As a New York PR agency with a robust technology group, we work with companies who are redefining the leading edge in tech developments. Tech trend stories are everywhere, whether the work involves art or digital advertising, cooking or construction, professional services or sales. Technology is woven throughout everything we do, and from a public relations perspective, certain themes are clear, while others are emerging. Here’s what we see as top trends of the moment.
Ad blocking — it’s not going away soon. Ad blockers have been around for some time, but the ad blocking story hit the media with gusto this year, on the heels of Apple’s entry into the ad blocking game this fall. (It should come as no surprise that Apple still can make news and set trends like few other companies.) While some downplay the legitimacy of ad blockers as a real story, there’s no denying the debate -and the threat. Look for more developments to create acceptable standards for ads, more debate over fees for white-listing, and the bigger issue of how the advertising industry will meet the challenge of creating digital ads consumers actually want to see. Incidentally, the pushback against ads only serves to reinforce the importance of earned media content, which has important implications for media and public relations in the technology space.
Virtual reality. Once a distant prospect, virtual reality enters mainstream viability and is poised to become a big story when it comes to technology PR. The New York Times launched its virtual reality reader last week in conjunction with Google, and Microsoft unveiled its long awaited HoloLens, the virtual reality headset. The implications of VR are widespread, and, as it’s still early in the game, it will only gain traction as a trend in the months ahead.
Predictive analytics — the future of data. If 2014-2015 was the year of Big Data, the newest development in data is predictive analytics, the process of analyzing data to search for patterns from which one can make predictions about the future. What we hear from our clients over and over again is that it’s not just about data, it’s about data insights.
Data security and privacy. Speaking of data, the story of data privacy never went away, and today it only continues to pick up steam. Most recently, Facebook is in the news again, this time defending itself against grievances in a Belgian court over its data collection practices. Microsoft, Google, and other top players in the cloud technology world have come under similar scrutiny, often driven by clashing rules over data security in the European Union versus the U.S. From our experience working with tech companies, being able to ensure data security — ie. the assurance that services are not collecting and selling customer data — is a differentiator that has real value in the marketplace.
Connectivity — coming soon, to the next 4 billion. Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity and is almost assumed as a right in developed countries. But the estimated 3.2 billion people who are connected to the Internet is still less than half the world’s population, and more and more companies and investors are forging new ways to bring the wired world to the 4 billion inhabitants for whom the web is not a daily norm. The Elon Musks and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have announced intentions to help on this front, while third world countries themselves are laying their own infrastructures.