While wandering through my external hard drive yesterday, came across a white paper I wrote to then CIO for the Ontario Government about the role of Chief Technology Officer that he was creating, and my thoughts about the role. (Ed Note: Dave Wallace, now CIO of University of Waterloo, former CIO for City of Toronto was selected to be the first CTO for Ontario Government in 2002.)
Ten years ago I felt strongly that the Ontario Government should be identifying and exploiting evolving technologies through partnerships with Ontario and Canadian technology companies. One such way was to create an early adopter program, where Ontario could participate in projects 12-24 months before mainstream use of a new technology. Capitalizing on emerging technologies, I surmised would ultimately improve internal government efficiencies.
One such emerging technology seemed to be the emerging next generation of Tablet Technology. I have cut-and-paste my thoughts from 10 years ago. I won’t bore you with my white paper on the evolution of Archie and WAIS, and their eventual replacement by a markup language rendered on a little tool called Mosaic. I’m not always so prescient, and I certainly didn’t have Apple or Samsung on my radar, but my thoughts on tablet technology were still quite interesting to read ten years after I first wrote them:
I predict that many Ministries struggle with the need to provide full function mobile computers, an area where Tablet Technology will eventually excel. Interestingly, industry pundits have picked up on the current generation of products and have deemed them useful. Back in the early 1990’s Ontario piloted the executive briefcase and an older tablet being considered by a catalogue based consumer retail store based on early RIM technology – both of which have disappeared from the planet! For Ontario, the next generation (third generation) of Tablet Technology will be the most exciting especially the slate-style product from Fujitsu and the clam-shell product from Toshiba. Other key players include HP, Panasonic and in the R&D lab Dell and IBM. And while it will take five to ten years to displace the desktop market, the next 18 months may offer some excellent early adoption potentials, especially if the following factors can be overcome:
- Enough battery availability to fulfill an 8-hour work period
- Handwriting recognition
- Reasonable performance
- Interchangeable desktop and mobile usage
- Good outdoor viewing capability
- Secure, stable wireless connectivity
- Carrier adoption and Northern Ontario cellular accessibility
Made me smile when I read it.
I was caught up in a long discussion over the holiday break about our ideation process, the types of sites and portals we develop, and the various kinds of projects we undertake.
While describing the different strengths, skills and backgrounds each of us brings to bear on a project, my coffee partner dropped a single sentence on the table:
So, you’re the plumber then?
It was as if the guy dropped a Christmas-wrapped box of kryptonite on the table. I am a plumber. Oh sure, I love to sit and dream with clients about everything they could do with their idea, their site, their brand … but what I see is the plumbing behind the wall, even though I am describing drywall, paint colours, wainscoting and window treatments. Yep, I see an intricate set of reservoirs known as databases, connected with half-inch pipe pulling the data into the website or portal. I am a Plumber. Damn it.
2013 will need to be the year I find satisfaction in knowing when given Lemons, you make Lemonade. And find the peace that comes with accepting the world always needs another plumber.
In her recent article, Natalie Burg wrote in Forbes/Spark about Comodo, a Latin American restaurant in New York, that’s using social-media photo-sharing site Instagram to encourage customers to post photos of the food served to them by using the hashtag #comodomenu.
In turn, those looking to visit the restaurant can then browse the virtual menu, viewing real-life, photos of menu items that haven’t been studioized for the sake of selling the food.
Now that’s confidence and poetry combined.
Kitchen Nightmare’s Chef Gordon Ramsey uses iPhone images of food served at the restaurant’s he visits to embarrass the owners/chefs into seeing the “crap” they are serving to clients.
Merge those two ideas, and you could have a brand new, New York City phenomina, giving foodies the chance to voice/share comments in what might be a real-time (sorry Zagat) method of rating restaurant menus on Instagram. It will need a yelp.com like front-end to make it easy to find the restaurant, see the photos and perhaps a tripadvisor.com like ranking system to judge the postings (and their authenticity).
Ah, Social Media, it can make the good — great and the average — horrible.
What an amazing year for laying the foundation of smart mobile devices dominating mainstream North American life. Beyond the Samsung and Apple devices, the adoption of the necessary plumbing to handle the potential uses of these devices, LTE, is still a work in progress, but 2013 and 2014 will see U.S.-based and Canadian-based carriers completing their national rollouts of this game changing infrastructure.
The prediction of high growth rate of “smart” mobile devices among North American consumers has certainly come true. And we predict 2013 will be the year that major retailers concern themselves with finding the best ways of capitalizing on consumers’ rapidly evolving use of their mobile devices.
The U.S. National Retail Federation acknowledges that “Mobile phones are changing the way retailers, suppliers, and consumers both communicate and do business”. We know consumers leave their house with their mobile phone. It may be the first thing they pull out of their purse or pocket after ordering their latte, but in 2013 it’s going to also be more likely turned on and in their hands when they walk into their favourite store, whether to use their favourite shopping list app or simply to compare prices while shopping for that very special purchase.
As some of the largest big-box stores have already proven in the U.S., the existence of this personal, persuasive device provides a unique opportunity to connect to regular consumers and to convert browsers into regular customers, regardless of location or time of day. I was fascinated watching Boxing Day shoppers at 6:00 on Christmas Day frequenting my Starbucks and browsing the items that Best Buy was offering at 8:00 that evening. Latte in hand, iPad in motion, they passed around the online catalogue discussing whether a specific television was a good deal, whether the processor of a certain laptop made it worth the price.
What we fear will happen with reasonably priced access to “smart” mobile devices and LTE speed connections is what can best be described as a wider divide between the big box retailers and the smaller mainstreet retailers. Large retailers are already making strategic investments in the technologies that improve the way their internal operations utilize mobile technology. And just like coffee shops leverage their own Internet connections to offer consumers access to the web, those same retailers will open up their investments to provide their consumers with an enhanced, carrier-free mobile-enabled retail shopping experience, the likes of which will serve to create an outstanding, personalized consumer engagement, from which brand loyalty will certainly follow.
Without a ready-made solution for the smaller retailer, consumers will begin to notice the difference in their shopping experience at the larger retailers, and we predict the awesome mobile experience will lead to higher-than-normal customer erosion on mainstreet, and in turn higher lifetime value of the “smart” mobile device consumer among the larger retailers who handily deliver a unique mobile retail experience.
Mobile Retail in a Box. Can you imagine the impact of a revolutionary technology that makes it easier, and more affordable for the mainstreet retailer to get into the inevitable? For the retailer: inventory management, shelf tags, security monitoring, remote monitoring, digital signage, real-time shopper intelligence and analytics. For the consumer: shopping lists, real-time price comparisons, barcode price lookup, real-time coupons and offers, instant loyalty gratification, mobile payments and mobile receipts, and turn-by-turn directions in the store to find that elusive last television that’s on sale today only!
My iPad is itching to get out of my knapsack and offer more that last week’s episode of Big Bang Theory, access to my email, and serving up a TED video or two. Without a doubt the big retailers will be looking to have a personal relationship with my iPad. The bigger question, how will smaller retailers embark upon the same relationship? Maybe even take the lead!
Do you think they could really build “The Machine”?
“You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it …”
It’s not that far a stretch. Big Data advocates collect so much information about us with every mouse click or finger swipe like which websites do we visit and which pages do we linger on more than the others. Which keywords brought us to this item, and what price got us to buy. Was this our first purchase or have we bought similar items before. Where did we go when we left the site. To which friends did we share our recent purchase, and which friends were interested enough to comment back. It’s hard not to imagine that our government, or worse, another, hasn’t already tapped into every possible bit of information and used it to learn a little more about me and my online habits.
I wonder which online habits I would be a little embarrassed to have exposed? The fact that I looked up the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song cause I couldn’t figure them out on my own. Or maybe my Led Zeppelin google to figure out which one was John-Paul Jones. Where is the closest Old Navy store, cause I used to remember but can’t quite remember.
And if someone tried to learn more about me, would they string together Taylor Swift, Led Zeppelin and Old Navy and think, wow, I think they’re working on a campaign for Old Navy where Led Zeppelin sings that Taylor Swift song. Or would they surmize that my parents made me listen to 8-Track tapes of Johnny Cash while Led and Bruce were big, and I just seem to forget things more easily these days.
And if the government had a machine, what else would they piece together? He drinks how many Starbucks Lattes each week? His favourite food isn’t really food at all, but rather a condiment. Wow, he listens to Taylor Swift. This guys an embarrassment more than a threat. But then there’s the websites he visits. Let’s factor those into the algorithm.
I really want to believe there is a machine. Yea, I know Google has a machine. And Facebook has a machine. And probably Microsoft has a machine. So why not the Government. Like the man says:
You’ll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up… we’ll find you”.
I really need to use the InPrivate browser a little more often. Although, I suspect that’s just a false sense of security perpetrated by the Big Data folks to make me surf more freely and give up a little more of my personality!
Already a very interesting Christmas break. We are never quite sure what the final two weeks of the year will bring. Some years we are buried with projects and other years we could simply head to the beach and turn off the BlackBerry (yes, still a BlackBerry nation, at least in 2012).
This year is a mix. We have a couple of great projects underway that are keeping us busy. And a couple of exciting contests that require weekly reporting that are still successful even with the holiday break.
So, here we are wrapping up Boxing Day (pun intended) and Mother Nature is dropping a bunch of white stuff at our doorstep, which surely will impact tomorrow’s commute.
And while I am committed to finally watching the Godfather (1 and 2), and please, don’t even start with the “OMG, you never saw the Godfather” … Larry has a copyright on that whole category of cajoling, so far, I haven’t quite got there. Did watch Elf (again), and watched A Nun’s Story (very nice movie), and Little Women, and the Kennedy Honors inducting Led Zeppelin, Dustin Hoffman and David Letterman. Now, there’s an eclectic bunch! So much for me to Google this week! The New Yardbirds, who knew?
So, it’s back to work tomorrow. Canada’s official final 2 day holiday of the year is over, although the snow might just make it a 3 day holiday for some.
Thanks to http://dailyinfographic.com for letting us share your very cool infographic.
Type is all around us. It is a key component in the design process. The font you choose affects the aesthetic of your design, and one bad font can ruin everything. (Are you listening, fans of Comic Sans??) If you are a bit uneducated in the anatomy of a font, keep reading for a quick lesson.
Everything you design, type, create has a purpose. Before choosing a font, determine your purpose. It makes font selection much easier. Many fonts send a “message” so choose wisely. And stay far, far away from Comic Sans.
I’ve been known to use Comic Sans once or twice! We love infographics, and this one serves as part of our client ideation process!
While I am no expert on the speed at which laws are normally implemented, but the Canadian Anti-SPAM Legislation (CASL) was passed through the Senate in December 2010 has been painfully slow to arrive. Digital marketers have watched implementation dates come and go, and assuming we survive the end of the Mayan calendar, the fiscal cliff, a Toronto by-election for Mayor and the Liberal parties of Ontario and Canada picking their new leaders, we should be in good shape to see this law be implemented sometime in mid-2013.
We’ve never written an article on CASL, partially because so many others have, and because like so many others, outside of some checklist and compliance suggestions, we haven’t seen the full breadth of the rules and policies that will come from the three separate Canadian agencies responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the new law including the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commissions (CRTC) which has published two important documents, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Competition Bureau.
If I can be political for a moment, I don’t really understand why we need three government agencies implementing a single law aimed at curbing unsolicited email, SMS, instant messages, spyware, malware, phishing, and scrapping of your social network pages. I also don’t know why the Privacy Commissioner hasn’t offered more protection under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and in doing so lessening the need for CASL. And most importantly, if the Competition Bureau can’t keep the big oil companies from all charging the exact same price for the gasoline I pump each morning, how in the world are they going to stop SPAM from landing in my inbox?
Probably no reason to pause here and await a formal response from Ottawa, so instead, lets talk implementation of CASL.
I have read many blogs and articles that suggest CASL should be no threat to legitimate marketers sending permission-based email messages. Well, except for the fact that most of those legitimate marketers are not equipped with the tools that proactively and flawlessly re-permission those lists on a regular basis. It’s not unfair to say that unsubscribes are enough of a pain for marketers, but to now ask them to be responsible to automatically unsubscribe email addresses that do not respond to your semi-annual or bi-annual requests for permission seems like it could be a lot of work.
And the penalties are massive. So, rest assured somewhere in Canada lives a marketer who will, without malice but rather because of poor compliance practices within his or her company, inadvertently and illegally send someone (or many someones) an email message without still having consent. And they will be made an example. I already feel badly for this person, whoever they are. Have you ever had a bunch of people report your email marketing as “SPAM” even though your messages are purely business/marketing, legitimate, and permissioned. Yep, it happens everyday! And I am sure one of those will ring the CRTC (or OPC or the CB) and complain about all those darn emails from marketing fall guy or gal.
We all know that the regular pruning of your email list is actually a good thing (you want to segment your lists down to those most likely to take the time to click the call-to-action), but it is still going to be tough to get corporate culture to metabolize the concepts of double opt-in, saving the double opt-in for compliance, getting those who sign-up to confirm their enrollment, and processing unsubscribes immediately (unlike the U.S. CAN-SPAM law which gives as much as 10 days to do the needful).
Like our peers, we will guide our clients through CASL in early 2013 with compliance workshops, audits and checklists, and of course our List Management and List Segmentation tools. And we will share their stress when they learn that not everyone on their Canadian lists are going to re-subscribe or double opt-in. And perhaps that will be the hardest message to convey (and the hardest to help sell into the boardroom: in 2012 we had 14 gabillion subscribers, and this year that list has shrunk to only 3 gabillion. And we will try to answer the number one question that will follow: is 3 gabillion normal?
I also think 2013 will see a number of customers change their email service provider, or perhaps further consolidation among the medium sized ESPs. Some simply won’t have the tools Canadian marketers will need, while others will be slow to offer guidance and audits to their clients. And while email list management pain normally keeps marketers from switching teams, the year ahead may be painful enough for many to take the time to look around, listen to their colleagues at various events about their success (or failures), and start kicking some tires.
Personally, I’m looking forward to being dropped off all those lists I signed up for in 2005, and each day quietly delete for fear that unsubscribing with only bring more unwanted emails. Yea, I can be a bit Machiavellian.
Now, a poll question, do you thing CASL is going to stop the amount of unsolicited email and SMS, or scrapping of your social networks; or as some have suggested, do you think not much will change since most, if not all of it, originates somewhere outside of North America!