Despite its recent setbacks, Apple is often thought of as a brand that pioneers ideas that most others can’t see. Think back to the first iPhone. What a coup it was for telecommunications. It wasn’t just a cell phone. It was a radio, music player, navigator, internet-browser, and personal assistant. It was a device that combined multiple technologies and functions that all but eliminated the need to carry many separate single-function devices. Enter convergence technologies.
This is probably one of the most popular examples of convergence technologies with capabilities that impact on so many personal and professional levels. For businesses, the convergence of technologies has unprecedented potential. Imagine a future where devices and machines communicate with each without any human interaction, performing complex, cumbersome and time-consuming business functions in moments. That future has arrived. The Internet of Things has paved the way for technology convergence in business.
Technology convergence is the coming together of various spheres of technology. Big data/analytics, social, mobile and cloud all meet in a single process or device. So how should businesses be responding to this?
Responding to convergence technologies isn’t just about hiding in your ivory tower of innovation (cough, cough… Apple since Steve Jobs’ passing). It’s not about spending huge budgets on social media advertising or hiring social ‘ninjas’ to run your customer relationship management (CRM). What is essential though, is that the business retains its customer-centric identity. Use convergence to better streamline the customer journey. Data should dictate the experiences you serve your customers and when, where and how they enjoy those experiences. Brand communications must continue to engage customers on the most relevant platforms and the retail experience must be made omni-channel, giving shoppers the same experience regardless of whether they’re in-store, online or on mobile.
Bringing technologies together can have an incredible impact on the streamlining of business processes. It’s likely that convergence technology will make many processes redundant and form completely new ones. Larger firms may struggle to accept these changes and want to fall back on the comfort of what they know. Unfortunately, the inevitably of rapid technological advances may mean that this cautious approach backfires in the wake of future advances. It may leave businesses stranded up the innovation creek without a paddle. Thus, business owners will do well to embrace change and be open to new processes or products.
Convergence technologies definitely leave scope for the production of new products or services – some that may never have been offered before. This presents enormous opportunities and is something businesses should certainly leverage and take advantage of. New technologies, products or services can create new channels of communication and income, and be the difference between an innovative, cutting-edge business, and a bankrupt one. The constant creation of new markets opens the door for companies to change direction completely in favor of a niche market, giving businesses flexibility in the face of harsh economic realities.
The combination of technologies will give businesses the tools they need to run faster, with more efficiency, mine, and utilize data more thoroughly and in real time, innovate and connect with their markets on an unprecedented scale.
Technologies have created space for remarkably efficient measurables. Because of this, businesses can see results and business statistics at the speed of thought. This is fantastic news for businesses as they’re now able to adapt marketing and communication strategies accordingly. But it also opens businesses up to risk. If business owners and marketers aren’t paying attention, opportunity – and possibly income and reputation too – can come and go before the business has had a chance to take advantage. Be vigilant. It’s a big highway, with lots of vehicles, some are traveling faster than others.
Businesses across the world are discovering that technology convergence is opening new sales and communication channels. If businesses are wary, they’ll be able to use these to stay lean, focused and be profitable as a result, without compromising quality. You only have to look at the iPhone to see why it makes complete sense to embrace technology convergence. With humanity's insatiable appetite for progress, it’s a trend that’s here to stay. Do read more on our latest article about how amalgamating technologies can affect a business.