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The evolution of digital technology

  1. The Evolution of Digital Technology AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR LIVES
  2. A BRIEF INTRODUCTION Although The Internet was introduced to the public only twenty years ago, it originally started in the 1960’s. Many scientist, engineers and programmers were involved in its development, along with the creation of computer devices. The psychologist and computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of “Galactic Network”, which was very similar to the Internet of today. Image 1. Kids playing video games with one of the first personal computers in the 80's (Smithsonian, 2014).
  3. Shortly thereafter, ARPANET was created as the first workable prototype of The Internet. Its evolution continued to grow and in the 1990's Tim Berners-Lee invented The World Wide Web (WWW) that allowed people to have access to a documents connected to each other by hypertext or hypermedia links. As a consecuence, various tools, programs and search engines were developed in the following years in order to improve the user's experience. 1944 ENIAC, World's First Computer 1981 "Acorn", the first IBM personal computer is introduced 1999 WI-FI becomes part of the computing language 1969 "LOGIN": First message sent over the first link on the ARPANET 1985 "": First dot-com domain name registered 1991 The World Wide Web is introduced to the public 1998 Google is born
  4. Nowadays Internet is a widespread information infrastructure to which its power influences not only the computer communication field but also our society. We use it in a regular basis for many reasons: online purchases, acquire information, communicate with friends... and its use is constantly increasing. Image 2. A consumer looking some pictures on Internet (Pixabay, 2015).
  5. At the beginning, the access to the Internet was limited to specific areas (science and aviation, mostly). There were few computers, yet heavies and expensive. As it only sent text, they had sufficient with a dial-up modem connected to a telephone line and a data speeds of 14.4–28.8 kbps. ACCES TO THE INTERNET "THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO FAST" IBM Watson Internet of Things (Youtube, 2018) Image 3. Bob Wolper, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Golden State Foods (Food Engineering, 2020)
  6. Image 4. The dial-up modem was the original device used to connect to the Internet (Hackernoon, 2018) Image 5. Phone cradle modem required dialing into your ISP using a phone number via an external (or later internal) dial-up modem (HowStuufWorks, 2020).
  7. Thanks to the World Wide Web, multimedia content could be sent too. People started to innovate, creating personal websites, sharing information and posting things on the Internet. The data speeds got faster and cable modems -known as broadband service- became popular as they improved the user's services (download files, chat, watch stream videos, video conference, browse active content on the web...). Eventually, the development of new personal computers and local area networks like Ethernet make it more accesible to the public. In the 80s, Internet was adopted by universities, business and other organizations. Image 6. Tim Berners Lee, the father of the World Wide Web (Hackernoon, 2018)
  8. "THAT SORT OF ABSTRACT SPACE THAT MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD LOOK LIKE ONE GREAT BIG BOOK — THAT IS THE WORLD WIDE WEB" (Berners, 2013) Image 7. Screenshot of the first webpage in 1993 made by Berners Lee (NPR, 2013)
  9. This first period was called WEB 1.0: users consume rather than create. The websites were static and basic. Later on, users became content creators as well and started interacting and collaborating between them. Many applications and platforms were born (ex. blogs, social media): that was the WEB 2.0 period. 
  10. Currently, Internet is associated with the term "online". In our modern society, we are constantly online, sometimes without being aware of it. Thanks to the Internet Services Providers (ISP) and the variety of technological devices, we have access to it everytime we want, from everywhere. At the same time, social media platforms help to increase the percentage of online users as it is an easy way to stay connected between each other. Image 8. Workers using computers many years ago (MNN, 2010) Image 9. People working with different types of modern technological devices (Freepik, 2020)
  11. INTERNET USERS DISTRIBUTION IN THE WORLD Image 11. Percentage of Internet users in March, 3, 2020 (Internet World Stats, 2020) EVOLUTION OF GLOBAL INTERNET USERS Image 10. Evolution of global internet users (in millions) by year until January 2020 (Datareportal, 2020)
  12. The number of Internet users increases every year. People spend an average of 6.43h each day online. This result depends on the country and its features (age, affordability, availability...). For example, Philippines spends 9.45h; however, Japan average is 4.22h. Image 12. Digital around the world, January 2020 (Datareportal, 2020) DIGITAL AROUND THE WORLD
  13. DIGITAL DEVICES USED BY AUDIENCE Image 13. Connected devices installed base worldwide from 2015 to 2025 in billions (Statista, 2020) We live in a society where the majority of people have more than one technological device. Apart from the mobile phone, which has become essential, we use other ways to be connected depending on the situation. EVOLUTION OF CONNECTED DEVICES WORLDWIDE
  14. Smartphones are the first devices used. The main activity is instant messaging and social media, followed by music and web browsing. In addition, we can use our phones to write e-mails, watch movies, reading... They are practical, easy to use and comfortable to carry on with us all day long. Its use is the one that grows up the most every year.Image 14. Example of a smartphone, Apple model (Maxim, 2018) However, desktop computers and laptops are also used a lot in many fields: education, business, at home... especially for searching information and entertainment.
  15. There are many other devices from where we can access to Internet. Smartwatches, for example, are mostly preferred for sports because of its features: physical activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, pedometers... while game consoles are more common in kids, as they can play alone or online with other players. Image 16. From left to right: Apple and Samsung watch (Phonearea, 2020) Image 15. Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e (Xataca, 2019) Image 17. Nintendo Switch (Technobezz, 2020)
  16. Image 18. Share of web traffic by device (Datareportal, 2020) AVERAGE OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVICES USE "DOES THE COMPUTER EVER GET TIRED?" (O'Connor, 2017) Image 19. Chris O’Connor, General Manager, Watson IoT, IBM (IoT-Now, 2016)
  17. HOW CONSUMERS SEARCH FOR INFORMATION There are many ways to search information on Internet. Nevertheless, Google  is the world’s largest search engine (forms the 76% of searches). It provides us trillions of webpages based on our specific search queries. Google is also a business owner with a lot of online services. It's up there with big companies like Apple, Facebook or Amazon. All of them represent most of the internet’s widespread activity. Image 20. Most common search engine (Hubspot, 2018)
  18. TOP 5 DOMAINS WITH THE MOST VISITS In the last two years, Google’s local searches on mobile increased, representing the 60%. In addition, 84% of consumers search information on Google 3 times a day or more. It's a fact that people trust on Google to resolve queries, but there are other platforms often used  for searching. Around 2.71% of Google traffic is from social. Youtube is the second domain visited by now. Its main use is for songs and musicians, video gaming and funny content. Image 22. Top 5 domains with the most visits in February 2020 (Firstsideguide, 2020) Image 21. Youtube Music platform (Theverge, 2018)
  19. Another method recently popular is  voice search. Instead of typing the query, this technology searches on Internet by verbally asking questions to our device. Many user find it comfortable to use because of its natural tone, works better with long sentences (it focus less on keywords) and allows multitasking. Around 50% of people use voice search and its exponentially growing. Some famous digital assistants are Google Home, Amazon Echo and Alexa and Siri (Iphone). Image 23. Example of a digital assistant (Iprospect, 2029)
  20. Image 24. Percentage of queries in different categories answered correctly by smart speakers in 2018 (Quoracreative, 2020) COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF VOICE SEARCH
  21. Worldwide, 74% of purchases are made by Internet. Countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Poland have the highest number of online purchases, which suggests that the economic situation is not the primary determinant of ecommence use. Things like cultural preferences or websites that cater to the language needs are also important. Consumers use different devices to buy online depending on the situation or the type of product. WHAT CONSUMERS BUY ONLINE Image 25. Consumer buying online (Asicentral, 2017)
  22. GLOBAL ECOMMERCE SPEND BY CATEGORY Image 26. Amount of money spend around the world by category in 2019 (Datareportal, 2020) Globally, the average ecommerce shopper spends almost US$500 on online purchases of consumer goods each year. Last year, travel industry was the one that gained the most. Additionally, Fashion & Beauty and Electronics & Physical Media categories increased 18% from 2018 to 2019 and Furniture & Appliances had the fastest year-on-year growth.
  23. Ecommerce is increasing over the years and that's why companies have to customize their websites in order to give people the best experience. Even if costumers end up buying in the physical store, most of them have done the research of the product on Internet before. Therefore, the online presence is essential: from the design to the payment method services. More comfortable (buy anytime, from anywhere) Less stressful Easy to exchange products (in some webs the return is free) Extra information of the products and suggestions (complements, costumers' feedbacks) MAIN REASONS WHY PEOPLE BUY ONLINE WHY PEOPLE ABANDON THEIR PURCHASE Extra cost for shipping Orders take a long time to ship Re-enter credit information Discount codes not working
  24. ONLINE VIDEO CONSUMPTION Online video consumption continues to rise globally, being the main online activity consumed. In 2018, a person watched an average of 67 minutes of online video every day, expecting to arrive to 100 minutes in 2021. Image 27. Consumer watching Netflix (Infoherd, 2020)
  25. EVOLUTION OF VIDEO CONSUMPTION Image 28. This graph shows part of the transition (2014-2017) people are going through when it comes to video consumption (MillenialStudios, 2020) ONLINE CONTENT ACTIVITIES Image 29. Percentage of online activities consumed in January 2020 (Datareportal, 2020)
  26. Videos are considered more enjoyable and memorable than other type of content. They are dynamics, generate more traffic and leads and help people to get a better understanding of the product or service showed. Consumers prefer short videos (less than a minute) rather than longer ones, and without autoplay.  That's the main reason why currently more than 80% of companies use it as a way of advertising, specially through mobile phones. It's proved that around 64% of consumers will buy the product after watching a video on social media platforms (generally Youtube). In addition, the message in a video is more retained (95%) than in text and its also easily shared by users.
  27. Due to the rise of TV and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), brands have been investing a lot of money to acquire new content, most of them going into creating original shows. By the end of 2019, around three-quarters of the time spent with streaming services was in Netflix (31%), YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon (8%) REASONS WHY CONSUMERS PAID FOR ONLINE VIDEO Image 30. Many reasons why consumers subscrube to additional paid video streaming services (Marketing Charts, 2020)
  28. The third period (current one) is known as WEB 3.0: it's the evolution of web utilization and interaction among several paths, including altering the Web into a database.
  29. CONSUMER TRENDS Twenty years ago, the way we consumed was totally different. "We went from a linear, retail-focused model to today’s iterative, digital-centric model of customer behavior" (Bill Su, 2017). These days, consumer's behavior is still changing, being influenced by the technological and digital innovation growth. “CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. PROGRESSION IS A CHOICE.” Image 31. Steven Becker, Associate Director – Platform Commercialization at  Kimberly Clark Professional  in Roswell (Caba, 2020)(Becker, 2017)
  30. Back in 2005, a person is in the supermarket to buy a specific product. There are many brands from the same product, so he has to make a decision. This decision will be influenced by many factors as the design and colours of the product or its position in the shelf. This decision progress is called "First moment of truth" and the late experience of the product, "Second moment of truth". There are three paradigm shifts that summarize this evolution: 1-FIRST MOMENT OF TRUTH Image 32. Different steps that consumers lives while buying a product. (Medium, 2017)
  31. Ten years ago, the same situation changes. Now the consumer can easily access to Internet, searching information about the product, comparing it with other brands, reading people's opinion... before going to the physical store. Besides, exists the option of buying it through online platforms like Amazon. Therefore, the "Zero Moment of Truth" phase is the influence of Internet and social media in the customer's decision journey. People become more iterative and aware of the product and service, changing completely the steps of purchase. 2-ZERO MOMENT OF TRUTH + CUSTOMER DECISION JOURNEY Image 33. New stages of the consumer behavior. (Medium, 2017)
  32. 3-THE ACCELERATED LOYALTY JOURNEY In the present, people are bombarded with a lot of information and ads in their different devices. The type of content has to be concise, dynamic and visual as its so easy to loose customer's attention (and almost impossible to take it back). This stage of acceleration implies not only giving information but also doing it faster to the most targeted customer segments. Companies have to understand consumers' needs and invest in technology and employees to improve their products and services and give them a good experience. In other words, nowadays "customers are becoming more powerful in making their own purchasing decisions" (Bill Su, 2017).
  33. Going into more detail, in the last 5 years time, there are some interesting trends that may be familiar for us. Let's see some examples. Back then, brands started to realize about the consumer's interest for a better world so they began to work on a more caring consumption called "brand activism". Terms like "healthy food" or "female empowerment" were coming out fast, being well-received by consumers. Image 34. T-shirts with "female empowerment" messages. (Byrdie, 2020)
  34. Many millennials (1980-mid2000s), at the same time, became more participative in social media, posting their opinions and preferences about buying choices. These personalities, who had lots of followers, received the name of "influencers" and were keen to talk in front of the camera, promoting products/services, brands or linking theirs names to a commercial activity. Companies like Pinterest, took the most of this situation, supporting this generation while enriching the ecommerce and preparing themselves to be a virtual shop window. Image 35. Pinterest was the faster growing social media platform, with lots of infuencers -called tastemakers- (Business2Community, 2013)
  35. The growth of  social media activity  was linked with the "sharing economy". People increased the share of content through the different online platforms. An example is the "Share a Coke" campaign from Coca-Cola, in which people's names and positive words were added in its bottles, being a global hit. Consumers -especially young ones- demanded things like innovation, virtual currencies, community and green values. As savvier consumers, they also became more aware when it referred to buy, so they searched on Internet information about the product, comparing prices and giving importance to their fellow's reviews, too. They were considered socially-conscious and less brand-loyal consumers, so brands became more involved in this target to figure out their real needs.
  36. Simultaneously, as a new era of oversharing was emerging, digital footprint started to worry many of them. Some thought that if they weren't paying for a product, meant that probably they were that product. "Cyberterrorism" or "we are being sold" were topics talked between consumers. As Nicholas Parotta, chief digital and information officer at HARMAN, said "You have to protect the consumer" (FastCompany, 2019). As a consequence, big brands like Facebook promoted themselves as a privacy- friendly company and many privacy-protecting tools and services appeared. Then, privacy became both a main concern and a lucrative business opportunity. "Privacy is becoming a luxury good" (Angwin, 2014) Image 36. Consumers became aware of their digital footprint, provoquing an athmosphere of mistrust (The Guardian, 2014)
  37. Another consumer trend is the example of the tourism field, that rapidly increased its online presence. A lot of young and tech-savvy consumers purchased online their holidays, organizing their plans and comparing prices before leaving home. Moreover, they would use their smartphones to post pictures on platforms like Instagram, sharing their experiences and tagging places and products. That's why travel websites like Booking worked hard on building and retaining their clients via social media, obtaining great results since then. Image 37. A person taking pictures during her holidays (IrishTimes, 2017)
  38. Despite the fact that a few years ago both worlds -the online and offline- were in a evolving coexistence, "omnichannel shopping" have eventually taken over, being a complex and changeable term - along with consumer's behavior - which marketeers have as their main consideration. Image 38. Omnichannel shoppings give people flexibility and certainty, helping them to obtain a better purchase (Mojix, 2017)
  39. On the whole, we live in a connected world, where we use technology not only between each other but also in everything around us: home lights that turns on verbally, self-driving cars, smartphones that know where have we been... so, it's clear that all these aspects affect us in many ways. Let's sum up the main points: First, communication and AI. Personal relationships have changed and now it’s easy to stay connected with family and friends from around the world, thanks to the variety of technological devices and the availability of Internet. Social media has become almost essential for everybody, especially for the Millennial generation. They not only consume but also create, post and share their lives, looking for innovative, dynamic and fast content. SUMMARY
  40. Secondly, the consumption of Internet. People are increasing more and more the number of hours spent on their devices every day. To resolve any query, they just pick up the smartphone -for example- and search it online, having immediately lots of websites to choose. They also use internet for entertainment, playing video games, watching series or doing some sports. Third, ecommerce. Regarding the importance of social media, many people use these platforms as a tool for business. The “influencer” term, now, is everywhere, and it’s so powerful that brands get involved to enrich their products and increase sales. At the same time, companies work on their online presence, enhancing omnichannel customer experiences through retail technology: adding chatbots, monitoring customer’s purchase, personalizing sales, looking for feedbacks…
  41. As a result, online worldwide purchases increase every year. Consumers find it practical and comfortable as they can buy all they want -and whenever- just by doing some "clicks" (or verbally asking to their devices). In conclusion, people increasingly rely on digital technology although there are still some concerns, especially with  data  protection and security regulation. Besides, some are also sceptic of robots and automation machines and see this digital lifestyle as a step back in our human side, as they believe the huge dependency on technology could make us forget how to enjoy the real life. Even though, it's important to support innovation and new technologies, as they are driving both massive and positive changes in our lives, and be clever enough to take the most of their use. So, instead of be worried, we should be asking ourselves: what's next?
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