10 minutes from NYC Nasdaq on Apple’s multiscreen announcements, next generation 9-1-1 (NG911) and the MultiScreen Summit.
I strongly believe that the space between the screens that allows the brand to connect their consumer experience is critical. I call this “digital Velcro”. Connecting your consumer screens seamlessly throughout their day is one of the most important challenges we face.
Additionally, one media experience plus other media screen experience equals a multiple of value to the brand: “1+1=3” This is not a second screen debate. It is a consumer journey challenge that impacts all brands and retailers in their media buying and engaging. That is why we focus on the MultiScreen not the Omniscreens or Second-Screen discussion.
Next week on Tuesday and Wednesday in NYC I will be hosting the MultiScreen Summit. We incubated this event concept in Los Angeles, last year and have expanded the MultiScreen Summit to include Abu Dhabi and Berlin (which will be held in October). Our goal is to establish a global platform to address the growing needs of business to create a seamless digital experiences across their customers, fans, audiences, shoppers . . . screens.
So who owns this? CIO, CMO and CDO? CIO needs to get together with the CMO and the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) needs to become the Chief Disruptive Office (CDO) making backend process screens work with marketing engagement on the consumer screens.
Data has always been important. In a connect device world with location and behavioral
MultiScreen economy and media strategy will become the most important element tying a brands strategy in place.
The question is: How can buyers think horizontally across their consumer screens and add value to their vertical investments? We need to buy media both vertically and horizontally. Small screen buys need to have native mobile strategy attached that go beyond CPMs and drive mobile conversion goal into the cloud and into the mall.data, this consumer journey is more complex than we had assumed. We now know that we need to work harder to drive real shopper insights and shopper marketing goals. Data tools we can use now include location, screen insights and digital relationship building.
As the MultiScreen Summit Chair, I am so grateful to have such an remarkable group of media thought leaders onstage next week at the MultiScreen Summit, June 11th and 12th. www.thescreensummit.com.
In Dubai talking to agencies and brands about “digital velcro”. How linking content seamlessly between one screen plus other consumer screen equals a multiple of value for a brand. 20 mins – view here.
I was speaking with David Epstein, the founder of The Unreasonable Institute, the brainchild of Unreasonable at Sea, the Google sponsored innovation ship that is presently sailing from port to port globally.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
The Unreasonable Institute, based in Boulder, Colorado and is working to bring entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers, and investors together for social change. He now has these same folk on a ship sailing the world with that disruptive mandate.
What Mr. Epstein is championing, and what Mr. Shaw posited over 100 years ago is applicable, if not essential, across all verticals today. In the 2010’s, when industry after industry is being rudely disrupted, we may need to be more unreasonable about our search for solutions and our adaptation to the new status quo. We have to become superbrands.
Man and Superman
Music, retail, media buying, broadcast, publishing are all incumbent industries that have, or are, about to pivot in a profound and irreversible way. Many extant business models will dry up. Many old revenue streams will become commodity channels or be circumvented over-the-top by new technologies or new business models.
Telecommunications, more than any other industry, has profoundly impacted businesses. Some bemoan that “mobile” innovation has horizontally cut many companies at the knees.
Telecommunication innovation and disruption is not new. The history of telecommunications is the history of open systems and the invisible hand that attempted to close these systems: From RCA closing down FM Radio and early television. It is the same recent history of Apple disintermediating the wireless carriers with an “internet device” and then turning around and using the same iPhone to shut down the Mobile Web with a closed App Store.
What is new about telecommunications in the 2010s is the pervasive nature of the technology, the democratization of information and access, and the liberation of the consumer.
The new entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers, and investors that are sailing on Epstein’s ship are the crew of innovators that needed to rethink the way we communicate with this new consumer.
And this requires a motley crew.
Chief Unreasonable Officer
Labels, Retailers, brands, publishers, and broadcasters cannot simply open innovation labs in the vain hope that they can reinvent their business from within. Forces are at play in the mall and in the media houses that will require some unreasonable thought. The walls of our store are porous (Mike Duke) and the internet cloud is in our malls to stay.
To paraphrase Mr. Shaw: The reasonable person adapts to the world; the unreasonable person proactively turns the tables.
How do new-age brands become unreasonable?
- Industries need to understand their new world and their new consumer. This world is made up of consumer moments across their connected-screens during the course of the day. Ten years ago, you never needed to follow these consumers; now you need to plot their screen journey in minute detail.
- The value may not lie exclusively on the screen but in connecting these screens. In a world where (according to Google’s Multiscreen Report) over 90% of people use more than one screen to accomplish a single task, brands need to focus on the “digital Velcro” to connect these screen experiences. One screen + another screen = a multiple of value: (1+1=3)
- Stop relying exclusively on third parties and social networks to find your consumer. “Dating services” are important . . . but you need to get out more. Forge a direct relationship with this new connected consumer.
- Be unreasonable. Believe that your consumers can love your product and can share a common dialogue with your brand on their private and personal screen.
- This maybe simply the ability to shop for a brand seamlessly across their screens understanding the needs of the consumer at that moment of the day on a particular screen form factor.
- This maybe establishing a common interest (wellness, nightlife, etc.) and become part of their multiscreen narrative.
The new Chief Digital Officer needs to create superbrands, and to do that she needs to be unreasonable across all her consumers’ connected screens.
I am content chair of the MultiScreen Summit in NYC, June 11th and 12th.
June 11-12, 2013
125 West 18th Street
New York City
Some industry pundits such as ABI Research analyst Aapo Markkanen say there is a clear and intentional distancing of Samsung from its existing OS partner, Android. Does Samsung want to reduce its almost total dependence on the platform over the next few years? Samsung seems to quietly be building independently on top of the Android OS and may make a jump to a more neutral industry partner by 2016.
Window’s has not offered a compelling alternative to Android. What are other options?
Mozilla (Firefox) and Linux (Tizen) are going head to head to capture next generation developers with their web-based operating system. The Firefox and Tizen SDK and API allow developers to use web-based HTML5.
Tizen (a Linux Foundation initiative) may have the edge. Tizen is an open source, standards-based software platform for multiscreen devices (smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle devices, and smart TVs). Like Firefox, it provides a cross-screen environment for application developers, based on HTML5.
Samsung abandoned its homegrown smartphone OS, Bada, early this year and announced that it would start developing Tizen-based devices: ”We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions.”
The implications are significant to the connected screen economy and place application development in a more mature web main-frame on the device. The application store now can exist in a more manageable web environment with bookmark apps and not get lost in widget-design interface promoted by Apple.
To sum up Mobile World Congress 2013, I will borrow from Peter Marx, head of business development at Qualcomm Labs. Peter talks about a tendency for PTA or (for those in the know) Premature Technology Arousal in the mobile industry.
Much of the MWC 2013 floor area at the new Fira Gran Via venue exhibited PTA or Premature Technology Arousal. Solutions that are excited about being solutions. Solutions that are too early. Solutions that are missing reach and frequency. Things that are just not simple enough to drive adoption.
Even before 70 thousand executives hit the show floor, there were signs of “PTA”. From the Near Field Communications (NFC) show name tags that tried to emulated plastic (but that few used because you still needed to show the plastic) to tapping on Coke dispensers with cloud-base wallets that are many quarters away for mainstream adoption.
Booth after booth in this 1.01 million square feet techno-playground displayed incredible solutions and screens. But the real story to follow was how each solution quietly added value to a given business ecosystem. There was an invisible hand playing connect the dots. Here are a few examples:
The Invisible Google Hand
Google was almost absent – unlike the MWC of 2011 and 2012 where Google groupies ran from partner booth to partner booth in search of cute Android pins. But Google was most definitely on the floor. This year the company is wisely playing “powered by Google”. They are the dark silent type. Turn left or right in every hall, Android is the fuel this industry is consuming.
The same holds for Qualcomm. They are the chip manufacture that is quietly taking the lion’s share of the revenue on each global handset. (Intel just cannot seem to create a competitive landscape.) Qualcomm Labs is building in consumer identity and credentials onto its “platform” hoping to not only power the connected device but also own the big data behind the user. When Qualcomm demos a vision of a home of the near future, they power many of the moving pieces.
The Samsung Show
While Qualcomm’s chip and Google’s OS were the main stories in Barcelona, another key and not so silent player is Samsung. (So much so that my hotel concierge asked me if I was attending that “Samsung” show that was in town.) The word that floated above the white new-age Samsung booth was “innovation” but the innovation is not just the 3D camera or the ubiquity of the new S-Pen. The innovation was in their business model connecting their screen across the consumer journey. The 3D camera sells their tablet and television. The S-Pen and its SDK allows for ergonomic continuity across their new tablets and fablets.
Mozilla is other important story in Barcelona. Using the Firefox browser on lower-end ZTE devices to run the camera, map and . . . oh ya the browser was a definite tech-turn on. Moving the developer and more importantly the consumer out of the (Apple-invented and dominated) app store into the real world super-app is an inevitable step and fundamental to our mobile evolution. The quicker the industry can move away for relying exclusively on industrial design and the app storefront as the sales tool, the faster we will grow.
2014 Screen Wars
The most important leitmotif was the screen. Not only the proliferation of devices with new form factor and appliance, but the realization that it is in the connecting of these screen that the we can accelerate business models. Samsung, ZTE, Motorola, Nokia all address the consumer journey across all screens and throughout their day. Nearly all marketing VPs had spent their last few months and budget trying to tell this consumer story.
Again while many products had indecent “PTA”, the most important insight was not what was happening on the screen but what companies were doing to connect them seamlessly. The new battle ground this year moving into MWC 2014 will be centered around who can best manage big data, wallet credentials and identity between the screens.
Watch here. (6 mins)
As VISA launches the digital wallet V.me, a “digital wallet” in a bid to be relevant in the proliferation of cloud payment credentials, VISA and other incumbent payment providers should be concerned that in a cloud-based economy, it may lose its position in the market.
Presently VISA owns the lion’s share of credit and debit/prepaid plastic in circulation globally. (VISA 2,400MM vs. MasterCard 1,000MM)
Up-starts such as Square and digital innovators such as Paypal are trying to challenge the status quo and change the way people pay with plastic. Google and Apple continue to disintermediate the card vendors by aggregating large volumes of transactions and pass them back to the banks as “prepaid” with low interchange fees. All in all, new payment players are looking at the old business hegemony of VISA and MasterCard and going OTT (over-the-top).
It is not about eliminating plastic. And it is not really an issue of whether these plastic holders are going the way of vinyl; but more importantly an issue of the business model behind these card and card credentials. Roles are being commoditized.
Cards are simply a way to store and relay banking credentials to the POS in the store and the POS in the cloud. In the US this is no more than a number that is stored on a magnetic swipe and embossed in the plastic. In the rest of the world this number is housed more securely in a chip. A chip that can be emulated securely in the phone chip (or SIM).
It is unlikely that the costly backend systems in the US and Europe that deal with fraud and regulatory issues will be displaced. And that the 2,400MM VISA cards and the 1,000MM MasterCard that use these systems will disappear. (*)
However, as VISA and MasterCard continue to be the trusted brands on every online and physical store they may find that their margins dipping. As banks try to revamp their mobile banking applications and ATMs to be more relevant to their peripatetic customer, fewer value added fees and services will impact their margins.
The question to ask is who owns the customers relationship because it is ultimately this relationship (the final foot) that they can monetize. The emergence of mobile and card-linked offers is making the point-of-sale systems in the cloud and eventually in the store, the new promotional depots for digital deals and coupons. So called “big data” and value added services will ultimately yield the most profit.
*(In emerging markets, where there little infrastructure, companies like M-Pesa service the unbanked via their mobile phone account. VISA has entered these emerging markets through acquisition of Fundamo and MasterCard through a partnership with Telefónica. Similar to the US, these companies are vying for the last-mile relationship.)
With the Canadian Mint abandoning the mighty penny and Amazon creating its own digital currency system called Amazon Coins (to be used to purchase apps in its Kindle Fire Tablet), where is cash heading?
In May, Amazon Coins will flood the market with “tens of millions of dollars” of virtual coins. The Canadian mint will remove the equivalent in copper. This value transfer from cash coins to promotional coins is not connected but illustrative of the value of currency to drive engagement and what is often referred to as “big data.”
The penny and the dollar have not lost their value in our digital economy (*) but the ability for the data behind our purchase behavior may yield more value.
How we buy has changed so profoundly over the past few decades. Money and path to purchase has become more fluid. Days waiting for cash to clear is now instantaneous. Digital credentials such as Paypal and Paypass allow for seamless payments inconceivable few years ago.
We know that financial institutions and the new mobile wallets snub their nose at cash and hope that all transactions move through their gateway and pay a service toll. But more importantly for the Google’s and Apple’s wallets to tether a digital relationship that allows for incremental advertising and engagement opportunities.
As we move into digital wallets in the cloud and the store, look for more “Amazon” pennies from heaven. Or in this case, from the cloud.
* (Cash is a clumsy system and removing pennies can upset the countries cash register. In 1971 the penny was axed in the UK. Cash confusion and many retail that were accused of rounding up rather than down allowed price increases that pundits attributed to increased inflation in the country for a quarter of a century. By the 70s, inflation was upward of 25%.)
“The Incredible Shrinking Barnes & Noble.” This was the LA Times‘ blog post yesterday. I like it and I have stolen it. It speaks volumes to the future of the mall. Entertainment centers for browsing shoppers are shutting down.
Barnes & Noble sees 30% fewer stores in the next decade. The bookseller had 726 stores in 2008, 689 stores in 2012 and in 10 years this will drop to 450? Perhaps this is optimistic? The certainty is that there will be much shuttering.
Barnes & Noble’s projected closings and Target’s new price-matching policy are all signs of retail in distress. The trend toward mobile shopping is likely to have a lasting impact on the retail landscape.
The physical bookstore could become a thing of the past.
With the mobile consumer in mind, a yoga studio could sell books about spirituality and enable customers to tap their phones to order a physical or digital book in a context-rich environment. The same is true for a doctor’s office, a movie theatre and other locations.
Barnes & Noble executives are undoubtedly aware – as Borders executives before them – that the 2010s are eerily reminiscent of the music industry in the 2000s. Books, reading, and commerce behaviour has changed.
The relationship between shopper and store has changed.
Does this mean good riddance to bookstores, publishers, agents? Perhaps there is a new, more efficient order in town? Perhaps a new, streamlined business model would be both good for consumers and good for the industry long term?
Unquestionably the market and mall is primed for new disruptive models. Amazon coming in with Apple-like book genius bars? New purchase, delivery and consumption models that live between the store and the Amazon cloud?