Signs and Trends Looking Into the Cultural and Digital Scene of 2014

By Yerka Yukich @yerkay and Mario Boada @mboada from Consultores Online.

They are signs and trends that already mark the start of a new cycle where the technological emphasis is not in the digital aspect but on the cultural appropriation coming from homes, schools, universities and of course the government on communal, regional and national levels.

Statistics in the hardware industry confirm that we are going from a stationary era for personal computers, where PCs where predominant devices to a new phase in mobile personal computing, with smartphones and tablets as devices of choice for the population.

According to data from e-Marketer, there are over 600 million active mobile connections to the Internet in Latin America. An everyday look at people in public transportation for example shows us these new citizens (and customers) that connect to inform themselves, entertain themselves and connect with others through their personal mobile devices. They are a part of the new information society that is saturated with information but also hungry for valuable knowledge that makes sense to their everyday lives.

In the workplace, there is already a consensus among experts that we have gone from a rooted and highly technological approach summarized in the concept of “tele-working” towards a new and broader concept known as “work plasticity”. This new perspective includes in its analysis all variables of flexibility that allow diverse options of organization and job performance. Instead of a workplace traditionally limited to offices, today that expands to formulas, designs, architecture that goes from the informality of a coffee to collaborative co-working spaces, going through different variations of a “mobile worker” which packs all his technological office tools into a small high-tech backpack.

In advertising and marketing, the waves of change and cross currents are creating adjustments and transformations in an industry that counts several decades of relatively organized evolution without major problems. Large communication agencies see new genetically pure companies emerge on “digital DNA” y with their own abilities to navigate in an online ocean.

In large companies a new definition of functions, roles, strategies and responsibilities associated to integrated corporate communication is incubating. The already resolved boundaries between advertising, marketing, public relations and corporate social responsibility live today a symbiotic relationship which, among other things, creates disputes over budgets and priorities in terms of policies and campaign decisions made around the institutional image.
In the relationship between companies and brands with their respective audiences and customers there is a growing and progressive adoption of social media as part of their communication and relation-creating channels. From traditional website traffic we are moving towards a permanent link (sustained attention) with referents, clients and interest groups that form part of active communities which participate with natural leaders known as “influencers”.

Similarly, there is an increase in the rate of content generation with their own label, brand and institutional style. The route goes from traditional publishing models to models of interactive dynamics that are also more personalized and create more loyalty. The growing recognition of going from traditional marketing to content marketing, with significant messages and inputs from brands strengthens their identity and helps build consumer loyalty.

There is a change on television shows designed for mass consumption at set times and structured cycles to a television that is now more of a “web-vision” because it can be seen on the Internet at any time that the public wants and through on-demand programming. It is no longer necessary to follow the guidelines of major television companies and their Program Committees, so characteristic of the Twentieth Century. The mother screen, also known as TV transforms into different screens of different sizes and characteristics which shape a new-born content industry that flows through different means at different times and is subject to the ever-changing attention spans of ephemeral audiences.

The digital revolution which we began living in the early 80s with the first personal computers is ending its cycle with the changes in form and substance. We start to see a cultural and technological implosion that affects noticeably the status quo of productive, educational and government institutions, not to mention in greater detail the much more visible impact in the world of communication and entertainment.

The new trends for this decade were summarized by a recent research by IBM which highlights the innovations that are changing the way people live, work and relate. The technological aspect changes with the increasing availability of Internet data permanently stored on the Internet also known as “cloud computing”. Moreover, an avalanche of information is on the way and it is being delivered by devices connected in real-time to public services in highways, medical facilities, police, banks, supermarkets or just about any place where there is a computer, sensor, or miniature chip that is turned on and connected. The “Big Data” phenomenon will generate a demand for professionals and specialists to process and use productively tons of dispersed and complex information.

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