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USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future on trends in 2017 and beyond

This blog post is abstracted from the original published in Intersections: Where data meets art and science, featuring Jeffrey Cole, Ph.D., Director & CEO, Center for the Digital Future and Brad Berens, Ph.D., Sr. Fellow & Project Lead, Future of Transportation, Center for the Digital Future.

The Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg has tracked the global evolution of digital technology and platforms since 1993 by collecting and analyzing social science data that supports corporate management, government leadership, leading brands and NGOs.

Through their extensive research and efforts, the Center for the Digital Future has its finger on the pulse of ever-evolving online technology and media in the industry.

Oracle Data Cloud sat down with Jeffrey Cole, Founder and Director of the Center for the Digital Future, and Brad Berens, Senior Fellow and Project Lead for the Center’s new Future of Transportation Project, to gain insights into the Center’s valuable research for 2017.

ORACLE: When it comes to overall trends for our digital future, what in your opinion should be top of mind for companies looking to find success in 2017 and beyond?

COLE: From our research, there are three main trends that will dominate in 2017 and beyond: Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and driverless cars. All three trends allow consumers to experience day-to-day life situations in an entirely new and interactive way.

We predict that in the future marketplace, consumers will interact with the things they buy using AI, from purchasing food in the supermarket to clothing in a retail store; VR will allow consumers to experience their choices before making a purchase; and driverless cars will end problems like road rage, texting while driving, drunk driving and more.

With technological advances growing at a rapid clip, we are all keenly aware of the impact these three trends will have on the industry as a whole and excited for the possibilities.

ORACLE: How fast are digital trends likely to change and how can companies keep up with ever-evolving industry demands?

BERENS: You’ve put your finger on the hardest thing about trend spotting, which is the time frame. We know that lots of things will happen eventually, but precisely when these changes will occur is much harder to pin down.

Savvy companies can keep up with industry demands; it’s the demands of their customers and prospective customers that they can’t keep up with.

Companies generally think their customers love them more than they really do, that the customers care about the container for whatever the company is selling more than they really do (e.g., people love bookstores too much for Borders ever to go away, even though Amazon is cheaper, has a better selection and will mail books to your house quickly and cheaply) and that people aren’t as sensitive about price as they really are.

Read more from this article on page 8 of Intersections: Where data meets art and science. For more insights, view the Center for the Digital Future’s latest report on the impact of digital technology on transportation.

About Brad Berens, Ph.D.

Brad directs the Center’s Future of Transportation and the Connected Experiences projects. He has worked with companies as large as Adidas and PepsiCo and with startups, also mentoring at incubators like the Portland Incubator Experiment, the Nike+ Accelerator and the PepsiCo10.

About Jeffrey Cole, Ph.D.

Jeffrey, an expert in the field of technology and emerging media, serves as an adviser to governments and leading companies around the world as they craft digital strategies. Prior to joining USC, Jeffrey was a longtime member of the UCLA faculty and served as Director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy.

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