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Earlier this month over 250 research leaders and industry peers came together for the 46th annual AMSRS Conference.

With market research technologies continually expanding, global and local industry experts joined forces at this annual event to discuss the future of data collection and analysis. The speakers assessed six major research technology investments. After the panel concluded, Vision Critical ran a live predictions market, using feedback from conference attendees as the market predictor for future investments in tech. 

Here's a look at the research technology trends discussed at the conference.

1. Video analysis technology

According to Stephen Scheeler, founder of global advisory The Digital CEO and former CEO of Facebook Australia, video technologies should be your biggest investment. Over the past 5 years, video consumption has exploded, and forecasts predict that next year 80% of data collection and content will come through video. The challenge from here is how to decipher video content at scale. When taken to the audience for their investment breakdown, video analysis come out on top.

The future of research technology: Six takeaways from the 2018 AMSRS Conference

2. Blending multiple data stores

Seamlessly integrating multiple data stores to create a single customer view is the future of agile CX. Fiona Blades, CEO of Mesh Experience, said she would invest in technologies that support data integration to ensure brands are gaining an overarching view of customer behavior; the audience agreed. Mesh is already exploring agile research by specializing in understanding people’s experiences in real time—with brands, within categories and across their behaviors.

3. Blockchain

As one of the fastest growing technologies on the horizon, blockchain was a hot topic among panelists. Ray Poynter, Founder of NewMR, isn’t sold on blockchain investments yet. According to Ray, blockchain is still in its infancy. In his eyes, it’s not mature enough to validate investment where the chance of finding the right fit is too much of a gamble.

Jason Buchanan, advisor to mrchain, a research industry blockchain initiative, clearly sees a role for blockchain and put forward a compelling argument for providing greater quality sample in the market research profession. However, across the audience, the responses agreed that it was still too early to invest, with 60% opting to sell blockchain over other investments. We should stay tuned to this discussion as the more the panel learned about how Blockchain could help, the more they started to question their views on this technology.

4. Data automation

With a proliferation of data in the market, most brands have more than enough data on their customers. Often this data is unattainable and undecipherable, but data automation technology is allowing brands to collect, process and store data effectively.

Although this process seems to be an imperative function for research teams, the panel left automation as a low priority. Why? The research lens has shifted to prioritize insight over data, focusing on gathering the right information from the right customers rather than casting a wide net.

5. Passive data collection

Big data has taken storm in recent years, seeing an incredible influx of data but no avenue to contextualize it. Passive data collection tracks customer behavior behind the scenes and, according to the panel, brands are not yet ready to invest in it. According to conversations on the stage, investment in this space will only come after there is sufficient ability to analyze data at scale.

Having more data doesn’t mean you have the right data. Brands need to focus on engaging in meaningful customer conversations to avoid making business decisions based on blind data points.

6. AI and machine learning

AI and machine learning came out as the top investment, with majority of the audience saying they plan to double their spend in this space. According to Lyndall Spooner, MD at Fifth Dimension Research and Consulting, AI and machine learning will help identify patterns in data at scale to ensure insight gathered can be actioned quickly. Audience members focused on the ability to surface previously hidden insight and to create better end-to-end customer experiences from the data gathered. The panel agreed that AI is not a stand alone technology; rather, it should be contained in many of the technologies that will become more important in the future.

With live responses and real-time data collection through Sparq3, we now know where research leaders plan to hedge their bets. The proliferation of data in the market is already overwhelming. The question is how to deal with it, and how to utilize it and how it can create efficiencies and improve quality.  With technology advancements looking to evolve data collection and analysis, research teams should always be open to new technologies and agile thinking.

Want more information on Blockchain, AI and top tech trends for 2018? Uncover the emerging technology trends that will take over the business world this year and beyond.

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