Digital transformation is not a transient situation or a mere juncture. It is a complex, multi-dimensional and evolutionary process. It occurs when continual technological development is integrated into the design, production and provision of products and services. Digital transformation reshapes corporate functions through new approaches that, ideally, start from the core and reach outer layers of each corporate actor.
In this context, coronavirus is acting as a digital accelerator that likely will leave an important legacy. Whether we re-quarantine, find a cure for coronavirus or not, the tendency will be to remain more digital than in the past.
Customers now expect, if not demand, digitalization. This starts with content and results in interaction with a corresponding interface. That is why digital transformation leads to the reinvention of business models that operate in more innovative ways.
PR Becomes Intelligent Relations
This new condition also repositions communication and PR. As society becomes more digital, PR will move beyond simple uses of smart tools. It will increasingly make use of algorithms, incorporating vital elements of Artificial Intelligence.
In this context, PR of the 4th Industrial Revolution is being transformed into Intelligent Relations.
This evolution will make communication faster, more insightful and effective. Intelligent Relations will collect big data easier and more meaningfully. In addition, it will invest more in social-listening techniques and tools. As a result, it will monitor digital social trends closer. This will expand the limits of behavioral analysis in the digital environment and employ the advantages of automated production and personalized content.
The ability of machines to conduct pattern and image recognition will provide more capability for PR. The evolution of natural language processing and understanding will improve prospects for easier and more direct communication with targeted audiences. Real-time data will generate live news through an artificial but tailor-made process for each recipient. Data mining will bring more credible predictive analysis and prompt preparation for potential PR crises.
Intelligent Relations is far more interactive than traditional PR. The evolution of chatbots into Knowledge Assistants expands opportunities for automated communication. Automated responses are no longer precomposed answers but new arrangements of related data and special content that covers adequately each request.
We are getting to the point where not only standardized information is managed, but knowledge as well. The evolution of PR into Intelligent Relations not only creates products and services. It unleashes creativity in communication, thus revealing new dynamics.
There are, of course, neo-Luddites who fear algorithms. Moreover, digital transformation brings inevitable and important rearrangements (economic, social, employment, etc). It remains to be seen whether they will be equivalent to those brought by machines in the nineteenth century.
In addition, there are important ethical challenges. Alas! No major evolution ever occurred without facing significant dilemmas.
The insecurity that a next era of vague limits and obscure perspectives can create, is understandable. But it seems that we must get accustomed to uncertainties. We live in a world where unpredictability is more likely than ever.
Integration of the 4th Industrial Revolution's potential and ground-breaking technologies open new horizons in the field of communication. Those who decide not to explore these horizons will remain isolated spectators instead of co-shapers of the coming cosmogony, since the future of Intelligent Relations already is here.
Panagiotis Kakolyris is a research associate at the University Neapolis Pafos