Emerging / Trade

What's your tech?

Article written by

Dara Jegede

Written on 16/06/2015 | Posted 2 years 8 months 3 days ago

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Out-of-home transactions and mobile are shaping how the digital advertising space is adopting emerging technology, but change is spasmodic and unpredictable.

Approximately 90 million wearable gadgets were sold in 2014 Approximately 90 million wearable gadgets were sold in 2014

The smartphone effectively annihilated once indispensible devices such as cassette players, pagers and digital cameras. Its disruptive power, extending to the realm of visual communications, has given advertisers a more direct and personal platform with which to reach consumers and place products in front of them. Now, emerging digital technologies from wearables to the internet of things are threatening to alter drastically, if not completely transform, the way we communicate visually.

In 2015 there's a lot of buzz around mobile technology. An IEEE consumer survey suggested that smartphones top the list of this year's most influential technology systems, with tablets and 3D printers closely following; meanwhile, interestingly, wearable technology was considered one of the three most likely to be 'redundant or unnecessary', alongside other MP3 players and digital cameras, with research indicating that these accessories are abandoned within six months.

Trending tech

While the IEEE results paint a different picture, it is estimated that 90 million wearable gadgets, including smart-watches and fitness trackers, were sold in 2014. This figure is expected to reach 200 million in 2015 quite comfortably, particularly in light of Apple's recent release of its smart Watch. Building on the proliferation of smartphones, wearables appear to be the next logical step in mobile technology development, and the potential for it to become one of the most invasive technologies is substantial.

The growth of wearables looks promising in a number of areas. The devices have maintained popularity in the fitness market while their application for medical purposes and managing disability is being widely explored. Smartwatches have been tipped to lead the trend in wearable tech, with potential for the accessory to manage connected appliances and devices through a single application; this carries neatly across to another buzzword, the much-vaunted 'Internet of Things'.

Simply defined, IoT extends the 'smart' capabilities available on computers and smartphones to other electronics devices such as fridges, thus expanding the scope of capabilities within the kit and connectivity between numerous devices. Currently, most wearable tools need to connect to a smarter device, like a smartphone, in order to function, which suggests a reason why there has been a delay in their adoption. However, Dizmo's chief marketing officer Luigi Mantellassi considers, adoption of wearable technology will supersede smartphones as we develop into what he calls 'sensor stations'.

"We are already [sensor-stations] through the electronic devices we carry with us," he says. "If the ultimate implementation of IoT is to connect 99 percent of objects to the Internet, this will include what we wear too. The adoption of wearables will largely exceed computers and phones as we will take advantage of them for things such as safety, health and simplification of everyday tasks."

Dr Kevin Curran, senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Ulster, warns that if IoT is to infiltrate modern life, security and a system to manage huge data transfers should lead as major focus. "IoT will offer the ability for consumers to interact with almost every appliance and device they own," he says. "If IoT is campaigning to run nearly every aspect of our digital lives, considerations need to be made to ensure a seamless and safe introduction. Security, standards and overburdening the network are three requirements that need to be focused on before implementing for mass adoption in the modern business place.

"Any Internet of Things initiative will require a tailored data-processing strategy that balances current requirements, continuous growth, and future applications. That can only be done through very powerful processors that enable collaboration between devices, analytics platforms, customers and real-world systems. In other words, let everything speak to everything in the same language, and compile and analyse all conversations in real time."

Mobile versus large-format

One reason for the proliferation of mobile tech is the ease of use and accessibility it offers. Consumers essentially manage different aspects of their lives from a handset using the numerous apps available upon them, which have often been the main mode of with which brands are experienced and seen. Furthermore, mobile enablers such as near field communication (NFC), QR coding and beacons allow users to simplify and carry out daily tasks through their phones: take mobile payment as an example. 

Several companies have gained a ground rapidly in this area. Paypal, with its acquisition of Paydiant in December 2014, offered retailers a platform to drive mobile sales. Others that followed in its footsteps include Proxama, which released proximity marketing tools as well as multiple payment authentication as part of its modular Digital Enablement Platform; more recently, Samsung enlarged its coast by unleashing Samsung Pay in April 2015, with its platform supporting both NFC and magnetic secure transmission (MST) transactions for conventional magstripe readers. In the US, this market is expected to rise from its current $50 billion valuation (£32.5bn) to $142bn (£91bn) by 2019, resulting largely from increasing in-app and mobile site payments rather than a substantial increase in point-of-purchase NFC use. 

Offering ready access to different types of data from connected sources, mobile seems to be taking the lead as the premium mode of communication. Many are more aware of the benefits in developing cross-platform products and content for multiple end points. Nonetheless, as we noted at ISE 2015, 4K digital screens from the likes of LG and Toshiba are a big order of the day. Communication through larger formats, billboards and so on, is still very much in the game, and there is a reason for that.

Results of a neuroscientific study from Ocean Outdoor, 'Beyond Out of Home', demonstrate the priming effect of DOOH advertising on subsequent consumer contact points, showing a significant correlation between billboards and mobile devices. The study indicated that there is a 'clear congruence between screen experiences out-of-home, and the combination of large and small screens, accessed on the go, is a particularly powerful one', reflecting learning from nudge marketing in a browser-based context.

While mobile technologies seem to top the agenda for many this year, it will not eliminate the wide space in which DOOH has established its abode. "The two approaches will co-exist and the key to success stays as always in a balanced investment across several platforms," comments Mantellassi. "We will see the deployment of more targeted advertising, with real-time audience engagement and personalised advertising throughout any interactive platform and not only mobile devices."

There is currency in brands targeting consumers via smartphones, tablets and making more use of mobile but the winning formula for effective brand communication and advertising thus far has emerged to be a multi-channel approach. It remains to be seen how the 'digiverse' will reconcile the different technologies warring in this space, and to what purpose, and their effect on out-of-home communication, but it's clear that the rate of change will be rapid and unexpected.

Case study: The future workplace with Dizmo

Dizmo is a new software platform that allows users to create, connect, manipulate and share digital gizmos at home, in the office and on-the-go. Chief marketing officer Luigi Mantellassi gives us insight into the company's undertaking.

"We were inspired by the vision described in popular videos and movies, such as 'a day made of glass' produced by Corning or Minority Report: all-around environments where things 'talk' to things and where we interact with them, in the most natural way, through our senses. The end of the PC-age in which we have lived for the last 30 years and the emergence of the IoT-age did the rest.         

"As a self-contained product, DizmoSpace targets small groups – creative teams, learning classes, brainstorming activities – and presentation use cases, radicalising storytelling to a whole new level. As an enabling technology, it can be embedded in products for a large set of IoT applications: workflow management, sensor-based environment monitoring and control; intelligent dashboards, executive update systems, interactive digital signage displays and storyboard design; media and entertainment multi-channel systems, and smart home and smart office control systems, to mention a few.

"We call Dizmo 'The interface of Things', because it effortlessly connects people to things. People are amazed by how easy it is to bring up their digital assets onto DizmoSpace from any source, whether it is multimedia content, apps, live web services, social networks, and physical objects. We also call it the 'silos breaker' and people are again amazed by how directly Dizmo allows to interface with digital and physical objects on any type of device, or digital surface, any operating system and using any input methods new or established, including mouse, trackpad, infrared pens, touchscreen, gesture and voice. 

"Moreover, DizmoSpace has no limits to the manipulation users can command to move, rotate, flip, throw, resize, scale, group, dock, iconise and share information. Last but not least, although transparent to end users and consumers, the ultimate strength of DizmoSpace is how fast new Dizmos can be developed, adding new amazing functionalities to the whitespace."

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