16 Digital Trends for 2016

The first movie I saw in theaters was the original Star Wars (Episode IV) in the late seventies. That ignited my passion for advanced technology, space travel, science fiction, robotics and the future.

StarWarsMoviePoster1977

I continue to draw inspiration from that sense of wonder today. Understanding how to connect systems and data with compelling creative is key to connecting with consumers in an incredibly fragmented landscape.

Just like a disturbance in the force, there are macro digital shifts that will impact strategy. What worked a few months ago may not be applicable and adaptability and experimentation are key to staying ahead to meet the demands of today and to reinvent for tomorrow.

yoda

Below are my predictions/previews for 2016. The 16 Digital Trends for 2016 slide show explores macro digital shifts that will impact digital marketing in the next year.

The focus is to identify trends that can enhance campaigns in 2016 as well as provide a look into the near future through emerging technology that brand marketers will begin experimenting with in 2016.

From the impact of Ad-Blocking to Holographic Computing, the deck will provide an overview and key takeaways for consideration for 2016 planning.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

BlackFin360

 

VB: 5 Technologies You Should Watch For at CES 2016

I was recently asked by Venture Beat to provide insight into 5 potential technologies that I would be excited to see at CES 2016.

Screenshot 2015-12-14 09.26.36

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in just a few weeks, and we marketers will get a glimpse of new technologies that will impact how we talk to our audiences.

Here are 5 trend territories to keep an eye on at this year’s expo:

1. Emotive robotics

Emotive robotics is based on systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate elements of human behavior. Last year, single function robots were hot items from the show, but with advancements in deep learning capabilities, we’re on the cusp of emotive robotics entering the home in 2016.

An example of an emotive robot is Jibo, praised as the first “family robot.” Jibo and other emotive robots could aggregate Internet of Things (IOT) sensors and serve as the central nervous system of the home.

jibo

For digital marketers, emotive robotics opens up new possibilities for delivering highly contextual content and could serve as an access point into IoT-based behavioral data. The key to the concept of emotive robotics is its ability to take a consumer’s emotional response into consideration, making consumer interactions with these devices more positive and personal.

2. Gesture-based interfaces

Wearables of all types were crowd pleasers at the 2015 CES, but to date most wearables have primarily served as passive data collection devices. This year, the progression of gesture-based interfaces is one to watch.

At CES 2015, Logbar’s Gesture control ring drew large crowds. The simplicity of Ring and its ability to interface with an IoT-powered smart home is one example of a gesture-based interface.

logbar-ring

Gesture-based interfaces could provide a fun and engaging way for marketers to connect physical and digital worlds. Interfaces like Logbar’s Ring, could allow consumer electronics companies to create customizable experiences for their customers leveraging non-touch gesture-based motions.  For example, a consumer could interact with their TV, stereo, or coffee machine without ever having to touch a device.

I’m looking forward to new gesture control prototypes at CES 2016 and uncovering the marketing potential for brands.

3. Flexible displays

Flexible displays have always held a certain sci-fi allure. Having a digital display that can be bent, rolled, and shaped into many different form factors has a lot of marketing appeal.

We’re beginning to see flexible displays integrated into the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG’s G Flex smartphones and we’ve seen various standalone prototypes over the years.

Samsung-youm-flex-screens-8828

Thinking ahead, this type of display could revolutionize shopper marketing, as consumer brands could integrate flexible displays directly into clothing and other products, reducing consumer dependencies on mobile devices.

4. Virtual reality

On a recent earnings call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called Virtual Reality (VR) the next evolution of computing. We’ve seen experiential exploration of VR at past CES expos, and now we’re on the verge of VR hardware being readily available for early adopters.

Recently, there’s been acceleration around enabling 360 video — a form of VR — for the masses.  For example, you can now see 360 mobile video in your mobile Facebook newsfeed, and Google’s cardboard camera app supports the capture of 360-degree video and sound.

Recent campaigns such as the New York Times Google Cardboard experiment and GoPro’s deep dive into 360 video are testing out new and compelling experiences for consumers. However, truly immersive VR experiences require higher-end headsets, which create a sense of total immersion.

Stormtrooper

For example, companies can co-create content to embed their products in immersive experiences that align with their brand. With the Olympics coming in 2016, we can expect brands to leverage virtual reality to let consumers immerse themselves in the event.

I’ll be looking for new flavors of Facebook’s Oculus experience from other VR suppliers. I’ll also be looking for systems such as Sixense’s STEM System, which provides motion controls, haptic feedback, and additional spatial awareness in VR to create a full-body controlled experience.

5. Holographic computing

Holographic computing, sometimes called mixed reality, is a form of augmented reality (AR) that lets users spatially interact with digital overlays (holograms) that appear in the world around them.

A recent forecast from Citi analysts highlighted the future of the VR/AR industry, and their view is that AR technologies will likely disrupt major digital markets. Many organizations are exploring mixed reality solutions. One that has garnered a lot of attention is Microsoft, with its Hololens. Hololens produces interactive holograms that augment the existing physical world.

a67d3d33-e1e5-4cf7-bf3d-dbe1befc8d8c.0

The potential application for brand marketers is incredibly exciting, as AR represents a blank canvas against the physical world, giving brands an opportunity to engage with consumers in their everyday environments like at work or in the home. For example, a company could leverage AR in the home by sponsoring a grocery list, which appears on a user’s fridge and offers product recommendations when they are running out of a grocery item.

What to take away from the show floor

The five areas I’ve highlighted here represent the progression I’m hoping to see at CES. Will they all be represented? I’m excited to find out. What marketers should be looking for on the show floor are connected devices that have the potential to drastically shift consumer behavior and the way consumers and brands interact. Shifts in entertainment greatly impact marketers, and as a result data, content, and channels will all have a new role to play. Gaining insight into the dynamic shifts in how consumers connect will be key in 2016. CES should shed light on what may be possible in the years ahead.

If you happen to spot any of these items on the expo floor, tweet a pic and tag it with #CESevolved.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Tom Edwards Venture Beat

Evolution of Connection Keynote

I recently had the privilege of delivering a keynote presentation during Social Media Week Chicago. The topic was the evolution of connection.

Photo Nov 17, 12 02 15 PM

Evolution of connection explored the past, present and future state of social media. The initial section highlighted the transformational innovation that forever changed digital marketing by enabling accessibility to create content and how consumer behavior has evolved.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 09.55.51

Next, we took a look back at the past decade and touched on some of the macro trends that have shaped the now rapidly evolving digital landscape and what it takes to now break through in the attention economy.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 09.55.06

Then the focus shifted to how we connect in today’s heavily fragmented world. Focusing on the role data, content and channels play as well as new millennial research outlining the importance of life stage vs. simply segmenting by age.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 09.54.16

Next, the conversation shifted from content marketing to contextual marketing. This section highlighted key trends over the past few years and teased what’s to come as consumers shift from macro sharing to intimate and contextual connections.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 09.53.25

The discussion then shifted to the rise of moment based marketing. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are all trying to align moments, which is an event + context as a means to re-imagine connection beyond one off personifcations of atomized content.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 09.58.32

From moments to influence. The next section outlined how influence is evolving and highlighted the massive shift in entertainment that is taking place as well as looking at the heuristics of how influence works.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 10.00.20

After influence we discussed the role that video plays when it comes to connecting with consumers. We explored expanding video content strategy across the full content continuum as well as key platform considerations that highlight key points to consider when comparing platforms.

Screenshot 2015-12-02 11.44.06

Next we discussed one of the more important topics of the presentation. This section defined the pending shift from social media to social messaging and how both consumer behavior and platforms are driving towards 1:1 connections.

Tom Edwards Social Messaging

The shifting role of messaging also has a profound impact on the future of commerce. The next section discussed the different shifts in mobile commerce that will have an impact in 2016 and beyond.

Everywhere commerce

We ended our journey discussing the near future and explored topics such as virtual reality, IOT, artificial intelligence, holographic computing and more.

Mixed Reality

From shifts in entertainment that make co-creation essential to understanding  the role that data, content and channels play when connecting with consumers. Gaining insight into the dynamic shifts in how we connect will be key areas of focus in 2016.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

BlackFin360