The new media and commerce paradigm that has been steadily taking shape over the past decade has eroded many traditional boundaries, streamlining the way people do business, consume content and make transactions. A general trajectory from brick–and-mortar environments to digital spaces has been gaining pace due to the growth and proliferation of several interrelated industries. Social media, smartphone technology, and algorithmic content curation, under the general moniker of “Web 2.0”, have impacted the way consumers interact with business and entertainment products.
As these innovations are joined by yet more on the horizon, from blockchain technology to augmented reality and the arrival of the “metaverse”, many of our previously established paradigms are set to transform. Below we take a look at some examples of these trends, and how they look set to impact all areas of our commercial, entertainment and business experience in the 2020s and beyond.
New Media Paradigms
Media is one such landscape that is being altered by emergent technologies. For example, competitive poker stands in a potent microcosm of this process. It has witnessed huge changes over the past 20 years as online variants of the game rose to prominence and began to gradually displace the dominant position of physical games.
Not only has this impacted the way poker is played, but also presented as a spectator sport. Where once poker competitions were exclusively broadcast on small cable TV channels, streaming sites such as Amazon-owned Esports platform Twitch now gives global reach to the sport. What’s more, as professional poker players are increasingly moving to the platform to play and stream games, the once clear lines between live and online poker have begun to blur and break down.
With “Metaverse” being one of the major buzzwords in tech at the moment it should come as no surprise that many large tech-facing brands are attempting to demonstrate to the public the latent potential that this emergent set of technologies has to change the way people live, interact and conduct business. Walmart, for example, has sought to demonstrate what a true Virtual Reality shopping experience could look like in one of their stores in the not-too-distant future. The video shows a shopper moving through a virtual space selecting items from shelves, all with a helpful AI assistant providing helpful context and information pertaining to relevant deals and special offers.
Source: Steve Robin
While we are several years away from realising something approaching the experience outlined in this video, major commerce companies such as Amazon and Google are already striving to deeply integrate ecommerce into our lifestyles seamlessly. Perhaps the most successful example of this integration to date is through Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant suite of tech products. With Alexa, purchasing last-minute items has never been simpler or more intuitive. What’s more, as “smart” technology, such as refrigerators that are aware of their contents, become a regular feature of more people’s lives, the experience presented to us in Walmart’s tech demo suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
Video Conferencing is Here to Stay
The past several years have been objectively challenging for the global economy, yet some tech modalities have stood to benefit from these disruptions. While video conferencing, once largely synonymous with Microsoft’s Skype product, has been a commonplace feature of business for a number of years, the impact of the past couple of years has led to an enormous uptake of this technology. But it wasn’t Skype that benefited from this context but a previously little known competitor.
Zoom has witnessed phenomenal growth of over 350% year on year, bringing the company to a quarterly revenue of over $1 billion, up from under $100 million in 2019. While global circumstances naturally drove the growth and uptake of this technology, it cannot be overlooked that part of the reason for this success is that video conferencing is now far more stable and reliable than ever before. With more people using smart devices and benefiting from higher internet speeds, this medium has demonstrated that it can be a viable alternative, or replacement, to face-to-face meetings when this is necessary or preferred. We can expect to see this trend continue into the future as much of the workforce reorients itself around a greater degree of remote business.