All marketing is about people – surely? As with all things related to digital marketing, the term ‘people-based marketing’ means much more than what it seems. While much of the marketing world works on probabilities – buying ads in a certain program at a certain time will ‘probably’ reach a certain audience, people-based marketing aims to be very specific – reaching actual (although usually ‘anonymised’) individuals whose attributes have been pre-determined through some form of opt-in system. To learn more, take a look at this article I wrote recently for CMO.com.au.
Its easy to forget that all the tools and methodologies that make startups successful are equally available to existing organisations – if they choose to use and master them. So it was great to see an example of a government agency adopting the agile development methodology in conjunction with its digital agency when it came to revamping its core website.
You can read more about the agile partnership between Tourism Victoria and its agency IE Digital in this story for CMO.com.au. For Tourism Victoria, embracing a new way of working together delivered greater transparency into the development process, and ensured that it knew exactly what it would be getting for its money.
I’ve been watching the ‘smart cities’ movement for a while now, as town planners have grappled with the question of how to use technology to make our cities better places to live. Often the discussion has taken a very technical turn, and got caught up in discussions around the deployments of Wi-Fi networks and sensors.
Cities are inherently human places however, so it is refreshing to see Adelaide City Council put its people at the heart of its smart city strategy. Technology does not usually form a major part of destination marketing (at least beyond the media used for its dissemination), but you can read more about how Adelaide is using technology attract and retain citizens in this story for CMO.com.au.
Taking money is ultimately the most important part of the sales & marketing cycle for for-profit businesses. So with consumer expectations of customer service continuing to rise, its no surprise that many companies are now turning their focus onto smoothing and improving this vital process. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are showing the way in terms of making the transaction process all-but-invisible, and new tools and services are extending that capability to an increasing variety of transactions. You can read more about trends in payments in this article for CMO Australia.
Last year I signed up to be a Champion for the Infoxchange National Year of Digital Inclusion initiative, which seeks to raise awareness of the one-in-five Australian adults who are not yet online. As such I’ve been seeking out opportunities to discuss this issue, and seek out solutions.
Yesterday’s Communities accessing Technology Forum in Geelong was a great opportunity to so exactly that, as it bought together representatives from across local government and community services along with other interested parties to learn about and discuss digital inclusion. As the MC I was also asked to give a brief opening address, and I’ve pasted in the text below.
Communities accessing Technology Digital Inclusion Forum
The Importance of Digital Inclusion
I’ve been lucky to spend the last two decades studying the impact of technology on business, society and individuals. I’ve seen the pitfalls and the benefits, and I’d have to say the benefits easily outweigh the negatives.
To write about technology is to live somewhat in the future. But to quote the science fiction author William Gibson, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.
I’d like to alter Gibson’s words today in the context of digital inclusion, to say that while the benefits of digital technology are here, those benefits are not evenly distributed.
We’ve long spoken of the concept of a digital divide, where society is classed into two classes of haves and have-nots – the information rich and information poor.
I’d also like to re-categorise that divide along the lines of the ‘access rich’ and the ‘access poor’, as being a participant in the digital age is about more than information. It is about access to services, on a 24/7 basis.
The divide can also be categorised from the perspective of skills. Without the skills necessary to act in a digital world, then the benefits of digital will also remain out of reach.
Today around one in five Australians do not have access to the benefits of digital services – that’s an estimated 1.1 million adults who have never accessed the internet. Throughout Australia there are pockets of society that the digital revolution has not yet touched – especially the age bracket of 65 and over, with 32 per cent not going online. For other groups the barriers are in terms of affordability, or access to infrastructure based on geography.
You’ll hear more stories later today on why this situation emerges, and about the factors that are creating these new classes of the access rich and the access poor. You’ll also be hearing success stories from those who are finding ways to tear down these barriers, and of programs that are designed to build on these successes to build a more digitally-inclusive society?
I’ve devoted a good part of the last few years exploring these issues, as a Champion for the Infoxchange National Year of Digital Inclusion initiative, and as an Ambassador for the Broadband for the Bush Alliance Forum. I’ve appreciated hearing stories firsthand from those who are living on the network’s fringe, such as how their kids’ education suffers when it rains, as the satellite signal can’t get through the rainclouds.
I spent last week in central west Queensland running a digital strategy workshop for the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, working with small business owners to help them plot their own path forward.
The lesson that emerged for me was the importance of having skills resident in the local community. It struck me that the best solutions to the issues of digital inequality in society are those that are community led.
So I want to emphasise the importance of having community leaders who participate as role models, espousing their beliefs, and also enacting them. For a community to move forward it must be able to see the role models that are leading it forward, otherwise the concepts can be rejected.
But why is this important? Its my view that access to the digital world is becoming one of the key determinants of success in modern life, alongside other basic but essential services such as healthcare and education.
To live in this world without access to digital services is to live a life that is drifting farther and farther from mainstream society. The digital world provides access to a raft of services that are otherwise unattainable, in education, employment opportunities, and the the social fabric of society.
That list is constantly expanding, as more and more services migrate online. The current push by governments to a ‘digital first’ stance will only serve to highlight the disadvantages of not being online.
These changes on the whole will benefit society, but will these benefits be available to the whole of society?
Ultimately, that’s up to us.
The coupling of smaller and more powerful technology with human imagination is likely to have an even more profound impact on our lives in the immediate future, and you can read about nine transformative technologies in this article for CPA Australia’s INTHEBLACK website.
Last week I gave the opening ‘catalyst’ address for the Australian Smart Communities Association’s inaugural Smart Communities Summit in Caloundra. A Few people have since asked for the speech and the notes it includes on what defines a smart community, so I am Catalyst speech.
The event itself was both well attended and well constructed, with presentations from leading thinkers and practitioners involved in creating smart communities in Australia and around the world.
We have already begun planning for the follow-up event in 2017 – hope to see you there!
On Wednesday next week I’ll be taking the reigns as MC of the inaugural Australian Smart Communities Summit, happening in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.
While it might be too late to get yourself along, if you have an interest in smart communities/smart cities activity then please take a moment to fill out this survey, created by the ASCA and Tech Research Asia.
We are hoping this will be the start of an ongoing research program into the development of smart cities and communities in Australia.
I’ve been watching the impact of digital services on traditional businesses for what seems like a long now, but that doesn’t stop me from jumping at the chance to do it again. In the latest edition of the Australian Institute of Management magazine I get to talk about digital disruption and its impact on all sectors (not just taxis and accommodation).
The main point that I make in the article is that disruption is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ – and even if your own business has yet to face a disruptive competitor, their very existence is changing the expectations of the customers you service. You can check out a PDF of the magazine by clicking here – at least until they change the edition over (my article starts on page 21).
It used to be said (with thanks to Rita Mae Brown) that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In the age of disruption, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to stay the same.
At first glance, 3D printing really does look to be the stuff of magic, with the ability to create solid objects seemingly out of thin air being one of the best examples of technology crossing the boundaries into sorcery. But despite its coolness, the 3D printing is yet to move beyond novelty value for the average consumer, in part due to the limited range of materials that can be printed at an affordable cost.
But as the cost of printers continues to fall, the range of printable materials will increase, and it is most only a matter of years (not decades) before high quality metal parts can be printed by the average business. When that happens, the impact on the logistics industry is likely to be significant, as the old model of shipping and stocking parts gives way to manufacturing on demand.
For the moment however 3D printing is a developing opportunity, with unknown upside for those companies that dive in.
In this feature for CRN magazine I explore the growth in 3D printing from the perspective of the companies that are selling the machinery, and look at the next steps the industry will take on its road to mainstream adoption.