On September 28-30, 2018 Lviv hosted one of the largest and most significant events for the Ukrainian technology industry – IT Arena 2018. A high-quality pool of speakers from the world’s leading companies, excellent conditions for networking, and a variety of topics make IT Arena a go-to place for people eager to find out the latest tech trends. The interaction of technologies with each other and their influence on our future was the main message of all conference talks, emphasizing the motto of IT Arena 2018 – The Future Is Inside.  

Every year IT Arena offers a chance to blend in with an incredible audience: tech experts, opinion leaders, owners and top management of IT companies, marketers, developers, etc.   In this article, Anton Khvastunov, Managing Partner at GigaCloud and Vlada Sova, Marketing Director at GigaTrans summarized what were the key tech trends and ideas discussed at IT Arena 2018.  

1. Automation and robotization

The speed of life has increased so much there is a critical need to reduce the time spent on any routine processes. One of the main goals of innovation in the modern world is to free a person from any “mechanical” tasks, reduce the time for making decisions, and enable them to focus on more global issues. For example, self-development, career, or business.

Therefore, global companies are actively using mathematical algorithms, creating user-friendly visualizations, and introducing process automation products to the market – services, apps, or programs that allow you to solve typical tasks in a few clicks. For example, a service that helps you to draft standard legal documents AXDRAFT, or the winner of IT Arena 2018 Startup Competition – a platform for search and delivery of drugs called Liki24.

2. Value of Human Capital

One of the key messages addressed at the conference – technological and financial growth of a company completely depends on the level of professionalism of its employees. As the IT industry is rapidly developing, brands are in desperate need of highly qualified professionals, who could implement tech developments within the company, promote innovation, and build an appropriate corporate culture. At the same time, stable development of any company is possible only if all employees feel their own value, and the work atmosphere encourages self-development.

According to representatives from Yelp, a local-search service, training of top- and HR managers becomes highly important. Experts say, they need to be trained in a competent search and recruitment of IT professionals, principles of building a corporate culture, where employees are one big team that works as efficiently as possible, achieving personal and corporate goals.

3. Needs Analysis of a Target Audience

The call to action “Analyze!” became one of the main focus points of the Product track at the conference. Yes, such tech giants as Google and Facebook pay a lot of attention to how to lead a team and product to success, based on the analytics of the main communication channels in the modern world – social media.

Competent analysis and integration of the obtained data with certain brand manifestations (for example, with a commercial) make communication with the target audience as effective as possible. Analytics helps to create an accurate portrait of a consumer, determine the range of their needs, choose an appropriate language of communication, and create visual content that meets attractiveness criteria of the TA.

In this case, we are talking not only about the end user but also about a number of specialists (internal staff and external partners) we work with. Each of them has different training and degree of involvement in the process of creating a product. Therefore, it is necessary to develop effective communication scenarios at each stage – from idea to production and market launch.

At the conference, BMW presented the concept of a new family car. This case clearly shows a technological breakthrough in action: a camera is mounted into a passenger side window. It records everything – if the passenger misses something interesting, they can easily rewind the record, and rewatch the events.

The example of BMW shows how design and visualization based on customer satisfaction are driving the market and increasing customer lifetime value (net profit contribution of the customer to the company over time). This indicator is one of the most important parameters of customer profile analytics.

4. Big Data and Cloud Computing

One could hear the idea of using big data in almost every talk at IT Arena. Already today, the development of processing algorithms makes "big data" the basis for the work of marketers. With the right analysis, indicators about user behavior that seem incomprehensible and incoherent at first glance can give a business interesting information about its target audience. This info, in turn, allows you to create a unique and truly useful product. Moreover, in combination with AI technologies, big data becomes the basis for developing forecasting services, which take away the intellectual burden and decision-making responsibility from the user.

Cloud computing has already become an ordinary solution for most speakers, as it facilitates the work with big data, in particular. Flexibility, availability, the speed of deployment – businesses are actively using these opportunities. According to Right Scale statistics, a software development company for universal cloud infrastructure management, 96% of US and European companies use “clouds”.

5. Personalized Customer Relationship

The first “wave” of digital transformation took place in 2010-2016 when companies tried to digitize the data as much as possible. Right now, modern society is experiencing the second “wave”, the so-called digitalization of operations.

A lot of attention and efforts of developers is aimed at improving the efficiency of communication with the user, making it more personalized. Based on customer data that is available to companies, experts help to build separate chains of interaction with each customer. Thus, technologies create completely new interaction scenarios for B2B, B2C, and C2C companies.

6. Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly developed over the past three years. Developers brought object and face recognition, and the ability of AI to understand and answer questions to a completely new level. According to our experts, in the near future, machines will perform the functions of call-centers officers, technical support, and similar services. Also, thanks to identification algorithms, AI will contribute to the detention of criminals and thus, improve the crime rate. However, the developments in the field will also lead to restriction of personal freedoms of citizens.

Given that artificial intelligence has already become our reality, one should not be afraid that “machines” will replace all human professionals. The probability is very small right now. The statistics from Google Cloud now confirms only one thing:  to some extent, AI will penetrate many areas of our life and business more and more.

7. Multichannel trend

The difference between generations X, Y, and Z and the way how they interact with technology became the basis of this trend. This means that for a potential partner or client it is important to first find a company and its representatives online, sort of “meet in advance” before the first personal meeting. Today, companies should take building reputation and brand presence online seriously. At the same time, direct contact with a client (negotiations or calls) still plays an important role in the B2B-segment. Summing up, it is still important for companies to develop both online and offline communication channels.

8. Virtual Reality

The number of startups at the conference that use virtual reality (VR) proves that very soon VR will become commonplace in everyday life and business. VR projects cover various areas – from creating virtual quest rooms and traveling (for example, FunLight – an attraction of interactive projections, one of the top startups at the conference) to presenting real estate to a potential owner even before the construction of the building has begun. By the way, mobile operators such as lifecell and Kyivstar are already using virtual reality in their promotional objectives.

9. Media Analytics and PR activities

Myriam Joire, one of the leading tech journalists, product and media strategy consultants, as well as representatives of a few startups highlighted changes in the approaches to working with the media. Technological products will teach companies to interact with the media more effectively and will increase their interest in covering tech topics.

Technological innovations in the field of media (for example, LOOQME) will also help develop PR activities of a company: select the most relevant websites for information placement, predict the effectiveness of each contact, for instance.

10. Changes in business approaches

According to Head of Innovation and Investments at KPMG UK, the next 10 years will be difficult for company executives: more than a half of the top management will experience hard times due to changes in business processes. There have been no such global changes in the past 50 years. Companies that look to the future understand this and are already preparing.

KPMG forecasts that the main leap in technology will occur in the retail sector, followed by all other industries. The reason behind this: the retail industry is the most user-oriented, and most of the transactions take place here. The saying “old dogs must learn new tricks” becomes the basic philosophy of the modern world business owners and top companies.

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