The Path To The Post-Search Era
August 23, 2016 by guest author, Viktor Petersson
Guest Post: Kaijus Asteljoki, Valotalive
“Why?” That was the question, a good friend asked me recently. “Why do you do what you do? What inspires you and your company to push forward?”
I had an immediate answer to that question, because it was obvious to me.
Now I want to share my answer with you.
We believe in a future where emerging technologies and the trend of big data (4,300% increase in annual data generation by 2020) growth will transform the way we collaborate, receive and consume information.
The increase in data generation by individuals, corporations and things linked by the internet will bring many challenges, but at the same time present even more opportunities.
When talking about the future of workplace environment and employee communication, one of the core areas for our business, we see employees empowered with constant flow of business and work related, relevant and visual real-time information. This information – content from different sources – will flow to the receiving person through different devices and screens like mobile, digital signage or perhaps new digital surfaces, like smart windows.
Everything regarding this process – called content discovery – will happen in an automated manner, and in visual format tuned to the right time, at the right place – within the right context. We are entering what we call the Post-Search Era – a new chapter for the knowledge worker.
1 – The Era of the “Manager knowing it all”
These were the times when there was no internet, or at least decent search engines, or other collaboration platforms such as intranets. Knowledge became a valued form of capital.
Managers running teams – whether that was in construction or warehouses – had access to data, and would communicate this information verbally to their team. So, if you needed further information, you would need to ask a person for that. It was anything but readily available.
2 – The Era of the Search Engines
Search engines surfaced during the mid to late 1990s. It was now possible for anyone with the access to internet to search for information among millions of web pages, by typing a particular word or a phrase. Information and knowledge was shared.
As the amount of data increased, employees found themselves struggling with overwhelming amounts of information, and the complexity of communication. Some of the main challenges for the executive and communications teams were getting the right message through, and reaching all employee groups effectively.
3 – The Post-Search Era
We are entering the era where employees expect the right information to find them. Not the other way around.
While search will remain a widely essential tool, it will no longer be the only way to go. Employees expect that relevant information will find them, when they need it. The information – whether that’s company KPIs or a tweet regarding a new customer case study – should be in context, and in a visual format so that the essence is understood with a glance.
Keeping employees informed with relevant and engaging communication has a real impact on bottom line results. Companies that are effective in communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.
This is why smart companies align their organization with visual real-time information, as a new way to increase productivity and to empower employees with information in order to have stronger engagement.
The new way to provide information is to capture the visual landscape, a snapshot, of the current status of business and present this in real-time and visual format for all employee groups within context.
There’s a bight future for new digital platforms that can rearrange and mash up information in an intelligent way, to make it more valuable. These content discovery platforms, that combine multiple data sources, will deliver content and information within context for the specific target audience. In other words, these kinds of tools provide relevant content for the target audience based on things like time, location, personal activity and/or other surrounding factors – all of them meaningful.
These platforms are needed to support effective communication, since we’re now in a time when there is more information to process than ever before, and the pace for decision-making is faster. We are moving from findability to content discovery, the Post-Search era – where Context Aware Content Discovery is happening.
Here’s a video that shows how our company is starting to do just that – something we’ve dubbed Content Mesh. It is designed to enable subscribing customers to show information taken from multiple data sources and deliver that in one flow of information to a specific target audience.
The future of signage is all about data and this kind of automation.