Technology Trends Worth Trying With Your Business

By Ann Marie van den Hurk
Lexington Herald-Leader.

Technology has greatly influenced how we communicate and get our information.

Just think, it took radio 38 years before it reached 50 million users, and it took television 13 years to hit that plateau.

It took only four years for the Internet to reach 50 million users.

By comparison, in less than one year, Facebook added 200 million users.

Stop and really think about those numbers.

Look at the large gap in adoption rates between TV and the Internet.

In the past five years, technological advancement is moving faster than at any other period in our history. And it continues to advance at a quick pace. Blink and there is something new.

So what is next? Randi Zuckerberg, formerly of Facebook and sister of founder Mark, shared her insider insights during this year’s Vocus Demand Success marketing and public relations conference. She outlined several trends businesspeople need to be aware of:

It’s the age of entre-ployee: Today, you can be an employee and entrepreneur. Many companies are getting creative in hiring entre-ployees. Some companies are allowing employees to use 15 to 20 percent of their work time to pursue special projects. The Post-It note came out of 3M’s 15 percent time.

Connections are now a currency. Some businesses are willing to accept your Tweets or Instagram posts as payment for services. Of course, sometimes that depends on how many followers or friends you have on the business preferred social media platform.

Marc Jacobs created a pop-up shop where social status on a platform will determine what merchandise you can get for free.

Businesses are realizing that some of their customers have extreme value based on the ability to reach large groups of people with virtual word-of-mouth.

Reinventing retail. Innovation is happening in traditional bricks-and-mortar retail stores. One such example is Hointer, a men’s jeans shop, located in Seattle. It is staffless. The store relies on QR codes, a smartphone app, and robotics to sell more than 150 styles of jeans.

In parts of Asia, there are vending machines that sell more than just soda. They sell luxury goods such as Chanel bags. Some businesses in England are using the Pay-As-You-Will model and are finding that people are overpaying for services.

Turn FOMO into JOMO. FOMO stands for “fear of missing out” while JOMO means, “joy of missing out.
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” What’s it mean? People are really good marketers but mostly just show the great one-second snapshots of their lives through social media.

There are apps capitalizing on FOMO such as RunPee app that tells you when is a good time to dash to the restroom during a movie.

Another app, Couch Cache, can make up a fabulous life for you posting on social media platforms. On the flipside, the antisocial app can block you from going on social media for a set time.

Maker movement. Three dimensional printing is poised to be multi-billion dollar industry. It is creating human ears, which can be transplanted within the next year. Nike is 3D printing some of their shoes.

Life logging. Many people are obsessed with documenting their life online. It isn’t just teens. And there are many ways to track all sorts of aspects about your life via technology. Adults are using FitBits to track health goals and it is unlocking important data for their health. Nest is an app that can control your home from turning lights on to turning down the air conditioning in your home.

Education and healthcare. Using technology to have access to education and skill building is becoming more accepted. Code Academy is teaching entry-level computer coding. Khan Academy is bringing primary education to children globally.

SkillShare allows you to learn about anything. Many personal trainers are conducting online sessions.

Game mechanics. Imagine this: There is an alarm clock that, if you don’t get up when it goes off, it makes a donation to a charity on your behalf. There are apps to motivate you to work out such as Gym Shamer and ZombieRunner. There’s even a scale that Tweets your weight.

Unplug to refresh. There is a movement forming around digital detoxing. And perhaps ironically, there are some apps _ the Bro app (which automatically messages your girlfriend sweet things so you can spend more time with the bros) and Breakup Text app, which highlight the need for it. Businesses such as hotels are embracing this trend. Kimpton Hotels will take your piece of technology during your stay.

It is worth trying to embrace these trends, even on a small scale.
Ann Marie van den Hurk, an accredited public relations professional, is principal of Mind the Gap Public Relations and author of “Social Media Crisis Communications.”

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