Social Media as the New TV

We Bid Thee Adieu TV Marketing

A few years ago (or maybe even a decade!), TV was considered to be the primary marketing channel to connect to consumers with. However, with the exponential rise of technology development and engagement, there is a new king taking the throne away from TV. Audience viewership is moving away from linear TV to go further online. Going even farther than TV did, social media is no longer simply just a marketing channel – it’s become a customer experience channel. Instead of being the platform brands use to increase sales, it’s become a part of the actual brand experience itself. The brand experience that a company delivers is about designing a sensory experience that builds the connection and relationship between a brand and its customer.

TV marketing is no longer (or maybe never was) an optimum choice for many companies – especially small and starting up companies, and even relatively established businesses. While TV reaches a very wide audience, it has its own drawbacks. For starters, it’s extremely expensive with only reasonable, but not extraordinary, conversion rates. Additionally, because it reaches such a wide audience, there are no personalization options, making the advertisement just generic enough to capture the actual attention of a small audience.

Social Media Marketing

Compared to TV, social media thrives as a smart marketing strategy because it: targets B2B and B2C audiences; enhances a company’s online reputation and brand awareness; reaches new target audiences; allows companies to communicate more directly with clients; keeps track of companies’ online reputation; engages customers in a more personal, dynamic, and interactive manner; develops an online identity; and increases website traffic.

A thorough social media strategy can help target specific demographics and interests to build awareness and interest of your brand, products, and/or services. With social media, there are particular influencers and thought leaders that have great influence over the decisions of particular individuals – such as celebrities on fan and YouTubers on their subscribers.

Unlike TV, social media posts can be used to boost a company website’s SEO. By posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, search engine crawlers can sift through your content and discover which pages consistently earn traffic – drawing attention to company websites. While a strategically planned SEO concept is crucial to earning high rankings in search engines, the traffic received from social media platforms to your optimized pages will allow rankings to climb faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The Personalization Factor

One of the most important factors that consumers look for in brands and businesses is a personal connection to the brand. By marketing on social media, businesses are able to showcase their humanization factor and foster close-knit relationships with their consumers. The interactions between business and audience personify the brand – by creating and sharing content, commenting, and posting statuses, the consumer feels a human connection with the brand. This relationship with consumers is important because it leads to a positive result in sales. Consumers are more likely to consider the business that they have the most personal connection with when considering a product/service purchase. Better impressions on visitors correlates positively with sales.

If you don’t believe that personalization will do wonders for your business, just take a look at these numbers! Businesses that personalized their web and online experiences saw an average 19% increase in sales. Customers strongly value the personalization experience as 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if a personalized experience is offered.

While TV might have been considered to be a successful marketing tactic a few years ago, it is no longer an efficient or feasible option for many businesses today. So, if you want the marketing tactic with the most substantial and concrete outcomes for your business, make sure you have a strong social media strategy!

Why Is Technology So Important?

As you’re reading this blog right now, you’re using technology (I mean, it’s not like your reading this in print in your local newspaper. Duh!) Technology is all around us wherever we go – at work, at home, at the beach, in the park, literally everywhere.

Almost every aspect of our work (and every day!) lives are integrated or associated with technology. So, it should be no surprise that technology is important in a corporate setting. In almost any industry, if not every industry, it’s nearly impossible to avoid using technology in our work lives. Technology has such a critical and integral role that it’s considered to be a necessity, but why exactly is it so important?

1. Technology Makes Communication More Efficient

In any circumstance, we need to communicate, whether it’s with our coworkers, clients, or managers. Can you image if every time we needed to contact anyone (remotely, that is), we would need to send them a physical letter that needs to get sent through the post, wait for them to write their response and send it back in the mail, and then finally get it after how many weeks? How fun times would be. But luckily, technology has resolved this problem for us as we can now email, call, and even text anyone, anywhere and (hopefully! hehe) receive a response almost immediately. The amount of time and resources this saves is tremendous for business systems.

2. Technology Supports Online Marketing Strategies

Today, most marketing is done online and digitally. The most successful marketing campaigns are definitely not the ones where you feature your business in the classified section of the daily newspaper or the local transit waiting area (although you could argue otherwise, I suppose). But think about it: SEO, blogging, website and app development, email marketing, and social media are all successful and rewarding online strategies. All of these strategies would not be possible without the help of technology.

3. Technology Offers Security

In the corporate world, businesses can be subject to security threats and vandalism. However, technology can be used to secure and protect any confidential and sensitive data through encryption, passwords, and other forms of protected technology.

However, it’s best to keep in mind that while no method of storing data is guaranteed to be 100% secure, storing data in a safe and encrypted drive ensures more protection.

Our lives would be very different without technology today so it’s no doubt that it’s significantly impacted and simplified many tedious processes. Thanks to technology we’ve saved time and efforts, making our business processes more efficient. Remember to not take it for granted. 😌

Where We See the IoT

In the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), we explored what it is, how it works, and experienced the life-saving properties of it (at least saving from an angry significant other heh heh 😜). So if you haven’t already, take some time to read through the first installment of the IoT before you continue on here.

Today, we’ll be discussing another segment of the IoT – where we see it today and in the future. Considering the exponential growths technology is undergoing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can expect to see the IoT more and more around us in the very near future. Heck, some of us might already be using it now … let’s take a look at some examples of the IoT being applied today:

Fitbit One 

If you like to be fit (pun intended) or exercise regularly, you’ve probably heard of or used Fitbit One which tracks your steps, floors climbed, calories burned, and sleep quality. Where the IoT comes in for the Fitbit One is through monitoring your progress. Any data that’s collected from the device is wirelessly synced with your computer and/or smartphone, which transmits the fitness data into comprehensive charts that track and monitor your growth.

Barcelona

WOAHHH. What??? An entire city can integrate the IoT?? Believe it or not, it’s true. In 2012, Barcelona began deploying responsive technologies across urban systems including public transit, parking, street lighting, and waste management. Using 500 kilometers of fiber optic cable within the city initiated 30 years ago, individual IoT systems across urban services were created.

To improve energy efficiencies, Barcelona installed 19,500 smart meters that monitor and optimize energy consumption in targeted areas of the city. To decrease waste production, households deposited waste in municipal smart bins that monitor waste levels and optimize collection routes. For transportation, digital bus stops were installed that feature updates on bus locations, USB charging stations, free WiFi, and tools to help passengers download apps to learn more about the city. For drivers, sensor systems were applied that guide drivers to available parking spots. And this is only the beginning of the scope, many more initiatives were practiced by the city of Barcelona.

These innovations brought about significant cost savings, improved the quality of life for residents, and established Barcelona as a center for the young IoT Industry.

Amazon Go

Have you ever been to Amazon Go? It’s the store where customers go in, pick up what they need, and leave without interacting with any actual cashiers. In fact, the entire checkout process is automated and lets customers put merchandise directly into their shopping bag and walk out. Just like that.

How does this work? The store has gates (similar to the gates at train stations) and only allows those who have the Amazon Go smartphone app to enter. Every time a customer takes an item off its shelf, the item is placed into their online shopping cart. Conversely, if the item is placed back on the shelf, it’s removed from their online shopping cart as well.

While there’s only one location available now, there’s bound to be more considering where the future of the IoT is heading to now.

The Future of the IoT

In 2016, over 3.9 billion connected devices were used worldwide. By 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to be up to 21 billion. That’s 5.38 times more and the number is only going to go up from there.

Many more cities will become smart cities and use IoT technology to automate, remotely manage, and collect data, and artificial intelligence will become a ‘real thing’ with the IoT. This is only the beginning of the future. J

Welcome to the Internet of Things

Welcome to the Internet of Things … where everything is intertwined and connected. Welcome to a new age where your car is no longer just a car, your home is no longer just a home, and your appliances are no longer just your appliances, all thanks to the workings of the IoT.

Let’s take a minute to dose ourselves with a free rush of adrenaline for a minute. 😜

Have you ever lost your keys? Misplaced them? And for whatever reason to save your life, you couldn’t find them? You know that if you can’t find these keys in the next 30 minutes, your significant other is going to come home and be furious to find you locked out because you lost them (again!) To be fair though and on your side, keys are small and could easily get lost hehe. 😬

But imagine this: Being able to track down your lost keys (or whatever else it is you easily lose!) using Bluetooth and other wireless technology devices. You’re in for a treat though because you don’t only have to imagine this. It is possible (and a game changer for those who tend to be on the more forgetful side). This is the power of the Internet of Things.

The Internet of What?

Today it’s all about the Internet of Things (IoT). But what is it exactly? What are these things? Well, the Internet of Things refers to the “rapidly growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors” and encompasses devices that are connected together through the Internet. Basically, it consists of devices that are able to connect to the Internet to simplify or ease life processes. In traditional and conventional situations, these devices aren’t typically connected, but thanks to the IoT, now are. By combining these now connected devices with automated systems, we can gather information, analyze it, and create an action to help engage in a particular task or learn from a process.

These things to be connected can range from anything and everything from thermostats, lights, and wearables to actual homes, retail stores, vehicles, and even entire cities! You name it, if it can be connected to the Internet, it’s a part of the IoT!

How Does the IoT Work?

For those with a curious mind, we have a lot of unanswered questions about a lot of things. But the IoT won’t be one of those things (not anymore at least!) How the IoT works is simple. A complete IoT system integrates four components: Sensors/devices, connectivity, data processing, and a user interface.

1. Sensors/Devices

This first component collects data and information from its environment. These sensors and/or devices can collect data such as how many kilometers you’ve walked, a voice recording, or the temperature inside.

2. Connectivity

After the data is collected, it’s sent to the cloud – and no, not like the ones in the sky. On the cloud, you can store and access data and programs over the Internet.

But how does the data get sent there? It can be through a number of methods such as cellular, satellite, WiFi, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), or a connection directly to the Internet via Ethernet.

While each option has trade-offs between power consumption, range, and bandwidth that depend on the actual IoT application, they all accomplish the same task of getting the data to the cloud.

3. Data Processing

Once the data arrives on the cloud, software processing begins. Examples of processing could be regulating whether you reach your daily goal for steps walked or ensuring that the temperature is within a comfortable range.

However, technology devices can only go so far. What happens when something happens like the temperature reaches too high? This is where we, as intelligent humans, come in.

4. User Interface

We are also a part of the IoT’s intricate system. In the case of abnormally high temperatures, users would get notified of the situation or we could program predefined rules that suggest the system to lower the temperature automatically. Either way, the IoT allows users to have the choice to check in on the process or automate it.

With the substantial power of the IoT, it’s clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. In the second installment of the IoT rundown, we’ll discuss some current very innovative applications and where it’s heading in the future. Stay tuned 😉

It’s Here and Now: Virtual Reality

Unless you’re Patrick Star from SpongeBob and have been living under a rock, you’re probably familiar with the Netflix series phenomenon, Black Mirror. Even the name sounds intimidating and intense, but I digress. 😶

Now, one of Black Mirror’s episode explores the trending sensation of virtual reality and the potential (not absolute, keep in mind) alarming and horrifying consequences that it bears for our distant (or maybe not so distant) future. (By the way, I’m referring to Playtest from episode 2 of season 3 if you’re curious hehe). If you’re not a Black Mirror fanatic (which I definitely am not 🙃) and haven’t watched the episode yet, then it tells the story of an American traveler stuck in Europe who accepts a one-time trial job offer from a video game company – unbeknownst to him, his life is about to become literally forever changed. No spoilers here, you’ve got to watch it for yourself.

But I’ve talked enough about Black Mirror. While the story that this episode employs is particularly extreme (for now, at least 😳), virtual reality isn’t all bad and scary. In fact, it’s being used and conceptualized today (for good!) in ways that you might never expect. Used in the best interest for humankind, virtual reality has the power to alter the way we experience everyday life.  

Entertainment

For the everyday person like you and I, one of the most obvious ways we can incorporate or use virtual reality is through entertainment. Maybe it’s through video games, museums and galleries, theme park rides or even movie theatres! The possibilities are endless.

However, even if you haven’t had the chance to experience virtual reality yourself, you’ve likely seen the white egg-shaped capsules in malls before … these capsules bring users into a different reality, a different dimension. With these capsules, you can experience what it’d be like to be in space with no gravity, or somewhere deep in the middle of the jungle surrounded by tropical trees and wild animals, or even what it’d be like to actually play your favourite hero in your favourite video game. With virtual reality, you decide what world you want to immerse yourself in.  

Space

Space, space, space. If you’re like the 99.99% of us, you’ve probably never been in space and never will be. Sigh 😪. But that’s okay, because we don’t need to be in actual space to experience what it would be like, thanks to virtual reality. At CES (a global technology exhibit event), NASA used virtual reality technology to allow guests to feel what it would be like onboard some of their various spacecraft vehicles and machines.

Along with this, NASA used virtual reality in actual space to control robots on Mars and provide astronauts with a way to de-stress. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, researchers connected Oculus Rift (a virtual reality device) with motion-sensing equipment from the Kinect 2 sensor and Xbox One game console to control a robotic arm with the operator’s gestures. How cool is that!

Medical

Believe it or not, virtual reality used for medical purposes can help stop the brain from processing pain and cure soreness for patients. Yup, you heard that right! Just by immersing yourself in a different reality, your brain can actually minimize pain. For the patient, virtual reality offers motion and visual based experiences that help fix brain discordances. With this innovative and unique process, the time patients spend in the hospital is significantly shortened and the cost of treatment is lowered.

Another way virtual reality is used in the medical field is through 3-D models that help plan surgery operations. As you can figure, being a doctor and performing high-risk surgery is no easy feat. Virtual reality helps doctors visualize 3-D organs on actual 360-degree graphics (instead of on 2-D paper, which as you can imagine, doesn’t do much). With virtual reality, computed tomography (which is a representation of a cross section through a human body) can be used to create 3-D images in real-time.

Shopping

For those who are guilty as shopaholics, this use of virtual reality is probably your favourite. If you don’t already have enough excuses to go browse through your favourite shops, this one should top the list.

Trillenium is working on developing an augmented and virtual reality shopping experience that allows users to immerse themselves into a different universe (or so feels like it for the shopaholic 😜). Trillenium is exploring the viable possibility of allowing shoppers to virtually try on merchandise through their mobile devices, switching through different options with every swipe. With this kind of service, shoppers would be able to point their phone at their feet and swipe through shoes, as if they were physically putting them on with every swipe.

Along with this, Trillenium has already developed and released virtual tours of entire stores where shoppers can experience real-time shopping in the comfort of their own home, or anywhere they want. In fact, massive online retailer, ASOS, is already on board with Trillenium for this. Imagine being able to shop (and not just online!) from your couch or bed. Sign me up!!

Ambiguity Is the Future’s Best Friend

As discussed above, not all cases of virtual reality are morbidly traumatic and frightening (ahem, thanks a lot Black Mirror 😩). Some of them actually help to make people’s lives better and make some of our everyday processes more efficient – which all makes for the world to be a better place 😌.

In the future, near or far, don’t be surprised to see virtual reality used more ubiquitously in all kinds of industries. Who knows where the future might take us …