Strategies & Tactics

The Future of PR Emerges

January 5, 2018

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Welcome to the future of public relations!

The year is 2020 and Apple has launched a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses that are the next must-have product that folks are lining up for hours to buy.

Cryptocurrency is now a common way to pay for goods, and we’re sharing the road with self-driving cars and trucks. Holographic concierges greet us at hotels and robots perform high-risk surgeries at many hospitals. We watch movies in 360 degrees using virtual reality (VR) headsets and take Hyperloop pods to travel long distances.
 
What if I told you that this is where we’re headed? Would you be excited about the future or would it concern you?

Charting tech’s evolution

As a marketing and communications futurist, I can tell you that no one has a crystal ball to really know what the future holds, but what used to be science fiction is slowly becoming a reality.

More than 30 years ago, Apple unveiled a Super Bowl commercial titled “1984” to represent the coming of the Macintosh computer. Many of us will probably agree that this ad was ahead of its time, yet very timely. Apple once again made science fiction a reality when it introduced the iPhone. Who can live without their mobile phones nowadays? Our cell phones have become an extension of ourselves.

Recently, there have been several reports in tech and business media indicating that Apple is prepping to release AR glasses in early 2020. This would signal a seismic shift in how we will communicate and a move toward the next computing platform.

Now, it’s 2018 and public relations is changing faster than we think. New emerging technologies are bringing about seismic changes in the way we communicate and the way we consume content.

Monitoring trends

I have decided to name this monthly column “Tech 2020” in preparation for the incredibly fast transformation that we will go through as a society in the next two years. Plus, hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I will be covering different topics every month ranging from AR, virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, biomarketing, spatial computing, reactive content and much more. I’ll bring you the latest from leading tech events and interviews with pioneers in these fields, while also sharing my insights into the seismic shift that human communication is undergoing.

I hope this column will serve as a resource for PR pros who are interested in keeping an eye on the future and what that will mean for the brands and businesses they represent, but I don’t want to bury the lead. If you, your agency or your brand would’ve known how much mobile would change our lives, then would you have waited by the sidelines as long as you did?

My guess is that you probably wouldn’t. I want to bring readers closer to technology and help them better understand how emerging tech is part of what many call the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Embracing new opportunities

There is a shift in content happening. We’re moving away from content that is 2-D and flat to content that is 3-D, 360 degrees and sometimes holographic. All of this powered by AI, 5G+ and technologies like blockchain, and it leads to content that is personalized and that contextualizes our realities even further.

This particular moment in history brings about a huge opportunity for those of us in the PR profession and presents important challenges that I hope to explore and discuss each month.

I hope that you’ll follow me down the rabbit hole as we explore the future of public relations. The future is already here.


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
–Arthur C. Clarke

Cathy Hackl, APR

Cathy Hackl, APR, created the holographic press release and is a leading voice in augmented reality and virtual reality. A futurist and well-known speaker, she is co-author of “Marketing New Realities,” the only book on augmented reality and virtual reality for marketing. Hackl joined Atlanta-based You Are Here Labs in 2018, where she leads agencies, brands and companies in applying futuristic technologies.

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