I recently had the opportunity to join an amazing lineup of speakers for the 2020 Telco Global Forum. It was a great event and I wanted to share a snippet of my Innovation to Reality discussion with Leo Clifford, the Telco Global Forum founder.
I recently had the opportunity to join Thiago Desouza on his Business Access Podcast. We had an incredibly in-depth conversation across a variety of topics. From passions that have driven my career, technology, and marketing impact post-pandemic, gaming, GenZ, generational gaps, and the future of consumer experience. Timestamps and topics below.
1:25 – Tom Edwards Career Overview
Smooth Fusion (Microsoft)
Telligent (Electronic Arts)
INgage Networks (Chief Marketing Officer)
Omnicom (Strategy Leader – Red Urban, The Marketing Arm)
Epsilon (Chief Digital & Innovation Officer)
Tripleclix (Chief Marketing Officer)
2:50 – Discussing Core Passions
Star Wars & the droids and how the technology-enabled the adventures
Gaming in the 1980s
90’s Computer Hardware
Marketing, Technology, Gaming are core passions
4:10 – Where are we today technology wise compared to Star Wars?
No longer disruption as a new normal
All about convergence, AI, predictive decisioning, virtual assistant proxies, simulation at scale
6:15 – How does it feel when you create a pathway to success for a client?
Love to align technology + consumer experience hits a cultural inflection point
EA Skate example. The first instance of in-game content posted to the web in the mid-2000s
Discuss Data & AI work while at Epsilon
Goes well beyond a transaction, it’s about creating value as a partner
8:30 – Discuss Professional Speaking & Innovation to Reality
How technology will evolve and how we will move from the mobile device to our environment adapting to us through the lens of pop-culture
Empower – technology that enables consumers
Exponential – intelligent systems
Enhance – proxies to full simulation
Discuss GenZ, gaming, expectations of technology and how experiences are evolving
11:00 – How do you feel technology is going to advance post COVID pandemic?
Less about a single use case and application, and more about how technology enables work that isn’t in a physical location
New consumer decision journey… Disruption, Acceptance, What’s next
Acceleration of work from anywhere, have worked remotely for over 5 years
Sparks of inspiration occur at different times of the day.
14:33 – What can businesses do and where should they focus post pandemic?
Focus on core consumer needs
Reflect & reset corporate strategy, especially digitally
The role that data plays
Developing new capabilities
Forecast demand by geography & audience segments
Discuss the cycle of demand
What’s next… How does physical retail compete with online?
18:00 – Communication, Communication, Communication is vital…
Maintaining communication and connection is key
71% of consumers stated if brands put profit over people they would lose faith in the brand forever
It’s important to communicate, but also how are you easing disruption
Content strategy, building it around how creating value, balance selling vs. supporting
Reacting vs. strategically planning
21:30 – How have international businesses been responding?
US quantity based
Bolivia case study/hand sanitizer example
23:00 – Across industries, what techniques and methods work well broadly?
Mapped career against the rising flow of technology & culture
Mid 2000’s social computing
Then consumer social strategy
Data & AI
Next is gaming…
26:15 – Generational Gap & Gaming
29:00 – Experiences like Pokémon Go prep future adoption
Training a generation
GenZ expectations of technology & behaviors such as mixing reality is becoming second nature
30:30 – What happened to Google Glass? What’s next?
Was an early adopter
When it initially launched we weren’t in the midst of a creator society
It was also about form factor… looking at patents and future tech, look and feel will be extensions of style
Apple, Samsung, and others will move us towards a smart contact
Ubiquitous tech + constant connectivity via 5G will drive adoption of new form factors
33:30 – If a client/business asks how can I make it happen?
Not enough time spent on the behavioral side
Single persona vs. affinity iterations & personality types
How does that come together and finding the right levers to connect with individuals in a meaningful way
Easier to look at it from a media perspective vs. using AI as a driver to truly differentiate the experience via structured & unstructured data
Esports sponsorship… “Marketing with to games is fine, but connecting authentically is a different approach” – Chris Erb.
36:55 – The role of personal branding
The accelerator of success was my blog… 500 posts later, how you think, what you have done, and having a content repository is key
I recently had the opportunity to join Christopher Kai on his Gifters Podcast. This is episode 800 of his show and we dive into a number of topics in twelve minutes. From what is a futurist, why emerging tech, data strategy, recommendations for business post COVID, and innovation.
Recently, I was talking to an industry associate and he referenced this topic and video. I have been speaking professionally for years now and this is the process I go through in advance of taking the stage and I thought it was worth resharing.
By focusing your time and effort on knowing your audience, framing and refining your story and following these 7 tips, you will be well prepared to take the stage and deliver a great presentation.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss how to thrive in the time of COVID-19 from brand marketing, digital transformation, research on consumer behavior, and more.
This is the second part of a discussion with Andy Frawley, CEO @ V12, & Anders Ekman, President @ V12. This discussion focuses on strategies required to recover and retool due to the pandemic.
Below is a recap of topics along with timestamps.
:15 – Andy Frawley – Discusses Supply Chain & Cost Reduction vs. Go-To-Market Strategies.
1:50 – Anders Ekman – Impact of COVID-19 on organic web activity, the role of online signals and WebID.
3:15 – Tom Edwards – How organizations can reset. 1) Focus on core consumer need 2) Redefining core digital strategy 3) Data sources informing an adaptive strategy to retool and have a faster recovery.
4:45 – Andy Frawley – Outlines the role of adaptive email.
6:30 – Anders Ekman – Discusses speed, disconnected data sets, and importance of connectivity.
7:15 – Tom Edwards – Discusses the importance of a unified view of consumers and connecting with the right partners while maintaining speed and efficiency.
8:45 – Andy Frawley – Discusses the role of CDP’s and integration post COVID-19.
10:50 – Andy Frawley – Role of V12 accelerating change.
12:00 – Tom Edwards – The role of performance based marketing moving forward.
13:15 – Tom Edwards – Blend of paid vs. organic content strategy.
15:00 – Tom Edwards – Views and predictions for marketing in the next six months.
16:32 – Andy Frawley – Views and predictions for marketing in the next six months.
18:00 – Anders Ekman – The role of analytics post pandemic.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss how to thrive in the time of COVID-19 from brand marketing, digital transformation, research on consumer behavior, and more.
This is the first part of a two-part discussion with Andy Frawley, CEO @ V12, & Anders Ekman, President @ V12. This discussion focuses on how channels have shifted due to the pandemic. Upcoming discussions will focus on how to market during this time and ultimately, how to recover.
Below is a recap of topics along with timestamps.
2:00 – Andy Frawley discusses themes for how brands are addressing consumer engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3:00 – Tom Edwards provides a brief background, discusses impact across industries and categories. From shifting consumer behavior, and how brands have adjusted their approach.
4:45 – Tom Edwards outlines the importance of a holistic view of consumers, discusses research tied to consumer behavior, and the importance of focusing on providing value to consumer’s daily lives vs. influencing feelings.
6:00 – Andy Frawley discusses the role of digital transformation during COVID-19.
7:45 – Anders Ekman outlines his view on digital transformation, impact on automotive, experiential learnings, and how to reset.
8:45 – Tom Edwards discusses the impact on B2B marketing, conferences, events, and how brands are developing their COVID-19 responses, as well the importance to focus on retooling for the new normal through data.
10:30 – Andy Frawley discusses how he has accelerated and retooled V12 and their products to support brands to understand who is in the market for products and services.
12:15 – Tom Edwards discusses the role of data and digital engagement. The importance of affinity and intent. The decrease in organic search and how data-driven marketing, regional affinities, and messaging needs to adjust to connect quickly to capitalize.
15:00 – Tom discusses market themes from COVID-19 response, 2021 strategy, and the role of partnerships, strategic acquisitions, and developing new capabilities.
Futurithmic published my latest article covering how GenZ is thriving in quarantine. GenZ is more comfortable with physical isolation. They were part of the first mobile-first generation, and they learned to swipe on a device before they learned to speak.
Connecting with friends through Facetime, or through Discord while playing their favorite games is second nature for them and quarantine will feel like an extended vacation to connect with friends and dive deeper into all forms of entertainment, especially gaming.
This article references how the gaming industry is responding to increased demand, network strains in online gaming, and examples for how different entities are adapting to shift from physical events to digital.
Today, Futurithmic published my latest article outlining key 5G events in 2020. What we have seen so far and what we should expect as the year unfolds. From CES, The Super Bowl, to the canceled Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona.
We explore how 5G impacted the shows and cultural moments so far in 2020 while also outlining the key events to come later in the year that will ultimately shape the role of 5G in advancing consumer experiences.
I have the pleasure of working with the Futurithmic team to write a number of articles in 2020discussing the future of 5G and it’s potential impact on various forms of entertainment.
This article explores how 5G will evolve experiences within theme parks and exhibits, enhance wayfinding through computer vision and augmented reality, enable enhanced proximity-based content experiences, digital simulation, and ultimately enhance movie theaters.
This is the second in the series and here is a link to the full article on Futurithmic.com
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with EDgage Magazine to discuss emerging technology trends tied to the technology landscape today, how technology will evolve, the role of gaming and esports, tech impact on higher education, marketing and the future of technology, and 2020 trends.
Give us a snapshot of the technology landscape today (as it relates to marketing).
(Tom Edwards) We live in an amazing time. Technology is culture and culture is technology. So much of the focus the past few years has been about real-time, contextual and personalization at scale. Data’s role in driving decisioning, especially leveraging machine learning to derive themes, perceptions, and occasions, is revolutionizing how we derive affinity and intent signals from consumers. We can now return in time and process millions of conversations to understand unbiased consumer behavior and have the ability to align that with evolving consumer experiences.
Technology and experience will continue to evolve. Technology will expand the boundaries of higher education.
(TE) The other major shift is we are quickly moving from desktop and mobile-centric experiences toward multi-modal at scale. This includes voice, vision, and touch. The rise and adoption of virtual assistants, advancements in computer vision and democratization of augmented reality experiences, and the rise of gesture-based experiences make it a great time to be a consumer and marketer.
How will technology continue to impact the higher ed space?
(TE) Technology and experience will continue to evolve. I used to talk about how disruption was the new normal, and how a single technology could have a transformational impact. Now, it’s less about disruption and more about exponential acceleration through intelligent systems. Technology will expand the boundaries of higher education. With the rollout of 5G connectivity across campuses, we will see responsive and immersive augmented reality, high quality streaming for on-demand and live casting of classes, 5G-enabled edge computing/analytics to optimize the on-campus experience, and making IoT more accessible to close the gap between context and awareness.
What role will technologies like AI continue to have on today’s campuses and universities?
(TE) AI will have a significant impact moving forward—from organizational efficiency, enhancing student experiences and redefining coursework, to shift toward critical thinking in support of intelligence augmentation.
Universities can leverage AI to streamline the admissions process, quickly access the sentiment and areas of interest of their student and faculty population, use AI to drive fundraising and create personalized experiences for alumni.
AI will also enhance students’ capabilities to learn—from leveraging visual search and computer vision-enabled experiences to shifting coursework to focus more on critical and strategic thinking and using data and analytics to fuel experiences.
What are things higher ed marketers should think about when it comes to technology?
(TE) I’ve been involved with higher education at varying levels for the past 15 years. I have instructed thousands of students, and most recently lectured at SMU in Dallas. I am also a part of its Big Data advisory council.
For me, it is an evolution of the traditional 4P’s of marketing. Since the ’60s, it has been about product, price, place, and promotion. With the rise of intelligent systems, it is less about the traditional 4P’s and more about the new 4P’s: Plan, Predictive, Proxy and Pervasive.
Plan is having a plan for the use and data: how it is captured, structured, cleansed, analyzed and fed into intelligent systems, as data is oil for AI. Predictive is leveraging data and machine learning to drive predictive decisioning. Proxy is all about virtual assistants becoming personal proxies for individuals. The data plus predictive decisioning capability combined with virtual proxies will give rise to the proxy web where our virtual assistants represent our preferences and interface with other proxies. Finally, pervasive is about designing for multi-modal interfaces at a time when the mobile device will no longer be our primary device but our environment adapts to us.
What should every higher ed professional know about technology?
(TE) Understand that behaviors and expectations of students is evolving. Students are empowered to control experiences. Accessibility has led to ubiquity and Gen Z and Generation Alpha are quickly shifting traditional behaviors.
From expectations of on-demand content, gaming, and eSports to expectations tied to immersive and low-lag experiences. Universities have to evolve their infrastructure toward a 5G future and higher ed professionals will need to rethink curriculum toward data, analytics, and multi-modal experiences.
What kind of trends should they be looking at heading into 2020?
(TE) In 2020, we will continue to see virtual assistants shift toward the center of the operating system. With the rollout of 5G connectivity, we will see a path toward simulation through low latency augmented reality at scale.
We will continue to see the camera used as a bridge to intelligence through a combination of computer vision and virtual assistants and we will continue to see the rise of the proxy web where virtual assistants continue to evolve to the point where we are no longer marketing just to consumers, but also to algorithms and intelligent systems.
Finally, we will continue to see AI-enhanced digital avatars become more mainstream. First in the form of customer support and slowly expanding to more use cases by industry.
I have the pleasure of working with the Futurithmic team to write a number of articles discussing the future of 5G and it’s potential impact on entertainment.
Thanks to everyone that interacted with the post on LinkedIn as it’s been trending in #5G today.
This is the first in a series and a repost from Futurithmic… Here is a link to the full article.
This article is the first in a series that will explore the role of 5G and its potential impact on various forms of entertainment.
For consumers, 5G will bring improved stability and portability of experiences – faster download and data streaming of high-resolution video, lower latency response times for augmented reality experiences, and the ability to experience highly immersive events. It will be possible to seamlessly watch and interact with live events with friends from anywhere in the world.
Today, live entertainment experiences are designed around being physically present at an event. A lot goes into the delivery of live entertainment, from sporting events to concerts, and a majority of these experiences are designed for fans at the venue. But 5G will represent a monumental shift in how we watch and interact with live entertainment in the coming years. With speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G, 5G may revolutionize the game-day experience, seamlessly connecting the in-stadium experience with your location of choice anywhere in the world.
Last year in the U.S., almost 437 billion minutes were spent watching the NFL and college football. That’s nearly 2 billion minutes a day. And when combined with events such as the Super Bowl and the 2018 Winter Olympics, that number doubles. The draw of live sporting events represents an opportunity to enhance experiences from passive viewing of linear live experiences to enhanced viewing through 5G-enabled devices.
5G will represent a monumental shift in how we watch and interact with live entertainment in the coming years.
5G enhanced sports
From life-size digital versions of star players to live stats overlaid onto the field of play, 5G will allow for low-latency enhanced experiences that provide control to the end consumer to completely customize their game-day experience in any way they like.
For example, they could control concurrent video streams of the action through their mobile devices in a stadium. They may even customize virtual reality experiences, in which their eyes control contextual hotspots from within the device to change camera angles, similar to experiences delivered through Fox Sports.
We also saw examples of immersive live entertainment at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea, with in-stadium augmented reality experiences. We can expect even more enhanced experiences with the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, as there are plans to deliver 8K enhanced video streams.
Being a fan of the Oklahoma Sooners, I jumped at the chance to watch a game via virtual reality. The ability to control the viewing angles and enjoy enhanced digital overlays made for a unique and compelling viewing experience. Imagine if this was enhanced via 5G, allowing for even lower latency and co-viewing opportunities?
Major sports leagues and teams have already partnered with Verizon to enhance the in-stadium experience via 5G. The NFL and Verizon are working with 13 stadiums across the U.S. for the 2019-2020 football season, focusing on seated areas and select spots in and around the stadiums.
The NBA and NHL have also partnered with Verizon to enhance their live experiences. NBA teams like the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche have all embraced 5G solutions. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, is also rolling out 5G experiences to support both live sporting events and concerts.
Leagues and venues are focused on creating compelling and enhanced experiences. This is critical as traditional viewership shifts towards more interactive mediums, such as gaming and over-the-top services.
Larger-than-life concert experiences
Concerts are another form of live entertainment that can benefit from 5G enhanced connectivity. Lower-latency response times combined with mobile edge computing can revolutionize the use of open-air holograms, projection and object-mapping technologies to create larger-than-life experiences that bend the rules of reality.
But it’s not just live concerts that can be enhanced via 5G technology. The ability to sell “virtual tickets” to attend stage side, control camera angles, enjoy behind-the-scenes interviews with band members and more could form new revenue streams for artists.
An example of a virtual concert that could be enhanced by 5G is the recent collaboration between EDM superstar Marshmello and Epic Games, the creator of the wildly popular Fortnite video game. Recently, Marshmello held a virtual concert that more than 10 million people attended virtually, in-game. A 5G-enhanced connection combined with cloud gaming services could increase that number exponentially when players are untethered from their consoles and PCs.
Over-the-top content providers and solutions have gone from add-ons to traditional cable to the flavor of choice for many Americans. With the commercialization of 5G, the consumer will have even more control over how they view their favorite programs, including live television events such as sporting events.
Over-the-top providers like YouTube TV have been experimenting with augmented reality enhanced overlays and advertising, such as YouTube TV’s recent collaboration with Major League Baseball and the World Series. Now with multi-access edge computing, data processing power at the edge of mobile networks, plus lower latency, we will see an increased throughput of streaming media and (OTT) services.
There is a correlation between the device screen size and the amount of time spent streaming.
5G over-the-top media consumption will also have an impact on device form factors. At CES 2019, I saw several foldable phone form factors. Why would you need a foldable phone, you ask? Consumption behaviors are directly tied to screen size. There is a correlation between the device screen size and the amount of time spent streaming. More bandwidth, combined with faster download times and more options to consume and interact with live content, means that enhanced OTT services will become the new normal. Consumers might enjoy having the choice of a compact screen that can unfold to a larger screen size.
The commercialization of 5G technology combined with mobile edge computing and the democratization of enhanced reality technology (augmented and virtual reality) will not only impact how we work, but it will also have a significant impact on how we spend our free time.
In future installments of this series, we will explore 5G’s ability to enhance entertainment and the idea of ambient entertainment.
Futurithmic – ( Podcast Interview) – Experiential Computing, 5G, AI & more. Tech titan Tom Edwards of BlackFin360 talks about how the blurring of the lines between technology and culture is only going to grow as AI, AR, and 5G become embedded in our physical spaces to replace our smartphones.
Connecting the dots of the technology of today with the future of tomorrow. Here are the timestamps for key topics discussed.
1:38 – Tech Titan Advocacy Award 2:01 – Experience Driven Culture 2:55 – Shift Towards Multi-modal & Enhancing Mobility 4:05 – Ambient Computing 4:50 – GenZs Impact on Emerging Technology 5:50 – Expectations of Technology & Adoption of AI 8:05 – Virtual Assistant as a Preference Center, Rise of the Proxy Web 10:15 – Consumer Choice vs. Ease & Convenience 11:30 – Smart Glasses Adoption 13:00 – Benefits of 5G Connectivity 15:15 – Use cases for combining 5G + AI + AR = Proxy Twin Hypothesis 17:45 – Volumetric Capture 19:40 – 5G & Artificial Intelligence = Edge Computing & Edge Analytics 23:40 – 3 Types of AI 24:30 – Intelligence Augmentation & Predictive Decisioning 26:30 – The Future… Privacy, Presence, Commerce, Enhancing Experiences 29:15 – Gaming, Esports, & Technology Adoption, Interaction Economy
I had the opportunity to provide a keynote on tech innovation for the 2019 Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago yesterday. It was a great crowd, high energy, and with a 30-minute timeslot, we had to cover a lot of ground!
The focus of the talk was discussing the coming waves of technology and how that will impact consumer behavior along the path to purchase. This is the latest version of the InnovationToReality talk series covering all facets of consumer behavior and emerging technology.
We discussed how Star Wars, Fortnite, Pixar Movies, & The Matrix highlight how emerging technology and consumer behavior will shift in the near future. We also discussed:
the role of esports
the camera as a bridge to intelligence
the role of virtual assistants and commerce
the rise of the proxy web
the 5 levels of autonomy
how the new 4P’s will enhance future strategy
the role and importance of 5G in the transition towards ubiquitous simulation.
I recently had the opportunity to partner with Nokia to cover Mobile World Congress 2019. From highlighting key elements of their brand messaging around 5G, amplifying content from analyst meetings to on-camera work on the show floor. I really enjoyed partnering with Nokia.
Today, my full #MWC19 recap was posted on Futurithmic.com the recap views trends from MWC through the Innovation to Reality™ lens of Empower, Exponential, and Enhanced. The article covers all facets of experience and 5G. From Devices, AI, Gaming, Live Entertainment, and so much more. You can read the full article here.
I was also engaged as a technology influencer to create cross channel social content, highlight Nokia & their 5G efforts during a recent keynote, as well as on-camera work during #MWC19. When it’s all said and done the content should drive north of 100,000 highly targeted views that will have boosted Nokia’s message during a very crowded MWC19.
Thanks again to Marianne and the entire @Nokia team.
I recently had the opportunity to provide the opening keynote for the Dallas Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association discussing trends tied to evolving consumer experiences. This is the latest version of the InnovationToReality talk series covering all facets of consumer behavior and emerging technology.
It was a fun and highly interactive keynote session! We discussed how Star Wars, Fortnite, Pixar Movies, & The Matrix highlight how emerging technology and consumer behavior will shift in the near future. We talked about how the 5 levels of autonomy and the new 4P’s will impact industry 4.0. Finally, the role and importance of 5G in the transition towards ubiquitous simulation.
I recently had the opportunity to provide the opening keynote for the University of Alabama EMBA Alumni Network Summit discussing trends tied to Industry 4.0. This is the latest version of the InnovationToReality talk series covering all facets of consumer behavior and emerging technology.
It was a fun and highly interactive keynote session! We discussed how Star Wars, Fortnite, Pixar Movies, & The Matrix highlight how emerging technology and consumer behavior will shift in the near future. We talked about how the 5 levels of autonomy and the new 4P’s will impact industry 4.0. Finally the role and importance of 5G in the transition towards ubiquitous simulation.