May 30, 2018
Photo - Accenture Interactive principal director Ramesh Rajandran (centre left) with his team "dedicated to providing the best customer experiences on the planet".
Fjord, a part of Accenture Interactive, has detailed seven emergent trends expected to impact business, technology and design in the year ahead, through its release of Trends in 2018: Tension, its 11th annual Trends report.
Fjord Trends 2018 draws upon the collective thinking of more than 1,000 of Fjord's designers and developers worldwide, and is based on first-hand observations, evidenced-based research, and client work.
"Of those seven trends, I believe three are particularly applicable in Malaysia," Accenture Interactive principal director Ramesh Rajandran explained in an interview.
"These are the return of physical infrastructure's relevance to digital brands; the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in marketing; and employing design thinking outside the lines," he added.
Ramesh notes that a major technological shift has been happening, enabled by lower costs and the embedding of tech components - cameras, microphones, speakers etc. - especially in the home.
"We are seeing companies working to ensure they have a physical presence too, while leveraging their digital and data assets to improve end-users' experiences. This will have implications for brands and organisations - both in terms of their team structure, and how they develop products and experiences," he added.
The rise of a new marketing environment, neither online retail nor bricks-and-mortar, sees algorithms performing the role of gatekeeper between consumers and brands. AIs are used in messaging apps, chatbots, and many other customer interaction channels.
"Brands will need to learn to navigate and engage with these AI gatekeepers, exploring which aspects of their brand architecture to play up or play down," Ramesh points out. He also notes that a key consideration will be whether the AI benefits the user or the platform; Cortana for Microsoft, or Alexa for Amazon, for instance.
Ramesh, who was Microsoft Malaysia's youngest employee at age 17, was previously Apple Malaysia's iOS business lead and vice president (digital and distribution) at Telenor, as well as head of department (e-Business) at Digi Telecommunications.
When asked to describe Accenture Interactive, Ramesh explained: "Accenture Interactive is a global company of designers, builders, thinkers, and doers of every language, and culture that is dedicated to providing the best customer experiences on the planet. We are all about building amazing experiences for customers."
Creative design approaches remains key
Ramesh also believes that creative design approaches remains key. "We see too many prescriptive approaches leading to lookalike design," he said.