Category Archives: Events

Celebrating 500 BlackFin Posts

This post is number 500 for the BlackFin360.com/blog. Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I have made professionally. It provided me with a platform to share original thoughts, cover industry trends and serve as a repository for speaking and media coverage.

It has evolved significantly from the early beginnings in 2007. The blog was originally under the domain TheBlackFin.com. Now that domain is simply a redirect to BlackFin360.com. “BlackFin” was a nickname given to me by a co-worker at the time and the blog name came directly from my Xbox Gamertag “TheBlackFin“.

Here is a screenshot of the original look for the blog from 2007-2009. Why green for a blog named the “black” fin is something I still wonder about to this day.

Over the years the look and feel of the blog has changed but the core content focus on marketing, emerging technology, and gaming has remained to this day.

I officially moved the blog from theblackfin.com to blackfin360.com in 2009. By 2011 at least there were black/techie elements in the look and feel.

Now in 2018, the blog continues to serve as the primary entry point for speaking engagements, advisor opportunities, university lecturing, media coverage and over the past year it has shifted to more of a Vlog.

The look of the site will continue to evolve in 2018 and beyond.

Whether this is your first time here or you have been a subscriber since the beginning, I sincerely want to thank anyone who has stopped by and spent time with my content. I am incredibly grateful for this platform and I would highly recommend to anyone to find their industry voice and build their personal brand in addition to their professional.

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TEDx Oaklawn 2018

I am incredibly excited to have been accepted as a speaker for the first TEDx Oaklawn event in Dallas, Texas on March 17th, 2018.

Tickets for the event are available now.  This event will sell out quickly. Best to reserve your seats as soon as possible.

Here is a preview of my TEDx topic via my speaker submission video.

Hope to see you there!

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CES 2018 Trend Recap

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency and Ian Beacraft, VP, Digital Strategy at Epsilon Agency recap key trends from CES 2018.

Key areas discussed:

  • Shift from Smart Everything
  • How IOT is evolving from platforms to experiences through emotive robotics
  • How artificial intelligence, specifically computer vision made an impact on the show
  • The impact of Blockchain at CES
  • The evolution of immersive experiences

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Gen Z & Computer Vision Ad:Tech Spotlight

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon discussed Gen Z, Computer vision and the evolution of experience at Ad:Tech NY 2017.

This video is the presentation content prepared for Ad:Tech New York 2017, featuring proprietary research tied to Gen Z and the evolution of experience.

Over the coming months, we will begin to see a significant increase in the amount of media velocity around the topic of AI + AR, specifically computer vision enhanced experiences.

This video is an overview of computer vision, implications for marketers, the role of Gen Z and how it will scale through a very well established ecosystem.

Tom discussed the impact: Computer Vision Experience & Gen Z through the lens of the E^3 framework, Empower, Enhance, and Environment tied to the Innovation to Reality™ content series.

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E^3 Evolution of Experience MWCA17 Keynote

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon presents the E^3 framework, Empower, Enhance, and Environment tied to the Innovation to Reality™ content series at MWCA17.

This video is the full presentation from Mobile World Congress Americas 2017. This content series highlights the evolution of experience through the E^3 framework of Empower, Enhance, and Environment.

The E^3 framework and subsequent examples build a vision towards the future highlighting the exponential acceleration of experience through the merging of intelligent systems and technology that empowers.

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Apple iPhone X & The Evolution of Experience

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon analyzes today’s Apple iPhone X event through the lens of the E^3 framework of Empower, Enhance, and Environment.

This framework and subsequent examples build a vision towards the future highlighting the exponential acceleration of experience through the merging of intelligent systems and technology that empowers.

Today, Apple unveiled the iPhone X which highlights how hardware is pushing the evolution of experience forward. In this video, I discuss the front camera as a platform, the rise of animojis and how AR Kit empowers consumers, brands, and developers.

Next, I discuss the first GPU’s embedded in an Apple device and how artificial intelligence plays a role in the delivery of experiences through both machine learning and deep learning.

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Epsilon Agency & TripleClix eSports eBook

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon previews an eSports eBook collaboration between Epsilon Agency & TripleClix.

eSports is “athletics of the mind” and it’s popularity is skyrocketing past traditional sports leagues. It’s a way for younger millennials & gen Z to compete and to create and share experiences and it’s shifting entertainment and lifestyle behaviors dramatically.

This eBook provides insight into 5 use cases for brand marketers to build an eSports strategy beyond simple sponsorship. We also highlight Epsilon Agency’s proprietary data assets that map psychographic insights through machine learning tied to various segments of gamers to uncover key personality markers.

We  preview how this information can highlight lifestyle and affinity connections with gaming audiences for brand marketers through an eSports brand index that allows for seamless connections between brands and gamers with eSports playing a key role in binding the two.

Download the eBook here.

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Symposium 2017

I had the privilege to speak and host Epsilon Symposium 2017. With hundreds of clients in attendance, I was tasked with discussing the role of artificial intelligence across Epsilon and Conversant as well as tease examples of emerging technology that my team and I are working on.

Here are the key highlights I discussed during Symposium 2017. Part of my role is evaluating and embracing the latest innovations and determining how they connect to our Epsilon and Conversant solutions.

Whether that’s through conversational and voice based experiences such as Alexa Voice Services, Google Assistant & Siri, or the amazing artificial intelligence work happening here at Epsilon and Conversant or immersive computing such as augmented & virtual reality, that’s bolstered by our data, insights and creative execution.

So the last ten years I have talked about how disruption is the new normal. How emerging technology can impact consumer behavior and what it means for marketers.

Today we are at an inflection point. Where we are seeing the shift from mobile first to AI first. It’s less about disruption and more about acceleration through intelligent systems.

That’s where Epsilon and Conversant’s heritage of aligning data and technology and driving innovation is the key to leveraging whatever the future may bring and where consumers will be.

Within the agency business, we are using Machine Learning to categorize the data of culture along with our data of identity to fuel our creative approach.

From a product perspective, We are also achieving harmony (Pun intended ;) through machine learning and AI through a centralized intelligence hub for decisioning across channels.

Finally, Conversant is at the forefront of integrating AI through machine learning and image recognition to create world-class speed and scale where every 5 minutes, consumer actions across 160M individual profiles lead to over a billion model updates.

The key moving forward is empowering consumers, enhancing solutions through artificial intelligence and creating immersive experiences

Regardless of how the future state shifts and evolves… be it through bots becoming agents on our behalf, the evolution of consumer based journey’s expanding to include system based journey’s or a hyper connected augmented reality future. All of those elements will be highly dependent on Data and decisioning as the foundational element.

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Microsoft E3 Xbox One X Reveal Analysis

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon analyzes elements of Microsoft’s 2017 E3 press conference.

Included in the analysis is the reveal of the Xbox One X and why it’s relevant for marketers,  briefly discusses some of the game reveals, discusses the role of gaming and connecting with Gen Z including eSports, the role of affinity alignment and more.

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Google I/O 2017 Full Recap

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California. It was an incredibly compelling event as Google shifted their focus as a company from mobile first to AI first. This means that all products will be redefined and enhanced through various forms of AI.

This includes the Google Assistant, which was the star of the show. The deck goes into detail, but it’s incredibly important that we begin thinking about the role that the Google Assistant plays across home, smartphone, wearables, auto and soon AR. With the launch on the iPhone announced at the conference it gives Assistant 200 million voice enabled devices out of the gate.

What is also key to consider is the Google Assistant equivalent of an Alexa Skill, called an Action by Google. Actions can support transactions outside of Amazon as well as not requiring installation. Also, there is a very small number of actions that exist today, but a huge and rapidly growing ecosystem of devices that are Google Assistant enabled.

Here is the full trend recap and analysis:

Section one covers trends tied to connection & cognition:

  • Vision of Ubiquitous Computing
  • Multi-Modal Computing
  • Google Assistant (Actions, Auto, Computer Vision, Wear)
  • Android O
  • Progressive Web Apps
  • Structured Data & Search

Section two covers all facets of immersive computing:

  • Immersive Computing
  • Daydream (Virtual Reality)
  • Social VR
  • WebVR
  • Visual Positioning Services
  • Tango (Augmented Reality) 
  • WebAR

In addition to the attached recap, there is also a 4 minute “light recap” video:

For third party commentary, discussed the role of Google Lens & Computer Vision with AdExchanger here

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