There is a tendency within tech circles to focus on the most cutting edge innovations without worrying too much about if such a product is yet to have a place in our world. We have made stunning advances over the past decade in terms of AI and robotics but the fact is that few people have the money or would feel comfortable having a robot chef in their kitchen when we are still only just getting used to talking to Alexa. Change is a gradual process, rather than charging in the future, we must also attempt to consolidate the technology of today.
Companies should see digital as a means to bring existing customers closer whilst creating possibilities for those that have been left behind by technological advancements, whether that be in regions with limited infrastructure or in areas of the world where much of the population is priced out of the laptops and smartphones that are taken for granted in more developed countries.
Here are three examples of companies that are opening up new markets for themselves by ensuring that tech is available to the masses across the globe.
The name Google is synonymous with innovation as their company culture encourages employees to challenge the limits of what is possible whilst offering a degree of autonomy as well as resources to pursue a wide range of projects aimed at changing the world around us. One such case of technology outreach can be seen with Google MyLine, a service that aims to close the gap that exists in terms of available knowledge that exists between those communities that have access to the internet and those that don’t.
The company realised that in many developing nations, vast swathes of the population are priced out of technology like computers and smartphones, instead of relying on legacy phones from over a decade ago. Google therefore designed a line that people could ring and speak with their voice assistant, giving them access to the internet on phones that have no internet connection. There are of course issues with this technology as it comes into effect but the potential to change the lives of rural communities is enormous.
Amazon Debit Cards
Amazon’s trials with banking in the Mexican market have been mentioned in this blog before and there is a good reason that we keep on going on about it, it is a sign of changing tides and what is to come in the future. We have focused before on what this could mean for Europe and the United States but the potential for Amazon to open up a new client base in countries such as Mexico is immense by giving the population access to basic banking services.
In countries across Latin America, private banking has not been universally adopted meaning that large percentages of the population are unable to participate in the online economy. Investing in simplifying the process of creating a current account can have big advantages for online retailers and it is trend that will become increasingly common over the coming years. There are frankly too many people that are currently left behind by the technological revolution both in the developed and developing world. Retailers and service providers alike can benefit enormously by thinking of how to overcome the principal barriers that prevent a certain demographic from accessing their company and then addressing those issues.
Investing in opening up a new demographic of consumers is precisely the longterm strategy that has led Jeff Bezos to turning Amazon into an economic behemoth.
Our smartphones are increasingly capable of doing extraordinary things from AI to virtual reality. Unfortunately for the consumer, these technological breakthroughs come with a crippling price tag. We are now often spending more on a smartphone than a laptop with new iPhones and Samsungs coming in at over $1000.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei has instead opted for a different market by focusing on bring smartphone technology to the masses. This has been done whilst at the same time investing in developing the infrastructure of communications network across the developing world as well as also trying to make its mark in Southern European economies that have been crippled by austerity and economic crisis. Huawei is taking the breakthroughs of modern technology and thinking how best to apply them to their target markets that are focussed mainly within the developing world. The rise of China’s economic might is being felt across the developing world and Huawei is key to the realisation of Chinese led technological development.
Offering cost effective solutions to both consumers with device sales as well as to governments with regards to infrastructure, the company is shaping the future of the world and it will surely not be long before we see this Chinese giant going toe to toe with some of the West’s most iconic tech brands in their own backyard.
With vast resources and expertise in building technology that is both affordable and highly functional, companies such as Apple and IBM should very much be looking over their shoulder as Huawei attempts to take the North American and European market by storm, targeting a demographic that has often be woefully underserved by the Silicon Valley elites.