The Next Era of Innovation Will Emphasize Privacy and Individualization, Report Says

The Next Era of Innovation Will Emphasize Privacy and Individualization, Report Says

Over the next three years, companies will give consumers more control over their data, privacy, and how they interact with products and services, according to a new report.

“Companies are amassing tremendous amounts of information about consumers,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer. “The key thing for companies to think about is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.”

The insight comes from Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 report released on Thursday. The annual report predicts key technology trends that will redefine business over the next three years.

Successful brands will have to build trusted relationships with consumers, the report says, and that includes providing transparency and giving consumers control of their data. If consumers trust a brand, they’re more likely to offer up even more data in exchange for a better experience—thus continuing the cycle of improving the product or service and growing the business.

Given recent privacy and data breach blunders from big technology companies like Google and Facebook, industries facing less heat over privacy may have a leg up in developing these deeper relationships. For example, insurance or financial services companies could ask their customers for permission to track more things about them, like the number of steps they take daily or their spending habits, to provide more customized offerings.

“This next generation [of innovation] is not going to be led by just technology companies,” said Michael Biltz, managing director of Accenture’s report. “It’s going to be led by all of these companies that have transformed themselves into digital businesses.”

While in recent years, technology companies have led the way in developing more personalized services, they have served as the “canaries in the coal mines,” said Daugherty. Through their mistakes, tech companies have shown other industries what not to do when it comes to handling consumer data. As a result, they left room for old-line industries to leverage their better relationship with consumers to introduce data-dependent products. Tech companies may have a harder time convincing their users to give up their personal information for similar services.

And though Accenture supports federal data privacy regulation, future innovation likely will be dependent on self-regulation, as laws struggle to keep up with advances in technology.

Here are all five trends outlined in the report:

  • The power of DARQ: Companies must understand and take advantage of distributed ledgers like blockchain, artificial intelligence, extended reality (a catchphrase for virtual and augmented reality), and quantum computing (a nascent technology that promises faster data crunching).
  • Get to know me: Understand more about consumers using the data trail they leave online to better develop personalized experiences as a way to unlock new business opportunities.
  • Human + worker: Companies of all kinds should redefine employee roles to take into account new technologies like artificial intelligence.
  • Security first: Businesses will have to recognize they are the conduit for data breaches rather than victims. They’ll have to be diligent about not just protecting of their internal and customer data, but also that of their partners and vendors.
  • Meet consumers now: Capitalizing on “momentary markets,” or markets that spring up and then vanish, will be critical. Successful companies will have to move quickly and take advantage of the on-demand economy and growing expectations by consumers for customization.
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