Wearable Technology, once the thing of sci-fi and anti-utopian futuristic novels, has officially become a way of life. Even for those of us who don’t wear a piece of computer technology, such as the Fitbit, FuelBand, etc., on our persons throughout the day, we’ve approached a time when people spend 22 hours a day either holding or within grasp of their Smartphones. They have basically become an extension of ourselves – an additional appendage, if you will.
This technology, along with forthcoming iterations such as Google Glass and the much rumored “smart watches” in development by companies like Pebble, Apple and Samsung, has been developed with the idea of keeping us more “connected.” But does it really? At a recent concert I went to, I was struck by how many people in the crowd were watching the show through the lens of their phones – attempting to record or share an experience instead of, well, EXPERIENCING it. We’ve all been victims of a dinner or lunch date with a friend that just CAN’T stop texting or surfing – and we’ve each probably been the offending party a time or two ourselves. In situations where we may find ourselves <GASP> alone in a bar or restaurant while we await our friends – instead of, say, striking up a conversation with the single guy next to us, or the bartender, we bury ourselves in the comfort of our phones. Society has shifted us into more cocooned individuals. And I worry that the oncoming technology may even exacerbate this issue.
Google claims that the idea behind Google Glass is to get people OUT of their phones, make “people” the focus again. I’m worried that it may actually just make it EASIER to appear engaged while actually tuning reality out. At least now, we are all conscious of the fact that we are either being ignored by our friends engrossed in their phones, or being rude to those around us. Google Glass may just enable us to dive even further into our fascination with virtual reality to the point that we completely lose our hold on physical reality.
I don’t believe that all wearable technology is guilty of this. I wear a Fitbit every day. I don’t think about it much throughout the day, I don’t have to fiddle with it, and unlike my iPhone, it doesn’t constantly scream at me, demanding my attention. It just quietly chugs away, recording my daily activities, reminding me gently to be more active, take a bigger role in my own health. At the end of the day, it’s technology like THIS that I feel is actually making me feel MORE connected. It’s helping me to understand myself better, without abetting me in disconnecting from the world around me. And that helps me feel like I’m a better version of myself.
I don’t intend to abandon my iPhone. And I have yet to decide whether I feel that Google Glass will be the next big thing, or that it’s just a lot of overblown hype. However, I do think that we as a society may need to take a step back, put down the tech, and enjoy a concert just for the music, just for the non-recorded memories once in a while.
Do you remember when Facebook launched what some would argue to be the most valuable addition to its platform, News Feed? For the first time, in one place, a person could easily access real-time updates from friends. This meant way less time clicking to a ton of pages to stalk, er, I mean keep up to speed on connections. Nearly seven years later, it’s now the place where 1 billion people engage with their friends on the internet, and people, like me, spend hours upon hours each day.
News Feed has been through several changes since launch. Each time, ironically a plethora of people take to Facebook to voice how they’ll quit the platform altogether if it doesn’t change back. On Thursday, with the announcement of the new News Feed, Facebook rumbled our world again.
Except this time, I think people aren’t going to complain so much.
The changes aren’t going to drastically alter the functionality of people’s beloved News Feed, they’re going to make it better. Facebook’s enhancements will give users a reason to keep coming back. Among these main players are larger images, multiple feeds for things like photos, and a unified user experience across mobile and tablet devices.
Unlike its stock, Facebook’s space on News Feed is a commodity, with limited impressions for brands, friends and apps to compete. Thursday’s announcement of filter changes may help with this quandary. This additional layer of personalization with larger, more beautiful photos will be a welcome change, one that I think will keep people coming back for more.
Sign-up here to be one of the first to experience the new News Feed.
Whenever I travel, I’m always in a pinch to check in before everyone snatches up the good seats. No, I don’t want to be a hero and sit near the emergency exit, that’s terrifying. For whatever reason, traveling seems to evoke this sense of panic in me, and I often wish there was someone to tell me not to forget anything throughout my trip. Enter: Delta Airlines. The airline recently launched a new app for both the iPad and iPhone that is a hyper-personalized guide to users’ entire trips. The app works in tandem with a revamp of Delta’s online marketing strategy, bringing a more digitally integrated experience to its customers. From helping you choose between flights to the moment you land at your destination, the app is intended to be tied to every detail of your trip.
In conjunction with the app, the new delta.com redesign includes a personalized sectio
n with features like My Wallet, which stores payment information and travel receipts in a digital wallet. The iPad app uses a feature called “Glass Bottom Jet,” which gives fliers a look at the route below them as they are traveling on a flight, and even pinpoints connections to your social networks as you’re flying above. That feature alone is cool enough for me, but the app also lets you download suggested content for the flight, see what your social network is saying about the destination, and find things to do while there.
With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, I think Delta hit the mark on finding a relevant, cross-platform approach to being with customers throughout their trip. By making it easy for users to plan, share, and connect their experience through social context, Delta added value to users’ entire journey, rather than strictly the beginning and end of their trip.
Facebook’s business model just hit a stumbling block, as the social network is being forced to let users opt out of having their likenesses repurposed as endorsements in Sponsored Stories ads. The requirement of opt out controls comes as part of a settlement of a class action lawsuit where five Californians said they did not consent to having their names, faces, and activity used to promote companies who paid Facebook.
To celebrate the release of Justin Bieber’s new album, Mercury Music has joined forces with Blippar to offer an exclusive augmented reality (AR) experience – triggered by the ‘Believe’ album artwork. This is a world-first for a global artist of this magnitude, offering fans around the world an exciting opportunity to hear tracks from his new album and unlock exclusive virtual content and features.
Facebook has created a new feature that lets users find friends and potential friends nearby. Initially called “Friendshake” and also accessible through a URL that is the abbreviation of “find friends nearby” (http://fb.com/ffn), it’s another step in Facebook furthering its reach into mobile, and creating services to meet new people — rather than building up more connectivity with the ones you already know.
During the keynote address at Apple’s yearly WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) event in San Francisco this morning, the company announced Passbook- just one of more than 200 new features being added in the sixth iteration of the mobile operating system, iOS 6.
For my colleagues in marketing: This is a pretty big deal. Pay attention.
At first glance, Passbook may appear to simply scratch an itch for consumers who are increasingly using their mobile devices to organize their daily lives. Passbook serves as a single point to organize things like tickets, boarding passes and the other scraps of paper that crowd our pockets, wallets and bags. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find location-based integration and API support that makes Passbook much more than just a digital organizer.
One of the more intriguing examples of Apple’s Passbook solution provided in this morning’s address was the inclusion of a mobile coupon experience by Target. Mobile coupons certainly aren’t anything new; and location-based coupons aren’t ground breaking developments, either (although few brands are implementing them in a way that resonates with consumers). The exciting part about this morning’s development is the support at the system level for organizing and delivering such content to the consumer.
Context and relevancy are the key components of the Passbook experience: It’s more than just an organizer. It’s an intelligent system for providing relevant information that you want and need at the precise time and location where it is needed.
Imagine: Those tickets you purchased for tonight’s concert automatically appear on your mobile device as you approach the entrance to the stadium. Or the details of the reservation you made on OpenTable auto-magically appear just as you pull up to the valet.
While these experiences have been possible for more than a year now with Apple’s introduction of geofencing APIs, the infrastructure required to support them was an obstacle to meaningful implementations for most organizations. With Passbook, Apple has removed yet another barrier to creating experiences that consumers demand.
All that is great, indeed. But it’s just the beginning. This entrance into a one-stop system for coupons, loyalty cards, tickets and boarding passes is the first step of a much larger effort to replace your wallet.
There is still a pretty significant barrier for mobile users in making purchases from their mobile device and that barrier is the payment itself. Scrolling through my own phone, I have more than 20 applications that I have used for making a purchase at one point or another; and with those 20 apps are 20 different accounts. Each of these accounts stores varying levels of payment information. One app stores my credit card number but not the CVC number. Another doesn’t store anything. A third requires me to enter the last four digits of my credit card number and then pass a CAPTCHA challenge. It’s maddening.
Then we have the apps that allow me to make purchases in the real world: Square, TabbedOut, GoPayment, etc. I’m constantly looking for the right app to use.
Apple’s Passbook has the potential to remove all of these frustrations with a solution that takes full advantage of the 400 million consumers who have already plugged into Apple’s payment system.
VISA, MasterCard and AMEX needn’t worry about PayPal or Square. They have a much larger problem: Apple. With eyes locked on revolutionizing the wallet, and their hardware already in the pockets of millions of consumers loyal to their mobile platform, they are already half-way there.
Attention Farmville farmers, Spotify junkies, and Draw Something artists: you’re about to get a lot more company in your world of social apps – courtesy of your friends at Facebook. Last week, Facebook announced their plans of an App Center roll-out, a central hub accessible on the social network’s platform to locate all social apps.
Now, if you’re asking yourself, “Isn’t this already available on my Apple App Store or Google Android Play store?” the answer is, yes… and no. Big names like Words with Friends, Draw Something and Bubble Witch Saga prove that social apps have major mass appeal. And while Apple and Google stores are great for locating and purchasing apps, finding those that have inherent social features can be daunting. This move by Facebook allows users to skip these stores all together and use one central place to find it all, that is: mobile, desktop and web apps with social compatibilities. Is it competition for Google and Apple? Definitely. However, Facebook has stated that native mobile apps listed in the center will still direct users to Apple or Google stores. But no matter where you download, the intention is clear: Facebook wants to make all apps social apps. And since Facebook is 900 million users strong, I think it’s safe to assume that developers will want their product featured in this new marketplace.
So what’s the implication for the Facebook user experience? Facebook is measuring the success of an app listed in the App Center by its quality. They’ll be using a variety of signals to measure eligibility, including user engagement and user ratings. This means if your app isn’t performing, it won’t be listed. It’s also an excellent way to cut back on those “spammy” apps that can clutter the user interface and interfere with user experience.
The announcement of the Facebook App Center is excellent news for both marketers and developers who are invested in the space. Facebook further expanding their interest in the booming apps and gaming industry allows users to easily discover, play, and share within the Facebook environment, ensuring they won’t have to leave the platform to play in another. This new development also speaks to the platforms commitment to expand and monetize their mobile capabilities. Furthermore, Facebook’s App Center guidelines indicate that the user experience will be prioritized, creating high engagement for repeat use, meaning even more regular traffic to the already popular social network.
So what do you think? Do you want search for your new apps using Facebook’s forthcoming App Center? Do you think we’ve found the be-all, end-all of app stores? Or is this just another Apple App Store/Google Android Play wanna-be in the making?
For the past few years, mobile execs have made the bold statement “THIS year is the year for mobile”. When in reality, we haven’t seen it yet. There are still so many developments that need to happen before advertisers can truly embrace all of the revolutionary aspects of mobile advertising. Targeting being one of the MAIN elements that needs to be perfected then standardized across networks. That by itself is a post so I’ll save my opinions on that for later. It is expected that by 2013, more consumers will be accessing the internet via their mobile devices than their desktop computers. This statement alone really puts the evolving media landscape in perspective. To think that 14 years ago, having the game Snake on your Nokia cell phone automatically put you ahead of the game. Fast forward to 2012, feature phones are still prevalent with smart phones only owning half the U.S. market. It is anticipated that this year, smart phone sales will reach 1.8 billion units and by next year, smart phone penetration will increase from 50% to 70% in the U.S. What this means is that if you do not have a phone that can remind you to get the dry cleaning, locate your friends and video chat you might as well go back to playing Snake on your Nokia. Clients are slowing embracing mobile technology and advertising whether it be by optimizing a site for mobile screens, taking advantage of location based services or providing engaging experiences within the ad in case a mobile site experience is not available. For brands to stay on top of evolving mobile offerings, clients should start preparing for how media will work with these emerging trends. A few things to consider to get ahead of the market – how could brands eventually take advantage of Apple’s new patent that allows Siri to go online and make purchases for you? Or how Siri could be used in your brand’s app? Or how mobile ads can be served using Google’s patented technology that would allow for targeting based on environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and speed of movement? What about mobile video – how can your client best get ahead of this curve? Everyday there is new news regarding mobile so the only way to be a leader in this space is to stay on top of it and ask “How can our brand best use this news worthy technology?”
At sixteen, I landed my first job in a fast food restaurant. For twenty hours each week, I took orders from impatient customers lined up to gobble down Big Deluxes with cheese, no onion, no lettuce, no tomato, extra mayonnaise, large fries and diet Cokes. It was glamorous; I hated everything about it.
Time seemed to stand still when I was behind the counter. The only thing that encouraged me to stick with it was the $3.80 per hour that I racked up. As the hours dragged on, I imagined the balance in my checking account creeping upward: $3.80, $7.60, $11.40, $15.20, $19.00.To this day, I can multiply 3.8 by any integer up to 20 faster than you can say, “cholesterol.”
As I hoarded my fortune from my illustrious career at Hardee’s, I developed an interesting habit. The value of goods was no longer measured in dollars, but in time spent at the fry station. I would find a t-shirt that I wanted and instantly convert USD to FSLH (fry station labor hours). Then, I’d ask myself, “Is this t-shirt really worth 4 FSLH?” It became an obsession.
My first job taught me about the value of money, certainly. But it also taught me the value of my time and attention. Products were valued based on the return they provided in exchange for time spent at work. (Money was really just the physical, tangible item that represented time and effort.)
There’s a lot of talk right now about the Attention Economy. The idea is that we have a finite amount of attention that we can dedicate to any particular task. When we’re asked to switch our attention from one task to another, we’re literally paying attention just as we pay for products and services from a finite amount of financial resources.
When it comes to mobile user experience, I can’t help but think back to the lessons learned from my days in fast food. I have the same over-the-top obsession with value proposition.
For mobile users, the value of time and attention is drastically inflated. Rarely is the mobile task at hand the primary focus of a user’s attention. Therefore, mobile experiences must provide a tremendous amount of value in a very short amount of time. In other words, they must deliver a return on the user’s investment that is equal to or greater than the value of the attention and time spent in engagement – and it must do that quickly.
This notion is even more important as users launch your application for the first time. At that point, they’ve invested a tremendous amount of time in searching for, downloading, and installing your application. That’s a significant investment (and risk) for an app that hasn’t yet delivered anything.
Good apps provide value. Great apps provide immediate (and sustained) value. They don’t ask users to set up an account or read documentation. They don’t force users to watch a video or stare at a splash screen. Instead, they respect users’ time and attention and reward them with immediate return on their investment. The risk in not delivering significant return quickly is great: for every app that does XYZ, there are hundreds of others that do the exact same thing. If you don’t provide value out of the gate, your mobile solution is likely to end up being deleted. And if the return is bad enough, the user is likely, in the form of negative reviews, to dissuade others from investing time and attention.
I had an interesting talk with a developer a few months ago who was complaining that users were leaving him bad reviews. “It’s a free app and doesn’t even have advertisements. I wrote it just because I thought it was a good idea and wanted to gain some experience. Who complains about something that is free?”
The truth, of course, is that his app isn’t free. There is a cost and a value proposition. The app cost 1/12 FSLH.