Issue 69

Gartner's emerging impact trends, Reddit and more.

The team at Astute.Work are constantly curious about anything that might impact the world of business communications. Here managing director and management and PR consultant Sarah Waddington shares five things that caught her attention and might interest you and your organisation too. 1) As Stanford researchers are warning that Zoom fatigue is real, a newcomer to the market is hoping to disrupt the online meeting marketplace. Gather. town offers businesses the use of a customised virtual world designed like a retro video game, in which users choose their own avatar rather than having to show their own face. Combining video calling with a 2D map, the intention is to create a fun digital space that allows people to socialise as well as work, with users able to walk around and talk to the people next to them. It’s one of several virtual meeting startups vying to address the online fatigue issue so expect to hear more in the coming months. 2) Emerging technology and trends Gartner’s Emerging Technology and Trends Impact Report 2021 has identified four areas for product leaders to monitor in relation to interfaces and experiences, business enablers and productivity revolution. Within the next one to three years, its experts believe advanced virtual assistants, sometimes referred to as AI conversational agents, will greatly expand into consumer lives, business interactions and operations. At the same time, transformerbased language models will improve translation, transcription and natural language generation. Gartner says packaged business capabilities will hit the market in three to six years and it expects the widespread implementation of composable business to transform the way that traditional providers market, sell and deliver their solutions. Finally, within six to eight years it’s predicting that AR cloud will have significant impact for every industry regardless of geography, providing a digital abstraction layer for people, places and things, ensuring seamless and ubiquitous experiences. 3) Reddit goes for growth Internet giant Reddit is investing in new tech and experimenting with charging users in a bid to double its growth. After a successful fundraising round, the company has been trialling live video and audio offerings, as well as hosting livestreams for communities wanting to meet online. New moderation has also been introduced to enforce policies to counter longer-term issues around occasionally toxic communities. 4) Insta like counts Instagram has launched a new test that will enable users to choose whether or not their posts display how many likes they’ve received. Its head Adam Mosseri has confirmed that the idea is to lessen the pressure for those who don’t want to see like counts and that they’re exploring a similar experience for Facebook too. This could be a good move for businesses by way of forcing them to consider how they engage, rather than focus on vanity metrics. 5) Pandemic digital ad boom The acceleration of the shift to digital advertising was an inevitable outcome of the pandemic but the financial results published by the large tech platforms show just how dramatic the shift has been. Amazon, Facebook and Google recorded a total ad revenue income of more than $77 billion in Q1 2021. It is a total growth of 40% from the same period in 2020. Meanwhile Microsoft reported LinkedIn’s ads business generated more than $3 billion in revenue during the financial year ending March 2021. Digital advertising for brand promotion and reach has effectively become a pandemic tax on businesses.

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