6 or 26.

5. Brands with Purpose

Who would have thought that we’d see McLaren making ventilators, BrewDog producing hand sanitiser, or clothing manufacturers making PPE? These brands “are using tech to create items that are needed by the public but the brand value they’ve created for themselves moving forward is going to be huge,” says Adam.

6. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

PWA’s look like normal websites on desktop but look, feel and act more like apps on a smartphone. This has many advantages, including faster loading for customers and lower development costs for businesses.

“In terms of functionality and speed there’s very little to differentiate between an app and a PWA,” explains Adam. “If you looked at Facebook’s website on a smartphone it’s very similar to the app itself.”

7. Sentiment Analysis

Natural language processing used by the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home can understand what you say but what about how you feel? Imagine if your Alexa microwave could tell how you’re feeling when making popcorn?

Suddenly, businesses know much more about the relationship you have with a product in addition to when and how you bought it. Beyond selling you more stuff, Adam believes brands with purpose could use Sentiment Analysis to develop a deeper bond with customers.

8. Autonomous Commerce

In the future, those random Amazon purchases may not be as random as you think. Amazon are currently trialling new predictive methods for speeding up home deliveries. Their vans are loaded the night before with items they think customers will buy. They are driven by people but stopped autonomously.

During the past months we’ve seen drones used for monitoring but also for disinfecting. Adam believes the pandemic will make the public more accepting of drones and autonomous delivery going forward.

9. Deep Fakes

The average person will take around 25,000 selfies in their lifetime. Faking tech however needs just 100 photos or a couple of minutes of video to create an accurate likeness of you. This type of fakery was used during both the most recent presidential election and the Brexit campaign.

Adam suggests deep fake could increase public mistrust of photos, video and social media. But it could also lead to new experiences, such as alternative programme endings being created in real time, based on how viewers react to what’s happening on-screen.

10. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT may not be new but the vision Adam has for the future is an all connected one, where devices play a more in-depth role in day-to-day life. Smart speakers for instance could become true personal assistants that not only respond to demands, but can predict your needs, even act on your behalf.

To sum up Adam encouraged fellow Zoomers to:

  • Be ready for the future of digital and new consumer demands.
  • Explore new technology and how it can enhance your user experience and commitment to the brand.
  • Investigate how the way you deliver products or services can react instantly to people’s changing emotions.
  • Be in a state of readiness. Although a pandemic is unlikely, being able to face anything puts you in a competitive position.
  • Instil a culture of flexibility in your organisation.