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Digital Transformation and Its Discontents Many of our clients are struggling with the same issue – digital transformation. As they struggle to adjust to become digitally-driven in their thinking, they all seem to come to the same realization; it isn’t a technology problem, it’s a people problem. Recently, I talked with a friend who is a digital expert in the publishing industry. “We just aren’t there yet.” He told me. “I’m afraid that there’s going to be more pain before we get it right.” The issue, across all industries, is that the digital revolution has been two quick to anoint winners and losers. If a company really wants to become digitally-driven, no employee can be made to feel obsolete. Application to Marketing: The marketing industry is currently suffering through the agony of digital transformation. The technologists reject the old order as hopelessly archaic. The traditionalist reject the “kids” for ignoring the effectiveness of the old ways. Any fool can tell you that a balanced perspective is reasonable. Consider using digitally-minded employees for future vision and traditionally-minded employees for current accountability. Availability: I’d like to think we can do better. But sometimes, like my friend I think “there’s going to be more pain before we get it right.” Read More Throw out your iPhone Charger Actually, don’t do that yet. Those things are expensive. But rumors are swirling that Apple is developing technology that will allow users to wirelessly charge iPhones and iPads. Despite downplaying their interest in wireless charging, Apple has a long history of registering patents in this area. In fact, the much-maligned (and celebrated) iWatch already allows wireless charging within a few millimeters of a power source. But the plans for the new iOS devices look to be more ambitious. Application to Marketing: Battery life remains a limiting factor on the use of many applications and technologies. Apps that use GPS or streaming services tend to drain devices so quickly that consumers limit their use. Developers are also conscious of the need to preserve battery life. Some product features are simply abandoned because they are viewed as impossible to support with current battery technology. If Apple does have a work-around to solve battery life, this could be a game-changer for streaming content services, especially video and music. Availability: Rumors have this coming to market as soon as 2017. Read More Putting Things on your IoT More and more of our projects seem to be tapping into the Internet of Things (IoT). While this opens up exciting new applications beyond desktops and mobile devices, there are also new challenges navigating the border between the Internet of Things and the Internet of Not-Things (Note to self: come up with a better phrase.) Although enthusiasts rave about the simplicity of using an Arduino or Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone, playing with hardware is hardly easy. Now a new service – Cayenne – allows for easier setup and simpler application development for IoT projects. Application to Marketing: As the IoT market moves beyond homebrew solutions and towards established tools, more developers and more marketers will begin to imagine what they could accomplish in the real world with web technology. The introduction of Cayenne and other similar technologies indicates a growing maturity in the Internet of Things. Companies should begin to consider their Internet of Things strategy this year so they can ride the current wave of enthusiasm and technology. Availability: Cayenne is in market now. Read More Haves and Have-nots There is a digital divide in this country that is wide and getting wider. 39% of the rural population in the United States, approximately 22 million people, lack access to broadband. With industry, education and medicine now utterly reliant on broadband technologies, the implication for these unconnected populations are dire. Technology companies like Alphabet (read: Google) have been working on ways to overcome the problems of connecting low-density, low-infrastructure areas with drones and stratospheric balloons. But those solutions are probably years away from widespread application. Application to Marketing: As marketers (and technologists), it is easy to forget that not everyone enjoys our level of digital access. For companies selling technology to already tech-savvy consumers, this is a non-issue. But CPG companies do not have the luxury of ignoring 22 million consumers in the United States. It’s worth taking a hard look at your communications plan and ask yourself if it is too reliant on bandwidth-heavy media. Availability: Alphabet (Google) is currently working with US authorities to introduce Loon balloons to this country. Read More

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