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FEATURE27 December 2018

Preview 2019: reasons to be cheerful

AI Brexit Data analytics Features Finance Leisure & Arts Media Technology Trends

The rise of sustainability, BBC Sounds and AI becoming a reality are just a few of the developments researchers are looking forward to in 2019 – Brexit less so. We asked our panel of contributors: what are you most excited about for the year ahead?

Sabine Stork, founding partner, Thinktank
The continued rise of sustainability as a consumer phenomenon – increased consumer consciousness, eco-campaigning and legislation are all combining to really create impact on behaviour that we will need to monitor. It’s about what we buy, how we buy and who we buy from – from avoidance of plastic, a focus on re-usability to increasing adoption of EVs. This is an exciting trend not only because it’s ‘right on’ but also as it will generate business for us as clients will need to adapt products, practices and messaging.

Anna Cliffe, joint managing director and founder, Trinity McQueen
Technology enabling us to access all areas so we can get a handle on respondent reality, without the traditional research filter. Eyes and ears into respondents’ lives, needs, challenges and moments of interaction with our clients’ products, services and content. 

Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA and APAC, Lucid
Mergers and acquisitions. I have a feeling that the landscape will look quite different in 12 months’ time. The Qualtrics deal will have piqued investors’ interest, and there are some behemoths that are likely to change hands.

Joe Staton, client strategy director, GfK
BBC Sounds for its binge-worthy podcasts and the ability to listen to whatever and whenever you want. And smarter integration of different data sources, enhanced with AI analytics, to produce ever more meaningful insights, without losing time.

Jane Frost, chief executive, Market Research Society
We’re gearing up to launch Intelligence Capital as a driver for growth and a core requirement, alongside financial and human capital, for any successful organisation. To underpin this, we’ve been carrying out a lot of interesting work around the concept with support from our senior client council – I’m excited to share that with everyone in the sector and beyond. 

And our recent Inclusion Survey has made me optimistic – the rate and volume of responses indicated that people are much more engaged with these important issues than they were a year ago.

Tom Ewing, head of communications and market intelligence, System1
I’m excited for Brexit and turning the clocks back to 1973 – face-to-face interviewing, hole punch data cards and maybe an overhead projector if the budget fits.

Ben Page, chief executive, Ipsos Mori
Machine learning becoming intelligent rather than dumb.

Sinead Jefferies, consultant, Watermelon Research
2019 might be still be too early for major steps forward but I’m really excited to see us properly embrace AI within the research industry – not see it as a threat but begin to understand where and how it can be applied and harness it to our benefit. In the last year, I’ve been interested to see many more examples of constructive use of AI tools, it’s being talked about much more at conferences, etc, and I think there is lots more to come. For me, there has got to be benefit in using technology where it can be applied, allowing us to use our strengths do more with the outputs.

Frédéric-Charles Petit, chief executive and founder, Toluna
I have two things I feel are going to be important in 2019.  

The first is blockchain. Blockchain provides consumers with more control over their data, while providing an ecosystem by which brands have more direct access to holistic, and high-quality consumer data. But it cannot be used to maintain the status quo – it needs to be used for good such as the empowerment of consumers.

The second is the continued advent of 5G connectivity and technology and edge computing. As this next phase of wireless technology becomes more prevalent and widely available to enterprises and the public, there will be subsequent leaps forward not just in faster phones and wearables but in emerging technology like autonomous cars and advanced medical treatments that were previously limited by latency.

Jane Rudling, managing director, Walnut Unlimited
Bringing together measured data with human understanding of emotional drivers will reveal new levels of insight. Whether it’s eye tracking, passive measurement or the latest data science techniques establishing what people are doing its much more insightful and has more predictive power when combined with a neuroscience and qual to give us the why.

Matt Lynch, chief strategy officer, Big Sofa
I’m delighted that observational studies are back on the rise. In some ways they’re a return to the roots of research, but now enabled by technology rather than people writing in notebooks.

Nick Baker, managing director, Morar HPI
Fintech. 2019 is when we start to see what open banking really unleashes.

Ryan Howard, head of analytics, Simpson Carpenter
Deep learning has been gathering momentum to leave academia and Silicon Valley. While perfection is some time off, 2019 will see its first forays into customer insights take hold. I’m particularly interested in its ability to recognise visual and audio cues at scale, with implications for how we will measure and evaluate campaigns in the not too distant future. Voice for real-time data collection is around the corner. The first AI marketing executive has found significant funding; the first AI semiotician must surely be in the pipeline. We are limited only by our imagination.

Will Galgey, chief executive UK & Ireland of insights, Kantar
To see who joins WPP as a co-owner of Kantar!

Greg Clayton, managing director, Kadence International
With us entering the last year of the decade, I think 2019 will represent an opportunity to take stock of the colossal developments in the 2010s. Customer-centricity will be back on the agenda; not paying lip service, but empowering customers to creatively interact with brands on their own terms.

Over the course of the festive period and beyond, Research Live is publishing a series of articles reviewing 2018 and looking ahead to the next 12 months. 

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