Techno trends in business

2010-10-14 00:00

TAKE a group of five 22-year-olds out for a drink every month.

Ask them what technological devices they’re playing with.

Track them.

You don’t have to understand it all — just understand what the implications are for your business.

This is the advice of consultant Barrie Bramley, the founder of TomorrowToday, a company that researches trends relating to the “new world of work”.

Bramley was speaking yesterday at a presentation on the aftermath of the recession and the disruptive changes taking place in the world of work. His talk was hosted by the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban.

He posed the following question to business owners: “Who is watching the institutional, technological and cultural changes taking place in South African society right now?”

He said that institutions such as relationship building and face-to-face interaction, are changing rapidly with the prominence of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Foursquare.

Bramley listed a number of new trends that are impacting on businesses.

These include changes in technology, institutions, demographics and the natural environment.

Bramley said technological trends of particular importance include “user-generated content”, “mobile and in a cloud” and “augmented reality”.

“User-generated content” has become increasingly popular among web users, through blogs, Facebook and Myspace.

“All of a sudden, our customers are not talking to us anymore.

“If they have a bad experience at your store, you may not hear about it,” said Bramley.

“Their social networks are pretty big … and they will just blog it [their bad experience].”

“Mobile” essentially refers to the growing usage of mobile technology, specifically “smart” cellphones.

“In a cloud” is essentially the idea that all information and data will eventually reside in a readily accessible “cloud” (e.g. Internet applications, which allows you to access your data and information anywhere in the world) instead of a specific storage device such as a memory card).

“Information and data are not confined to specific devices. This allows us to do business anywhere in the world.”

Turning to the popularity among South Africans of accessing the Internet through a cellphone, Bramley believes that smart cellphones, which are today relatively expensive, will become entry-level cellphones within a few years.

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