With companies and governments pledging billions of dollars per annum to be the kings of the new tech empire, we explore what this new era of innovation means for consumers, and the way we do business.
In a rapidly changing world, there's no industry that's evolving quicker than tech. The tech sector is at the forefront of the innovation of new ideas, different means of how we go about our day-to-day business and new ways in which governments coordinate world affairs.
The growth in this sector is staggering, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. The tech industry is a vast category, currently growing at 5 to 6% per annum, and this is only expected to rise as AI is rolled out to the masses in the coming years.
Revolutionary technology is advancing on a daily basis, and the cost of that advancement is also rising - a total of $3.45 trillion being spent in the sector in 2022.
And as technology advances, we also buy and consume products differently. Last year, $300 billion was spent on mobile advertising.
Companies are now influencing the way we consume and interact more than ever before. TikTok is one of the biggest names in the world of social media and a brand at the forefront of these changes.
Kris Boger is the UK general manager of TikTok, and he told us just how much technology is changing advertising and consumer habits.
"We think that there's been a major shift in the entertainment and the marketing industry towards longer-form storytelling that puts creativity at its heart. On TikTok, you can play videos that are sound on and full-screen, and we've seen that with the likes of the creators on our platform who are the lifeblood of our community, they enable brands to be authentic and to tell stories in ways that weren't necessarily possible before.
"We've seen that, also, this new form of entertainment drives action offline, too. And probably the best example of this is what we call community commerce, which is the meeting point of shopping, people being in a shopping mindset, but also the entertaining content that's on TikTok and also our community too. And we've seen hashtags like #TikTok made me buy it, have 57 billion hashtag views and all of these videos that are on TikTok are people discovering products, they're reviewing them, they're engaging with these different products and then having real-world impact," Kris Boger revealed.
How do big businesses use your data?
It's not just consumption which is changing due to technological advancements. The way we do business is also going through a major reshuffle.
To find out more, we sent our reporter Ryan Capperauld to the launch of Google's new cloud service at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha where top Google bosses met to discuss the launch of a new cloud service in the region.
"We are here today in Qatar, launching our first region in the Middle East. That's part of our expansion plan globally," explained Tarik Khalil, Google Cloud Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.
"Demand coming from our customers and partners in the region has been growing. And usually in investing in countries where demand growth is, that demand is to stay close to our customers, to help them solve and reach their customers in a better way."
When asked if this was part of a wider project for Google in the middle east, Tarik Khalil told the Exchange that "Part of our investment in Qatar, it's the infrastructure."
"Second is our people and our workforce and the market with our ecosystem. We're bringing a huge ecosystem to the country in order to help our clients, our customers and prospects evolve and grow on achieving their goals."
But how does this actually help businesses in regard to the data?
"We all know it's a data era [...] Data is growing fast and fast and fast. So that's the angle I think every organisation, every business has to address in a very efficient way. Eventually, they have to make faster decisions. They have to reach precise decisions, leveraging the power of tech as an enabler to get to these insights.
"So how we're helping them is by providing our unique unified data platform supported or actually being integrated now with AI capabilities into that platform just to make the process much more efficient, to be able to reach the data insights in a faster way."
Where is the tech sector heading?
A promising era for the region then, entering new realms of interconnectivity. But what about the future of the sector overall?
We caught up with Mario Aquino, who is the CEO of Future Labs Ventures in Singapore, a firm which invests in technological advancements.
"Every few minutes, hours and days, there are new discoveries," Mario Aquino said. "We live in an unprecedented era of technology-enabled innovation. We focused mostly on addressing scalable market pain points that benefit your local force economies, but mostly also people and societies."
TikTok and Google tell us that the opportunities for business extend far beyond making entertaining videos. Despite obvious concerns about data security, it appears that consumers, by and large, have welcomed tech giants into almost every part of our lives.
Traditional lines are blurring. CEOs, citizens and governments though are still trying to predict both the potential and the pitfalls of this very new and very intimate relationship.