Yesterday, our panel inferred that methods maybe out and machines/technology/tools would be in. But which of said machines looks likely to flourish in 2017? But first, what should our ethos on technology be?

We know that technology makes things faster, better and cheaper. However, any engineer will tell you, you can only choose two of these benefits. In 2017 we would like market research to focus on becoming faster and better. Technology will enable us to run quality checks testing for logic, consistency, insight and to establish that data has come from a bona fide source. This will be absolutely essential for online surveys where the source of the data hasn’t always been apparent.

Paul Hague, B2B International

And which technologies should we focus on?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be finally coming of age. Using AI in MR process automation such as survey design is an obvious application and holds little controversy. The use of AI in analytics and prediction of behaviour is a wholly different subject. The promise of using AI in analytics is tempered by the lack of explanation of the results it produces. AI can make predictions, but trying to extract some sort of insight about the prediction is often not possible. So do researchers want to explain, or are better predictions the way forward? Are actionable predictions better than insight?

Andrew Jeavons, Mass Cognition

On-Demand will grow and move into business in greater ways. Many of us are now used to ordering an Uber or using Amazon’s Prime Now service. Whilst automation, and connectivity are the tools, ‘On Demand’ is the result, and what we should be striving toward in the research industry. Research tools that can provide data on-demand are already available are getting ahead of the decision to inform business strategy, and this trend will grow in 2017.

Chris Dubreuil, Research Now    

And what does this all mean for our industry?

The simple fact is that our industry faces a very real threat without the advent of new technologies and innovations.  Response rates from traditional research panels continue to be on the wane, specific demographics are becoming increasingly difficult to reach through single sourced panels, and the sheer number of survey starts that happen on a mobile device is still on the rise.  That being said, there is no technology that I know of that can take a 40 minute, poorly designed questionnaire laden with grids and make it fun (an opportunity for all of the innovators out there?)

Ben Hogg, Lucid

Technology is always and only an advantage for us. When used properly by smart people with good intentions, our work will be done more quickly, more accurately, and with greater relevance. With that in mind, each of us needs to learn more tech. Learn R and Python for starters, if only to help you communicate better with the tech gurus. Learn more about Virtual Reality because this could very well become the new focus group and aisle/retail test.

Annie Petit