It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when research was collected using a pen and paper. The last 10 years have seen the research space evolve at breakneck speed, largely thanks to improvements in technology and the way in which we store and access data.
Emerging tech has spawned new companies, methodologies and ways of collecting and reporting on insights, in turn forcing companies within market research to collectively look at ways to improve their own research practices.
Leveraging technology has made research more economical and has allowed us to expand the scope and magnitude in which insights are collected and analyzed. As a result, the playing field has been levelled with the introduction of DIY tools and other data driven products and services.
The question then becomes, what’s next? Where does research evolve from here and what do we need to do as an industry to be ready for its arrival. In this article we’ll look at the top 5 emerging tech trends that you need to be on the lookout for.
When most of us think of blockchain we think of cryptocurrency, and while it’s been its biggest implementation to date, blockchain presents far more possibilities to the research space then just the option to pay out participants in bitcoin.
Blockchain is about building a secure global trust network that is verifiable through the creation of transactional transparency. Imagine a world in which panelists and data can be verified through blockchain technology, going far beyond a simplistic hashing system.
Although practical usage in MR is quite limited at the moment, larger companies such as IBM and Mastercard are currently implementing blockchain as a practical application to reduce fraud and security risk.
Out of all of the items on this list, AI has gotten the most traction to date. It feels like almost every MR article and webinar has at least one reference to the subject. From AI based moderators to automated analytics and reporting, almost every aspect of a product lifecycle has received automation in some form or another.
The benefit of using AI is that it leverages the knowledge and data of countless other outcomes while at the same time reducing manual interaction and time spent on a project.
The good news about AI is that it’s becoming cheaper and more intelligent by the day, and with large companies like Tesla and Amazon leading the charge, it’s only a matter of time before automated projects become the norm as opposed to the exception.
Internet of Things
It’s becoming rarer and rarer to find a home that doesn’t include at least one smart product. Almost 70% of US homes now have at least one smart device, and of those, 60% either have at least a second device or would be open to purchasing additional devices.
Smart homes bring smart opportunities and provide additional avenues for both passive and interactive data collection. With it come the challenges and questions of how do we design questionnaires to be used with smart home voice assistants? What are the privacy concerns and restrictions of data monitoring and collection?
It’s hard to imagine, but there may come a time in the future where we no longer have to ask a consumer what they purchased at the grocery store. Their smart fridge will natively share that information with us, providing real time, detailed, accurate information.
Methodology used to and still does to an extent play a critical role in how we engage with audiences for the purposes of research. However, as time goes on, the line between methodologies have blurred as audiences have adopted new means of communication.
SMS, social media and voice assistants have replaced land lines, faxes and mail as modern day information conduits. As a result, MR has had to adapt and find ways to utilize these channels to reach modern day consumers.
As we look to the future, the question is going to be how to we further leverage these opportunities and create sustainable products and services that incorporate these channels.
The last MR trend is not an MR trend at all yet. It’s being utilized in another industry that has absolutely nothing to do with market research. It’s important now more so than ever to keep a watchful eye on other industries, looking for new ideas and inspiration that will serve as the innovation for creating the next wave of MR tech trends.
Steve has over 10 years of market research experience having held roles in project management, field services and client facing roles. Some of Steve’s core areas of focus include the multicultural markets and IT decision makers.