09 Jan Tech review and look ahead to 2024
Welcome to our annual tech review, and look ahead to what the new year could have in store for us all.
As we begin our unknown journey into the year 2024, we reflect on the previous year, and how it didn’t quite pan out the way we had predicted.
Personally, SureCo had a tremendously successful and rewarding year, the world, the economy and working practices, didn’t seem to do as well.
Looking back on 2023
It’s fair to say that the business world has leaned more towards a return to the office, with most companies (including central government) now requiring employees to be in the office at least 60% of the work week.
The main drivers behind this are high rent costs, long-leased offices, and even a mistrust of workers.
With an unstable economy, many businesses are reverting to a pre-Covid system, and not giving their employees a choice, by making those who refuse to go in, redundant!
There are many other reasons businesses now want to limit work from home and remote working, they are:
- onboarding new staff
- training and mentoring
- collaborating and brainstorming
All may seem better done in person. However, they’re all achievable via online systems, the world didn’t shut down or implode during the lockdowns because people weren’t in the office.
An informed, considered and balanced approach is probably the best path. After all, a happy staff means happy customers.
Most companies are adopting a hybrid approach. Keeping the ‘work from home’ systems in place is wise, in case there’s another pandemic. Let’s hope not!
Tech and digital in 2023
Technology is transforming how we live, work, interact and play, and its development is moving at warp speed!
Keeping up with the rapid advancements of tech can be dizzying. That’s why we take the time to do the research and break it all down into easily digestible chunks.
One of the newsworthy tech reports we didn’t touch on in 2023 is DensePose. Never heard of it? Most people haven’t, because it’s one of those things still in development.
DensePose in its basic form uses WiFi (wireless fidelity) to see through walls and deliver a 3D image of a human’s shape and pose; hence the name.
Developed by researchers at Imperial College London, Facebook AI, and UCL, this tech may help with all types of surveillance and in healthcare settings, where people need to be monitored whilst still maintaining privacy.
As with many things being developed in recent years, no one quite knows how we’ll use them yet, just that we will.
The chatter over ChatGPT hasn’t quite died down yet, and that’s not surprising considering the firing and rehiring of its CEO, Sam Altman. With all the fear surrounding the rapid development of AI tech, it seems this drama will be the hot topic every year for the foreseeable future.
The Threads that bind us
With much controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Threads seemed like a welcome addition to the social media space.
This is amusing in itself, considering so many people have left Facebook in recent years, after the controversy surrounding Mark Zuckerberg.
Threads is apparently (and currently) the most downloaded app ‘of all time’. It’s a free text-based conversation app which allows users to post up to 500 characters, and videos up to 5 minutes in length, and posts can be shared to other platforms.
It’s linked to Instagram, and Threads can be shared directly to IG stories. It currently boasts some very big names including celebrities and brands.
AI helps revive the voice of a legend
Music lovers across the world were blown away in late 2023 by the release of the Beatles track, ‘Now And Then’. Sir Paul McCartney and a team of sound engineers used the power of AI technology to extract John Lennon’s voice from the 1978 demo tape. It’s an impressive song and shows how AI can be used in a positive, creative and fun way.
In Gmail news
In December, Google started their erasure of inactive Gmail accounts. This was following their new security protocol. According to the digital behemoth, accounts that lie dormant are more vulnerable to hacking.
Accounts that have been inactive for two years would have their emails, pictures and related data deleted.
Logging on will bring an old account back online. The account will then remain active for a further two years.
What does tech in 2024 have in store?
Email marketing spam prevention
In February 2024, Google will require email authentication for bulk email sending of 5,000 or more a day. Yahoo is planning similar spam prevention measures.
Google and Yahoo will now determine whether an email will be delivered or rejected.
Steps to take:
- Authenticate emails by enabling SPF, DKIM and DMARC.
- Always include opt-in.
- Ensure emails have clear unsubscribe instructions.
- Manage spam rate*.
*Google has promised to establish a clear spam threshold of 0.3% to maintain access to Google inboxes.
CRM trends reshaping business in 2024
Since we developed our own bespoke CRM system many years ago, we like to keep up to date with the latest trends impacting this market. There are some exciting new developments involving AI and machine learning algorithms.
One exciting new CRM development is predictive lead scoring. The algorithms analyse data using AI to predict if a lead will convert.
The algorithm takes the lead source, engagement history, and demographic and assigns a score.
The sales team is then able to use the data to help them focus on the leads with the best conversion potential.
Email automation has been around for a long time, it’s just one of the benefits of our BroadCast email marketing platform. However, AI can now enhance email automation capabilities.
The algorithms can analyse customer behaviour and automatically send emails based on customer preferences and interests.
When this is coupled with the potential capabilities of ChatGPT to help produce targetted content (with human input), the possibilities are infinite.
A CRM is an invaluable tool for all types and sizes of business. It’s especially important to have a system that can be accessed anywhere/any time and from any device, especially mobile.
A CRM that can integrate with other work systems is also vital to help prevent data silos.
Choosing a system that can be integrated into a business with bespoke elements is also essential.
Cookie-cutter CRMs don’t allow for the changing demands of a business, they can’t be iterated to fit as tailored versions can. Businesses have to adapt to stay relevant, their systems should evolve with their needs.
Google IP Protection and ethical advertising
We reported about the third-party tracking cookies update from Google some time ago. It’s finally being rolled out and raising eyebrows because IP addresses got thrown into the mix.
From an average internet user’s perspective, this is probably a good thing. We certainly need more protection from sinister people when online.
The changes will initially be ‘opt-in’, but eventually become default for all Chrome users.
The issue is for businesses that use IP address tracking in their online advertising campaigns. This provides detailed location information about households and workplaces.
Currently, the only way for the user to prevent IP address tracking is to use a VPN. Microsoft and Apple have already made moves to prevent IPs from being tracked or targeted. Google is now doing the same.
The best solution for businesses to combat this change is to use a system such as CRM to help inform. Consent-based customer data alongside using a second-party consent-based data company is the way to advertise ethically.
A solid email marketing list is also a good way to gather customer data ethically.
It’s uncertain exactly when it will be rolled out, we just know it’s coming.
The Online Safety Act
The Online Safety Act (OSA) was signed into law in October 2023 and will be regulated by Ofcom. It won’t become fully enforced until sometime in 2025/26 when all of the regulatory guidance is expected to be finalised.
This impacts every type of business that has a website, app or online presence.
While most businesses won’t need to do much to prepare, the bare minimum will be ensuring website hosting and cyber security are robust and secure.
If relevant, age verification will be of paramount importance. Online platforms must ensure their Terms of Service, Cookie policies, and user consent are monitored and updated.
Websites/apps or platforms that have user-generated content like cloud storage, chat facilities, forums or gaming, will face scrutiny and have full legal responsibility for online content to ensure it’s not harmful or illegal.
As with GDPR, companies who fail to comply or do not take the necessary actions to protect users will face harsh consequences.
Fines and imprisonment are on the table for senior managers who fail to take all reasonable steps.
So, while the full force of this is some way off, starting to work out best practices and implement them now, would be very wise!
Big tech in banking
According to American Banker, the big tech brands such as Google (owned by Alphabet), Meta, Amazon, and Apple are all seen as competitors and suppliers to established banking institutes.
With more bank branches closing every day, and banking services moving to the cloud, it’s not surprising that the two sides will either start competing or combining.
X (formally known as Twitter) is announcing it intends to enter the financial services industry.
This isn’t a surprising move, considering where Elon Musk started with X.com and PayPal. Watch this space… pardon the pun.
The future is motoring towards us
As the legendary Morgan Motor Company is one of our most esteemed clients, it would be remiss of us not to touch on the latest car tech developments, and what the new year has in store for this market.
AI is having a big impact on car tech. AI is now feeding the design of cars by way of machine learning, providing data to make cars, safer, faster, more efficient, and more responsive.
Because of AI cars can now assist in driving, parking, directing, and providing answers to questions.
Aside from going electric, car manufacturers are now turning their attention to making cars even greener. Some are starting to use recycled and sustainable materials in their latest models, such as marine plastics, tyres and cork.
Many experts are suggesting that in the first quarter of 2024, over one million EVs will be on UK roads. Car manufacturers continue to roll out new EVs at a rapid pace.
The demand for used EVs is also slowly starting to increase. With the UK government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars being pushed back to 2035, that’s not surprising.
An exciting release in the EV car range is the Audi Q6 E-tron. This new vehicle offers an impressive amount of tech. It even boasts a digital assistant capable of learning the driver’s preferences for an automated experience.
Rather more exciting is the news from Morgan Motor Company about their development prototype, the XP-1.
The XP-1 is not for production, it’s the pioneer vehicle which all future Morgan electric sports cars will be designed from.
Morgan’s engineers will use the prototype to develop the characteristics, powertrain capabilities, ideation, testing, and training.
You can discover more, and follow the evolution of the Morgan XP-1 on their website. It will also be popping up at events.
If you’d like to know how we can help you manage or grow your business using any of our web systems, please contact us for a no-obligation chat.