Marketing in a future of connected digital assistants

Imagine a world where you no longer wake up to your alarm clock. Instead, you are gently roused from slumber with your favourite sound at the optimal time for your specific sleeping pattern.

As you rest for a few moments and before waking fully to start your day, a familiar voice welcomes you with a good morning greeting, offering to read out your calendar of today’s events. This voice is real, close to human, and asks if you need any of your events moved, reminding you not to forget your client dinner tonight.

Now that you’re across your day, you wander to the shower which has automatically turned itself on as it becomes aware of your presence, whilst your coffee machine is also instructed to begin brewing your favourite cup, timed perfectly for when your shower is complete. Your personalised outfit for today is waiting for you to try it on, having just arrived via drone delivery, and the best part is that you haven’t even purchased these clothes as your favourite brand and store knows what you like, preferencing your choices with a delivery appropriate for the day ahead in your “as a service” clothing rental subscription.

Dressed and ready for breakfast, your fridge recommends the optimal meal based on your recent diet, biorhythms, and current health, all culminating in a meal to help you stay energised all day long, and ready to make your way to work. Whilst you’re enjoying your perfectly timed coffee -- a dollop of milk, Kenyan blend, with one sugar -- and custom breakfast, your fridge assesses its own contents and meal plans for the week ahead, placing an order with your local grocery store.

This concept is something that already exists in the minds of futurologists and technologists alike as a vision of our connected near-future. In fact, experts believe as early as 2030 that our homes will be integrated with a digital assistant, and it won’t just be like what we have today. Beyond the command driven voice activated box sitting on the kitchen counter listening for keywords, this new vision of virtual assistant technology will be woven into the structure of the whole house, found throughout all rooms and able to interact with you anywhere.

You might call out “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google” now and get your weather, your calendar, and a music change around the house, but the next generation of this technology is poised to let you do much, much more.

The future of the connected world presents artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is personal and specific to each and every one of us. It knows our preferences, our habits, what we like and dislike, and through smart biometric monitoring, our physical health and needs. It’s a world where technology enhances our day, streamlines our personal and professional operations, and ultimately drives efficiencies that enable us to get more time back into our day for personal pursuits and enjoyment.

Following the thoughts of several international futurologists, it is my belief that this is a truly exciting world ahead with the potential to benefit everyone greatly. This world is one in which we will come to trust and accept that technology is so deeply integrated in our daily lives, where many of the manual tasks and thoughts we would normally dwell on can instead be handled by a digital and virtual assistant. This vision of the future is one already connected to our own, and is where we can offload repetitive tasks and focus time on the things we like doing, and the people and activities we care about most.

From a B2B marketer mindset, this vision conjures thoughts on what this future could mean for organisations trying to sell their products to consumers. How will we connect with our target end-user in a future world where technology removes external inbound engagement, as our digital assistants begin to present to us only what we like and want to know about, potentially removing targeted marketing outreach from our view?

Will marketers be able to influence the virtual assistants of the world to present marketing content, infiltrating the feed and getting the message into the channels we least expect, and from an ethical standpoint should marketers be allowed to do so? Or will our methodologies and channels for reaching the end-user change dramatically into alternate technologies yet to be developed, all aimed at combating this digital connected future?

The answers to these questions, much like the delivery date for these ideas, have yet to come to fruition, but they’re worth thinking about, dwelling on, cogitating and contemplating.

Our truly connected world isn’t far off, and when it does arrive, marketers will need a way for their messages to get through; past Siri, Google and other gatekeeper devices designed to filter our content and information feeds.

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