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DIGITAL TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018

Web technology continues to evolve and see numerous innovations leading to transformations in the web design and development space. So what trends can we expect to see in 2018? Technologies such as website push notifications, progressive web apps and blockchain are expected to take the stage in 2018. These are not new developments but are starting to gain great momentum in the development space. The use of intelligent agents is becoming popular and this technology will evolve as it moves from simply providing customer service to influencing customer purchase decisions. 2018 is set to provide challenges for executives to meet growing technological demands from customers and ensure future growth. Customer experience will be a big focus for CEOs along with the necessity for digital transformation. Last but not least trends point to the delivery of Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects failing to deliver immediate business value. These trends are explored further below.

Introducing Website Push Notifications

2018 will see the rise of push notifications on websites to help users stay in touch with every update such as new deals, products or blogs. The way in which this works is simple, when a user visits a website they will be asked if they would like to enable push notifications. Once enabled, a notification will pop up in the users browser notifying of new updates to the website no matter is the website is open in the browser or not. The biggest advantage of using such technology is the ability to keep the user engaged with your site without significant effort, making push notifications superior to social media and emails in providing updated information. This technology is a good option for your organisation to adopt the latest web development trend and stay ahead in 2018 and beyond.

Website Push Notifications

Progressive web apps will dominate

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) will dominate in 2018. Progressive Web Apps are websites which look and feel like native mobile apps. This development concept was first introduced in 2015, but is now gaining momentum as the preferred development option for many industry leading organisations. The reason why they are gaining attention is due to the seamless user experience they provide by working both on and offline. All site information is stored in the cache allowing the app to load immediately. Site content is then updated next time the user is connected to the internet. This is providing organisations with the opportunity to improve user engagement, increase conversion rates and grow revenue by providing users full time access to their website. Flipkart and Washington Post are two examples of companies achieving great success with PWA. The future for organisations looking to use PWAs is promising.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Blockchain use to accelerate

A trend to watch in 2018 is the rise in use of Blockchain. Block chain is a method of data storage and in its simplest form can be described as a collective way of sharing data. Information is hosted by millions of computers which simultaneously hold this data. The biggest advantage of blockchains is the robustness it provides from being stored in multiple locations, meaning it cannot be controlled by a single entity.  Every transaction is verified through the use of a complex algorithm, using hundreds of computers around the world. This technology is gaining significant tracking in the world of finance, banking and cryptocurrency due to the high level of protection it provides. Progress for blockchain in 2017 was hindered by being oversold by marketers, running narrow test that delivered poor results in comparison to the high expectations and applying blockchain in situations where existing technologies could have been used. However, Forrester predict, in 2018, 30 percent of proofs of concept will accelerate blockchain for organisations who have the ability to understand its operational impact.

Blockchain

Purchase decisions to be guided by Intelligent agents

Intelligent agents such as chatbots are not a new phenomenon. However, in 2018 intelligent agents will start to do more than simply provide customer service. Empowered customers are starting to cause chaos in markets, breaking down existing business models and changing the rules under which business is conducted. In many industries power has moved from the supplier to the customer. In 2018 intelligent agents will be used to shift this power back to the supplier and grow the emotional relationship with the end user. This will be achieved through the collection of user preferences, behaviours and transactions to create a complete view of the user. This information will then be used to influence consumer options and purchasing decisions, realising the economic impact of intelligent agents. Looking to the future intelligent agents will continue to find new ways to persuade consumers and strengthen relationships through the power of conversation.

Intelligent Agents

Customer Experience (CX) to impact bottom line

In 2018, CX will be a driving force behind the profitability of businesses. Customer experience can be defined as how customers perceive interactions with a company. Customer expectations are set to outpace organisations’ ability to improve existing and create new experiences. During 2017 CX for most organisations focused on tackling quick CX wins and initiatives had little impact in driving organisational change. As such many organisations won’t be able to adjust fast enough during 2018 resulting in further declines in CX performance. It is estimated 30 percent of companies will see declines in Customer Experience (CX) resulting in net losses. To stay ahead of the game executives need to focus attention on CX and make it an internal disruptive force or risk their entire businesses existence entering 2019.

Customer Experience (CX)

The Digital Transformation Crisis

In 2018, we are going to see large focus put on digital transformation and the need for CEOs to act. Digital transformation is not a choice for organisations but a necessary reaction required to meet increasing customer expectations, provide personalised experiences and work at the speed of the market. In 2018, incremental updates in response to market changes and disruptive innovation is not going to be enough. Technology’s job is quickly evolving to be more than just back office. While this presents great opportunities to evolve business this is met with the challenge of growing expectations. 60 percent of executives believe they are presently behind in their digital transformation. CEOs and other C-suite members will need to coordinate transformation across the entire organisation. System can no longer be treated as independent domains. Technologies must complement each other to drive greater value.

2018 is going to be the year for CEOs to reconsider how they visualise, deliver, and develop technology solutions which transform IT departments into machines for driving business growth. Forrester predicts 20 percent of CEOs will fail to act on digital transformation and as a result these organisations will be acquired or cease to exist. 

Digital Transformation 2018

AI projects will underwhelm

In 2017, we listed Artificial Intelligence (AI) as one of the trends to watch, as it is rapidly changing how companies create personalised experiences. However, many 2017 AI investments have focused on narrow use cases and have failed to deliver immediate business value. The trend for 2018 points towards underwhelming AI projects sparking business leaders to reset the scope of AI investments to reinvent business. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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Monique Oosterbaan

Author: Monique Oosterbaan
Published: 09/01/2018