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News & Views

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  • 4 November 2019
  • David Lucas

Overcoming obstacles in tech’s golden era

Technology is in its golden era. But it’s not always plain sailing. The ever-increasing amount of personal information shared with technology companies, coupled with tools like artificial intelligence (AI) that can appear mysterious and threatening, mean that brands in the sector must have watertight communications strategies to gain customer trust.

I was recently asked about some of the most common problems being encountered by the technology sector in building this trust and how they could be overcome. Here’s what I shared:

Making data sharing less scary

The first problem many technology companies are encountering is how to communicate the benefits of sharing personal data. High profile hacks and misuse of personal data have led to a greater awareness of what we're sharing and where it’s going. This presents an issue for the growing number of businesses that rely on this data to personalise their services.

As AI becomes more prevalent, companies need large and diverse data sets being fed in to make this technology as effective as possible. The key here is to be transparent over how data is being used. We've all had a pop up on our device asking us to share data like our location but haven't been sure why this is needed. Be open about how data is being used and make sure the value exchange is clear to help encourage consumers to keep on sharing. Showing how you're safeguarding this data is also vital. Be clear about how it will be stored and who can see it, so consumers are confident that it won't be in the wrong hands.

Showing that AI does more than steal jobs

The second area impacting the technology sector is the ongoing perception that AI will steal jobs. Although there are many studies that show it will actually create jobs, often there is a fear that robots will come in and take many roles away from us.

Businesses in the sector have a couple of responsibilities here. Firstly, to show where AI can help us avoid doing jobs that are dull, dirty or dangerous, and free us up for more interesting work. Secondly, companies need to play a role in re-skilling workers who may be impacted by AI. Launch training schemes or help them see where current skills are transferrable to overcome fears.

Minimising the impact of cyber attacks

Finally, cybersecurity continues to be an issue for tech companies. Unfortunately, attacks or at least attempted attacks are a reality we'll continue to face, as more data is stored and the stakes of gaining access get higher.

As with the first point, to maintain customer trust, businesses must be clear about the safeguards that are in place. But they should also be proactive in communicating to customers how they can better protect themselves - good password management, using two factor authentication where possible, and other steps. If hacks are a reality, helping customers minimise their impact is important to maintaining trust.

As more companies focus on their technology stories, challenges like those above will be seen by an increasing number of businesses. Having an understanding of the company’s technology platform, plus the benefits and risks associated with it, will become a vital part of all communications strategies.