What will email look like in 2025?
Of the many predictions which have been made about how technology is going to evolve and how it will change our lives, those made about email have been the most numerous, most controversial, and arguably, the least accurate. Email is a huge part of our professional and personal lives, and despite many predictions to the contrary, we think it’s here to stay. This blog takes a look at how new AI and machine learning technologies will change the way we interact with email and how we can use technology to help us perform at our best.
Email predictions of the past
Looking back at the things we were saying about email 10 years ago is an amusing reminder of how little we can predict about emerging technologies and the way they will impact us. This article written in the Wall Street Journal back in 2009 entitled “Why Email No Longer Rules…” predicted that we would soon be moving over to instant messaging technologies such as Yammer and AOL Messenger. The article stated that the new chat systems would facilitate greater levels of collaboration and imagined that the information flow would begin to resemble “a river which continues to flow as you dip in and out of it”. What utopian dreams we had! The article also went on to outline how new chat technologies would decrease the amount of “noise” in our inboxes because people would be able to “use the right tool for the right task”.
In an honest appraisal of today’s corporate email behavior, it would be fair to say that none of those predictions have been actualised. Even in our personal email behavior most people would probably say that they get more emails than ever before, and an increasing number of those emails seem to be irrelevant “noise”.
This comprehensive study done by Litmus confirms our suspicions: where email is concerned, not much is changing. For a while we saw the rise in mobile email opens as a precursor to an impending change in behavior. However, for the past four quarters the number of mobile opens has flatlined at roughly 42%. Perhaps more interestingly, we are seeing a revival of older methods of email access such as Outlook desktop opens rising over 3%, a trend which is being reflected across the other desktop clients too. According to Radicati Group (2019) email usage is set to grow to 4.371 billion by 2023, a 4% growth rate per annum. The evidence is clear: email is here to stay and for what it’s worth, the Wall Street Journal has seen the error of its ways and acknowledged this summer that email is the best way to “reach real people”.
Indeed, there have been some interesting developments in the rise of email clients such as eMClient which is now used by fortune 500 companies such as Avis, McDonald’s and Toyota; mailbird which promises to make email “easy & beautiful” and offers integrations with WhatsApp, twitter and Facebook to name a few; and INKY which is carving out a name for itself as “the new solution to the war against phishing”. The recent news storm around the rapidly growing new email client, Superhuman, opened up the much needed debate about the shifting ethics of software development but is also indicative of a trend to search out ways in which email can be improved and streamlined, rather than replaced.
What leading enterprises will be doing with email tomorrow
When asked about the frustrations of email today, a wealth manager at one of the largest and best performing wealth management firms in the City today would say “they are threefold: too numerous, lacking in relevance and not personalised enough.” This applies to emails sent both within the organisation as well as externally. In order to win in today’s increasingly competitive environment, two main challenges need to be addressed:
As the volume and frequency of email usage increases and the requirements from clients become more demanding, these challenges are becoming more acute. This research paper by Single Grain identifies that “being able to continuously access relevant insights from rapidly increasing volumes of data drastically improves a business’ initiatives.”
In the same way that new email clients are starting to make inroads into corporations; organisations that embrace the opportunities that AI and machine learning present are coming out on top. According to this report by Deloitte, 30% of US based asset managers are using advanced analytics and Named Entity Recognition (NER) technologies to process structured and unstructured data to drive better decision making. This compares to 20% of asset managers in Europe and 8% in Asia Pacific and China.
Regardless of your job title, industry or discipline, it’s obvious that leveraging AI to optimise email management is becoming the lynchpin of successful corporate activity. FeedStock’s intelligent, automatic systems are founded on this principle. Our clients have found that gaining access to real-time analytics on how their clients are engaging with emails and viewing trending topics across their email content has enabled them to streamline their email activity and tailor their service to better suit the demands of their clients.
Charlie Henderson, FeedStock, November 2019