Over the last few years businesses have been struggling to define their Digital Strategies due to the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, however in most instances it is one which has been a reactive response to what is happening in the consumer space. There is no doubt that over the last 10 years consumer behaviours have changed irreversibly and the move to Social has been adopted by all age segments and not just the digital natives. This pace is also unlikely to slow as smart devices come down in cost and the availability of broadband and Wi-fi becomes even more pervasive. This is also believed to continue until at least 2020 if we look at Moore’s Law*.
The reason Web 2.0 technologies have been adopted so readily by consumers is that in addition to their convenience, there is a perception that the wisdom of crowds also leads to better priced products and services through increased competition. Web 2.0 has also created some very interesting low cost models (Look at Giff Gaff; their customer community is used to resolve customer issues rather than having a helpdesk).
Later this year however there is an event scheduled in the UK which may change the digital landscape forever and may radically change Businesses digital strategies over the next few years – This event is the UK government auction of the 4G (LTE) Spectrum (4G is starting to emerge in other countries already) and once the operators have upgraded their infrastructure you will start to see devices which operate on 4G.
You may be thinking how will a mobile bandwidth auction effect current digital strategies? Well the answer lies in consumer behaviour. The reason people like interacting with Businesses through the Web 2.0 channels are that they are quick, efficient and convenient; however one drawback is that they are also impersonal. With the advent of 4G, the bandwidth provided to the consumer will increase tenfold and this will lead to the ability to access truly “Rich” applications across the mobile network. This means video conferencing, streaming live events and watching films will eventually all become possible from our handsets without buffering plus downloading will takes seconds not minutes.
From a Business perspective this means that video will become a very popular consumption channel by the mobile consumer in the future and due to current technology constraints most businesses do not focus on this channel which means that they do not have an extensive library of available videos. Also the interaction landscape will change from voice to video with the consumer’s preferring video conferencing with call centres and account managers rather than having a telephone call. (In addition to using mobile phones there are already watches appearing on Amazon with 4G Cameras with the ability to video conference).
This prediction may not become reality for a few years however strategies are based on Business direction and without insight this cannot be formed.
*Moore’s Law is based on a paper created in 1965 which predicted that Chip Performance doubles every 2 years (which in essence means every 2 years you can get a device twice as powerful for the same cost) – This has proved surprisingly accurate and is estimated to continue until at least 2020.