At Blanc & Otus, we have a ritual around buzzwords. Whenever we hear the trinity of “mobile, social, cloud” spoken together, we pretend to do a shot of our favorite drink. Unfortunately, we hear this phrase so much, the drink has to be a virtual one, or else we’d never get through the day sober.
Other technologies are reaching such a fever pitch of hyperbole, they could easily be added to the mix, including big data, nano-tech, and wearables, which topped the peak of inflated expectations in Gartner’s 2013 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. (With hype cycle season starting next month, it will be interesting to see which terms crest the wave in 2014.)
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to become jaded to the real impact of these technologies and just look at them as distribution and delivery channels. But if you think about it, they’re about much more than doing old things in new places and ways. They’re about dreaming up entirely new things that weren’t possible before.
And in a commercial context, the real impact comes from the business processes innovation these technologies enable—what we call ingenuity over innovation. In the field of mobility, Kony enables multi-channel applications that include the use of mobile application development platform and cloud-based technologies. And yet the real reason they matter is that customers can evolve application delivery beyond the old “anywhere, anytime, any device” mantra and actually let their employees do brand new things. While social technologies first helped transform marketing strategies, today companies like HootSuite, LinkedIn and Lithium are spreading the benefits to other parts of the enterprise such as customer service, sales and operations, as entirely new human workflows become possible. And Axway leverages proven technologies such as EDI, MFT and API management to govern new data flows that result from innovative new business processes enabled by cloud computing.
This means that the traditional tech PR emphasis on how things work must shift to why they matter and what they enable if we are to keep the conversation focused on the right things—the impact to individuals, organizations and industries. All technology is ultimately about what people can do and what we aspire to become. As storytellers, our job is keep us focused on the real hero’s journey—the journey of the consumers, workers and communities that put technology to good use—and position technologies as the tools and talismans they are in helping us achieve our quest. And that’s a PR job worth drinking to.