Archive | technology RSS feed for this section

An industry ahead of the rest

13 Mar

Contextually rich communications. Advanced technological applications. Early adoption of emerging technologies. Augmented reality.

Does any particular industry come to mind? How about the Health Care industry?

Augmented reality (AR) has applications in the diagnosis as well as the treatment of disease, and has assisted in the professional medical community for over 10 years.

AR’s interactive imaging helps doctors accurately visualize their patient’s insides – and I mean their patient’s actual insides. Various scans can be combined with each other and then be projected onto their patient to allow doctors and surgeons a completely non-invasive look inside.

AR is also applied to medical communications and education. Genzyme, a biotech company used AR to demonstrate the risks of taking calcium-based binders. Schools are now also using AR to help students visualize the systems of the body, and understand their functions.

I could talk about the exciting marking, branding, and advertising opportunities in medical communications, because you’re right, there are many. But the opportunity that excites me the most is the chance to make the lives of patients and caretakers a lot less stressful, and maybe a little more fun.

AR on the patient level could provide additional support on administering drugs or treatments and injury rehabilitation. As patients we are often bombarded with more info than we’re capable of retaining (I know I struggle to remember even a quarter of it just a little while later). AR markers added to medical product packaging, informational brochures, and patient starter kits would provide instant follow-up demonstrations, instructions, and support for patients and caretakers.

The organization that can also infuse some entertainment (read: fun) into the experience, as well as some subtle-but-effective branding wins all the prizes.

Are there other ways we can create shared-value with customers using AR? Where are the opportunities for businesses and organizations in Victoria?

(photo courtesy of Medical Augmented Reality)

Advertisements

Are you sleeping with too many people?

15 Feb

Awake to the warming glow of technology

I sleep with too many people at night.

I am guilty. I text, respond to emails, check out Facebook, read endless streams of tweets, and sometimes even play Angry Birds.

I often have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep for hours. Other times, like last Sunday, I wake up at 4am for no reason, completely unable to get back to sleep.

I have no idea what the problem could be.

Yes, I am delusional. Of course messing around with my phone in bed is the problem. I should stop but it is just so tempting. When I set my alarm those little alert icons are too much for me to ignore.

Too many of us take our smart phone, laptop, iPad, and whatever else to bed, but it is atrocious sleep hygiene. You might also be sleep-texting, which I assume is much like “drunk-dialing” but less coherent, and more unnerving. The theory is that we are so plugged-in during the day that we can’t separate ourselves from it at night.

The 2011 iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report found that 52% of mobile workers felt that their mobile work habits affected their sleep. Terrifyingly, the report also concluded that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night makes you 12% more likely to die before the age of 65, compared to your friend who gets six to eight hours of sleep a night.

Apps that track your sleep patterns are out there, but I wonder if they aren’t the original problem repackaged and rebranded. The fact that we eat, sleep, and breathe our devices presents enormous opportunity for the industrious among us. Even so, the dependency probably shouldn’t be encouraged.

As of tonight I am challenging myself to keep my phone and laptop out of the bedroom. I’ll plug in my forgotten alarm clock and draw some much-needed personal boundaries. If the American Sleep Association says that the bed is for sleep and sex only, then who am I to argue?

(Photo courtesy of trendhunter.com)

The world is strong-arming me to get mobile.

10 Jan

I don’t have a cell phone. I have very little interest in changing this.

It irritates some of my friends. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out, but when I am having a drink at the pub with a bunch of people and half of them are elbows deep in a text I think ‘not for me’. I get by fine with a land-line and the many communication options my Mac has to offer. I got by fine until last week that is.

My Shaw phone modem malfunctioned. I not only couldn’t make or receive calls, but nobody could buzz me from the front door of my building. I lived with this for a few days but I eventually had to make the 45 minute call to Shaw to get the modem replaced. Of course I had to make this call elsewhere than home.

‘Your phone is not working at all?’
‘Nope, and my buzzer doesn’t work either.’
‘What’s your cell number?’
‘I don’t have one. I’m one of those guys. Last one I bet, right?’
‘Can you use a friend’s phone?’
‘I can’t ask a friend to wait with me from 8 AM to 8 PM for your guy on a work day. Can’t he just toss a stone at my window when he gets here?’

I arranged for the technician to check in with the coffee shop in my building to be let in. So long as he made it before 4:30 PM this would work. After that no dice. At least most of the ridiculous appointment waiting period was covered.

But really, what a hassle. At this point my refusal to join the mobile masses is the real problem. I’m the asshole, not Shaw.

The tech made it before 4:30 PM and my phone works again. Like somebody who made a promise to god in order to get out of a jam – and survived – I don’t feel much like keeping my promise to get a cell phone. But really it is time, or is it?

Facebook is Your Volatile Nightmare Landlord

14 Oct

For a while now you’ll have seen TV commercials, magazine or online ads sign off with a Facebook link. If your business is using Facebook as its website you may already have invested a lot of time nurturing people one by one through the stages of engagement; interest, trial, customer and then friend. They may visit your Facebook page regularly and get your business notifications via their Liking you. All is wonderful in the land of Zuckerberg.

This is all fine as long as it’s understood that your business status on Facebook is that of a tenant. You have few rights, do not own your content and your landlord can change the rules whenever they like; even if that means torpedoing your business. Fantasy surely, but you only have to look to the moves Zynga announced last week.

Zynga is the social gaming giant of Facebook and its biggest app-maker. They provide free-to-play games, enhanced with micro-payments and with titles you may have heard of – Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars – they have been very successful. Their revenue in 2010 was $597 million of which $58 million was profit. In July of this year their profits plummeted. The main reason? Facebook.

Facebook Credits take a cut from your e-commerceIn July 2011 Facebook introduced Facebook credits and dictated that all transactions had to be conducted with their credits. Their cut is 30% and this slashed Zynga’s profits by 90% for the quarter.

I don’t see a 30% cut as particularly onerous by the way, it’s a lot better than Groupon’s 50% – 100%, but if your business’ online presence relies on Facebook, then I’d suggest you consider what you might do if they change the rules overnight. At  the very least check if your current page flouts any of the existing rules. This is especially important if you’re using Facebook’s native functionality to promote your business. For example, running a competition on your wall isn’t permitted by Facebook. Contravene it and they can just shut you down without warning. No more business page. And yes, they do check and they do enforce it.

Returning to Zynga. In their case they announced the launch of Zynga Direct. An effort to break their reliance on Facebook and get customers onto their platform without going through Facebook. Not an easy undertaking considering their business was built from the ground up on Facebook.

It’s vital to consider Facebook as one engagement channel and not your only channel. You need to spread your message across different channels, each tailored to the users and expectations of those channels. It’s harder to do and you may need an agency to strategise, co-ordinate, or set this up for you, but it allows you to be flexible and mitigates platform fatigue or failure.

You should also determine where your hub is; The place that your online visitors will end up at. Perhaps it starts with Facebook, ending at your own website where you control your content.

Let’s go a step further. What if your Facebook landlord decides to sell up and disappear? If there’s a constant in the digital world it’s that everything changes.

The biggest search engine in the world in 2000? Yahoo; the crumbling father of the internet, leaking CEO’s and market share like a North Korean submarine, exited search entirely in 2009, replaced by a company no-one had heard of 11 years ago… Google

When do you find time to think?

24 Sep

You’ve probably seen the video of the woman walking through the shopping mall texting on her mobile device. If not, brace yourself.

She is an icon of our times, however unwittingly. We are so hyper-connected that free-time, in particular time to think, has been filled with technology, information and social connectivity.

So I wondered when do the people who have to think  – and that would be all of us – actually find the time to do so these days?

Jay Baer author of The Now RevolutionJay Baer : The reality is I think when I’m on planes. I write 90% of my blog posts in the sky, and it’s the one time I can block out everything. Fortunately I fly enough that I get good stretches of thinking time on a regular basis.

 

Simon Salt author of Social Location MarketingSimon Salt : I think when I’m in the shower before bed. I go in there knowing I will use the time to just think about things I need to be thinking about. The hot water relaxes me and helps me focus.

 

Doug Brown from CopelandMe : I walk to work and back every day at a brisk pace. That gives me two x 20 minute stretches of pure thinking-time. The speed ramps up the urgency and normally the critical stuff comes up right away.

So when or where do you get your thinking done?

Want to meet Simon Salt? Grab your mobile!

6 Sep

Copeland-sponsored Simon Salt tweetup iPhone graphic

Mobile marketing specialist Simon Salt from DallasMobile marketing specialist and author Simon Salt from Dallas will be the guest of honour at a Copeland-sponsored Tweet-up, September 22 from 6 – 8 pm at the posh Parkside Victoria Hotel.

As space is limited – and because, hey, this is about mobile marketing – we are holding a mobile contest to get on the attendees list.

Please go here for contest details.

The first 75 people through will be notified immediately that they’re on the guest list.

The next 75 people will be fed to our pet alligator.

Alligator's eye

Hope we see you on September 22!

The upside of turning 50

1 Sep

Today marks a significant date for member agencies of T-CAAN, the Trans Canada Advertising Association Network, of which Copeland is a member.

We enter our 50th year.

T-CAAN founder Bill Whitehead Sr.More significantly, the founder of the network, Bill Whitehead Sr., logs in his 50th year at the head of the table. Think about that.

This association of independent ad agencies, the oldest in North America, gives owners and managers a support team across the country. We share resources and best practices, pass along new business opportunities and generally help each other out as we can.

This map shows the office network, stretching from Whitehorse and Victoria to St. John’s.

A map of Canada including all the agencies in the T-CAAN network

A truly national network. Imagine the potential.

Every year we gather at one of these cities for a 4-day conference of inspiring speakers, discussions of new developments and problem-solving workshops.

After hours, we share ideas and horror stories over bottles of whatever is cold.

For agencies in isolated markets, the conference gives us face-time with other advertising professionals who are generous with their advice and time. That’s a god-send.

The next conference is in Victoria.

In June 2012, Copeland and Victoria will host the 50th annual conference, which we’ve themed FAST FORWARD. We’ll certainly include a retrospective of T-CAAN’s first 50 years (REWIND), but we’ll be focusing on where the industry is going in such a hurry.

We are already gearing up to welcome the big crowd we expect to make the trip to our beautiful city. And we get to throw the party of the year (PLAY), which is the fun part of turning 50.

Wonder how the zombies are going to figure into this…

T-CAAN's 50th annual conference logo with a zombie