Category Archives: Technology

From binge viewing to control freakery – 6 ways brands should be using the Internet of Things

Internet of Things, by Samsung TomorrowThe Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything – use whichever buzzword you like but businesses are only now grasping the fact this doesn’t just mean ‘mobile’, it means ‘mobility’, for starters.

Customer journeys are so much more fluid– but the connections and interactions made between people and devices are still not fully understood. For the IoT to deliver for marketers, the tech innovations must be data-driven. Marketers must marry technology with human insights and next-generation storytelling to create a consistent brand message across all devices. It’s about engaging customers with personalised, relevant and connected brand messages at every turn.

The assumption several years ago was that convergence of hardware would lead to one key device that we’d wander around with and control the universe – but that hasn’t emerged. In fact there’s a proliferation of smart devices, which enable the concept of mobility.

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If the brain has changed, our game can’t remain the same

Pathway by David Mertl:FlickrAs ad agency innovator types, we keep coming up against a familiar pushback: ‘There’s no such thing as new human behaviours; it’s just old behaviours expressed in new ways through technology.’ This makes logical sense to me – there’s just one problem: deep down I no longer believe it. My disquiet has grown so much that I’ve pitched to speak at SXSW – March’s giant tech/innovation conference – to try to get closer to the bottom of this. (Enlisting some friendly neighbourhood neuroscientists. As you do.)

But before boldly going forward, let’s step back – concern over technology twisting our melons (man) is nothing new. Socrates no less cites Ancient Egyptian King Thamus, remarking on the introduction of writing: “This invention will produce forgetfulness in those using it, because they will not practise their memory.” Read More »

Education is key for the connected home

connected home by Hans KylbergThe connected home, moving beyond the early adopter stage, is now trickling into the mainstream. Research we recently undertook highlighted that 17% of Brits would like and have no concerns about installing smart devices into their home. While on the other side of the pond a study by Accenture illustrates that 69% of consumers are planning to buy a connected home device in the next five years.

The entrance of the world’s biggest tech companies into the smart home market is likely to reassure consumers and accelerate adoption. Google’s £1.9 billion acquisition of Nest at the beginning of the year demonstrated its desire to be at the forefront of smart technology while Apple recently unveiled its HomeKit – a suite of tools for controlling home appliances.

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Imogen Heap and the art of creative failure

Imogen HeapSinger Imogen Heap’s gig at the Roundhouse last Sunday night should be a lesson to us all in creative exploration of a digital world. It taught me two things: how to explore technology creatively, and how to fail with dignity.

The gig marked the culmination of Reverb – a four-day festival of electronic, experimental music that Heap curated, with a heavy dose of technology on the side. Read More »

Are brands ready for the Millennials?

Girls texting millenialsIn its recent communications market report Ofcom has proven that the millennium generation of 14 and 15-year-olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK. Their exposure and awareness to digital media and brand communication across all tech devices is going to equal if not surpass that of the current adult generation, which today is estimated at a staggering eight hours 41 minutes.

These teens are the consumers of the future. They will have high expectations of brands when it comes to digital brand engagement. They have grown up with broadband and digital communications at their fingertips. They are already accustomed to instantaneous service and will expect brands in the future to serve to their preferences across all technologies, wherever they maybe.

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Is Amazon’s Local Register set to shake up digital payment platforms?

Online payment by EP TechnologyThe retail industry has patiently waited for digital payment platforms to take off: NFC has not yet delivered the magic bullet many had hoped for. Apathy (or, perhaps, deliberate foot dragging) from retailers and major technology players has led to consumer indifference. This year, so far, Best Buy and 7-11 have both shut down their in-store NFC programmes.

It may yet be bodily recognition platforms (like the fingerprint recognition technology implemented on iPhone) or facial recognition technology overtake device-based approaches, of which, Zapp – the UK banking coalition initiative – and iBeacons look favourites to win out. Read More »

Wearable tech would benefit from an haute couture approach

Google glass fashionFigures from CCS Insight suggest that sales of smart wearable devices are going to rocket from 9.7m last year to 135m in 2018. This is predicted to include 68m smart watches and 50m smart bands. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the figures will prove accurate, though the claims don’t seem especially well-supported as there’s a lot that has to change between now and then if this massive boost in smart wearables is going to happen.

Primarily, the creators of smart wearable tech need to ensure they’re actively catering to a key market when it comes to setting trends, the fashion industry.

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Oxford English Dictionary adds 10 ad tech words

Dictionaries by mrpolyonymous FlickrYou know when the industry you work in is making an impact on the wider consumer world when you hear that the vocabulary you and your peers use at work every day has been acknowledged by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Last week a series of ad tech related words and phrases made the big league. ‘Sentiment analysis’, ‘second screen’, ‘responsive’ and ‘clickbait’ were included in the’s yearly announcement of new official words. For me, this highlights the fact that as business and technology evolve consumers are becoming evermore ‘tech-savvy’, which is great. Read More »

The long arm of tech

Disruption by Tsahi Levent Levi FlickrEmpowered, technology-savvy customers are disrupting just about every industry out there and brands are not exempt. The age of the consumer has placed harsh and unfamiliar demands on brands which has forced them to make changes in how they develop, market, sell and deliver products and services.

Why? Because in this explosion of technology and in the on-demand world we live in, consumers have come to expect more, and better. Consumer expectations have never been so high. Twenty years ago you only experienced software in the workplace, now our lives are run by it – your car, your home heating and your TV are now software experiences.

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From Freelance to free-range – why you should embrace millennials

MillennialsMillennials, Generation Y, Peter Pan generation or Boomerang generation – whatever you choose to call them, there’s no denying: today’s hottest enterprises are built of them. Besides having grown up absorbed in technology and being the first adopters of the internet, they also possess a strong sense of individuality, they don’t want to be bound 100% with any organisation – they want to run free and explore other opportunities.

Huge enterprises are already working with millennials and free-range creative people and flex working environments are cultivated at companies such as Google and Philips to name the few. Even newly built work places are constructed with the modern ‘breed’ of millennials in mind, take the new skyscrapers in New York as an example. Yet still, despite millennial way of working being a trending subject, businesses fear them.

They fear losing control. From my experience, having shaped a creative enterprise built on millennial talent, a free-range creative person is exactly what you should be looking for when you develop your next creative campaign. Read More »