A shameless plug for the OMD Oasis at CES but frankly I don’t care. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to see inspirational industry icons from Yahoo, Twitter, ZEFR, Waze, GoPro and even the San Francisco 49er’s in back to back discussions…
First up was the mesmeric Salim Ismail from Singularity University, based at NASA. The basic concept of technological singularity is essentially a hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect radically changing civilisation. He also linked and attributed the hypothesis to Moore’s Law which basically states that computational power doubles each year. Salim stated that we are rapidly moving towards infinite computing power and storage which is the premise of Artificial Intelligence.
So that’s the science bit, now what does that actually mean in real terms? Well by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. And within another decade, that will be over a trillion (given the connected tech we have seen this week from toothbrushes to toilets, that doesn’t surprise me).
And the effect of that connectedness will alter the way we view the world across areas such as education, energy, poverty and healthcare. So for example, rather than building expensive road infrastructure to deliver vital medicines to remote areas we will use drones. Given the success of the Google self driving car (over a million miles driven without incident), the exponential potential of this technology gave way to a confident prediction by Salim that his three year old son will most likely never need to learn how to drive a car.
In terms of DNA synthesis, Salim stated that we are now merely two years away from recreating the Woolly Mammoth. Jurassic Park launching in Vegas a few years later no doubt. And the implications for solving crimes? The technology to take DNA from bodily fluids like saliva and create an accurate computer generated picture of someone’s face already exists. Minority Report suddenly goes from science fiction to science fact. And merging advances in 3D printing with genome technology and we get Modern Meadow who are literally printing meat burgers which means we won’t have to cut bits off dead cows in the future. Frankenburger and fries anyone?
So what are the implications for business? Salim quoted David Gust who said that any business ‘designed’ for the 20th Century will most likely fail in the 21st Century. A sobering thought. He supported this prediction with a fact. In the 1920s the average age of a business in the S&P 500 was 67 years. Now? It is only 15 years. And the businesses that will thrive and survive? The disrupters like Google, Tesla, Quirky, TED and Airbnb. These are all business that are growing exponentially, citing Airbnb in particular who are likely to become the world’s largest hotel chain in the next few years, despite not owning any hotels!
And if your business is not a disrupter?
Then it will be disrupted.
Next up we had a lively debate on technology and content featuring ZEFR, Animal Planet, Awesomeness TV and LoudDoor. The backdrop from Business Insider spoke about how increasingly difficult it is to reach a mass central audience due to the splintering of channel and audience. The solution? Creating ubiquitous content, forging a closer relationship with consumers by giving them the control of what they watch / when they watch it and simply providing it on the platforms they want it on. Rich Raddon from ZEFR convincingly argued that ‘social video’ was the future particularly with video coming soon to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And ZEFR’s relationship with all the movie studios (except one) puts them at the forefront of that opportunity.
All the panel, including the moderator, poured scorn on the previous shortsightness of many key content makers who cited copyright infringement when consumers had uploaded segments of their content neglecting the fact that this was, in effect, free advertising! ‘Specificity with scale’ was a key take out from this session with Awesomeness TV outlining an example from a cruise company wanting to reach a tween / teen audience to encourage them to consider a cruise as a viable holiday option with their parents. So instead of a 30 second commercial they devised a teenage ‘Romeo & Juliet’ style content piece which fulfilled the requirements of the brand and became engaging entertainment for the audience.
And to echo the sentiments of Salim from Singularity, Rich left us with a powerful thought – every company has to become a technology company with technology solutions. If they don’t, they will die.
The final sessions I saw were on Business Innovation and Live Events, featuring the likes of Waze, GoPro, Yahoo and the San Francisco 49ers. It began with some eye watering statistics. Such as print being down to five per cent consumer attention and yet still commands around 20 per cent of ad revenue. Conversely and rather perversely, mobile commands around 25 per cent of people’s attention and yet only takes around one per cent of ad revenue. Added to that, 50 per cent of 16-24’s say that the one thing they couldn’t give up is their mobile.
And it is the use of mobile as a second screen for sports / music events that is at the forefront of the event experience. At the 49er’s stadium they have the ability to interact with the fans in what they called the ‘ultimate live event experience’. Firstly they supply a few high speed Wi-Fi connections within the stadium and encourage people to download their app. From that interaction they are able to provide real time stats of the match, allow supporters to comment back via Twitter or Facebook, watch instant action replay from different angles and even order food / drinks / apparel which will be delivered direct to your seat within approximately six minutes!
Tomorrow, I’m walking the floor at CES and getting a full review from our tech experts. Oh and catching up with Ashton Kutcher at our Start Up event. Just another ordinary day on the Strip.