Tag: digital

By Nomzamo Radebe, CEO of Excellerate JHI

There can be no doubt that digital processes and technology will underpin future retail, but what does this really mean for local brands and companies? Arguably, the first step towards future-proofing retail is to understand what the customer of the future looks like.

Today, with endless information at their fingertips, consumers are well informed, demanding, and in a rush. And while many ‘gurus’ have foretold the death of the brick and mortar store, consumers continue to go to malls for both shopping and entertainment. Essentially, retailers and property development partners have to balance out contradictory messages and trends: are they preparing for a digitally driven environment with e-commerce at the centre? Or must retailers find a way to merge hyper-connected, digital habits with physical shopping experiences?

Seamlessly connected, 24/7

As of 2017, there were 3.4 billion global Internet users, which equates to 46% of the population, according to Euromonitor. By 2022, that figure will reach 58%. Along with more people becoming connected, more ‘things’ will become connected – with devices of all kinds constantly generating and sharing data. Yes, this is the Internet of Things (IoT), which will become fundamental to individual lives and purchasing habits. In homes, connected fridges will automatically send notifications when certain things are running low – and may even send a grocery list directly to the owner’s device.

For retailers, the rise of the Internet of Things and overall hyper connectivity means that consumers will be very specific in what they are looking for – and will demand that the retail experience deliver on their needs both seamlessly and instantaneously. Retailers will have to harness technology, including IoT, to create a ‘friction-free’ environment. For instance, the use of chatbots can make sure that when consumers are online they receive immediate and data-driven feedback or help.

Embracing cash-free living

With the enormous popularity of cash-free or cashless services such as Uber and Lyft, even credit and debit cards are beginning to look obsolete. Already, some analysts are forecasting the shift towards an entirely cashless society – and consumers are increasingly demonstrating their keenness to ditch cash. In South Africa, many are already leaving their wallets at home as smartphones become the new [digital] wallet. According to a study by PayPal, 85% of respondents used their mobile phones to make a purchase in 2017, and 46% said being able to shop on their mobile phones has made them buy more. Tellingly, the majority of South Africans would rather leave home without their wallets than leave home without their beloved device.

Conscious living, conscious shopping

With dramatic climate change now firmly on the global agenda, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their environmental impact – which includes their shopping habits. According to research firm J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, ‘consumers expect brands to be sustainable and are willing to pay more to support those that are.’ In a 2018 study titled New Sustainability, the firm stated that 89% of those surveyed ‘care personally’ about protecting the planet; 92% said they are trying to live more sustainably, while 83% would always pick the brand that has a better record of sustainability.

With digital transformation now becoming a global business imperative, local retailers will have to ensure that their digital strategies closely reflect the evolving needs – and values – of their customers.

ACSA to spend R1.2bn digitising SA airports

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has set aside R1.2 billion to digitise the country’s airports, according to a recent article in ITWeb.

The announcement was made as the company released its financial results to 31 March.

Highlights include:

  • Profit fell by 58%, largely due to a 50% increase in security costs
  • R287-million was spent on data centre and network upgrades in 2018/19
  • The organisation says it has embarked on a five-year IT upgrade programme
  • The board has set aside R1.2-billion in capital expenditure to spend on IT infrastructure
  • Upgrades will focus on digitising local airports
  • R301-million will be spent on IT network optimisation
  • R142-million will go towards IT backup and storage solutions
  • R240-million will be spent on improving and upgrading the company’s physical IT infrastructure
  • Legacy equipment will be replaced
  • Paperless travel will require it to tightly integrate its passenger processing systems with databases residing with the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Transport, as well as with other airlines
  • Faster passenger processing will allow the retail component of the airport to generate more non-aeronautical revenue
  • A new mobile application will allow customers and passengers to interact with airports remotely

Image credit: ACSA

The mall in 2029: imaging the future

Speaking at the recent South African Council of Shopping Centres Research Conference, Doris Viljoen – a senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Research based at Stellenbosch University – shared an imagined future for malls based on current retail trends.

With consumers moving from experiencing products in stores to ordering them online, smartphones and wearables play a big role in providing customised assistance while physical stores are already morphing into lively, immersive environments that rely on sensors to capture and analyse data in real time.

What is the next step? Presenting four different futures for the shopping mall, Viljoen’s work as a futurist often involves interpreting the history of retail – so what has happened until now – creating deeper layers of understanding, and then building a collection of plausible futures for consideration.

“It’s important to remember that people will still have an influence on the future that eventually unfolds. We cannot predict the future. We don’t know what is going to happen, but through the imagination of the different futures that could happen we can be prepared, and being prepared is more valuable than being right. All four of these futures could be wrong – but at least we then spend time thinking about what is possible,” she says.

Imagine a mall that recognises you the moment you walk through the door. As you enter the mall, your phone buzzes with a message from the mall, greeting you by name.

In this space, you are able to do anything with the smart device in your hand. If you see something you like, you can instantly get extra info about the product, where it comes from, pricing, and if you want to buy it, you can pay and arrange delivery from the palm of your hand.

Consumers can tag items they’re interested in, with notifications alerting them to the availability of these products in the mall, even guiding shoppers to their exact location – particularly useful for those instances where people still want to touch and feel before they buy.

Imagine meeting a friend for lunch at a restaurant and getting notified when she arrives, or even better, the restaurant using data smartly to predict what you want to order before you arrive.

Trends fuelling this scenario include consumers’ growing tendency to do their chore or convenience shopping online, saving their visits to the physical store for items they want to see and feel before buying. The growing use of facial recognition technology and customisation of both products and services have also contributed to the possibility that this could be the mall of the future – where people are able to directly influence their own shopping experience, creating useable data with each visit that retailers can effectively interpret thanks to machine learning analytics.

This may look like a normal mall, but some malls may start to empty, sitting with more and more vacancies as they struggle to fill the space. There is an opportunity here for developers to recreate these spaces into a gated community – where stores are repurposed and refitted into apartments, served by suitable retailers – think convenience and a place to socialise with friends and family.

In this future, Viljoen sees the rooftop parking converted into several green endeavours, including solar farms, running tracks and community gardens – building communities that thrive off the grid.

“And while this is a living space, there are still stores that provide food and personal services – so there is a lot of retailing and transacting is still taking place,” she says.

“South Africa is ranked sixth for the most shopping centres in the world, but urbanisation here is very rapid – in 2014 we had 34.2 million people living in urban areas, and by 2050 this figure will jump to 49.1 million. We need housing, and gated communities are becoming increasingly popular from a safety perspective, as well as the perceived value of going off the grid.”

Imagine a mall with a 2,000 seat auditorium for sports, where sport related retailers and activities become what the grocery anchors are now.

This mall consists of modular units that can easily move around, allowing retailers to continuously recreate the whole centre. Visitors might not be sure if it is a gym, adventure or a sports store. Here, they can eat a very healthy meal, or have personalised sports gear made specifically to fit them thanks to scans of their proportions.

This mall is built squarely on the concept of customisation, where experts are on hand to design programmes for you, while you have a new pair of running shoes 3D printed directly on your foot.

Connectivity, a major role-player in all four of these futures, will feature heavily here, but it is the rapid growth in the health and wellness industry that will bring this mall to life.

“People are looking for experiences, not things, so that they can share and post on social media.”

Here we’ll see a space filled with apprentices and trainees, from food and hair to graphic design and drafting – customers can go here and experience or buy from trainees.

This allows trainees to engage with real customers, while customers actively contribute to their learning while also benefiting from these services or products at a slightly cheaper rate.

“The population in sub-Saharan Africa has seen huge growth. There are a lot of people who need to be skilled, and people are living longer than ever before. In South Africa, our qualification status is also worrisome – only 13% of the people in South Africa have a post-school qualification. As business and the economy changes, we are going to need more and more people with qualifications, and for that, we need more places suitable to upskill the people we need,” she says.

By Yethu Dlamini for IOL

In a first for a South African university, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has introduced Digital Certification and a virtual qualification verification system. The system will enable its graduates to access their qualifications digitally.

The university said the online system has been introduced to increase security features that relate to the certification processes. It will prevent fraud, curb counterfeiting and help avoid fraudulent representation of awarded qualifications.

“Not only does this online system offer graduates access to their awarded certification credentials securely and electronically. It also gives the graduates access to share their qualification credential for verification purposes with third parties or prospective employers. And this would be done at no cost to both parties,” UJ Director of Central Academic Administration, Tinus van Zyl said.

The introduction of the online system comes after the launch of several online learning programmes, that were aimed to create a generation of informed and connected global citizens.

Van Zyl said the system is set to give UJ alumni access to and put them in control of who can verify their qualifications. He said key features incorporated into the new system, are designed around international security standards. They are also compliant with legislation in terms of the protection to personal information.

“Included in the key features, graduates can order for lost or damaged certificates, request transcripts, secure their online payment, they also have an option to request delivery of validated awarded qualifications,” said Van Zyl.

UJ’s Registrar, Kinta Burger said the natural evolution brings about accessibility to technology, as the university continues to commit in applying new technologies. “Either in the form of artificial intelligence, or automation. It is just a small step as we prepare for the fourth industrial revolution,” she said. The university is constantly reviewing and implementing secure technologies to bring its clients the latest, cutting-edge systems and security features.

Tech-friendly letter writing

By Akanksha Singh for Grok Nation

Imagine sending out an email to a friend, only to receive a digital handwritten note back. Handwriting correspondence, snapping a photo and sending it digitally is what I call “tech-friendly letter writing.”

Once upon a time, people sat at desks with inked fingertips and wrote letters with quills. Messengers delivered them on horseback. Such correspondence was so culturally essential that collections of letters from famous authors became a means of insight into their lives. Then came stamps. Then email. Tech-friendly letter writing combines the best of handwritten notes with the convenience of technology.

Plus you skip on stamps by taking a photo and sending it via email, text–faster and there’s some guarantee of receipt. But, that’s not to say I’m against “snail mail.” I’ve been writing letters since college. When I moved from Dubai to Montreal for university, I was lonely and homesick. I remember feeling elated when I sorted through my usual spam (pizza fliers, bills), and finding a letter in the mix. My roommate’s mother had sent it, along with an exam-season care package. It meant the world to me.

So, whenever I write someone a letter, I think of them looking through bills and fliers, and finding something that was actually intended for them, created with love and thought.

Before you knock the idea for being a waste of time, let me give you some background: I attempted tech-friendly letter writing after I read this article about a Jordanian bookshop owner who replies to text messages and Facebook posts with a picture of his handwritten response. Around the same time, I decided I wasn’t immune to the technology-induced dopamine reward loops just because I was aware of them, and that I was sick of being glued to my phone all day, being plugged into everything from my Apple Watch (FYI: we broke up) to my Messenger app.

We’re all aware that our connectedness has made us bad communicators, and that we’re too busy nowadays; tech-friendly letter writing is a good way to disconnect without losing connection.

Often, when I’m typing, I’ve noticed that I type as fast as –if not faster than– I think. Word vomit all the time. Handwriting, I’ve found, has been a great way to slow down, reflect on my day and just breathe. And not surprisingly, handwriting has several benefits for the brain, like increasing neural activity, helping us learn, and more. In addition, letter writing increases those benefits!

How to go about implementing it

  1. Pretty stationery + camera phone
    I’m one of those people who indulges in stationery shopping at Kikki K whenever life gets too real. Pretty stationery does make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and the person receiving an emailed letter. Beautiful stationery options we love here, here, and here.
  2. Get over handwriting perfectionism
    Since I was a child, I’ve always prided myself on having nice handwriting; the sort that people looked at and commented on for its prettiness, which I’d counter with, “Oh, that chicken scratch?” Truthfully, I’d learned calligraphy in school (the real sort, not the messy sort that’s trendy nowadays), and picked it back up when I learned Meghan Markle was a calligrapher (shameless girl crush; judge away). So when I started writing several letters a week and experiencing hand cramps, and produced genuinely messy handwriting, I did what most perfectionists do: I’d rewrite letters that were almost ready to go, minding my cursive and avoiding spelling mistakes best I could.
    It. Was. Exhausting.
    Eventually, the reality of it (time wasting, neuroticism) dawned on me, and I let myself have messy days. The whole point of this exercise was to be real, after all.
  3. Take the pressure off
    When I initially committed to this, I overwhelmed myself with the need to do it all the time.. I eventually realized that I was taking the fun out of what was supposed to be a relaxing exercise, and I was stressing myself out. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Accept that not everyone or every situation is deserving of a handwritten note
    Set aside a time for correspondence, like the “old days.” I know there are certain people who are worth my time and the paper and ink it takes me to write a thoughtful note. I want to be thoughtful for said people.
  5. Commit for a significant period to see if it works for you
    Like all habits, this will take some time to cultivate. In fact, it’ll likely take longer–texting is just so damned easy. Schedule an hour, half an hour, or even ten minutes per week and stick with it. When I started, I did it for a month, then it became three months, and now we’re going on four. (This is coming from someone who has issues committing to a favorite color, much less a favorite band or tv show, can I add?)

If the letters are long and personal —and sent to someone I really care about— I’ll spend money on postage and mail them off. If not, I’d have typically written the letter or note in my diary, so it will stay there. So, I definitely hang on to everything, sentimentalist that I am!

Friends writing back made this wholly worthwhile: I even reached out to a friend I’d lost touch with (life happens!), with a handwritten apology, and she called and we talked like no time had passed. The biggest benefit for me, personally, has been slowing down to reflect on my thoughts as I’m writing them. So, yeah–it takes longer than clacking out an email or a long text message. But that’s the point.

Source: Martha Stewart

Monogrammed boxes
These elegant containers are perfect for jewelry, gift cards, and small items.

Materials:

  • Coloured card stock
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Straightedge
  • Glue stick
  • Heavy books

Instructions:

In a photo-editing program, create a 2-page document. On the first page, draw a picture box, and then import a box template, from a CD, centering it carefully on the page.

Draw a second picture box, and place it on the template where you want the letter to appear. Import letter from a CD, sizing it as desired.
Copy template and letter from first page, and paste onto second page in the same position.
Delete letter from first page; delete template from second page.
Print first page onto colored card stock. Flip card stock over, and print second page with letter on other side.
(For a white letter, draw a picture box on the second page larger than the template. Color in box, make the letter white, and print onto white card stock.)
Cut out along template’s outside edges.
Using a bone folder and a straightedge, score straight dotted lines. Score curved lines using a round plate as a guide. Fold along straight lines, and seal with a glue stick.
Let dry between heavy books. Fold along curved lines to close box.

Punch-out pizzazz
Whimsical iron-on shapes turn basic T-shirts and totes into one-of-a-kind gifts.

Materials:

  • Photo-editing program
  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • Paper punches or decorative scissors
  • Iron
  • T-shirts or tote bags

Instructions:

In a photo-editing program, import patterns.
Print onto iron-on transfer paper, following the manufacturer’s instructions. (For crisp printouts, use paper meant for dark fabric.)
Cut out shapes using paper punches or decorative-edge scissors.
Iron onto fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Memory DVD
Create a DVD full of memories for the favourite dad in your life.

Materials:

  • Blank DVDs
  • DVD labels
  • Digital images
  • Printer
  • Envelopes
  • Card stock
  • Ribbon

Instructions:
Share memories of your Dad by creating your own DVDs and DVD labels on a computer. Simply take one of your favorite pictures, and print the image on a sticky label designed to fit a DVD – it’s a small touch that makes the gift extra special. When packaging the DVDs, place them all into individual envelopes, and then take your chosen photographic image and print it on card stock to make a one-of-a-kind cover.

Custom treats container
Take holiday photo cards to the next level: paste an image on a small container and fill it with your Dad’s favourite treats.

Materials:

  • Small box
  • Red nontoxic acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Card stock
  • Scalloping shears
  • Photograph
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Glassine
  • Favourite snacks (such as sweets, biltong and nuts)

Instructions:
Coat a small box, outside and in, with red nontoxic acrylic paint; let dry. Trace the box top onto card stock.
Draw a circle about 1/2 inch larger around the traced circle; cut out with scalloping shears. Repeat to make a second circle.
Print or photocopy a photograph, adjusting the color, if desired. Trace the box top onto the picture; cut out. Use craft glue to affix the photo to one of the scalloped red circles; let dry.
Affix that circle to the top of the box and the other circle to the bottom using craft glue. Line bottom of the box with glassine.
Fill with your Dad’s favourite snacks.

The dark side of blue light

By Sam Upton for Two Sides

There’s a question that’s been asked since the early beginnings of digital communication over 30 years ago.

That question has been the focus of many debates, discussions, articles and research papers, as well as arguments between billions of parents and their children all over the world. It’s preoccupied governments, academics, companies, organisations and brands, and will continue to do so for a long time to come. The question is simple: Is digital harming our health?

The amount of digital information that’s being created, consumed and shared every day is staggering. In just one minute of an average day, Google receives over 4 000 000 search queries, YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video, Facebook users share 2 460 000 pieces of content, and Apple users download 48 000 apps. By the time you will have finished reading this article, those numbers will have increased further.

All this content consumption brings with it a host of potential health issues for the user. Anxiety, depression, addiction, isolation, narcissism, all are becoming more and more common, particularly amongst the young. And while the mental strain is certainly troubling, there are also physical issues linked to excessive computer use, such as vision impairment, neck strain, hearing loss and insomnia. While it’s undoubtedly a channel that solves a lot of modern-day problems, it also creates a few.

With the debate around the consumption of digital media getting louder, Two Sides commissioned a global survey in June 2017, which asked over 10,700 consumers in ten countries about their attitudes to digital and print media, and how worried they are about the amount of time they spend on digital devices. What they found was a clear concern about digital media and a desire to ‘switch off’ and enjoy print more.

When asked if they are concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health, 46% of UK consumers agreed, while 47% agreed that they spend too much time on digital devices. While these results are intriguing in that they go against the modern assumption that people prefer digital, it’s when we delve deeper into the demographics that things start to get really interesting.

Looking at the different age groups for each question, you’d expect the younger demographic to be more at ease with digital, relaxed with their exposure to online media. But 74% of 18-24 year-olds stated that they spend too much time on electronic devices, compared to 48% of 35-44 year-olds and 29% of those 55 and over. Meanwhile, when asked if they were concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health, 58% of 18-24 year-olds and 67% of 25-34 year-olds agreed.

With results such as these, it’s clear that people are becoming more and more concerned about the amount of digital content they consume. Social media, plus online video, news, shopping and reading take up a large amount of our day, an amount that’s increasing every year. The most recent IPA Touchpoints data shows that the average UK adult will spend almost eight hours a day consuming media – of that, 2.5 hours is spent on social media and a further 2.1 on the internet.

There are a number of reasons why people should be concerned about the amount of digital content they consume. The most obvious is that too much screen time at night disrupts sleep patterns. The blue light emitted by tablet, smartphone and e-reader screens suppresses the level of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making sleep more difficult, which can lead to more serious health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang recently compared the effects of reading on a light-emitting device compared with a printed book, and found a marked difference in the sleep patterns of the two sets of people. “Participants who read on light-emitting devices took longer to fall asleep, had less REM sleep and had higher alertness before bedtime than those people who read printed books,” she explains. “We also found that after an eight-hour sleep episode, those who read on the light-emitting device were sleepier and took longer to wake up.”

On a more anthropological level, neurologists have discovered that too much time spent online can rewire the human brain to prioritise sensation over thought, stimulating the reward mechanism and the production of dopamine – basically encouraging us to behave like gamblers. This mindset means that people addicted to screens are hard-wired to seek sensations and avoid boredom to such an extent that, a 2014 study for Science magazine found, many people would rather give themselves electric shocks than be left alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes.

But all is not lost. The adverse health effects of too much digital content can be countered by the simple action of reading a print publication. Indeed, it appears that the respondents to the Two Sides survey already know this, with 69% agreeing that it’s important to ‘switch off’ and enjoy printed books and magazines, a figure that doesn’t vary significantly across the age groups.

So print, which is kinder on our eyes, brains and sleep patterns, could be an effective cure for those suffering from digital overload.

To download the global report, as well as the Key Findings from the UK survey, go to www.twosides.info/Survey2017

85% of FNB customer interactions are digital

The vast majority of First National Bank’s (FNB’s) customer interactions are via digital platforms, with only 1.2% still happening face-to-face in branches.

This is according to Christoph Nieuwoudt, FNB consumer segment CEO, who says in 2016, FNB customers had over 10 billion interactions with the bank, of which only 120 million were face-to-face.

The bank says roughly 8.5 billion (85%) of interactions were purely through digital channels and the rest via point-of-sale (card swipes or online purchases) and ATM transactions.

“The number of FNB customer interactions has tripled since 2010, growing at more than 20% per annum every year, based on the growth in digital channels. Meanwhile, at branches, customers are making significant use of in-branch digital zones,” adds Nieuwoudt.
“One thing we can all agree on is that digital progress is inevitable.”

He says the implications of the use of technology by society are immensely profound, with terms such as “The Second Machine Age” or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” being used to give this evolution a name.

“The reasons for the growth and migration of volumes to digital are obvious as almost every customer knows they can do basically any payment transaction, account or card service function and get most products…via the FNB app, online or cellphone banking,” he says.

However, Nieuwoudt says this does not mean branches will go out of business. He notes branches and branch personnel are no less critical than before, but their role has changed from performing transactions to re-focusing on sales and advising customers on how to bank.

“In spite of the powerful digital technology, today the bulk of banking consumers still want to talk to someone when opening a new account and even for most product categories.

“Additionally, consumers often need help with the new technology, even just to get going and start using it.

“In most cases, branches can be much smaller, but with more room for digital zones and self-service devices such as ATMs and ADTs (deposit-taking machines). This journey is not unique to banking – virtually every sales or service business is or will be going through some elements of digital transformation.”

Nieuwoudt also says that today only a very small percentage of credit decisions are made by people – rather statistical models are used to make fully automated decisions instantly at low cost and with accuracy not achievable by a person.

“This means your risk profile and behaviour determines your loan size and pricing. Importantly, technology has helped reduce fraud loss rates for card and digital transactions,” concludes Nieuwoudt.

Source: IT Web

My Office News launches

My Office magazine unveiled its new direction at a launch breakfast at the Bryanston Country Club in Johannesburg today.

My Office News will provide both members and readers with a variety of new digital offerings.

The breakfast was opened by shop-sa chairman Hans Servas, in which he introduced the morning’s guest speaker: Matt Brown of Digital Kung Fu.

Brown set about explaining what digitisation is and how it will impact businesses across industries, which is discussed in detail below.

After the talk held by Brown, Rob Matthews of My Office News presented an outline of the product offerings.

Matthews outlined the advantages of digital, which include reduced cost to advertisers; flexibility to change artwork; broader coverage; speed of publishing; and better metrics (regarding delivery and readership).

“My Office is getting 6 000 unique visitors a month, with over 21 000 visits. The majority of the readers are in the Gauteng area, with an above-average concentration in the Western Province. These visitors spend in excess of three minutes on the site.”

The newsletter, sent out once a week on Wednesday, is received by more than 5 000 people with an average of 99,5% delivered and an open rate in excess of 25%.

“We are aiming to grow the database by 8 000 by the end of the calendar year,” says Matthews.

Digitisation and disruptive technologies

The changing digital environment
Digitisation is the conversion of something non-digital into something digital, disrupting it using digital technology.
“When it comes to digitisation, experts are clueless,” says Brown. Many great minds have missed some of the largest technical inventions of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Examples of this include Western Union brushing off the telephone, and the head of IBM questioning the validity of the personal computer.

Drivers of disruption  
The drivers of disruption in the evolution of media include:
Consumer pull – a growing number of people willing to use the product
Technology push – more people are connecting to technology than ever before
Economic benefits – the benefits of going digital are now exponential

‘Digital’ is more than marketing
When digital arrived in South Africa, major advertising agencies bought out smaller ones in order to bring advertising in-house.
In the 1970s, WPP, OmniCom and IPG had traditional companies. Now the most forward-looking digital agencies in this century are Google and Facebook – technology companies.

The six Ds of Digitisation
The process of digitisation is rapid – so rapid that it is now exponential. The six Ds show a road map of rapid development that results in upheaval.

  • Digitisation – when something is presented in ones and zeroes it becomes an information-based technology subject to exponential growth.
  • Deceptive – digitisation can be deceptive in its initial period because growth doesn’t seem that fast, but it soon picks up speed.
  • Disruptive – the digital technologies disrupt existing industries because they outperform them in both effectiveness and pricepoint.
  • Dematerialised – major devices of the 1980s (such as a boom box and a telephone) have been are now in one device – the smartphone. Separate products become one product.
  • Demonitisation – this occurs when commodities (such as vinyl record stores) are made accessible via technology (such as iTunes) and thus become worth less or even free.
  • Democratisation – this is where the marketplace explodes. As more people join the digital world, technology becomes available to more people to use.

In 2000 6% of the world’s population connected to the Internet; 66% of the population will be connected by 2020. Companies like Google seek to democratise technology and connect the world with projects such as Google Loon.

Artificial intelligence
Intelligent machines that can behave like humans has become the next frontier. Many major companies have invested R&D money in this field.
Currently, we think AI is “dumb”; just embryonic technology that is used in “personal assistants” on platforms such as iOS (Siri), Amazon (Alexa) and Microsoft (Cortana).
There are three types of AI:

  • Artificial narrow intelligence – such as Google Maps, this type of AI can do only one thing at a time
  • Artificial general intelligence – this is what we see in current levels of intelligence found in humans
  • Artificial super-intelligence – this level of AI is far more intelligent than all humans combined – and this could ultimately see the end of humanity. Examples of this power has been evidenced in robots that can beat poker players and predict Supreme Court decision outcomes.

Changes in banking
Banks will soon become outdated if they don’t want to adopt digitisation technologies such as BitCoin and Blockchain. High bank fees and the cost of employing humans will render the old systems obsolete. Examples of this have already occurred in the taxi space. Taxi drivers protested the arrival of Uber – so Uber decided to roll out self-driving cars. And Uber drivers then protested

Unlocking value with data
Sensors are being implemented in jet engines to measure data that is returned to data analysts who attempt to reduce risk and improve efficiencies. The sole purpose of this is to learn where money can be saved, streamlining companies and generating value from data.

Businesses must accept reality
“Most businesses refuse to accept the inevitable,” says Brown. “People think that things aren’t broken so why fix it? But if they don’t consider changing, they may be left behind.”
Businesses need to ask the tough questions so they can get the right answers.
“Companies need to bend with the wind. If they are to exist in the future, they need to be agile and change to adapt to the market.”

Consider what will put you out of business and start strategising about how you will address the problems that haven’t become problems yet.

Matt Brown is the CEO of Digital Kungfu, a digital business consultancy that specialises in helping companies accelerate innovation and disrupt traditional markets by enabling them with new ways to do business that serve their customers more effectively and responsively.

Everyone is online, so why aren’t you?

We’ve been told for nearly a decade now that this is the digital age – a golden time of instant information.

Smartphones, tablets and desktops are everywhere and the role of traditional media and content sharing has rapidly changed in the age of the internet-driven 24-hour news and social media sharing.

A global trend, South Africa is on track and seeing rapid changes in how readers consume information.
The days of mass-market print publications are declining and we are looking at a new era from print to digital and beyond.

According to We Are Social’s Digital in 2017 report, an average South African spends a significantly longer portion of their day engaging with digital than with any other medium.

Effective Measure’s November 2016 statistics, based on 331,042 online surveys completed by local internet users, reveal the same trend when comparing digital to print or even radio and TV.

Nearly everyone is online. For the consumer, we can take news anywhere with us in the world and are connected to and by technology throughout the day. Digital media also allows companies to reach the right audience at their convenience and create lasting experiences with customers. Having a finger on the digital versus print pulse allows a company to transform itself in step with consumers’ changing habits.

“There’s no doubt that it’s time to fully embrace the digital age” says the CEO of AutoTrader South Africa, George Mienie. “We launched our magazine in 1992 and our website in 1998, and it was in 2008 that we realised our magazine had a shelf-life. The internet was developing so fast, and the possibilities of what could be done online were so vast.” AutoTrader, the number one motoring marketplace in South Africa, is one of the businesses who have made the transition from print to digital successfully. This week they announced they had printed the final issue of their magazine & are fully digital.

To put the power of the internet into perspective, compared to the 1,4 million magazines AutoTrader sold in 2006, in 2016 the website had over 50 million visits, and the company sent over 3 million leads connecting serious car buyers and sellers. One magazine could host 8 – 10,000 cars in total. Today 68,000 cars are listed at any one time on the website.

The move from print to digital should never be taken lightly and should be right for your company. The journey from analog and print to digital can be hazardous, regardless of what industry, technology, product, or service your company is in. Just ask industry giants like Kodak or Financial Times who also struggled for years in transforming. AutoTrader’s full digital move was a result of 10 years of research and monitoring of changing consumer preference.

“We put it in our car buying customers hands … by creating two unique sets of telephone response numbers, one printed in the magazine and the other on the website. We then knew whether our users were responding via the magazine or the website, and through tracking it month-by-month we could see how quickly their preference was changing,” says Mienie. Tracking changes in customer behaviour is key for online success. As the only niche vertical that is transparent with the sellers contact details they have seen that consumers want to be more and more anonymous with more than 50% of car buyers taking the address of their site and going directly to a dealership without calling or mailing first.

Online has also enabled the company to empower buyers and sellers to a remarkable degree, and in a way the magazine never could. Through financing, insurance, history checks, buyer and seller validation, geographic location services, and a dedicated content hub that houses motoring news, reviews & videos.
For this company it was a clear way forward to say #ByeByePrint and move forward as fully digital, to aid them in reaching their company goal – for a user to be able to conduct an entire sale, online, perfectly.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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