Four Interesting Media Trends for 2014

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I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.

-Blade Runner

It's an incredible time to be in the business of media. The power to shape opinion is shifting from the faceless editorial voice of magazines and newspapers to individuals. Add to that the global proliferation of smart technology and smart devices and we’re entering into a transformational time. Among the catalysts:

  • The true convergence of social business, big data, the mobile workforce, and cloud computing is now becoming business as usual
  • Consumers count on customized content and that trend is seeping in to the B2B environment
  • The workplace is fundamentally transforming, with 2014 marking a significant imprint of the rise of the millennials
  • Fashion and smart technology continue to flirt with each other as wearable tech just might transcend ‘cool’ to become ‘productive cool’

With so much at stake, it's not too early to think about what's ahead for 2014. Here are a few key media trends that will shape the year ahead:

True Convergence of Social/Mobile/Data/Cloud

The true convergence of social-mobile-data-in the cloud will rise as a competitive advantage in 2014. Companies find that these converged capabilities accelerate business processes and time to action. A recent study points out that top-performing companies can achieve a 42% increase in operational efficiency – well over the industry average.

On the consumer side, brands and advertisers are continuing to use big data and social intelligence to understand consumers and predict (correctly) what they want. It’s clear that consumers want to remain connected at all times and that they expect a seamless user experience in everything they do. Look for personalized cloud support infrastructures and personalized branded messaging in consumer’s social stream to drive decisions in real-time.

Customized Content for B2B and B2E

No one can consume all the content necessary or available related to the work we do. Content curation has been top of the list for some time now and in the consumer space it’s an art form. Companies like Amazon and Netflix have trained consumers to not just like customized content, but to expect it. With all the social intelligence and big data out there, smart analytics have provided predictable matching for some time now.

2014 will see customized content in the B2B and B2E space begin to ramp up. Not only will for companies and brands seek to create well-produced customized content to tell unique stories around their offerings – they will also deploy predictable matching technologies to ‘know’ what the customer or employee wants and needs in real-time. 2014 is also the year we see content finding the stakeholder, not the other way around. Curation is not enough. Prompts like Other people who read this article also downloaded this content…. will become common.

Rise of the Millenials

Companies all around the world are forming steering groups to anchor their roadmap for the growth of the connected digital worker in 2014. The 24/7 connected ‘anywhere-anytime’ workplace has arrived. Along with it comes the Millennial Generation streaming into the workforce at an accelerated pace. This demographic is larger than the Baby Boomers – roughly 80 million vs. 78 million in the U.S. These digital natives have grown up with the Internet and bring an entirely new perspective on work and personal life to the table.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2015 millennials will overtake the majority representation of the workforce and by 2030 this hyper-connected, tech savvy generation will make up 75 percent of the workforce. Thanks to the rise of mobile, cloud and social, millennials are used to flexibility, openness land instantly connecting with people regardless of their location. They want to collaborate and will seek to solve problems themselves. If they’re e not satisfied with the technology being offered to them, they’ll find something else to use.

Wearable Tech Takes Off

Eyewear, bracelets, and watches from Samsung Gear, to Google Glass, to Apple iWatch and Pebble SmartWatch all stand poised to capitalize on a market that has stood at the starting line before. Wearable tech is not necessarily new, but something is changing in this space as well. Analysts believe the market IS finally ready to explode, with predictions of 100 million devices shipped in 2014. Credit Suisse predicts the wearable technology trend stands to be worth up to $50 billion by 2017.

On the personal side, wearable tech has already seen steady adoption in the fitness industry, as devices track your heart beat and load the data into the cloud so an app can analyze the data in real-time. On the business side, 2014 could mark the time when wearable tech also becomes a productivity tool. Medical professionals, rescue teams, warehouse workers and others are starting to use devices that overlay images and relevant data on goggles. 2014 could be the year when the cool factor, the fashion flair, and workplace productivity could all kick in.

We live in exciting times, indeed.

Beverly Macy is author, educator, and thought leader in social and digital business and a frequent contributor to Say Daily. She is also the author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and the host of Social Media Radio.