Media & Technology
The media and tech sectors are continuing to grow at an impressive rate. Technology is an inevitable part of our everyday lives, reaching ever wider communities as ‘democratisation’ becomes a reality.
Traditional gatekeepers continue to struggle with the ever-increasing hold that technology has over young people’s lives. Debates are getting louder about the emerging mobile phone and social media addiction epidemics, not to mention the sense that we are all being ‘listened in on’ and the growing fears around what our cameras and microphones are actually seeing and hearing. Transparency, Traceability and Accountability are increasingly hot topics as consumers demand more control over their personal data.
We may see the introduction of more GDPR type legislation, perhaps with higher and more effective levels of governance as we learn what’s important to monitor, as opposed to what is unnecessary bureaucracy and time-wasting for smaller businesses. The areas of Information Security and Online Ethics will continue to grow exponentially as companies recognise the increased risks involved with managing data.
Another issue in tech is that the wealth of digital touch-points is making it extremely difficult to truly connect with consumers. In addition, although companies feel they can ‘understand’ consumers due to sophisticated online listening techniques, there are more and more issues with data privacy as well as trust, particularly as cases of media breaches come to light and are divulged internationally.
In ironic contrast, there is a growing resurgence of ‘dumb phones’ which could continue well into 2020 as consumers crave simpler lives, away from the addictions, dangers, poor batteries and other complications of smartphones. Of course, at the same time others are impatient for the launch of 5G. That in itself is cause for concern for those craving a more ‘back to basics’ approach to live (and bringing up children).
5G is set to become the latest factor to drive technology growth and implementation and could be a major benefit for the rapid acceptance of driverless cars. WiFi6 is also set to bring changes in terms of download speeds and increased data range.
Smart wearables are another product category to watch in 2020. We may witness that these have to become increasingly sophisticated and useful to remain relevant – such as improving worker productivity and/or safety.
Human Augmentation is another area which looks at how technology can be used to improve human performance, and this includes the increased use of robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and systems, as well as digital workers to carry out tasks originally thought only possible for humans. This is concerning for much of the population and many are calling for governance. The incident at Gatwick Airport in 2019 wherein a rogue drone brought the whole airport to a halt only highlights the chaos possible without more effective control.
Democratisation of technology means that technology is now accessible to more and more people across the globe at all levels of society. Both Automation and Artificial Intelligence, including improvements in VR, AR and MR mean that consumers are interacting differently with the digital world, having multi-sensory multi-modal, more immersive experiences from the comfort of their own homes, with increased crossover between the ‘real’ and digital worlds. ‘Alexa’ has proliferated not only ‘hi-tec’ households but normal, everyday households as IoT becomes a reality. Will there be a backlash to this? Do parents want their children speaking to Alexa? Do they want light switches to turn on by voice control, or will they crave the days they had actual control themselves? On the topic of Voice Technology, we may also see a new use for NLP – typically therapy speak – but now used to denote the integration of Voice in programming to give computers more understanding of human contexts such as sarcasm, wit and tone.
As for Cloud and Data Storage, there are questions raised about where these data centres ought to be located and exactly how they work. The long process of appeals against and campaigns for an Apple data centre in Athenry in rural Ireland in 2019 only highlight the controversy that technology causes, particularly in areas of national interest.
Digital Media’s role in political manoeuvring and manipulation will also be under scrutiny in 2020. Twitter banned political ads in November 2019, including ads referencing any political candidate, party, election or legislation. Facebook and Google have yet to follow suit. Will this be the year?
Qualitative market research can help you to explore these issues and what they mean for your unique brand or company in 2020. Market research can help you to understand how to stay competitive and embrace change and new technologies in a way that works for both yourselves and your consumers, without falling behind. Get in touch today for an initial chat around your objectives and future plans!
A European publisher wanted to understand the market for children’s publishing in both the UK and Canada. QualiProjects conducted several days of desk research, including purchase of reports and articles to understand how a new entrant could a) enter the market legally and b) make their mark in terms of what is currently missing. We also spoke to an author of children’s literature and a publisher and produced an overall report with a detailed SWOT analysis for both markets.
A national radio station was struggling to get advertising spend up because the brands they were approaching were not finding their target audience age group appealing. The commercial objective was therefore to understand this audience in more depth in order to make it more appealing to brands and to target advertising more effectively. QualiProjects used Ethnographic and Online Community market research to understand and segment (into types) this audience. The qualitative research results were published in several periodicals, providing an interesting and insightful story to tell brands who then invested in the station. See here for a brief write-up by Campaign Live.
Here are some examples of the brands I have conducted market research for, either as QualiProjects, or under the umbrella of another agency, using a range of methodologies including Online Qual, Ethnography, Desk Research, Focus Group Discussions, Teledepths and Product Tests: