One of the questions I was asked at this year’s Adobe Summit was: “how soon do
I really need to worry about the Fourth Industrial Revolution?”
Speaking as a futurist always looking ahead to the potential retail landscape, my answer is that it’s better to be prepared and act now than risk playing catch-up when it’s too late. When compared to the past three industrialisation shifts, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is still in its infancy, but it’s pretty likely that advances in technology will escalate faster than we’ve ever seen before and will set a higher standard of experience and service.
One of the key themes from my presentation at the Adobe Summit was the democratisation of technology: as virtual reality and the Internet of Things spread more widely into the hands of customers, there’ll be no stopping experiential enrichment – whether real or digitally-supported.
When these technologies become cheaper and more readily available, there will be a turning point for consumers as they demand and expect a standard in line with the values being shaped by today’s new economy, such as accessibility, sharing, and a collective consciousness for how companies and customers alike can behave responsibly.
As ideals of transparency manifest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there will be nowhere to hide if brands and retailers aren’t keeping up with their customers.
One thing to remember is that innovating is future-shaping rather than future proofing. GDR has created a checklist to inspire individuals to take it upon themselves to blaze new trails for the retail landscape of tomorrow: