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Technologies that are changing the world

chen.jpg By Chen Hindi

Posted in Tech

chen.jpg By Chen Hindi

You’ve probably noticed that the world is changing very fast in the last few decades :-)

Technology is progressing in a faster pace than any other time period in the history of human kind and we’re not anywhere the pick.

It’s affecting every aspect of our lives and the world around us, but it’s not the psychological impacts it has on us that we want to discuss today (although it’s extremely interesting).

We want to discuss some of the most interesting technologies and how they're going to affect your business, its future and its marketing.

IoT – Internet of Things

Simply put and as the name implies, IoT (or IoE, Internet of everything) is the network of all things that are connected to the Internet. And by “things” we’re not referring to your phones and laptops, but literally, EVERYTHING – clothes and accessories (watches, glasses, etc.), vehicles, bridges and roads, buildings, homes and everything that is inside them (TV, boiler, fridge, electrical switches and so on).

IoT can be applied in many fields – medicine, communication, energy and sustainability, utilities, security, facilities, transportation and so many more.

Imagine a very hot day in Mauritius, leaving work, getting inside your car after opening it with your smart watch, turning on the AC in the house remotely, stopping for a few minutes to do your grocery shopping according to what you see is missing in your internet connected fridge.

Driving into the optimized parking spot for you according to the cars around (well, in Mauritius parking is not really a problem, but you know what we mean :-) ), opening the house door with your phone, turning on the lights with a hand gesture, closing the blinds in a finger tap and going in bed for a nap. Sweet!

This video can give you an idea of how will IoT connected home will look like:

Imagine the traffic lights in your city being “optimized” according to the traffic on the roads, calculating best routes to take and releasing heavy traffic jams. When a handicapped person will cross the road, the green light will suspend longer and the opposite will happen when a “fast” passenger will cross the road. The bins in your city will never be overloaded as the sensors inside them will allow tracking their status constantly. By that the city will also reduce the trash trucks movement. Imagine you can predict rodents’ movement according to the traps you set up for them and by that control (and eradicate) their ability to spread. Imagine your police force has the ability to predict and prevent crime in your living area by analyzing the crime history and geo data using these sensors and big data.

In fact, you don’t have to imagine all that. In some places in the world all of the above is already happening.

Around the world there are smart cities (and NO, although IoT has huge impacts on energy saving and sustainability, by smart city we DO NOT mean “green” city as the common misconception in Mauritius) being built, planned and executed.

Here's how Chicago is using IoT to improve the citizens life:

How will IoT affect your business’s marketing?

The short answer is “In the data amount and targeting options you’ll have”.

The long answer is that by having all this information about people, their life and habits, you’ll be able to drill down the analytics very deep and target audiences according to very precise needs that are related to your product/service.

For example, you’ll be able to show your supermarket ads to people that their smart fridge is signaling that it is empty. Further more, you’ll be able to show ads of specific products according to their fridge “inventory” history. If a consumer’s AC, boiler or TV are having issues or simply getting old, you have marketing options. There are also the actual devices - you'll be able to show an ad on consumer’s smart glasses or smart watch according to their location, relevancy and interests.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR and VR are not new technologies at all, but according to trends in the last few years, it seems they’re becoming big now.

In 2014 Facebook purchased Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology, for $2 billion. That marked the beginning of a race to which giant companies (Sony, HTC, Google, Microsoft) joined.

Two months later (May 2014) Google purchased Quest Visual, a company that developed augmented reality translation software and announced Google cardboards, a DIY stereoscopic viewer for smartphones.

In January this year Facebook announced that Oculus Rift is available for Pre-order to be delivered in March 2016.

And if to look at the local market, EON reality, an international AR and VR company, with 36 millions users around the world, launched its first interactive digital center for Africa in Mauritius last December.

So what are these technologies all about?

VR is an environment created by software that imitates real life situations or scripted ones and includes not only sight and hear but also touch and smell. For example, with VR you can dive in the ocean, visit places around the world, in the solar system and outside of it, fly a plane, attend and experience events…

Here's a TED talk by an american reporter that is working on a new form of journalism. She merges traditional reporting with VR technology to put the audience inside the stories:

AR is a technology that allows adding virtual objects or environments on an existing reality. With AR you can make your reality, interactive. That is also the difference between AR and VR – VR replaces your whole reality whereas AR integrates into an actual one. With AR you can see how a new sofa will look in your living room or a new kitchen instead of your existing one.

Watch IKEA's augmented reality 2014 catalogue:

How will AR/VR affect your business’s marketing?

In the coming years, most probably VR will affect your business’s marketing if you’ll invest in creating a VR environment for your service/product. We’re sure that once VR is in every home, companies will find a way to combine advertising in their technology (just like watching a movie in the cinema with the opening ads, maybe you’ll be able to advertise/combine advertising in the VR world observed).

With AR on the other hand, your marketing options are quite wide as you can easily combine your product in your clients’ and potential clients reality. In fact, AR has already gained fair use for marketing purposes and we predict that it will only grow.

Watch one of our favourites campaigns by Axe from 2011, "angels falling":

AI – Artificial Intelligence

AI is a computer science area that emphasizes the creation of machines/computers/software that simulate human intelligence.

Similarly to AR and VR technologies, AI has been around for few decades and although it had already overcome top humans in specific areas (sophisticated games like chess and Go), it is still considered to be at its early stages.

Some of the AI uses you already know well include Optical Character Recognition (Babylon dictionary), Speech Recognition (the virtual assistances like Siri), Image and Face recognition (Facebook’s ability to recognize the people in photos you upload to the social network) and more complicated AIs like self-driving cars.

AI opens up huge possibilities for human kind – it will revolutionize the way we work and our work force, ease disabled people’s limitations and help them experience the world better, increase the life expectancy, create safer environments, assist in solving big data problems and so much more.

Here's a video from Facebook's AI research center in Paris (published last November by Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page):

How will AI affect your business’s marketing?

As mentioned, we’re still at the early stages of AI development and it will take some time until it will penetrate into our lives.

Google already enables to search and ask follow up questions using your voice. Whether it be a restaurant, hotel, clothing shop or an interesting site to visit you own, Siri can give you location-based recommendations.

This is Siri's answer to our question "Siri can you find a recommended hotel" when we were located in Tamarin:

Here’s a fun campaign using AI done by Douwe Egberts in O.R Tambo international airport in South Africa:

Here’s another example of how can brands use AI to optimize their ad to bring the best responses from people:

3D printing

3D printing is a technology that enables creation of three dimensions objects directly from a computer.

It is used in many industries – aerospace, automotive, apparel, construction and even medicine, food and human organs.

Here's a TED talk by a surgeon, that is exploring the possibilities of printing human organs in 3D printers with living cells. Not only you can see a human kidney printed in this video (a possibility that is still far from being approved, important to mention) but also you can be moved by the young patient that was given an engineered bladder in 2001 and meets his surgeon again:

3D printers have developed exponentially in the last few years and that allowed it to become more accessible to the public. From price ranging $2,000 - $500,000 in 2012, you can now purchase a 3D printer for your home for less than $1,000.

How will 3D printing affect your business’s marketing?

We believe that the main answer here is in “personalization”. Imagine a situation where you can create for your clients the product that they want so much, your product, but with their personal touch on it - their name, design or chosen image.

“Tenvas” is a watch company that is printing its entire product collection in 3D. On the watches you can add any design from their selection, which is created by designers around the world. Each designer receives their e-shop where they can promote their design!

Here’s a brilliant coca-cola campaign created in Israel using 3D printing and 360° scanning technology:

With 3D printing, you can test more variations of your product, in different materials and designs, without being committed to a “minimum quantity” demand.

The future is now and we're here to help!

Whether it be robots, virtual assistances, home devices, printed organs or self driven cars (maybe all the above together!) that are going to control our lives in the not-so-far-future, we’re very excited to see where all of this is going.

Humanity already proved that as Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge” and we hope it will never stop. One thing for sure, we’ll be here to be a part of the change and assist you, yes, you, to combine it in your business and come up with creative ideas!

Any other technologies you want to discuss? Feel free to use the comments section below!

Don't hesitate to contact us for any question you might have!