Future of real-time – a talk given at Microsoft for PRCA

Personal 3D printers on sale from as long ago as 2010

So much technology we now use is changing and developing so fast, that we don’t understand the cultural effect it will have yet.

What we do know is that technology is making media channels and routes to audience grow to seemingly infinite levels.

To paraphrase Faris Yakob: “Moore’s Law has become the driving force in media…It was when computers began getting twice as fast and half as cheap every 1.5 yrs.  This changed things faster that we could understand.  Cars and fridges don’t do this, no other technologies do, only computers do.  Now media is a function of computers”.

Brands and media owners know that we live in a world where microbroadcasting and real-time mean what is big in the morning might be old news by the afternoon.  They understand they now need to engage and involve desired audiences to win.  This is because the only chance of beating the lack of latency in media now, is to ensure content isn’t broadcast and then lost without trace, but is spread by it’s audience.  Media that is spread = valuable media in today’s digital age.  That is why brands are so in awe of any agency that can promise to create ‘inherently spreadable’ content for them.  The equally powerful promise is of a super platform their audience can spend time on that will help guarantee spreadibilty of any content that hits it –  marketing spend, production ability and elbow grease alone can’t guarantee spreadability any more.

But while brands are concerned with beating the lack of latency in marketing now and ensuring they beat the real-time dilemma by creating spreadable content; they aren’t looking at how they could use real-time to benefit their whole businesses.  In my opinion the last five years have been about brands engaging with social media (playing in that pool) the next five years will be about companies using the technology of real-time, to get better intelligence quicker and enable their audiences to create and spread content and ideas for them.

What real-time technology advantages can brands / businesses be adopting? Some thought starters:

  1. Sensors can be fitted to almost any personal device (even shoes) meaning data can be derived from nearly any action or activity a person might undertake.
  2. Crowd-sourced services can now allow people to report & document the situation around them immediately. Calling for action from the ground-up.
  3. Open source tools now can ensure that maps and other “official” documents allow solutions that can easily evolve and be developed by whole communities together over time.
  4. Creations of 3D printers mean anyone can create products and help others create the same products, with sites such as Thingaverse.

Imagine if brands you work on were not just participating in “social media”, but were instead fully connected into every single real-time advantage it can offer.  Meaning they were using sensor technology, open source solutions, consumer creating products for them and getting using on the ground real-time data to make themselves more emotionally intelligent businesses. Being, to quote David Armano:

“Plugged into a collective consciousness made up of ALL their constituents, from employees to consumers to dealers, to assembly line works etc. What if big organizations worked the way individuals now do…. In its purest form, it’s a shift in thinking—less about media and more about tapping the benefits of being a social business in a purposeful way”.

It is agency-based marketeers who must illuminate this particularly road for clients in 2013 and beyond.  As we put it at Inkling, we need to be creating and outmanoeuvring for our clients so they don’t have to be looking every which way at once, and that includes seeing where clients can use technology to improve their whole businesses, not just their marketing efforts.


One thought on “Future of real-time – a talk given at Microsoft for PRCA

  1. Hi Jono…Appreciate your sharing these notes and especially interested by your take on spreadability. This is a topic I’ve been focused on quite heavily of late, as we finish up a new book coming out in early 2013 on the subject. I think one of the keys is that companies that promise to make people spread things are really obfuscating what the process is really like…It’s really the companies that listen to key audiences and design stuff that really speaks to what provides fodder for people to express themselves, have conversations, etc., that find their content getting spread…

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