Every business, no matter the size, service or industry, has been affected by technology innovation in the last 10 years.
Technology is the backbone of workplace information sharing and service delivery, and has significantly disrupted the business environment. Less than 12 percent of businesses that were listed on the Fortune 500 in 1955 remain today, many of which analysts speculate fell victim to largely technology-focused companies that arose in the interim decades. Moreover, newer technology companies are disrupting and eliminating older tech companies, and the churn-rate for being listed on the Fortune 500 predicts that more than 75 percent of today’s top 500 companies will be replaced on the list by 2027.
The point is, technology is going to play a role in changing your organization, no matter what. As a public relations pro, you have to insert yourself and your clients into these conversations if you want them to stay relevant in the media landscape.
This can be daunting. Technology can seem like a complex industry reserved only for the highly-skilled hackers and Silicon Valley startups. However, from a PR standpoint, it’s critical to illustrate to your stakeholders that your organization is committed to innovating and providing the best possible services with the latest technologies. With this in mind, here are five of the hottest trends in tech that can help your clients establish credibility as an innovator of their industry.
5G connectivity will spark the next phase of innovation for the world of business, promising faster connection speeds that will forever change the way we communicate. All technology is dependent on the infrastructure (wires, data centers, networks) they run on, and 5G will dramatically change that entire infrastructure to make information sharing faster and more efficient than ever.
The 5G revolution is on its way, but it might take a while. Where it stands, telecom carriers are having trouble getting access to the airwaves necessary for super-fast 5G speeds, and other infrastructure will take years if not decades to fully implement. If you have an AT&T phone, you may already believe you have 5G due to a controversial 5GE label AT&T placed on its cellular products, however, the reality is the speed you’re experiencing is not 5G.
While 5G infrastructure is being deployed, PR pros should think about how 5G will have an impact on their clients’ markets, and insert them into these conversations where appropriate.
A recent popular business proverb is “data is the new oil.” This holds true when you consider where Fortune 500 oil companies have ranked in recent years compared to companies that collect and leverage large pools of data. Even top-grossing companies like Wal-Mart have increasingly shifted their business models to track data through their website and in-store activities to help provide the best possible services for their customers.
If your clients aren’t traditional tech or data companies, think about how data could impact their ultimate goals and insert your clients into those media conversations.
Artificial Intelligence thrives where there’s a lot of data. If your clients have access to large datasets or quantifiable information, they should be discussing AI. But be wary: many predictors of the future of AI have a tendency to jump to pie-in-the-sky predictions like “AI is going to overthrow humanity” and create a computer-dominated world. These doomsday predictions often get increased media pick-up and attention because of their shock value.
What’s much rarer in terms of media coverage is nuanced, tangible analysis on the state of AI, where it can be applied, and how that will realistically affect the business climate in various industries. A reasonable, thoughtful perspective on AI is guaranteed to stand out.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Even if Bitcoin isn’t worth what it used to be, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain tech they’re built on remain a major growth area in the world of technology. This secure transaction technology has now risen to the attention of Facebook, who recently released details of its own cryptocurrency, Libra, which will allow anyone to securely buy, sell or send money to people via Facebook, with nearly zero fees.
These types of transactions have major implications for the digital economy, but it’s up to us as PR professionals to help our clients tell media why.
Like artificial intelligence, many people fear automation and robotics because of one too many off-base “take-over-the-humans” references in pop culture. The reality of any automated solution is that it makes a laborious process easier, faster and more efficient than ever. Every industry—even PR—is affected by automation, but there are certain types of work that simply can’t be automated, including abstract thinking and higher-level system design.
Rather than fear-mongering about how automated technologies might replace jobs, think about how your clients can speak to the benefits of a new type of workforce that assists human workers with cutting-edge automated capabilities.
Conversations around technology will continue to evolve as its functions in society grow more important. As this happens, it will be the responsibility of communications and PR practitioners to help their clients tell stories that will shape the future.