As we edge closer to 2024, the digital landscape continues to evolve rapidly. This imminent year will bring new technologies and trends shaping how we communicate, work, and live. Here’s a look at some of the most significant digital trends to watch in the upcoming year.
1. Artificial Intelligence (Ai)
The evolution and integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into our lives will only speed up in 2024. Here are a few areas where businesses can make a significant impact.
Chat GPT Updates
- New Voice Features
OpenAI’s Chat GPT has come a long way from its inception. The new update introducing a voice feature will revolutionise our interactions with AI.
Small businesses can leverage this technology for customer support, streamlining enquiries and providing instant responses. The new feature will save manpower and increase efficiency, allowing businesses to allocate resources elsewhere.
- Image Input
The other significant addition to ChatGPT is the ability to input images into the chatbot; there’s no need to opt into this feature. It has already become available to Plus and Enterprise subscribers.
The number of images you can input into a conversation depends on the size of the images and the amount of text accompanying them. As a general guideline, consider reducing the image quantity or size if you encounter issues.
- DALL.E – Image designs by Ai
OpenAI image generation model has revolutionised AI by generating unique images from textual descriptions. DALL·E can quickly create logos, banners, and other promotional materials, saving time and money.
For small businesses, DALL·E presents several enticing benefits—however, DALL. E 2 is not free; it operates through a credit system. One credit is good for one prompt and four image variations. But! you can access DALL.E 3 now through Microsoft’s Bing for free.
Just sign up with Bing Image Creator and get immediate access. ChatGPT subscribers can access DALL.E 3 through Plus and Enterprise accounts.
As you can see in the above example, the Ai generated image looks eye-catching, but contains a typo in its own name. Hence, while the cost, flexibility, and speed advantages are undeniable, businesses should use Ai judiciously.
DALL ·E lacks the nuance and emotional intelligence a human designer brings, potentially resulting in designs that don’t resonate emotionally with customers. Balancing its capabilities with human creativity is the best way to achieve the results.
While it’s important to acknowledge the impressive advancement, it’s equally essential to approach it with realistic expectations.
Just as Ai sometimes misunderstands or does not know an answer for text, the same can happen with images. And with the ability to process images, users need to be cautious about what they share, especially personal or sensitive pictures.
Google Bard Updates
- Real-time Data Access
The updates to Google Bard now allows for real-time data access from Google apps. This means a more seamless integration of data and better decision-making processes for businesses relying on Google’s suite of products.
Users can opt-in to a feature, dubbed Bard Extensions, that will allow the AI access to personal Google data (emails, photos, calendar entries, et cetera).
Instead of digging through email for a specific important date, users can ask Bard to check their Gmail account for the information and summarise the most critical points of the discussion.
And to alleviate privacy concerns over Google potentially having even more access to your data, the company has pledged that content from Gmail, Docs and Drive is not seen by human reviewers used by Bard for targeted advertising.
- Double Check feature
Bard is introducing a new feature called the “double-check” button. This feature enables users to evaluate the accuracy of Bard’s responses.
Upon clicking the button, specific passages within Bard’s reply will be highlighted to demonstrate where Google Search results agree or disagree with Bard’s statement.
The purpose of this double-check capability is to address a common problem with AI tools called “hallucinations.” These hallucinations occur when an AI tool confidently makes a claim that seems true but lacks evidence.
As AI continues to infiltrate the business world, the rise of large learning models brings along with it the challenges of fake news and misinformation. Companies must establish mechanisms to counteract these potential issues.
However, while misinformation is a challenge, these models can help small businesses in content curation, predictive analytics, and customer insights.
2. Cyber Security
In today’s world of interconnectedness, cybersecurity is no longer just an optional feature but a necessity. If you’re running a business that relies on online operations, it’s essential to prioritize cybersecurity and not compromise in this area.
Cybercriminals often target small businesses because they lack knowledge or budget for cybersecurity. By keeping software up-to-date, enforcing strong password policies, educating employees about phishing, regularly backing up and encrypting data, and partnering with a trustworthy IT support provider, small businesses can strengthen their cybersecurity defences and protect their valuable digital assets.
3. Voice Search
It is predicted that by 2024, there will be 8 billion voice-enabled digital assistants, making voice search an important marketing asset for businesses. Here are a few ways to utilise it.
Localised Voice Search
This is a boon for local small businesses. As users turn to voice search for quick, local solutions, optimising for Voice can drive footfall and increase visibility.
Affordable Customer Interaction
Setting up voice search capabilities or voice-activated tools can be more cost-effective than developing full-fledged apps or software.
Prevalence of Voice Commands
With Amazon Alexa and OK Google, you no longer need to check your phone for information. Use voice commands to get updates about your daily schedule, the latest news, and weather conditions – this makes staying informed and organised throughout the day easy and convenient.
Platforms like Google Docs are capitalising on this with features like Voice Typing under the tools menu.
The increasing shift towards dictation and voice commands will redefine how content is created and consumed.
4. Social Media Trends
If you’re worried about what the future of social media may bring, don’t be. To help you adjust your social media strategy, here are some reliable predictions for social media trends in 2024.
- Business channels
More than just a messaging platform, WhatsApp is evolving to accommodate channels, offering new ways for businesses to communicate and engage with their target audience.
- Access two accounts per device
If you have a personal WhatsApp account and a business one, you no longer have to carry two phones to access them. WhatsApp will soon let you add two accounts to one device if you have a second phone number or one that supports eSIM or dual/multiple SIMs.
You won’t need to log out of one account to access the other. To access both simultaneously, go to the app’s Settings page and click the arrow next to your name to find the “Add account” option.
Each account has its privacy and notification settings so that you can receive alerts from one account, not the other. This feature is ideal for keeping your private and work communications separate.
Platforms like Facebook Rooms and Twitter Spaces are pioneering the social audio trend, enabling real-time voice-based group chats. Small businesses can use these features to talk about their unique services, answer Q&As, or simply get to know their followers better.
While mega influencers have had their time in the spotlight, 2024 will see the rise of nano influencers – individuals with more minor but highly engaged followings who can offer a more authentic connection.
The fusion of social media and e-commerce continues to gain traction. Consumers increasingly shop directly through social media platforms, making it a valuable business sales channel.
Stories and short-lived posts are becoming the norm, catering to the modern user’s fleeting attention span and desire for real-time updates.
LinkedIn will no longer be just about jobs
LinkedIn has evolved beyond its initial purpose of posting and finding jobs or venting about job-related issues.
Nowadays, users share more personal experiences and insights, such as managing multiple tasks, coping with mental health challenges, and staying motivated.
This sharing of personal content on LinkedIn began during the pandemic and is likely to continue. However, whether the platform’s algorithm prefers individual posts over professional ones is not certain.
The key to succeeding on LinkedIn in 2024 is to strike a balance between creating authentic and personal content while maintaining a professional image.
5. User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) will be crucial in 2024 as more businesses aim to establish authenticity online. For small businesses, establishing trust is paramount.
Encouraging customers to share their experiences or reviews can bolster the business’s credibility without needing hefty advertising spend. UGC’s authenticity creates a ripple effect, with potential customers perceiving it as more reliable and authentic.
6. Data Privacy and Transparency
The importance of data privacy and transparency cannot be overstated as the digital space becomes more cluttered.
Users demand to know how their data is used, and regulations like the Australian Privacy Act 1988 which is undergoing reforms to bring it more inline with the stringent requirements of Europe’s GDPR regulation.
By championing data privacy, small businesses can set themselves apart and foster a sense of security amongst their clientele, ensuring repeat business and customer loyalty.
2024 is poised to be a groundbreaking year in the digital realm. From AI innovations to the ever-changing social media landscape, staying ahead of these trends will be crucial for businesses and individuals alike. The future is digital, and it promises to be exciting!