Right now, you’d be forgiven for feeling like technology is sprinting ahead at a breakneck speed. After all, we’re seeing trend after trend and a never-ending stream of new apps and gadgets. They’re being talked about a whole lot too, with endless think pieces picking apart the most popular tech and our social feeds filling up with evidence of people using only the trendiest iterations. In that environment, it's easy to feel like you're constantly playing catch-up. But here's a little secret… that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Popularity isn’t everything
You might be scratching your head wondering why an article about embracing technology trends is cautioning against blindly following the latest fads. Well, bear with me because I've got a point to make. Trends are like shooting stars in the tech universe. They're dazzling, they bring excitement, and they often make the impossible seem possible. When new technologies launch onto the scene they often seem like something straight out of sci-fi, so excitement, enthusiasm and a lot of talk are the natural next steps. Just think back a few weeks and months to when generative AI platforms like ChatGPT and Midjourney started to gain a lot of attention. You could hardly move (or scroll) for fresh takes on the tech.
But here's the kicker; just because something is new, it isn’t automatically relevant to you. So, before you dive headfirst into the metaverse just because everyone else is, or start a campaign based on AI-generated content just because it's trendy, take a step back. If your reasoning essentially boils down to "well, it's trending right now," you’re probably missing the mark.2. Keeping your delegates engaged
Old doesn't mean irrelevant
Technology takes time to develop and, generally, it doesn’t have an expiration date either. So just because something isn’t brand-new doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Remember, even now-ubiquitous tech like touchscreens, QR codes, and VR were once shiny and new. True innovation very often happens when the pressure of being the latest trend subsides.
Consider facial recognition, which made its debut around 2015. It was a young technology, but it was also very well-developed and proven, so it quickly became part of our daily lives. Almost immediately, it was integrated into smartphones from there the possibilities seemed endless. For event professionals, like the ones in-house here at DRPG, it seemed like a golden ticket for enhanced live experiences and personalised marketing. But then came GDPR in 2018, casting a shadow of doubt over its future. Instead of fading into obscurity, this setback spurred greater innovation.
Now, in 2023, we don't rely on facial recognition but rather ethical facial analysis. This technology helps us understand our audience demographically, their actions, preferences, and emotions without invading their privacy. It allows us to tailor content to our audience’s needs in real-time to serve the audience we have in any given moment, all without identifying individuals or transmitting any video data. This transformation was possible because we waited for technology to serve us instead of blindly following a trend.
With time, something special happens to most tech. It becomes better quality, more cost-effective, more accessible, more usable and more connected too. Each of those comes with a whole heap of connected benefits but jump on the technology once it’s achieved all of those things and you’ll have something really worth your investment.
Keep asking why
Though I’m at risk of sounding like a broken record, the key to making the most of any emerging tech is asking that simple question, ‘Why?’. Every technology you employ should serve a clear purpose. If you can't easily define what you want to achieve with it, it might not be the right choice for you.
Remember, new tech is only valuable when it has a defined purpose. You focus on finding that purpose, and I'll be your guide in uncovering the perfect tech solution to bring your vision to life. As a Creative Technologist, it's literally my job to scour the tech landscape, tracking the evolution of promising innovations as they mature into something genuinely useful. I'm out there doing the legwork (with the support of an exceptionally forward-thinking and multi-disciplined agency), so you don't have to. With the right technology behind you, you can do some incredible things and achieve some equally impressive results. But it has to be the right tech. Embracing technology trends is about being selective and strategic, not blindly following the herd.