Catching the Next Big Wave

Surfing the web

As a kid surfing there was always an old bloke that would just sit out the back waiting for the perfect wave to come through – the next “big thing” – he’d sit there for what seemed like eternity while closer to the action, us grommets would race around picking and surf anything that even looked like a wave.  In many ways that’s how much of the digital world reacts – businesses, advertising agencies, consumers busy trying to get on board the next technology fad wave that may become a trend.

In my work I constantly hear and read the techno babble of “What mobile apps are you developing?” and cringe.   Mobility is just one element of technology convergence – the interactive landscape will cover everything from your mobile to rich media e-books; Internet enabled TVs to digital radio; point of sale displays to outdoor digital billboards.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my iPhone – much like I loved my first PC 20 something years ago and our first big screen TV (wow haven’t the prices dropped there!)  Fact is there will always be something new and next year I’ll want a new phone or TV for what reason I don’t know yet.

Interestingly, so much of new technology is about creating pre release hype and in many ways it’s like the movies, but, just because a major studio is behind a project doesn’t mean it will be a success.

I think of Avatar (which I loved) and the Hurt Locker (seeing this week).

As you may know this week at the Oscars Apple launched their first TVC for the iPad and already there’s a new wave of feedback and comments on whether the campaign was successful; whether the iPad will do for publishing what the iPhone and iPod have done for mobile computing and music.

End of the day it’s you and I who decide with our wallet and whether we share a positive or negative experience.

On the weekend a girlfriend bought a new Blackberry with the initial intent of getting an iPhone – the sales guy telling her lot’s of returns on the iPhone convinced her not to buy.  Fact or fiction?

Whatever the truth it’s a classic example of the “trusted knowledge” expert’s influence.

Back at the movies, Avatar generated over a billion dollars in the first three weeks but didn’t win the Oscar.  Who’s the winner?

As the old bloke now in the water I’ll just paddle out the back.  Hmm wonder if the iPad comes in a waterproof version I can drop inside my surfboard?  Been there, done that!

Australia Day #OzDay

Aussie Cozzie

Aussie Cozzie
The 26th January, Australia Day – the national day of “Oz-tralia” – also referred to as Invasion Day by a few – it commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 usually with a bar-bie, lamingtons,  vegi on toast and maybe some sparklers later as a special treat.

From a social media marketing perspective “nationalism” is much like any other tribalism – just scaled up from the local town footy team fans to state loyalties and special interest groups.

At its core it is the establishment of an artificial, political construct of collective cultural identity – OK too deep for a public holiday.

Interestingly Jan 26 also marks the anniversary of the Rum Rebellion in 1808, the only military coup in Australia’s short history starring English “mutiny on the bounty” bad guy William Bligh.  Popular belief is that the autocratic Bligh was removed because he threatened the huge profits that were being made in spirits trading by the NSW Corps and established businessmen.  Others say it was less do to with policy and more about Bligh’s attitude and disrespect of the new colonies established gentry.

“You can give me 50 lashes mate, but don’t touch my grog business or else”

Whatever the reasons one can ask how much of the past is reflected in the culture of today – who we are, what we do?

From a marketing perspective I’m always interested in “Australia” branding BUT whatever approach you take can get you into trouble for massive generalisations.

Beaches, native animals, sunshine, friendly people….

Marketing is about being different, remarkable and sustainable competitve advantage.

“I was so disappointed there were no kangaroos in the city” said one visitor – yeow!

I think we should have kangaroos at every international airport AND wombats – at Border Patrol!

Personally I didn’t mind “Australia” the movie but from an Australia global marketing campaign perspective it was a $100m dud.

Hmmm start a rumour that the Avatar rainforests were based on the Queensland Daintree (smiles)- should try and get a quote from James Cameron – wonder if he’s on Twitter?

Around the world today there are parties of Aussies and world travellers “chipped and branded” celebrating the Day.

It is the shared experience that matters most – whatever the event.

And remember in the technological, globally connected times of today – any news in flashed and shared instantly around the world.  

New Years Eve fireworks on the Harbour Bridge across a glistening harbour – a couple of million people in the City – the images into billions of homes.

An Indian guy sadly murdered in Melbourne – “all Aussies are racists” cried a student to Indian TV!   

That same night an Aussie was also stabbed nearby – crime happens.

There was 320K student visas granted in 2008-2009. The result Indian student visas dropped 46% threatening a $17B industry employing thousands of Australians.  Politicians jumped.

Focus on the positive – worrying is like praying for the worst.

Happy Oz Day – may all your eskies be full, your beers icy cold and your footy/cricket team victorious.

National Broadband Network Health

Where's my IPhone?

A sea-change – she sits in a hospital waiting room, hundreds of miles from us kids – where’s my I-phone?Where's my IPhone?

In 2010, the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be a major discussion point across Australia. It is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken and if done correctly will revolutionise the way we live, work, play and communicate for generations to come.

Health, a major problem for government, has been identified as one of the most significant beneficiaries of the NBN and with our aging population there will be only be an increase in the demand for high quality health and caring services.

One of current NBN debates is about the economics of the project – to me, the mathematics are very simple – the technology (and subsequent applications) to increase health industry productivity and efficiency by 10%. Apply that 10% against the existing health budget and you have a healthy ROI (Return On Investment)

Far too often accountants (god love em); politicians and consultants get caught up on obsolete manufacturing based costing models – it’s not about construction cost per sec, it is about application development and communication speed/ connections that market and social benefits are delivered and derived.

This same ROI approach can be applied to any inefficient market or process – eg the majority paper based multi billion dollar building and construction industry. Years ago using existing off the shelf software and basic business processes we could reduce housing construction costs by 25%. Across the whole market we could easily reduce 40% of costs (excluding government taxes and Builders Warranty rorts).

The fundamental problem back then (and now) is that builders had no significant motivation (economic or other) to invest in new skills development.  In fairness, the technology at the time did not meet their basic needs (robust and easy to use) and the main originators of building information – the architects – were caught up using antiquated 2D software.

Today we are already on the next wave of technological change – mobile computing. The I-phone is the first real mass device to properly deliver a solution – easy and highly functional.  More will come.

Back to health – this week Respite Loddon Malle has launched a new website featuring CLIVEvideo with captioning turned on to assist the hearing impaired.  Video will represent over 95% of future Internet traffic.

The Loddon Mallee region consists of 56,965 square kilometres or 26% of Victoria, with a population currently reported as 307,405.

Faster broadband equals more rich functional applications and greater social benefits across the nation.

The NBN, if done correctly, can position Australia as a leader of global digital services BUT will also require an integrated approach to skills; application development and financial investment incentive.