IoT seems like more work

I’ve been reading through a review of newly released products deemed to have taken IoT to the “next level” and come to a conclusion.  Smart is not always simple.  I’ve yet to be driving home from work and thought, “I sure do wish I could turn my ceiling fans on to cool the room down before I arrive.”   This just seems to promote even more distracted, unsafe driving.  But in the words of Hunter’s Chief Marketing Officer, John Neilson, “We’ve just scratched the surface of their potential.”

Along the way to design connected, smart products to demonstrate innovation, brands will inevitably create some additional friction in the customer experience.  This is where the brands with anticipatory UX design will win.  Brands who understand how to harness the real time data, dig deep into the context of both industrial and consumer use cases, and help reduce decisions, not increase them, will win the race.

The value of IoT is in the promise of hopefully reducing my decision fatigue.  In the meantime, I’ll keep a keen eye out for products that over promise on the notion of simplicity.  Have you found an IoT product that delivers a new frictionless experience for you?


From the Sweet 16 to Amen Corner

Spring is in the air and two of my favorite sporting events make this a great time to come out of hibernation – the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and golf’s The Master’s Tournament.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, being a “cord-cutter,” combined with a busy weekend schedule with the family makes watching these events a challenge. Fortunately, both of these events provide an app to keep me up to date and even let me watch live!

I’m not alone, according to one study,  32% of sports fans reported an interest in using their mobile devices to stream live sports.   These apps provide behind the scenes content, highlights, real time scoring, and engaging features – like the ability to keep up with my NCAA bracket or customize a leader board based on my favorite players.

If done right, sports fans who can’t attend the events live can still feel the rush, socialize with their fan networks, and share facts, stats and trivia through these mobile experiences.  For marketers, the apps provide an emerging tactic to engage with this captivated “second screen” audience – both at the event and away.  Brands can partner with sporting event properties to gain access to valuable fan data, create engaging content, and interact in real time.

Now back to my ever dwindling bracket…what happened to my Mountaineers.



Retail Reality Redefined

The augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) space is starting to gain significant momentum.  By 2020 the AR /VR market is projected to reach $150 Billion.  The advances in this technology are enabling an explosion in new applications, especially in the retail industry.ARVR Forecast

Clothing, home furnishings, and other fashion retailers are experimenting with augmented reality to enhance the in-store experience, connect physical and digital environments, and increase conversion rates with customer.  According to Accenture’s 2014 AG survey (performed with 400 respondents, USA), customers agreed that an AR app would increase the likelihood of buying a product (88% – clothes, 86% – furniture and home accessories, 61% – games).

Watch how IKEA is connecting their catalog to your home with augmented reality.

Even more exciting is how virtual reality technology is coming together to further enhance the in store augmented reality experience.  Lowe’s Home Improvement is pushing forward in this space aggressively with their Holoroom.

For product categories where there is a higher perceived risk of making a bad decision, such as home remodeling, AR/VR can help reduce that barrier. For purchases such as make-up, jewelry, and clothing – the ability to “try things” on without going to the store is getting one step closer and making the online shopping experience even better.  I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve.

Are Cord-Nevers the Tipping Point?

My wife and I cut the cord over 10 years ago, canceling our cable subscription and even getting rid of our television.  At the time, this was a radical personal decision to reclaim some of our leisure time for other purposes and reduce our monthly expenses.  Today, 15% of Americans have cut the cord – dropping their paid cable and television services in favor of content streaming options such as Hulu and Netflix.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 3.52.33 PM

Content consumption among younger generations is evolving even more rapidly.  “Cord- nevers” now represent about 9% of American adults. They have never subscribed to TV channels offered by a cable, satellite or telecommunications provider.

Cord-cutters and cord-nevers represent the arrival of a new media landscape.  The old, traditional content ecosystems are diminishing, replaced by a diverse, on-demand, multi-device landscape of media offerings.  The change in interactive ad spending testifies to the multi channel approach marketers must take to reach someone like myself.  According to an IAB/PwC report, mobile advertising grew 76% from 2013 to 2014.  Even more important for marketers, is that interactive marketing spend is set to outpace television spend in 2016, with social media spend posting an 18% CAGR from 2014 – 2019.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 5.24.26 PM

As new media platforms emerge, they present an opportunity for marketers to deliver messages to highly targeted audiences.  The consumer chooses what they want to watch, when they want to watch, and on what device.  Last night, my wife and I streamed a few clips on YouTube of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on our tablet.  Each clip was preceded by the same Jim Beam commercial.  Five clips. Five strong brand interactions.  We were a highly engaged and captivated audience.  Emerging media allows for one-to-one marketing on a whole new level.

Over the next few weeks I will explore the intersection of consumers, companies, content, technology and media channels in this ever changing interactive space.  We’ll take a look at new brand experiences, mobile marketing, the Internet of Things(Iot), the power of content, and other ways consumer behavior is redefining the customer journey and media.