Emerging Tech: Shifts for 2020

Last month, Facebook released a new research report as part of its “Shifts for 2020” series, which looks at how emerging tech is influencing user actions.

The average attention span is said to now be shorter than that of a goldfish.4 But that’s only half the story. As people are exposed to a continuous and ever-growing stream of information, our ability to consume it has sped up. And as both findings are even more pronounced among younger generations, the future will be fast.

The latest update looks at “four tech-driven shifts that will change the way we connect, come together and create community”.

Those core shifts, as identified by Facebook, are:

  1. Increased media consumption speed
  2. Mobile video explosion
  3. The rise of live video
  4. The impact of AR and VR technology
  5. Growing utilization of virtual assistants

1. Increased media consumption speed

In News Feed, people consume a given piece of content faster on mobile than on a computer.

Facebook IQ Source: Facebook data, Q3 2015

2. Mobile video explosion

As we look ahead, we see mobile and Millennials fuelling the continued growth of video — especially as global connectivity becomes faster, screens get better and both become more affordable.

3. The rise of live video

Live video is a big trend in 2017 helping users to attract, engage, entertain and build relationships with their audience in a more authentic way. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg had this to say about live-streaming:

Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. … This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.

4. The impact of AR and VR technology

As the lines between augmented reality, augmented virtuality, mixed reality and virtual reality blur, people’s enthusiasm and expectations for the future of reality seem increasingly clear.

5. Growing utilization of virtual assistants

People will want or need to engage with content, services and their environment through a variety of mediums. You could call your salon to make an appointment — or choose to do it silently through Messenger. People like options and will appreciate the flexibility to engage in a way that suits their needs at any given moment.

People surveyed around the world are increasingly using voice-enabled digital assistants

The full research report and data is available on Facebook’s IQ Insights blog. With lots of interesting insights in the report, it is definitely worth spending some time with it.


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