Just a few thoughts I’ve had while being a passenger on a highway trip. I think one day not only will cars have sensors processing reams of data but they will all be networked, sharing their data with one another and the broader traffic network. For example cars much further ahead of a car will be constantly reading the conditions and if anomalies occur such as a sudden breaking by a car ahead that event will ripple through the network down to the cars behind, alerting them to changes in traffic conditions however minor, allowing them to respond and react accordingly.
If we go even more granular on this the car could use eye tracking sensors to determine the alertness of each driver and factor that information into its risk assessments. I.e. their is a car ahead being driven by a driver that is showing signs of drowsiness, that car could be highlighted in red in the augmented front windscreen allowing all drivers to keep an eye on that specific driver. For motorcyclists this would be particularly helpful and their augmented visor could alert them to high risk situations [given most risk to a motorcyclist is other vehicles].
On top of this the traffic network of cars could also use this data to help individual cars calculate their their best route based on traffic and other conditions. Even the infrastructure grid itself could use this data to set traffic conditions such as traffic light timings. Even bus networks for that matter could use this and other data collected at bus stops by passing cars to dynamically set the number of buses on specific routes.
Perhaps one day this will mean far less accidents and far greater efficiency in traffic movements through cities.
I first saw this example on Mythbusters. Its the myth of the instantaneously freezing beer. Basically what happens is that someone takes a really cold beer taps the bottle down on a surface and it freezes within seconds. The technical explanation from what I remember is that the liquid is at or below 0 degrees but its the agitation of the molecules by the tapping of the beer bottle on the surface that forms ice crystals which cascades throughout the bottle until it freezes. I think this process is a nice analogy for how digital can spark conversations within campaign and markets.
The above the line campaign creates the conditions for conversation [just like the freezer cools the beer] but it is the spark, the catalyst of a good digitally driven idea that allows for conversation to actually happen. The reason I think this is the case is that in order for people to talk about something they not only need context but they also need a handle of conversation, a unit of information or an action that forms the immediate reason for conversation in that social or social media context. It could be the sharing of video in Facebook, it could be the downloading and use of an App, it could be the allowing and use of a Facebook App, or it just could be interacting with something in a new way.
I think though without the catalyst, the spark, conversations that could have been virulent may indeed never get to happen or dont happen as quickly, driving the conversation to a critical mass and earning the brand fame. So just like the beer a campaign idea needs a tap, a jolt, a spark that catalyses conversation potentially taking the whole idea to another level.
This is a question a brand planner friend of mine inadvertently asked during a recent discussion. It’s since struck me that there are a few issues it uncovers that are in some sense trivial but I think worth discussion. I think the major distinction between the normal application of strategic planning to solve business problems and the building of Facebook communities in an immediate sense is that the building of the community doesnt directly solve the same business problem. It is merely an asset that can be leveraged to solve the same business problem the communications strategy seeks to solve increasingly into the future. Its an obvious point but as an owned channel it is a pipeline through which the broader communications strategy can get to market as it is built and gains scale.
Potentially though there is a broader business problem that building Facebook communities achieves. Which is the need for brands to build their own communications channels populated by advocates, which can subsequently advocate to their friends, driving penetration, because consumers are increasingly hard to reach and are generally indifferent to advertising given the oversupply of un-engaging branded communications.
So in effect it doesn’t solve that same problem, but can be used to in the future. However it does solve a broader problem being the brands increasing inability to effectively reach consumers, which advocacy activation can assist in solving.
The most common response I still get when I ask someone why they aren’t on Twitter is that they aren’t interested in hearing about banal details of someone’s life or that there is too much crap on Twitter. Fair point there is a lot of crap on Twitter, but its way out weighted by the really interesting stuff. In fact most of the best nuggets of information I get about the industry I work in and any field I find through Twitter. Social content curation is an amazing asset to have at our disposal.
So I’m putting together a list of people to follow on Twitter that a new user can follow from the outset that are guaranteed virtuosos of interesting idea curation and sharing. In case you’re wondering how I’m selecting people to put on the list I’m starting it from ‘my friends’ Klout scores and then adding in other random people / news sources I find really interesting, helpful or just entertaining. I’m also trying to keep it as generic as possible.
@parislemon – MG Siegler
@chr1sa – Chris Anderson
@TheDailyShow – with Jon Stewart
@NickKristof – NYTimes Columnist
@RWW – Read Write Web
@BillGates – Bio says “Sharing cool things…” Ok you’re not cool Bill but he posts some interesting stuff.
@alaindebotton – Very interesting thinker. Author of Status Anxiety among others.
@Minervity – Web geek but consistently posting really interesting stuff.
Ongoing and unfinished…please feel free to add some in the comments section.
There are a lot of people in the advertising industry post Cannes talking about the need to generate ideas out of new technologies and it kind of makes sense. New technologies are in essence new channels that people havent had time to get bored of yet so they have a high chance of creating engagement. The down side is that in the maniacal hunt for the latest and greatest ideas can be past by that still work, ones that have a great story behind them like most epic ideas but are potentially overlooked because that type of execution has been done before.
Lynx have just launched their new execution entitled Fast Life which is an interactive / personalised video that uses Facebook connect to create it’s personalisation. Personalised video has been done a hundred times, indeed one of the first posts I wrote for this blog referenced Dorritos Hotel 626 which also had a personalised component back before Connect was a twinkle in the Zuck Dawg’s eye. Thing is it works, really well. Apart from the handy addition of Connect there is nothing really that new about this technology but personalised videos deliver high on user involvement and don’t require much effort on the part of the user to enjoy. Fast Life works really well because it is dead easy to use and has a great story behind/in it.
I think there is probably an ounce of the self fascination insight that drove Intel’s Museum of Me in these executions that drives it’s longevity but the point is if something has been done a hundred times it could be for good reason. Maybe we are witnessing the rise of an execution variant that lays claim to a category like bus stop billboards do for example. Personalization of the message is a pretty powerful tool so I think we’ll continue to see many more of these types of executions in the future.