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Digilogue: the convergence between analogue and digital

31 May 2012

How are you communicating and connecting with your clients?

Now, even though we're now on-line, interconnected, hyperlinked and linkedin 24/7/365, a computer interface can never really replace a human face. Effective communication in the 21st century will combine the old with the new, the analogue with the digital (digilogue communications if you wish....) - a blend of high tech and high touch.

It's interesting that even in a time where everything that can be digitised is being digitised, we still crave the human-connectedness of the analogue. Companies who manage the creative tension of digilogue will be the ones to stand out as thought leaders over the coming years.

The future of communications will be about striking the balance between the context (analogue) as well as content (digital).

I believe the analogue serves to narrate the story. The more global, fast-paced and complex our world becomes, the more we crave the local and the personal, to reconnect by disconnecting and going slow. While there is still no substitute for 'pressing the flesh', the conference hallway conversations, or wine-stained rapport building, perhaps there will be one day.

The digitisation of everything means that we are getting awfully close.

Everything that can be digitised will be digitised.

Blockbusters Closing Down Anders Sorman-Nilsson Future of Entertainment

How are you now accessing movies, reading books, banking, or listening to music tunes?

Money has evolved from barter, coins, paper, plastic, and now mobile phones. The idea that money in their analogue form will continue existing into eternity is ludicrous. Traditional bricks and mortar facilities or even their extensions - the ATM - will cease to exist. Several companies are about to revolutionise the way we shop, replacing our wallets with our smartphones.

By 2014, Near Field Communication transactions (NFC) alone will approach $50 billion. Google predicts that 50% of cell phones will use NFC technology. The value of purchases via mobile phones is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 68% between 2010 and 2015. Over the next 5 years, cash use will decrease by $200 billion in the U.S.

In other words, cash is no longer king.

Google Wallet Anders Sorman-Nilsson NFC Payments

What about the digitisation of music? Since 2004, digital market revenues increased 1000%, whereas CDs have declined from 93.3% of music revenues in 2000 to 49.1% in 2010. However, with every major wave of change, there is always a counter-trend.

As a way of implicitly counteracting the digitization of music, people have returned to a format that requires their attention and may be a greater signifier of their passion for music than something as impersonal and easily discarded as MP3s. Nobody remembers their first download, but vinyl is forever.

In 2011, vinyl sales are expected to reach 3.6 million, a 29% increase from 2010.

Vinyl Growth Anders Sorman-Nilsson Digilogue Future of Music Industry

Digital disruption has also changed the way we access and consume video. In 2011, North American theatre attendance reached the lowest point in 16 years and sales of DVDs declined 18%. In the same year, video streaming services such as Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Netflix were up 45.7%.

In June 2010, Amazon sold 180 digital books for every 100 hardcovers. But, once they own an ereader, only 15 percent of consumers say they stop purchasing print books altogether. People still love the way a hardcover book feels in their hands and looks on their shelves.

A computer interface can never really replace a human face. Although virtual conferencing is expected to skyrocket in the coming years with adoption rates to triple in 12 months, the personal and hi-touch nature of the Face-2-Face Event will ensure their relevance well into the future:

87% of marketers predict, in 5 years, the events industry will be evenly divided between F2F Events and Virtual Events. 82% of respondents believe Virtual is helpful in their decision to attend in-person.

Equally, the more global our world becomes, the more we crave the hyperlocal. Farmers markets are the fastest growing market in food retail in the US and Australia, as a response to growing consumer interest in obtaining locally grown, farm fresh produce. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 1,000 farmers' markets have opened up across the country within the past year, increasing by 17% since 2010.

Farmers Markets Future of Food Anders Sorman-Nilsson

If I say the word Google or Apple, you probably think 'digital'. Yet both these booming companies are great examples of the digilogue. Apple makes 50% of its revenue in-store. When all other computer companies went digital and focussed on online, digital presence, Apple modelled its customer service on the best in analogue customer care, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York. 

Digilogue Communications Google Voucher Anders Sorman-Nilsson

Meanwhile, Google is promoting online advertising via print. It mails physical, yes analogue, printed vouchers that customers and businesses can use towards crediting their Google Adwords accounts. You may ask yourself why Google just doesn't Google Adwords advertise - clearly there are customers who are still better reached via the analogue. Going truly cross--channel via digilogue communications is the key.

  • What do you think?
  • What are other great examples of digilogue companies?
  • How do you think we will transact in the future and with whom- digital or analogue companies?

Want to know more about Waves of Change that are disrupting business models and providing new opportunities for innovative businesses - check out Australian Futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson on O2 Speakers Agency for your upcoming conference or strategy review.

by Anders Sorman-Nilsson

research by Ware Kuo

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