Since the dawn of the internet the future of business communication has been permanently linked to the future of technology. The speed and ease of conducting business on a web-based platform can only evolve, and there is no doubt that those with their eyes on the future are waiting with bated breath for the next advancement. But will technology actually improve on business communication, or just make it more complicated?
In 1999 Mr. Tim Berners-Lee made a remark about his dream for the internet. He wanted the daily tasks of trade and bureaucracy to be handled by computers speaking to other computers in an intelligent and intuitive way. He called it the Semantic Web. It may be a little scary to think that computers will analyze our every communication and make decisions based on that analysis, but it is the future. In reality the first step has already been taken towards the semantic web, in the form of cloud computing. Moving the core components of software and informational databases to a remote group of computers is just inches away from allowing them to use the data. What follows can potentially be an incredible tool for business communication, in the form of semantic publishing, semantic blogging, semantic web solutions and so on.
Artificial intelligence is not just an idea from an episode of Twilight Zone, it is in our future. Some say it is already here, but that really depends on your definition of artificial intelligence. A piece of software that can carry out task management services and make priority decisions about the tasks, is a form of artificial intelligence. Businesses use software like this, albeit on a crude level, to order products and be notified of shortages. The future of artificial intelligence is being sought in the form of creating software that can master problems solved easily by humans, but if carried out by a computer would be immensely faster. For example recognizing patterns in speech or music.
The mobile web, as it is in North America, is still in the toddler stages of development. It is only a matter of time before it evolves into using location-aware services. The potential for business communication on the mobile web is huge. Imagine walking through the mall and your phone beeps with offers from stores you are passing. Or restaurant suggestions popping up at your usual meal times. The iPhone has already made web browsing on your phone easier than anyone else attempts, next keep your eye out for big internet conglomerates entering the mobile service provider market.
One of the sole purposes of business communication is gaining and keeping the attention of the consumer. Here enters the future of business communication: the attention economy. To some extent the attention economy is already beginning to take hold, through entities like Amazon and Netflix. The idea here is consumers agree to receive services in exchange for their attention to the provider. For example specialized news topics, alerts, search criteria and shopping trends are provided to the client, on the basis that they will consume the advertising accompanied with it. The risk here is information pollution and information overload.
Businesses that choose to communicate largely via the web will soon need to make a significant decision. Will they hold a web site or a web service? The evolutionary shift from one platform to a platform and database separation will leave some businesses in the dust, and bring others along for the ride. The decision will be in the willingness to expose their information and become a web based service. Communication will change, but the ability to effectively service clients will increase.
One more trend in business communication that is inevitable is the international web. Currently North America is still the major player on the internet, but a decade from now that will be different. China is already seen as a growth market, as is India. African nations are also emerging. The international web will bring with it increased international business, and in turn the potential for increased profits.
There is so much more that could happen in the future of business communication, but as long as entrepreneurs recognize the potential and go with the flow, commerce will flourish worldwide.