Category Archives: Artificial Intelligence

The Future of Digital Identity

Digital identity in the future looks very different to how we understand it right now. And that change will be driven not by privacy regulations, or the death of the cookie, but by the rise of the Internet of Things (IOT).

The idea of one or two personal devices giving us access to individual consumers will disappear, to be replaced with a range of potential devices – from mobile to voice-activated speakers to connected TV to fridges.

Across those devices a range of different digital identities will exist – some individual (like now), some family/household, some work/B2B, and some more generic.

The big idea that’s dominated the internet era so far, that digital marketing is all about one-to-one addressability and tracking, will be exploded and replaced with a spectrum of targeting and measurement options across different identities, devices and channels.

It’s a paradigm shift – and it’s why the idea the cookie is crumbling as the web shuts down consumer tracking, isn’t actually that big a deal. The medium-to-long term view of how we deliver and measure marketing in an increasingly automated and digital world looks very different, whatever happens to cookie based targeting right now.

The APAC Data Landscape in 2019

Joseph Suriya, Director, Marketing, Tealium
Joseph Suriya, Director, Marketing, Tealium

With the continued explosion of data from a wealth of connected devices, there is more focus than ever on the way companies collect, manage, and use their data. The last 12 months have seen some big names under the spotlight, but as we shift our attention to the year ahead, what lies in store for digital marketers?

There’s no denying, 2018 was probably one of the most significant years to date in terms of shaping the data landscape. In a year where more than 3.6 million Asian Facebook users may have had personal information inappropriately shared with Cambridge Analytica, data has never been more prominent in the headlines.

And data isn’t set to fade into the background any time soon. Rightly, the world has woken up to the importance of data in our everyday lives and, for companies, the ability to mobilise insights from data to drive decisions across all areas of the business is firmly on the radar.

So, amid the introduction of stronger legislation and increasing opportunity – and responsibility – to harness the power of data, plus the potential lure of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, what will the data landscape look like in 2019?

Customer-centricity is priority

In light of new privacy regulations – led by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launched in May 2018 – there’s been greater awareness from consumers regarding the use of their personal data. In a world where technology has fuelled rapid advances in all areas of life – from e-commerce to financial services – legislation has been somewhat slower to keep up.

But, thanks to high-profile breaches and changing laws, we’re transitioning to an era where the importance of personal data is much higher on the agenda. In turn, this is forcing companies to ensure they have a customer-centric strategy in place, which clearly places the user’s experience at the heart of all business decisions, with the power back in the hands of the individual.

Build a data foundation first

It’s tempting for companies to get caught up in an exciting digital future – we have already seen AI adoption rates across Southeast Asia grow from 8% in 2017 to 14% in 2018. And while some countries, like Singapore, are storming ahead in terms of innovations – with start-up companies such as CashShield creating noise on a global scale – the picture varies from country-to-country. Most are still working to get the data basics in place first; after all, even the most advanced of machine-learning algorithms are only as good as the data that fuels them. So, it follows that companies must concentrate on building a strong data foundation before implementing any ‘must-have’ technologies.

Many businesses throughout Southeast Asia are still facing challenges with relying on legacy back-end systems, and their priorities at the moment are focused on connecting disparate data silos. In 2018 we saw the premise of Customer Data Platforms gather pace, as companies switched on to the need for a tool to help them collate, enrich, and manage the high volume of event-level data across multiple channels – both online and offline – to create a comprehensive view of the consumer. Putting these building blocks in place is fundamental to delivering a first-class customer experience, and it’s the point from which every other business decision should pivot.

Now is the time to talk about ethics

And what about the appeal of AI, with initiatives such as facial recognition, voice-activated search, and online chatbots? There’s no denying its potential and – while companies ready their datasets with clean and accurate data to get to a point where they can successfully adopt these technologies – now is the time to talk about the guidelines we need to ensure machine learning algorithms are unbiased and ethical – rather than waiting until mistakes have been made. It’s our responsibility, as an industry, to get this right.

We have already seen the creation of the Singapore Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data, set up with representatives from Google, Microsoft and Alibaba – designed to develop a trusted and vibrant AI ecosystem in Singapore. And with India releasing an AI strategy discussion paper, the UK creating a Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and worldwide issues being monitored through the AI Global Governance Commission, there are signs of a shift across the globe which will continue in 2019.

While this reflects the need for new and updated regulations that are relevant to today’s digital landscape, it also addresses a changing approach from companies about how they view consumers’ data. No longer just an ‘asset’, we are starting to see a real understanding and respect for its true value, with focus returned to the individual – rather than a collective audience segment.

The data landscape in 2019 may follow a theme of regulation – but at its heart will be a strong emphasis on the customer – regardless of what new tech may be dominating the headlines.

Mass Automation, Mobile Growth, and AI Mastery: Key Trends for 2019

The start of 2019 sees digital facing a bright future. Not only are consumers optimistic about smart technology — with 73% in China anticipating a positive impact — but the advertising industry is also flourishing. Digital spend in Asia Pacific hit $70 billion in 2018, and by 2022 that figure will reach $110 billion: over half of the total ad market. 

So, what does this mean for 2019?

According to industry leaders, the popularity of automation will see programmatic become the norm, while mobile retains its advertising crown and TV becomes increasingly entwined with digital. At the same time, marketers will also start to realise that effectively mastering artificial intelligence (AI) takes more than simply tech know-how.

Let’s explore the key trends:

Rashmi PaulRashmi Paul, Commercial Director, Asia Pacific at FreeWheel

“While the adoption of automation has been slower in South East Asia than in other regions, advertisers – in their quest for qualified and measurable audiences – are making it the driver of change in 2019 and beyond. We’ll see less media buying through a site-list or a programme-list only, but a deeper commitment to automated content, not just in standard display and video advertising, but in other areas such as outdoor media.

“With people in the region owning two to three mobiles each on average, the mobile app market will continue to grow in 2019, thanks in part to the popularity of gaming and social media. But we will also see an increase in the OTT market, which hasn’t taken off in APAC up until now – both in app, and through the TV. This will be helped by improving internet strength, making it easier to watch content on the move.”

Luca Mastrorocco, GlispaLuca Mastrorocco, VP Global Sales, Glispa

“One of the best things about pioneers is that they blaze a trail for others to follow. China, for example, has so far led the mobile market: aggressively investing in m-commerce apps and testing new features. It is also the biggest driver of global digital advertising spend in Asia Pacific. But due to the groundwork put in by China, there is now a booming mobile economy and programmatic advertising scene for its neighbours to leverage.

“In 2019, we can expect an influx of new players in automated mobile advertising and app development. And these market entrants will have many advantages. In addition to gaining insight from this mobile advertising evolution – such as the formats that drive high engagement, like interactive ads, and those that inspire use of blockers, like interstitials, they will have an understanding of what works well in their region. This might include offering lower app prices in particular areas and the option to pay via carrier billing. The time is coming for new innovators who have watched mobile advances from the sidelines to put their knowledge into action.”

Satoru Yamauchi, Director of Partner Services, OpenX

“Video already dominates Japan’s digital advertising landscape, with spend set to top $200 million this year. Moving into the new year, video will command even more advertising dollars especially on mobile, where consumers are increasingly spending more of their time. The number of smartphone video viewers will grow to nearly 40 million in 2019 and advertisers looking to reach these audiences will need to build campaigns with a mobile specific user experience in mind. Formats that interrupt user activity or delay content access are likely to irritate consumers and fuel negative brand associations. This is especially true in the mobile context, where large ads block content on small screens, slow down load times and eat into data allowances. To ensure a positive user experience, advertisers should harness engaging ads that give consumers a choice about how much they wish to interact with brands, such as opt-in video, which provides a genuine value exchange between advertisers and consumers.”

Joseph Suriya, Director, Marketing, TealiumJoseph Suriya, Director of Marketing, Tealium

“With a growing emphasis on connected devices, and the subsequent explosion of data, in 2019, there will be even more demand on companies to manage an increasing amount of insights. While in 2018, businesses were keen to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, they didn’t necessarily fully understand it enough to utilise it to its full potential. In 2019 we will see a greater focus on the quality of datasets behind the algorithms – which fuel tools such as these – and businesses will look to build a strong data foundation before jumping on the latest tech bandwagon. We think a mantra of ‘go boldly, tread lightly’ will be particularly relevant to many companies. They will need to put in place the tools to effectively collate, manage, and enrich data insights – and be able to connect disparate data silos, such as ecommerce, call centre, and legacy back-end systems to create a 360-degree view of each customer.                                                                                               

“In addition to this, we will see changes to roles within the workforce to better understand technologies such as AI and to cope with the increased focus on data as the basis for business decisions. Already, the World Economic Forum suggests the leading job roles over the next five years will include data analysts and scientists and there will be a focus on training new talent. There is evidence of this taking force with Asia’s investment in education and the digital economy, which will ensure employees are better equipped to manage emerging technologies like AI.” 

With industry innovators poised to drive market diversity, efficiency, and expansion across Asia Pacific, the outlook for 2019 looks promising. Existing forces such as mobile and video will gain greater strength, and emerging developments in connected TV will bridge the gap between online and offline. As long as quality remains the foundation of progress — covering user experience and data — digital advertising will continue to offer equal value for all.

‘Advertising at a Crossroads’ as AI the new Focus for Marketers

Arshan Saha Xaxis APAC President
By Arshan Saha, President APAC, Xaxis

There’s been a lot of scepticism recently about where advertising is headed. Online advertising has seen massive growth over the past decade thanks to its flexibility, transparency and measurability—not to mention the ROI. But with this growth comes a new challenge: more than before, marketers must fight to break through the clutter and connect with their target audiences. The rise of obtrusive and irrelevant ads on the web has led to a concurrent surge in ad-blocking software as consumers become frustrated with or indifferent to the content bombarding them. In response, some of advertising’s biggest spenders have started to shift their focus back to real-world tactics such as experiential marketing. This leaves advertising at a tricky crossroads, and got me thinking: Will digital advertising always remain an important instrument in a company’s marketing toolbox? And as an advertising company, how can and should we push advertising to adapt if we believe it to be the way forward?

Xaxis wholeheartedly believes that digital advertising needs to deliver tangible results to continue to be relevant, and as such has repositioned to focus its entire offering on client outcomes. The best way to do this was to understand the client’s advertising goal that ties as closely as possible to the true business outcomes they are trying to drive. So what do marketers need to think about and do differently to truly engage consumers and drive measurable business results?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has completely changed what we can achieve in advertising, from media buying and planning, how to achieve set targets, and the metrics used to understand success. As my colleague Sara Robertson, VP of Product Engineering for Xaxis once said: “AI is like a spreadsheet on steroids”. The potential of AI lies in its ability to see the bigger picture. We’ve made AI and machine learning an integral part of our offerings, used to find and define audiences, refine our creative messaging, generate audience personas, and develop bidding strategies, all of which can transform a digital advertising strategy to drive remarkably improved results for clients.

And while it is true that consumers hate interruption, it’s never a bad thing when advertisers are forced to adapt by creating content that consumers enjoy. One example is a creative new type of ad that has emerged in China to play in breaks of TV dramas online. These ads utilize the TV shows’ original content and narrative arcs, and feature the same actors in their on-screen costumes, making the ad almost indistinguishable from the original content to hold the audience’s attention and pique their interest. This type of advertising is expected to surpass 2 billion yuan (US$311 million) in sales revenue this year, up from 800 million yuan in 2016.

Advertising with influencers also holds increasing importance in the marketing mix as a way for brands to create trust and credibility with consumers. Over the last few years, influencer marketing has skyrocketed to the point that it has become a category of its own. The premise for this is that consumers trust people they already follow rather than an obvious advertiser. Brands are therefore working to get attention from consumers by channelling their message through people with extensive and trusting networks, commissioning influencers to co-create ‘native’ content that advertisers can then amplify. All of this shows that content needs to mimic what consumers already enjoy in order to engage, but advertising itself won’t disappear.

At the end of the day, approaches such as experiential marketing can be a highly valuable way for many companies to increase brand exposure and customer loyalty. But they shouldn’t necessarily replace advertising altogether. Marketers need to look at the bigger picture and focus on reaching business objectives by quantifying success with real metrics and conversions—regardless of the marketing tactics they choose to convey their messages. That means connecting with your customers authentically and holistically, wherever they happen to be – though as we know, people are spending more time online now than ever.

For Xaxis, repositioning our offering to focus on client outcomes was the most logical move. To align with a client’s true marketing and business objectives—and deliver results to hit those objectives and maximize ROI—should be the goal of any marketing tactic. What really sets digital advertising apart is its ability to do exactly that, with more transparency, efficiency and measurability than any other approach. For this reason, we don’t see it dying out anytime soon.

Evolving your Influencer Marketing for the AI era

Charles Tidswell1The scale and scope of influencer marketing is growing at pace and holds increasing importance in the marketing mix as a way for brands to reach consumers. In this column, Charles Tidswell from Socialbakers provides his top tips for executing social media and influencer marketing campaigns in Asia, including measuring ROI, finding the right influencers and avoiding fakes, artificial intelligence, macro and micro influencers and the specifics of influencer marketing in the Asia Pacific region.

1. Find the right social media influencers

Finding the right influencer is crucial.

A good starting point is to define the brand’s audience personas. This allows the brand to truly understand their target audience, and thus identify an influencer who has values and audiences that line up with that of the brand’s. It is important to look at how aligned an influencer’s content is with your messaging. This can be determined by understanding key traits such as their likes, dislikes and the content they have previously posted.

Brands should ensure that the influencer they select has good engagement and reach.

Engagement is an indicator of how interactive an influencer’s audience is with the content they are posting. How much, and how often audiences engage with the influencer are indications of how meaningful those relationships are. This includes how many readers like, comment or share the influencer’s content.

While not the most important, ‘reach’ is a valid metric for consideration. However, brands should resist the urge to only look at unique visitors as a measure of reach. Traffic and followers are only meaningful to the extent that the influencer is reaching the brand’s target audience.

With the rise of influencer marketing platforms, finding the right influencer can be easy and efficient, eliminating the need to manually sift through influencer profiles. Brands can easily search for influencers based on their audience size, interests, location, age, and gender. It is also possible to see an easy-to-understand score estimating the performance of the influencers, in order to determine the most effective influencer to work with.

2. Measure the ROI of influencer marketing

There are a multitude of ways brands can measure ROI.

The two most common ways are to measure engagement rates, as well as frequency of mentions and hashtags.

Engagement rate is possibly the most common form of measurement. This metric will differ according to the platforms you are evaluating, so brands must be sure to measure the engagement of each individual post in order to better understand what’s working. To put the effectiveness of influencer posts in-context, brands can also analyse their non-sponsored content along with sponsored posts from previous partnerships to benchmark content performance. Since there is no magic number for what a “good engagement” rate should look like, this analysis can be a way to put the engagement rate into context. Brands can even consider looking into the Cost per Engagement (CPE). CPE breaks down how much you are paying for engagement: likes, comments, clicks etc. To get to this number simply divide your total influencer budget by the number of engagements.

Brands looking to see if their influencer marketing campaigns are sparking conversations can tap on social media listening tools. These tools dive into the conversations taking place across social media to find out if the brand is appearing more frequently. Aside from brand mentions, setting up a unique hashtag is also a great way to measure success. If you are creating a campaign with an influencer you can assign a specific hashtag to that campaign and monitor if it’s gaining any traction.

3. Detect and manage fake influencers

Fake influencers are notorious for buying fake followers, hoping to trick brands into a paid collaboration. To make sure the influencer of your choice isn’t ‘fake’, look at their volume of interactions per 1,000 followers. A fake influencer will have a low share of engaged fans, which is a red flag showing you shouldn’t work with that person.

With Socialbakers Influencer Management, marketers can are able to search by location, age, and interests. Influencer posts’ data can be pulled up for inspiration and likes, sentiment of comments, brands they’ve worked with before, and how they performed in the past for marketers to make an informed decision. By doing so, fake social media influencer profiles can be sieved out more effectively.

4. Make use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence

AI can help take the guesswork out of Influencer Marketing; from recruitment of influencers based on the brand’s objectives, provide the ability to forecast influencer performance, predict optimal incentives that would encourage influencers to take a certain action etc.

We will continue to see advancements in AI-powered Influencer Marketing that will help brands understand what content is most likely to resonate and influencer the purchase or adoption decisions of the end consumer.

5. Remember the difference between macro and micro influencers

Micro influencers are those who have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. This category of influencers have a tight-knit relationship with their audience and tend to have higher engagement and conversation rates. While micro influencers often cover a wide range of niches, they are often more affordable than macro or celebrity influencers.

Macro influencers, on the other hand, have a significantly higher follower base – this ranges from 100,000 up to 1 million followers. Given their wider reach, macro influencers tend to have a more diverse audience as well as an established position within a given community.

Deciding which category of influencers to work with largely depends on the scale of the campaign and its objectives. Brands looking to create product awareness or to reach a wide audience may choose to use a macro influencer, while brands keen to encourage customer conversion or retention may prefer to work with micro influencers. They can convert customers cheaper and more efficiently than any of the other options, making them a powerful option to boost ROI.

6. Choose the right social media platforms for your market 

Asia has become one of the most important emerging regions for social media marketing. The hunt for social media influencers requires extensive knowledge on metrics that brands find most important, aspects they value in an influencer the most and more.

Regardless of the industry or region, ​brands are increasingly interested in incorporating influencer marketing as an inherent part of their digital strategy. We have seen it for some time in industries like fashion and beauty​, but today influencer marketing is ubiquitous and is one of the fastest growing categories in advertising, projected to be a $5-10 billion market by 2020, according to Mediakix.

Platforms that are the most used for influencer marketing in Asia include Facebook, WeChat and Instagram which have a high volume of monthly active users in the millions. One significant platform to take note of is China’s WeChat, with about 963M monthly active users. The functionality of WhatsApp, Snapchat, Messenger, and Facebook are integrated into this application.

The app also takes it up a notch by allowing Chinese users to order meals, book taxis and doctor’s appointments. WeChat even offers an assistant chatbot called WeSecretary to manage administrative tasks such as paying bills, booking airline tickets and much more. With such a wide array of integrated functions on a single platform, WeChat paves the way – and provides opportunities for influencers to build closer relationships with fans as well as potential fans.

 

 

 

Lack of data in creativity leading cause of wasted digital ad spend

Data is a hot topic right now, with the upcoming impact of GDPR top of mind for marketers in the region right now, but according to the latest white paper from IAB Singapore, poor data application in the creative process is leading to a significant wastage in digital ad spend.

As the region’s digital ad spend grows, consumer data has become a massive by-product for brands, but lack of training in digital and data related skills is a key barrier to campaign success.

Research by Adobe Digital Insights reveals that gaps exist in the applications of data-led creativity in digital campaigns for Asia Pacific. 65% of 18 to 34-year-olds prefer ads based on their interests, with a third of the same demographic believing advertisers can do better in personalisation.

IAB_LinkedIn

Much of this can be attributed to brands appointing multiple agencies that end up working in silos focusing on distinct and individual KPIs. The lack of digital collaboration ultimately results in wasted advertising dollars.

“The challenge in tailoring digital campaigns lies in recognising where data originates and how they influence creative briefs to develop highly relevant and engaging content. Especially in Southeast Asia, where programmatic is only beginning to take off, brands must be quick to pick up on key learnings, ensuring advertising budget drives toward achieving business bottom lines,” said Miranda Dimopoulos, CEO & Ambassador to SEA, IAB Singapore.

To encourage a data-driven approach, it is imperative on brands to leverage a Creative Communications Process framework across the entire campaign development process.

“As data-driven marketing becomes the new normal, it is important to advocate data-inspired creativity among marketers, agencies and brand owners. Using the Creative Communications Process framework, digital campaigns can be readily optimised with insights from the data signals around us, to develop engaging and impactful creative platforms and campaign ideas,” said Deepika Nikhilender, Senior Vice President, Xaxis Asia Pacific.

Creativity Inspired by Data accounts for current industry needs, with contribution by senior representatives from BBH, Twitter, Digimind, Xaxis, Wavemaker and Unruly.

To get a copy of the Creativity Inspired by Data white paper, click here.

8 Mobile Trends for 2018

With Mobile quickly becoming the go to channel for brands, there is a quiet revolution happening in the world of marketing.  Mobile is growing up, and getting serious as it moves front and centre. Here are our top Mobile advertising trends in APAC for the year ahead.

1. Rise of the apps

App use is growing 22% year on year, driven by increased smartphone adoption. Consumers already spend more than 50% of their total digital media time in app. This promises to grow again in 2018.

2. Gaming is the new TV

With 27% of time on mobile devices spent gaming, mobile games are slowly replacing TV as the backdrop to everyday life. One of the biggest opportunities for brands in 2018 is leveraging mobile gaming as a high reach, context neutral environment, just like TV or UGC / Social Media.

3. Mobile video keeps on rolling

Mobile video advertising spend has grown by 63% in over 2017. And with 4 times as many consumers preferring video over static advertising, brands will continue to top up in 2018.

4. Mobile native creativity

As consumers spend a majority of their media time on mobile, expect mobile native interactive and vertical video formats and functionality to move front and centre. Marketers will make more use of mobile capabilities to engage consumers in 2018.

5. Consumer choice and permission based advertising

With the rise of subscription media like Netflix, and increased adoption of ad blockers, consumers have more choice over their exposure to ads. Rewarded ads on mobile get 68% approval ratings from consumers, compared to only 20% who approve of pre-roll.

6. Mobile only consumers

With 65% of consumers in emerging markets already mobile only, and those in developed economies very much mobile first, the next generation may never experience the internet the way we do. Avid voice searchers, and heavy app users who avoid the desktop, they will see the world in a whole new way.

7. Mobile brand safety tracking and viewability grows up

Mobile devices are personal, so it’s even more crucial that advertising is delivered in a way that works for both advertisers and customers. Brand safety and viewability measurement will drive increased scrutiny of media investment, and a cleaner advertising experience for consumers.

8. Programmatic growth

Advertising spend is shifting fast to programmatic, and even faster from desktop to mobile. With mobile video set to account for 28% of ALL ad spend by 2019 it’s time to get on the mobile programmatic train.

Singapore Intensifies Focus on Data and AI Tech

SGInnovate this week presented ARISE, an Artificial Intelligence-themed event at innovfest unbound 2017 as part of a long term investment in AI and data driven technology. The anchor event of the Smart Nation Innovations Week, innovfest unbound is Asia’s largest innovation festival with more than 8,000 attendees.

ARISE is planned to provide a platform for researchers, academia and industry leaders to explore emerging AI trends and give insight into how it will affect the way we live and work in years to come.

Among the leading figures from the tech sphere at ARISE was Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop (first proposed by Elon Musk), who revealed an inside story of the smart people and smart machines powering the next generation of transport tech.

Macro trends such as machine learning, robotics in the workplace and in the domestic sphere, emerging technologies, and the march towards artificial sentience were also covered.

Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate, said: “Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically impact many areas, such as Healthcare, Transportation and Education. In fact, without even realising it, we have all embraced some form of AI in our daily lives – such as virtual assistants in our phones – and the next few years will bring exciting advances in many ways.”

“We passionately believe that Singapore has the right resources to be an important hub for research, so the challenge for us here is to ensure we are leaders in the development and use of AI capabilities to improve the lives of people here and around the world. We think ARISE is an extremely timely event, and we look forward to the constructive discussion around the challenges and the opportunities, that AI will bring.”

Today, Singapore is already a fast-growing influence within the realm of AI with the country ranked second globally by field weighted citation impact for AI R&D.

On a global scale, the AI market is growing rapidly. It is estimated that revenue for the cognitive systems and AI market will increase from an around US$8 billion (S$11.1 billion) in 2016 to over US$47 billion (S$65 billion) by 2020.

To further boost Singapore’s AI capabilities, the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore recently announced AI.SG, a national programme in AI driven by a government-wide partnership with SGInnovate as one of the partners.

NRF will invest up to S$150 million over five years in AI.SG, which will catalyse and synergise Singapore’s AI capabilities to power our future economy with practical solutions to real-world challenges.

“As a private company wholly-owned by the Singapore Government, SGInnovate has one purpose – to help aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore imagine, start, and scale technology-intensive products with the potential to be globally relevant.  We are working with entrepreneurs and investors in industries such as healthcare, energy and transportation, all of which are seeing a flurry of artificial intelligence (AI) startups.  The launch of AI.SG helps give a solid foundation which a wide range of activities in academia, research, corporates, entrepreneurs and investors can build upon,” added Mr Leonard.

From IOP to IOT: Consumers, Marketers and the Connected Future

Aparna Krishnan, Associate Director of Strategic Planning, Mindshare, Malaysia

From the Internet of People (IOP) to Internet of Things (IOT): we are at the cynosure of behavioural change and technology. Asia Pacific known for its heterogeneity is a motley of sub-cultures and mind-sets, yet consumers in the region are unvaryingly relinquishing control and giving authority to technology. The screen bathing Asian consumer is appraising Connected Living as an evolution mandated by reliance on technology and the need for convenience. The numbers say so.

Within the APAC region, the adoption rates for smart technologies/connected objects have been slow yet steady. The most popular connected object being Smart TV, followed by Smart wristbands and then the Smart watch. In terms of appetite of markets towards connected objects – China leads ahead of the curve, followed by Thailand and then Japan.

sdhliush;ODQSource – Global Web Index, Q4 2016

In lieu of the profusion of data and our knowledge on adoption of smart technology, below is a realistic prophecy at APAC’s ‘smart’ future both from a Consumer and Marketer perspective.

The Consumer Perspective

The jarring digital sever at home

With the multitude of solutions that smart objects provide, more and more consumers could fall prey to the Ostrich problem – the tendency to bury their head in sand and intentionally avoid or reject information. Picture this – a family sitting around a smart dinner table not talking to one another in the real world, the parents looking at data records transmitted to the table from the kid’s shoe that monitored how the kid had been holing up and not interacting with friends!

Connected living could be constructing glass walls between individuals who can communicate with each other but instead choose not to. We could be rewiring ourselves to function better online than offline!

Return of TV time!

With Connected living freeing up more time in consumer lives there is bound to be a rise in Couch Culture, this could possibly spell the comeback of TV time in Asia. It might not be linear TV or a streaming service on the TV screen it could be content being rendered on any flat surface in a smart home. This surface agnostic content streaming could be intuitive and customized with input feeds from other smart objects such as their mood info relayed from their smart clothes.

Picture this –  In Singapore, an overworked millennial is trying to get some sleep after a long day at work, however brain activity measured predicts that sleep will be induced only 3 hours later thereby turning the ceiling into a screen streaming his favourite TV show that automatically switches off when he dozes off.

Circle of Trust will wear out

Due to the eavesdropping ability of connected objects privacy concerns in consumers will touch an all-time high. Mindfulness of consumers towards the types of data being collected and shared by connected objects will be questioned; they will empower themselves to read the labels (like wash care labels) on smart objects. Because of a chunk of responsible and mindful consumers there will emerge conversations around what kind of data can be shared and stored by smart objects. This could possibly also create room for housekeeping rules related to privacy.

Living in the moment, we are all aware that though data steers the marketing of today, it is the consumer who keeps control. This is explicit from the fact that in spite of exponential growth in mobile penetration advertising is not embraced to the same extent. In such a chaotic context, we marketers cannot be desperate for order and a rulebook – we must avoid being overwhelmed by the data and avoid a fool’s rush in mentality.

The Marketer Perspective

Real time data will deliver immediate insights

There will be a new source for observed behavioural data of consumers that could feed in as inputs enabling faster insights into product performance, consumer trends and purchase behaviour. For example, through connected vending machines, Coca-Cola reports spikes in its beverage consumption on college campuses before certain television shows air, a specific insight that not only leads to better understanding of customer demographics, but one that also presents opportunities for targeted marketing.

Diversity in devices and skills

There will be richer diversity in the ‘devices’ and ‘skills’ that can integrate with AI systems , fuelled by an open source model.

Eg: C by GE is a table lamp that incorporates the Alexa Voice Service, a microphone and a speaker, and consumers can use it without possessing an Echo – or even a smartphone.

Hyundai providing members of its My Hyundai program with the ability to start their vehicle, set the internal temperature and switch on the lights before leaving the house.

Shift in the dynamics of advertising

There will be a transformation in the way low involvement products are being purchased.

FMCGs being the key Adex contributors in the APAC region could be frontrunners and the biggest beneficiary of Smart living. The replenishment of detergents by the washing machine through e-commerce partnerships, the refrigerator ordering milk for you to pick up on your way back home etc. The categories and brands with loyalty and high frequency of purchase stand to benefit the most. It might even usher in a change in the dynamics of advertising – with marketers having to focus only on brand building efforts.

A breakthrough example of Connected objects used as a marketing tool to deliver sales is the case of Rexona Deodorant in Malaysia. We used Wearables to communicate the Motionsense technology that releases freshness withheld in capsules on moving. This was a great example of media integrating with Smart objects to deliver business results, a 2% increase in penetration!

Undoubtedly, adrenaline times are here!

As marketers in the quest to future proofing businesses in the Connected landscape, we need to win both hearts and minds; the trick is to be User first, technology second and to dwell in the possibilities.