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The Nostradamus Chronicles – 5 digital and media trends for 2015

From the dusk of 2014 to the dawn of 2015, it is once again time to dust off the old crystal ball and pierce the misty veil of the future in an educated attempt to read into what lies ahead in the wonderful world of tech and digital. I have gathered the opinions of the fine folks over here at Reputation Squad to get an overview of 2015’s expected trends on a variety of topics. The result? A mishmash of new ideas for technologies, digital trends and influence communications on the web.

THE WEB AS A TOOL OF INFLUENCE

Not exactly a new trend, rather an overwhelmingly increasing one. The web has the potential to influence opinions through the views of the media and field experts. Companies and governments are using this medium more and more as a way of getting their vision across to the general public. A trend that should grow in 2015. On a related matter, CEOs are urged to become more active on social media. The politics have made Twitter one of their most potent communication platforms, whilst a recent study from Talkwalker establish that less than 10 of the FTSE CEOs are active on Twitter. From personal branding to communicating about an ongoing crisis and all the way to being able to influence share prices, it is a formidable tool and we hope to see more of it in the coming months.

HACKERS – A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

We have had examples aplenty over the past year (or even the past couple months) – Sony, Xbox Live… whether the hackers’ demands are political or purely a statement, it is happening on an increasingly regular basis and it seems like the governments and big corporations have trouble catching up with the race to online defences, leading not only to security and business issues but also to a compromised reputation, provoking a consumer uproar (leaked personal data) that could jeopardise a company’s financial results or even existence over the long term. Consequences of a malicious cyber-attack could also be absolutely dire should they be directed towards financial institutions or even electricity networks on an national (or even international) level – some may even fantasise about a Fight Club-esque scenario, and although we are not quite there yet government officials are starting to acknowledge the threat. The White House aims at defining a set of security measures that companies in critical industries (finance, energy…) should implement. There are also talks of international cooperation and normalisation of responses against this. We will see if these measures will catch up with the probable rise of cyber-attacks in the coming twelve months, as the recent hacking of Pentagon data and @CentCom shows that it has also become a guerrilla tool.

PERSONAL DATA AS A MAJOR CONCERN

It was true in 2014, with security breaches being widely reported (Snapchat, Sony) but it seems that it has evolved into a priority, both for regulating bodies and consumers. Regulations at a European level are (finally) coming together. The right to be forgotten was a big step forward, and in 2015 we’re anticipating a coming together of the European countries on a legal standpoint. European authorities are set to agree on a standardisation of rules and are working on a draft regulation on personal data protection. This means that the European authorities will supersede the jurisdictions that were used on a national level, something that we have been calling out for years. This is important because international regulators are finally starting to recognise the necessary evolution in a virtual world that knows no borders. What this also means is that Google will not be able to dance around regulations like they may have done in the past. Whether this is good or bad is a different debate entirely.

SOCIAL MEDIA, VIDEO AND INTERACTIVE CONTENT

We’ve heard a lot about social media saturation lately; the noise it generates, the ads that may or may not be effective… In order to get noticed interaction is the good way to go. Video is also a good way to go – Facebook’s auto play, Twitter and Instagram jumping on the video bandwagon… Video interaction seemingly combines the experience with the most effective medium: Nike’s recent campaign is a brilliant example, but you can also create more personalised experiences that engage the consumer on a personal level. What is awaiting us then? Interaction using connected digital technologies. The possibilities are endless and it is indeed a very exciting time for communication campaigns, provided marketers work more closely with developers and engineers…

DIGITAL DISRUPTION – WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE NEXT?

Over the past few years, there has been great disturbance in the force natural order of things for major industries. Disruptive services brought by digitalisation, smartphones penetration rates and collaborative economy have shaken well established trades to their core. This applies to a wide variety of sectors, from Uber’s taxi services to AirBnB’s new take on the hotel industry. Education, banking and grocery shopping all seem potent candidates, or maybe something new will arise from the democratisation of 3D printers and the ability of customising physical products for the masses. Mass-produced customisation. Think about it.

It seems like we are living very exciting times and technology has never evolved at a faster pace in history. New technologies, new trends, but also new major players with Chinese products, services and ideas going global (AliBaba, Xiaomi…), something we are monitoring very closely here at Reputation Squad. So even if we do not end up getting hover boards in 2015 I am positive there’ll be plenty to talk about come the end of the year!