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How Much Future There is for Future Technologies…

Not one day goes by without news about the launch or development of some fascinating new technologies in relevant online media like TechCrunch, Mashable, or Business Insider. Venture capital companies from the Valley, in Berlin, London, or Seoul are constantly backing these technologies with millions of dollars. But how promising are these new technologies from a consumer’s perspective? In our German Digitalization Consumer Report 2014 we representatively asked 2.5k consumers to evaluate the eleven most hyped future technologies with very surprising results.

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Digitalization has poured into our lives and brought about major changes in consumer behavior. One decisive disruption in future consumption might be the emergence of new “future technologies”. We define these technologies as products and services either containing digital technology or being completely digital such as “Mobile Payment” or “Cloud Computing and Storage”. Thus, one major intention of the latest Digitalization Consumer Report was to shed light on customer opinions about these upcoming new technologies.

The report is based on a representative survey of almost 2,500 participants and comprises 19 industries. Participants had to rate their individual awareness of eleven strongly hyped future technologies, provide information about whether they have already used these technologies, and give estimates about the future relevance of these technologies to their personal lives.

The results of the survey are astonishing and can be regarded as essential for managers in fear of missing latest trends. In general, 33% of German consumers consider upcoming digital technologies as relevant for their personal lives. So far, “Voice Recognition and Command” and “Cloud Computing and Storage” are heading the list of actual applications. Contrary, “Data Glasses” and “Augmented Reality”-devices are perceived to be of low relevance for the majority of consumers, which is somewhat surprising given the extremely strong buzz these technologies create online. One explanation might be that most people who are aware of data glasses do not find this technology to be value enhancing because the associated utility is still too abstract. They simply cannot imagine what a device that is constantly tracking your environment might be useful for. Furthermore, there are the constant privacy concerns, which many consumers already articulated a lot online.
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However, the picture again changes strongly when considering only those people who have heard of a particular future technology before. The Relevance/Awareness-Index evaluates the relevance of these technologies through the eyes of technology enthusiasts, who are already aware of these technologies. Then, “Augmented Reality”, “Same-day Delivery”, and “Life-logging Devices for Health Care Purposes” are the most relevant future trends. Especially “Augmented Reality”-devices like the much discussed Oculus Rift seems to be a must-have for all gamers. About 14% of German Internet users are severe gamers. Almost 100% of them seem to be desperately waiting for this technology to be launched.
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What does a prototypical future technology enthusiast look like? We used sophisticated statistic methods to analyze the relationship between consumer characteristics and future technology awareness. Tech freaks are usually younger, highly educated, male, and very interested in all sorts of social media. Surprisingly however, they are not the type of guys who are online 24/7.
Considering the open-mindedness of German consumers towards new technologies, managers should constantly question themselves how future technologies might affect their markets and could be integrated into the corporate portfolio of products and services. Being the first could be more advisable than being the last. Dear managers, have you already thought about how some of these technologies might change your business?

Read the full German Digitalization Consumer Report 2014 here.

Thanks for sharing, Roland Berger ;-)

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