digital-technology-predictions-for-2017As we wrap up the last quarter of 2016, it’s time to think about what the next year has in store for digital transformation. To stay competitive, businesses must be more than simply up-to-date on current technology—they must also have an eye to the future.

More Intelligence to Customer Service

As technology advances, consumers expect more from customer service offerings. Artificial intelligence makes it easier for businesses to connect with consumers and provide efficient feedback. Chatbots are already popular with large enterprises like Facebook, which use them to answer common or frequently asked questions. Chatbots have become more sophisticated in the past year, and they save time and money when compared to call centers. Incorporating chatbots into your customer service arsenal can expand your customer reach without straining your budget.

Another way to utilize artificial intelligence: Customize your computer ads. For example, target robots can provide tailored messaging to your customers using demographic data.

Embrace Video

Video collaboration continues to gain traction, both in customer service and across the enterprise. Companies can utilize live video technology to conduct webinars and how-to videos to enhance the customer experience, while video collaboration can also be used to conduct trainings or meetings for employees. Videos will continue to provide low-cost alternatives to travel and physical meetings while still providing the benefits of a face-to-face interaction.

From 2013 through 2015, there was a 360 percent increase in video views online. Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope all have streaming features, and companies can use this to their advantage to increase customer engagement. Start by hosting a Q&A session on Facebook Live.

Enhance the Learning Curve

Technology will do more than just improve customer relations—it will also fundamentally shake up the way we conduct business. Big data and digital marketing are a natural winning combination. Predictive analytics are not new, but the way digital marketers use data to stay ahead of the competition will change. Recent research suggests that predictive analytics can lead to a 450-fold increase in conversions.

As the nature of predictive analytics evolves, marketers will be able to use increasingly targeted messaging based on a consumer’s unique digital footprint. In 2017, getting consumers in the right place at the right time with the help of big data will prevail.

Over-the-top technology (OTT), which allows for the online delivery of audio or visual content without requiring users to subscribe to a cable or satellite pay TV, will also increase in popularity in the coming year. Expect to see the use of OTT messaging services like Snapchat surge within the business realm.

Enjoy Increased Security

Cybersecurity has been a top concern for businesses, and 2017 promises to keep pace with current technology. As the “bring your own device” movement gains momentum—giving workers increased flexibility—IT leaders are rising to meet the challenges of network security. New innovations in 2017 will provide effective safeguards against the most sophisticated digital attacks, including cyber extortion and DDoS.

The coming year will continue to build upon technologies that we have seen in 2016. As IoT gains mainstream popularity and more people bring their devices to work, network administrators will work harder to protect both workers and users from new threats.

Technological advances in the next year will be dedicated to improving customer service and increasing the efficiency with which we conduct daily business. Invest in these technologies now to enjoy a prosperous and digitally safe 2017.

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