That’s A Lot of Ham for Only Two Eggs!

Google just announced that it’s buying Nest for $3.2 billion!  For a company with two products, that’s a lot of cash 🙂

But Nest is one of the current market leaders in what is being referred to as the “Internet of Things.”  What is that you ask? The Internet of Things  refers to uniquely identifiable objects, like a room thermostat or smoke detector, that are connected and accessible via the internet.  Earlier examples of these “connectors” are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking.  According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. Now that is a lot of devices.

A bit more about Nest.  Nest is best known for its smart thermostat, which learns your habits over time and adjusts your heat settings accordingly.  They also recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) to rave reviews.  Here are pictures of the Nest thermostat and Nest Protect alarm.

nestnest protect

The Nest thermostat is the first next generation in-home thermostat.  It learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. The Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.  That will save you a lot of Benjamins 🙂

Nest Protect not only has an alarm component, but also speaks to you with a human voice. It tells you what the problem is and where it is. And if you have more than one Nest Protect, they connect so they can speak up at the same time even if Wi-Fi is down. No better way to protect the home and family.

For Google, this continues a big new push to apply its machine-learning expertise to physical objects, from self-driving cars to robots and now home appliances. Google continues to broaden its focus to artificial intelligence and machine learning in myriad forms. It is now a machine-learning company.

We are moving into a time where the opportunity to track everything in real time on your phone or other internet connected device will be possible.  When will we have the time to actually accomplish anything?  🙂  George Jetson is the man!

Enjoy the day.

Webman

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Baby You Can Drive My Car

That is so Yesterday!  See what I did there 🙂

The modern version is that there actually is no one driving your car. Are you ready for this?

In the fall of 2010, Google announced that it developed “self-piloting” Toyota Prius Hybrids and they were loose on the streets of California. Mostly on Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  And they had driven 140,000 miles with no issues. The vehicles were powered by unproven artificial intelligence software.  Those Google people are pretty smart.

Fast forward to 2014 and now everyone is getting in the game to provide “driverless” cars. Audi, BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo all have announced plans to “unveil” an autonomous car by 2020. Google says to watch for its public debut of its prototype in 2016. Still, a truly autonomous vehicle, one capable of dealing with any real-world situation, won’t hit showrooms coast-to-coast for years after that.

But we have the technology already. Plus there would be no accidents, less traffic, all sorts of awesome benefits.  What the heck is taking so long?

Simple answer.  People.  We are not close to relinquishing control of the steering wheel. Heck,I never let anyone else drive. You know why?  Because I like it and so do you 🙂  Great technology in search of a problem.  Wonder what generation will adopt? Wonder if we will be around to see it?

And now a classic by the Beatles for your listening pleasure.

Webman

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Are you awake?

Focused on expanding my horizons the last couple of week by reading about some topics that I am not familiar with.  One I focused on was the concept of being awake, living in the moment. Being awake you say?  But I am awake 12+ hours a day you say!

Are you really awake or are you just going through the motions?  Do you live in the past, present and future all at the same time? When you are engaged in a discussion, are you thinking about something that has previously happened or other things that you need to do? Or are you truly focused in the moment with all attention on that one idea, thought, person or event?

Initial thoughts:

  • Focus solely on what you are doing – this will not be easy at first but keep trying
  • Look people directly in the eye and listen hard to what they are saying – As my friend Brendan says, God gave you two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak
  • Give the gift of attention – focus on the present/the moment

I will spend more on this topic moving forward.  If you want some further information now, please visit http://freedomfromtheknown.com/living-in-the-moment/

And for you music lovers, let’s go to a song that you can sing and remember as you embark on your new journey of focus.

Enjoy the day and your new found focus 🙂  Wake up!

Webman

Go Inside

“If you are not on the inside, your are on the outside”

Gordon GekkoWall Street

Well apparently Apple wants to be on the inside.  The last mile in the marketing, promotional, geo-location part of the food chain. There is still one slightly uncharted territory that will — without question — be the last mile in marketing. It is the ability for a brand to deliver contextual and highly targeted marketing at the local retail level. We may be inching ever-closer to this reality.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple acquired a company called WiFiSLAM for an estimated $20 million. WiFiSLAM is GPS for the indoors. It is able to triangulate the location of consumers, track their every move and deliver contextual marketing messages to them while capturing a tremendous amount of consumer data.

For Apple, this may be the next big thing. Some speculate that Apple will try to grab the mapping of the inside spaces while Google continues to map the oceans and the arctic. Google is just as busy trying to capitalize on this idea of mapping the inside of spaces as well. But it’s not just a game for Apple and Google. Amazon has been hard at work capturing tons of consumer information at the retail level.

A little Eve 6 for you.

Look no further than their Price Check for iPhone app that enables consumers to scan a barcode, snap a picture of a product or use text/speech search to find out how much the product is on Amazon. This business of showrooming has become a contentious talking point in the retail sector, as more and more consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to find a better price at the physical location. These consumers are using the stores as a showroom, but completing their purchases on their mobile devices and having the products shipped to their homes. What we don’t hear much about is the data and information that Amazon is capturing about consumers, how they walk through stores, what they’re price checking, the price variances from store to store, trends in merchandising and more. All of this (and more) is being captured, each and every time a consumer uses the app to find a better price. While it’s not real-time information like WiFiSLAM is offering, Amazon still has tremendous information about consumers and how they make their way through many different retail environments.

It looks like stores are going to become as dynamic and intelligent as their e-commerce counterparts. So long as retailers seeks permission from their consumers and use this technology to drive more value to the consumers, these types of technologies could well be the linchpin that secures the future of retail.

Inside game is now officially on.  Just as spring arrives.

Webman

Showrooming

And yet another new word enters our vernacular.  Use to be we went to the showroon (a noun).  Now we go showrooming (a verb).  Kind of like when Google was a noun (Name of the company) and not a verb, “Just Google it?”

So what exactly is showrooming?  From Wikipedia – Showrooming is when a customer visits a brick and mortar retail location to touch and feel a product and then goes online to buy the product at a lower price. Online stores often offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores because they do not have the overhead cost.

48 million consumers or 20 percent of the U.S. population will use their smartphones to showroom.

The number of shoppers engaging in showrooming during the 2012 holiday season is expected to increase by 134 percent, with mobile behavior influencing between $700 million to $1.7 billion in retail purchases, according to a new report from IDC Retail Insights.

The report reveals some of the ways that retailers can address showrooming, with approximately 70 percent of shoppers planning to showroom this season saying they will be “more likely” to buy from retailers who offer full-featured mobile Web sites, provide omni-channel convenience across stores and Web sites, support smartphone shopping apps and offer price comparisons via QR codes.

  • Big ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings, and reviews will be the most showroomed items this year.
  • 7 to 13% of consumer electronics shoppers will use their smartphones at least once in stores this season; showrooming activities will touch 1.4% of consumer electronic sales.
  • Apparel and footwear is the second most heavily showroomed category. Between 4 and 8% of shoppers will showroom this category this year affecting about 1% of its sales.
  • 64% think what they’ll learn in the store with their smartphones will have at least as much influence on their decision as what they’ll learn online before coming into the store
  • 56-60% of shoppers with their smartphones in-hand say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to buy what they find in the store as they shop this season when assisted by trustworthy knowledgeable store associates.
  • 41% of showrooming shoppers say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to rely on their smartphones when they encounter retailers who offer private or exclusive merchandise.

You can check out a bit more on this at http://www.idc-ri.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23789012

Here is an awesome chart from Accenture:

Retail is getting quite complicated.

Webman

Have Better Meetings

We all attend too many.  This is a given.

Most communication that occurs in meetings falls into 5 classifications:

But only two types of meeting communications are valuable:

  1. Requests – When you need something from a meeting participant, be clear and precise.  Your request should include full details and a deadline
  2. Promises – These are commitments made by a person to fulfill requests.  That is why specificity is critical.  As the meeting leader, your follow-up is to define the requests, promises and timing. One record for executing against the promises

Here is how Google runs a meeting.  They are a pretty good company – http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-run-a-meeting-like-google-2010-1

And a look at Apple’s process.  They make pretty good stuff – http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669936/meetings-are-a-skill-you-can-master-and-steve-jobs-taught-me-how

As for the other three communication types, they are still important, but use e-mail, the water cooler or other interactions for them.

Stop accepting mediocrity and wasting time.  Take action now.  You, your calendar and your clients will be much happier.

Webman

Multiscreening

So many devices, so little time.  So guess what we now do; we use multiple devices at one time.  Yes even men with trouble multi-tasking (At least that is what the ladies think) are utilizing more than one device simultaneously.  Watching/listening to the TV while checking their fantasy teams on their tablets or smartphones while also on the web, social and texting channels.

Digressing for a moment, heard the first song ever played on MTV the other day.  The Bugles – Video Killed the Radio Star – this was when MTV actually played music videos – Enjoy!

Last week, Google published some interesting data based on research into how consumers are using different devices together, called The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.Headline for you90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. In other words, people may start reading an email on their phone,but finish reading it at home on their tablet.

Here are some really interesting statistics from the study:

Given these options, behavior has changed given the task at hand and has introduced the concept of sequential device engagement.  Here is one example.

Nuggets:

  • 90% use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time.
  • 98% move between devices that same day.
  • Browsing the internet (81%), social networking (72%), and shopping online (67%) are the top activities performed when sequentially screening between devices.
  • PCs/laptops are most often a starting point for more complex activities.
  • Tablets are most often a starting point for shopping and trip planning.
  • Consumers rely on search to move between devices.
  • We use an average of 3 different screen combinations each day.
  • Smartphones are the most frequent companion devices during simultaneous usage.
  • Emailing (60%), internet browsing (44%), and social networking (42%) are the top 3 activities performed during simultaneous screen usage.
  • 78% of simultaneous usage is multi-tasking, while 22% of simultaneous usage is complementary.
  • 77% of TV viewers use another device at the same time in a typical day.
  • TV is a major catalyst for search.
  • All information was sourced directly from the Google study.

What should a marketer do?

Optimize content for multiple devices. Consumers are increasingly accessing multiple screens in their day-to-day lives. It’s no longer enough to optimize your content for PCs/laptops. Mobile optimization on tablets and smartphones needs to be a priority. Furthermore, considering the popularity of sequential and simultaneous screen usage, it’s important for marketers to make their presence across multiple devices as cohesive and user-friendly as possible.

Context is critical.  Users will choose a particular device based on contextual triggers such as location, timing, goals, and attitude. Therefore it’s critical to understand how your audience accesses your content so you can cater your marketing strategy to accommodate those specific use cases and behaviors.

Getting more and more complicated as it relates to engaging your customers to purchase your product, engage with you socially, have a two-way dialogue with your customer segments and find new prospects that will respond to your brand.  To get great at this, think like your customers – walk through the device messaging sequentially and out of sequence.  What do you see?  Do you see a brand that is coordinated or fragmented?  Did you have an experience that engaged you with the brand/product?  If so, you are doing great.  If not, you need to figure this out.

Webman