Tag: HTC

OMD, always at the heart of Technology and Innovation

Over the years at OMD EMEA, we have seen technology evolve drastically. Working with some of the largest brands in the world we have been fortunate to be at the forefront of technology, driving our clients through the ever-changing landscape. From the first ever out-of-home programmatic execution in Europe with Google’s real-time digital community noticeboard, to more recently the world’s first programmatically powered cinema. In the below post we take a look at our latest award-winning campaigns with technology and innovation at the heart.

Google showcase their community spirit with the first ever OOH programmatic campaign in Europe

For Google to launch their first OOH programmatic campaign, location was crucial. They selected Old Street, a world-leading technology hub, where they could easily influence their young progressive core audience. The roundabout was taken over by a large digital billboard, displaying real-time data feeds, with content for the local community to interact with via the Google app. Within six months of being live, four out of five people spontaneously recalled the activity, which led to an amazing 93% of people agreeing that they felt positively towards the Google brand!

OMD has also worked with the world’s leading technology giant to recently launch Android Pay’s first ever large-scale brand campaign, in a bid to drive Christmas sales. Working closely with the TFL network for ‘Taps’ and countless payments, they are using clever geo-targeting, audience behavioural data and capturing every moment to deliver the most relevant creative purchase.

Immersive theatre successfully launches pricey tech

Gaming has really taken off in the last few years as virtual reality has quite literally become more of a reality.  When HTC first launched their VIVE VR system, the product was too pricey and therefore didn’t appeal to their targeted millennial audience. OMD’s specialist service unit Fuse, experts in partnerships and experiences, collaborated with Noma Labs and HTC to make the product more accessible by creating a fully immersive theatre production, ‘Virtually Dead’. The event was a massive success, selling out in both London and Paris within two weeks, the event exceeded trial KPIs by 91%.

Smurfs capture the hearts of their new digital followers

Having worked creatively with HTC’s technology to launch their product to the masses, we are now working with partners to create technology that is only just scratching the surface!

For the release of Sony Pictures’ Smurfs film, OMD partnered with Oath (AOL) and Unit9 to build an AR experience of the HoloLens, to excite their core target audience, previously only attracting adult fans of the franchise.

The experience itself was a gamified version of the movie in which users, led by Papa Smurf were encouraged to explore the world and unlock hidden content. It was tested countless times to ensure it ‘delighted’ children, exciting them with something they’d never experienced before and allowing them to immerse themselves in one of their favourite films.

Smurfs, “The Lost Village” was one of the biggest releases for Sony Pictures this year. We had incredible PR pick-up generating over 40m media impressions and behind the scenes content resulting in 20.8m impressions and 15.9 million video views.

Intel show off their creativity with a performance of a lifetime

Also within the world of entertainment, we worked with Intel, collaborating with Lady Gaga at the Grammys to produce an unforgettable, tech inspired experience dedicated to music legend David Bowie. This showcased Intel’s innovative technology through artist performance and fan experience.  The end product surfaced as a visually stimulating performance by Gaga who controlled the stage effects in real time, thanks to Intel-powered facial scanning and video projecting technology.

Intel also managed to pull off a spectacular performance during the Super Bowl LI halftime show, where again, Lady Gaga was performing. They released a swarm of 300 Shooting Stars to form an American flag in the sky. Watch the behind the scenes video here!

Chatbots promote futuristic TV Series

One of the most significant technologies to recently surface and become more of a reality is Artificial Intelligence. As we now have the data and technology in place, there is a huge opportunity for brands to be innovative over the next few years. OMD was recently recognised for the second year in succession at the Cannes Lions festival, for their work with Channel 4.  To launch the second series of Humans last year they created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to answer viewers’ questions, built on the computer conversation service PullString.  The series is all about synthetic humans, so the technology was very fitting. Series 2 went on to become Channel 4’s best returning original drama for five years- check out full details of the campaign here.

With a significant leap in technology over the last few years, we are at a time where innovation can accelerate rapidly for most brands. At OMD, we are always striving to take our clients into unknown territory to push the boundaries of what’s possible.  As some technologies are only just surfacing, it’s a great time for brands to capitalise and really make an impact!

With programmatic, emerging tech and artificial intelligence increasingly prominent in brand marketing strategies, we look forward to working with our clients to uncover the next big thing in 2018.

 

For more information about OMD or any of the campaigns mentioned, please contact us at [email protected]


OMD FWD w/c April 3rd

Hello and welcome this week’s OMD FWD. Know that while we wanted to include a veritable feast of fake news and April foolery, we’ve limited these to the ‘Cool’ section. Everything else is totally ‘legit’, promise…

This week saw a milestone day for the world of mobile, as Android internet usage during March overtook Windows PCs, albeit by less than 1%. Whilst this could have been predicted with smartphone shipments overtaking PCs six years ago it is still a sign of how important smartphones have become to many people. Elsewhere, Reddit and Vive have announced new and improved services. Reddit has revamped its self-service advertising offering whilst HTC with Vive has introduced VR ad’s, offering immersive and effective impressions. With VR now offering a clear advertising opportunity it will be interesting to see how brands react.

HEADLINES

 INSIGHTS

 COOL (AKA FAKE NEWS)

DEEP READS

Find anything extraordinary this week? Share it via #omdfwd and we’ll make sure to include.


New Realities: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality

More so than any other trend this feels like an area where the groundwork has been laid for creators – whether that’s publishers, brands, or the creative community – to experiment with what is now available to them. Last year saw VR hardware releases from significant players such as Oculus, HTC and PlayStation. Of course, technical improvements will continue at a pace – in particular, the pursuit of untethered headsets and remote positional tracking. But, the technology is already available to create powerful VR experiences where users can move and interact in a manner that is impossible in any other medium. HTC have quashed rumours of a ‘Vive 2’ being released this year – though plenty of new accessories are on the horizon. So it’s over to the many creatives already in this space, and those getting on board, to develop content that makes use of VR’s unique properties as a medium.

VR

It seems that VR entered, or perhaps re-entered, the public consciousness last year on some level. In terms of how many people own a VR headset of any kind, estimates suggest there are around 500,000 people with a high-end HTC Vive and 400,000 with an Oculus Rift. Sony say that “hundreds of thousands” of PlayStation owners have already bought PlayStation VR. Earlier last year, Samsung reported it had reached one million users for its Samsung Gear headsets. These figures were shared well before Samsung heavily promoted the headsets in the run-up to Christmas. We are still waiting for the numbers of the newest smartphone-accessory headsets in the market, Google’s Daydream. However, some reports suggest the reach of Google’s basic Cardboard headset has been as high as 80 million. Of course, unlike the other headsets, it is hard to know how many have kept these rather than used them once.

Staying at the ‘low-end’ of the headset market, but made of plastic rather than card, I saw a number of headsets retailing at less than £10 in-stores and online in the run up to Christmas for users to pop their phone into. I also noticed a heavy presence of ‘vr’ amongst the Apple Stores trending apps in the days after Christmas. So it feels like there is some appetite and recognition amongst the public of what VR is (even if they haven’t tried it yet). Brands should consider taking advantage of this willingness by creating a VR experience. The right VR experience could be more practical, like Jaguar’s I-PACE launch, or simply mindblowing, like Google Earth.

The question of ‘how many people have a headset?’ from brands considering VR, is perhaps misjudged. There are certainly only a finite number of people who will own a VR headset ever, even when the VR content available improves. This is an immersive and intense medium to be dipped into for ‘one-off’ experiences, analogous perhaps to cinema (how many people have one of those at home?). It fits for VR to be found in a store to aid a magical retail experience or indeed in cinemas to view entertainment content in a new form, and these site-specific VR experiences provide a rich opportunity for many brands. In London, we have already seen a VR Zombie chase, Björk’s VR-only exhibition and more recently the Royal Academy’s VR pop-up – all of which were ticketed events that sold out.

AR

Beyond VR, the narrative from some publishers is that 2016 was actually the breakout year for Augmented Reality, because of the mega-hit that was Pokemon Go. This doesn’t ring true for me to the extent that it is touted as AR’s breakthrough moment. On a basic level because some research showed that ‘only’ 33% of users had the AR functionality turned on ‘most of the time’ or ‘always’ whilst playing the game. More significantly the success of Pokemon Go wasn’t down to the AR, but a multitude of factors (many of which were cultural) that I will spare you from debating here.

For me, Snapchat Lenses remain a far stronger example for AR. This technology is used by millions daily, even if the users don’t know or care to know that this tech is part of something called Augmented Reality. Facial overlays seem to be the most prevalent successful use of AR technology. This type of AR experience is neat for makeup brands or spectacle sellers but, obviously, has limited uses.

It’s the augmentation of objects into the real world in front of you that feels like the opportunity for a broader array of uses, but one that has been touted for some time. Maybe this year we’ll see brands really crack this opportunity through some hit applications. Markerless technology (a potential barrier to a slick experience) continues to improve and the digital recreation of assets for an AR world (perhaps the biggest cost here) may be something that a brand bites the bullet on or finds a more efficient way of doing, which could lead to a significant AR success story with business-changing returns.

Microsoft’s HoloLens exists as a unique outlier. Currently, it is available for developers but not for the public (which isn’t necessarily a problem – see my point on VR adoption). AR via a headset rather than through a phone, combined with the possibility of interaction and scalability of augmented objects that pushes this into the realm of ‘Mixed Reality’. This is ‘where it’s all going’. As future-gazers like to say, Mixed Reality experiences, like AR experiences, point to a potential for mass adoption far beyond VR because of the nature of the experience. The availability of the HoloLens platform, perhaps years before this technology truly develops on a larger scale, stands out as an obvious opportunity for brands to gain first-mover advantage and take a leadership position with a tech-powered experience for their customers.

What should brands do this year?

  • Suspend disbelief and imagine the ultimate experience your brand could deliver, whether that’s practical or fantastical. Can this technology be used to bring this to life?
  • Work with VR/AR experts who have made the easy mistakes in the medium already and are pushing the boundaries with what is possible. Also look out for select content publishers with compelling, well-supported VR offerings.
  • Look at building platforms for VR or AR experiences that allow for updating and repeat usage over time, rather than one-off short-lived ideas.

Have a question or want to discuss something more? Send us an email at [email protected]


New Realities: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality

More so than any other trend this feels like an area where the groundwork has been laid for creators – whether that’s publishers, brands, or the creative community – to experiment with what is now available to them. Last year saw VR hardware releases from significant players such as Oculus, HTC and PlayStation. Of course, technical improvements will continue at a pace – in particular, the pursuit of untethered headsets and remote positional tracking. But, the technology is already available to create powerful VR experiences where users can move and interact in a manner that is impossible in any other medium. HTC have quashed rumours of a ‘Vive 2’ being released this year – though plenty of new accessories are on the horizon. So it’s over to the many creatives already in this space, and those getting on board, to develop content that makes use of VR’s unique properties as a medium.

VR

It seems that VR entered, or perhaps re-entered, the public consciousness last year on some level. In terms of how many people own a VR headset of any kind, estimates suggest there are around 500,000 people with a high-end HTC Vive and 400,000 with an Oculus Rift. Sony say that “hundreds of thousands” of PlayStation owners have already bought PlayStation VR. Earlier last year, Samsung reported it had reached one million users for its Samsung Gear headsets. These figures were shared well before Samsung heavily promoted the headsets in the run-up to Christmas. We are still waiting for the numbers of the newest smartphone-accessory headsets in the market, Google’s Daydream. However, some reports suggest the reach of Google’s basic Cardboard headset has been as high as 80 million. Of course, unlike the other headsets, it is hard to know how many have kept these rather than used them once.

Staying at the ‘low-end’ of the headset market, but made of plastic rather than card, I saw a number of headsets retailing at less than £10 in-stores and online in the run up to Christmas for users to pop their phone into. I also noticed a heavy presence of ‘vr’ amongst the Apple Stores trending apps in the days after Christmas. So it feels like there is some appetite and recognition amongst the public of what VR is (even if they haven’t tried it yet). Brands should consider taking advantage of this willingness by creating a VR experience. The right VR experience could be more practical, like Jaguar’s I-PACE launch, or simply mindblowing, like Google Earth.

The question of ‘how many people have a headset?’ from brands considering VR, is perhaps misjudged. There are certainly only a finite number of people who will own a VR headset ever, even when the VR content available improves. This is an immersive and intense medium to be dipped into for ‘one-off’ experiences, analogous perhaps to cinema (how many people have one of those at home?). It fits for VR to be found in a store to aid a magical retail experience or indeed in cinemas to view entertainment content in a new form, and these site-specific VR experiences provide a rich opportunity for many brands. In London, we have already seen a VR Zombie chase, Björk’s VR-only exhibition and more recently the Royal Academy’s VR pop-up – all of which were ticketed events that sold out.

AR

Beyond VR, the narrative from some publishers is that 2016 was actually the breakout year for Augmented Reality, because of the mega-hit that was Pokemon Go. This doesn’t ring true for me to the extent that it is touted as AR’s breakthrough moment. On a basic level because some research showed that ‘only’ 33% of users had the AR functionality turned on ‘most of the time’ or ‘always’ whilst playing the game. More significantly the success of Pokemon Go wasn’t down to the AR, but a multitude of factors (many of which were cultural) that I will spare you from debating here.

For me, Snapchat Lenses remain a far stronger example for AR. This technology is used by millions daily, even if the users don’t know or care to know that this tech is part of something called Augmented Reality. Facial overlays seem to be the most prevalent successful use of AR technology. This type of AR experience is neat for makeup brands or spectacle sellers but, obviously, has limited uses.

It’s the augmentation of objects into the real world in front of you that feels like the opportunity for a broader array of uses, but one that has been touted for some time. Maybe this year we’ll see brands really crack this opportunity through some hit applications. Markerless technology (a potential barrier to a slick experience) continues to improve and the digital recreation of assets for an AR world (perhaps the biggest cost here) may be something that a brand bites the bullet on or finds a more efficient way of doing, which could lead to a significant AR success story with business-changing returns.

Microsoft’s HoloLens exists as a unique outlier. Currently, it is available for developers but not for the public (which isn’t necessarily a problem – see my point on VR adoption). AR via a headset rather than through a phone, combined with the possibility of interaction and scalability of augmented objects that pushes this into the realm of ‘Mixed Reality’. This is ‘where it’s all going’. As future-gazers like to say, Mixed Reality experiences, like AR experiences, point to a potential for mass adoption far beyond VR because of the nature of the experience. The availability of the HoloLens platform, perhaps years before this technology truly develops on a larger scale, stands out as an obvious opportunity for brands to gain first-mover advantage and take a leadership position with a tech-powered experience for their customers.

What should brands do this year?

  • Suspend disbelief and imagine the ultimate experience your brand could deliver, whether that’s practical or fantastical. Can this technology be used to bring this to life?
  • Work with VR/AR experts who have made the easy mistakes in the medium already and are pushing the boundaries with what is possible. Also look out for select content publishers with compelling, well-supported VR offerings.
  • Look at building platforms for VR or AR experiences that allow for updating and repeat usage over time, rather than one-off short-lived ideas.

Have a question or want to discuss something more? Send us an email at [email protected]


OMD FWD w/c Jan 9th

Welcome to the CES 2017 OMD FWD special. As the dust settles on the Mojave Desert, there’s a quiet acknowledgement of Amazon’s Alexa triumph as the most widely integrated technology. But it’s still early days in voice technology, with little platform loyalty and leadership positions yet to be cemented. We expect 2017 to be an incredibly exciting year for voice AI. Bloomberg reports that the potential is huge as the technology is exponential, with voice AI reaching 40 million homes by 2021.

Elsewhere mobile devices explored 3D cameras, smart home technology merged with mobility, cars got smarter and televisions became thinner. With so much coverage of CES, explore our round-up of the most interesting news articles.

HEADLINES

  • In the final tally of the show, Amazon Alexa reigns as the ‘Grand Winner’, and they didn’t even have a booth. Quartz summarises the best in show
  • One of the biggest brand stories was from Mattel who launched a kid-focused Echo alternative which is due to launch June 2017.  Our children will use these technologies from a very early age as more competitors come into the market

 INSIGHTS

 COOL

  • Robots were everywhere and here are 4 robots you might want in your home.  Our money is going to Kuri
  • HTC wants to drive the VR revolution by introducing a subscription service: ‘The Netflix for VR’
  • A digital sole which learns your running patterns and adapts to support you during terrain changes, or if you began to pronate due to tightness of muscles
  • A mechanisation of a human being came in the form of the exo skeleton which has the promise to give mobility to the disabled.
  • For a full run down on the coolest gadgets in the show, read our round-up here

DEEP READS

As ever, please read, learn and share away, #OMDFWD


OMD FWD w/c Oct 3rd

It is rumoured in the Financial Times that Spotify is in advanced talks to take over rival Soundcloud for $700m. While Spotify brought in $2.2bn in revenues in the past year, the company is still failing to make a profit. During a time when competition in the music streaming industry is fierce, Sweden’s Spotify remains to be the market leader. Well-known rivals include Amazon Prime and Apple Music. However, there are also other contenders on the market such as Tidal, Rhapsody and Deezer with ever increasing presence fueled by on-going PR and celebrity endorsements.

Each competitor has their own distinctive characteristic. German-based SoundCloud places a main focus on artists by allowing them to upload music and share it with fans through social media and blogging. In the beginning, the company established itself within the dance music genre and is now influential across the music industry as a whole. While Apple launched its own music service in 2015, Spotify still leads the way with 40 million paying users compared to Apple Music’s 17 million.

HEADLINES

INSIGHTS

COOL

  • Fove – VR with eye tracking.
  • IBM Watson and The Weather Company are ready to launch the first Cognitive Ads.
  • Slightly beyond digital media but pretty big future facing news: Elon Musk is going to take us to Mars.

DEEP READS

Share anything interesting you spot with the hashtag #OMDFWD


Virtually Dead – OMD blurs the lines of reality for the launch of HTC Vive

OMD has completed a hugely successful launch for HTC Vive, the first complete virtual reality system. Engineered by OMD’s specialist service unit Fuse Sport + Entertainment, a collaboration between Noma Labs and HTC which, alongside production partner Bearded Kitten, resulted in the fully immersive theatre production, “Virtually Dead”. Live in London and Paris, both events were completely sold out, as enthusiasts flocked to see the very latest in VR technology and experience immersive theatre at its finest.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 15.11.50

Combining previously unseen VR technology with interactive performance, “Virtually Dead” blurred the lines between what’s real and what’s not, giving the audience a completely new, thrilling and scary interactive experience. During the hour-long activity, ticketholders were guided by actors into designated VR areas containing 13 minutes of playable VR content. Instead of a static experience, Vive’s much anticipated “360° room-scale” technology allowed guests to move around and explore their new virtual world.

Following a sinister virus outbreak, which has wiped out millions of people in Arizona, ticketholders were invited to join the fight against the plague of Zombies that has taken over. The US Military swing into action and the entire state is quarantined. A special army is trained to deal with the potential overseas spread of the virus and recruits are put through their paces to be able to tackle the virus on the front line.

Olivia Rose, Account Director at Fuse said, “It was a thrill to be involved in creating something which is literally breaking new ground in terms of audience experience and engagement. Many entertainment events become fairly standard in terms of format and delivery, but this was something very original and special. Merging immersive theatre with virtual reality presented incredible opportunities and we were absolutely delighted with the success of the events in both London and Paris.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 15.12.32

Jon Goddard, Head of VR Marketing, EMEA at HTC commented, “Introducing our revolutionary 360° room–scale VR technology into an immersive theatre environment is an entirely new venture, and one we couldn’t wait for people to experience. We’re incredibly excited to have worked with Fuse and subsequently the creative teams at Noma Labs and believe Vive, the first complete virtual reality system, is the perfect VR partnership to deliver a truly spectacular production.”

IMG_4530

The Results

  • Tickets sound out in two weeks!
  • 45+ press features
  • Conversations around Virtually Dead reached 100+ million people worldwide
  • 15m+ Virtually Dead video views
  • 20 million data points used to target millennials in London and Paris

For more information, contact [email protected]


What we should expect from Euro 2016

Many of us may feel that there has not been as much anticipation for this year’s UEFA European Football Championship as usual, with the EU referendum dominating the attention of the media, at least in the UK. However, social media activity tells us a completely different story. Over the last month, there have been more than 3 million social media posts related to Euro 2016 in English alone – over 1 million more than the number of posts about Brexit (Source: OMD Impact Report Euro 2016 – to be launched on June 20th).

I must admit that I am one of that rare species that does not get too excited about football: my interest in Euro 2016 comes from identifying how consumer behaviours are changing. Technology is, as expected, set to play a major role in fan engagement, both with the tournament itself and with marketing tie-ins. This is especially interesting when looking at younger audiences whose attention is hard to retain as they use a plethora of devices and channels with which to consume football. There are four main trends that seem to be gaining traction in how we are experiencing and interacting with sporting events:

  1. Broadcast and live streaming

YouTube

Television will still lead the attack, but mobile has the potential to take over as traditional television viewership declines, with smartphones and tablets accounting for close to half of streaming views. Due to the rise of over-the-top video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, sports channels have been forced to think hard about their role in the OTT marketplace.

In the UK, BT Sport has begun a new era of live mass broadcasting: this year was the first time the Champions League final has been streamed live on a social media platform (YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine). Combining TV and digital media, it was the most widely available broadcast of a UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League final ever. BT Sport’s TV channel attracted 4.3 million people for the Champions League final, with an additional 1.8 million from YouTube.

  1. Dark social

Adidas

As ad blocking rises and consumers reject more traditional ads, brands are turning to content marketing and social media more than ever. ‘Dark social’ (temporary messaging and broadcasting apps/platforms) is increasingly used by brands to engage on a more personal level with fans, creating a sense of exclusivity.

In the lead-up to Euro 2016, Adidas has activated a Snapchat channel, “Originals”, in collaboration with Pharrell Williams. The launch story generated 3.4 million views over 24 hours, with 87% of users watching the story in full. Adidas will also be using Whatsapp to create dedicated ‘squads’ which will go live on the app during Euro 2016. Members of these ‘squads’ will receive news releases before anyone else as well as invitations to events and access to Adidas’ ambassadors, from athletes to artists. Adidas aims to leverage these initiatives to learn, test and optimise dark social media use.

  1. Moment marketing

Duel Screen

Since dual screening has become a habitual activity for the majority of TV viewers, in recent years more advertisers have trialed and developed tools to tailor targeted advertising content on the second screen. With greater data access, brands have the ability to plan and execute a lot more smartly – serving ads to the right audiences on relevant devices at the right times.

HTC was able to capitalise on the emotional moments that mattered most to fans during the UEFA Champions League to further leverage its sponsorship. The brand targeted people with ads on their mobiles during TV ad breaks and at key in-game moments (goals). The campaign saw outstanding results, specifically, a 100% increase in click-through rates and a 47% reduction in cost per clicks.

  1. Immersive technology

VR

Recent developments in virtual reality and haptic technologies have activated new forms of live interactions for fans. As consumers have already shown considerable interest in VR and football watching is traditionally a social activity, brands are investing in new viewing experiences which will be utilised during Euro 2016.

UEFA has revealed that certain Euro 2016 finals will be filmed in VR. It is set to become the first major football tournament to employ virtual reality in abundance, after a brief test during the Champions League semi-finals.

I look forward to seeing how things develop both on and off the pitch as the tournament kicks off this Friday. As Dimitri Shostakovich, a prominent Soviet composer and pianist, once said, “Football is the ballet of the masses.” It is a passion that burns in the hearts of billions of fans worldwide, but it is also a passion that I expect will be experienced differently compared to the past.

Best of luck to your national teams!

For more information about the OMD Impact Report Euro 2016,  contact [email protected]


From bendy phones to 5G, why next week’s Mobile World Congress matters to global media

OMD EMEA’s Head of Mobile, Alex Newman outlines the key trends to expect at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and what they mean for the marketing and media industry.

mwc15-photos01

Next week, just under 100,000 people will travel to Barcelona to celebrate a birthday. From Mark Zuckerberg to Lewis Hamilton, the who’s who of the ever-expanding mobile and tech world will descend upon the Fira Gran Via for the 30th Mobile World Congress (MWC).

For those of you who have never been, just picture the biggest exhibition you’ve ever encountered – around eight full-sized football pitches – of the world’s leading technology companies (except for one notable exception) showing off their latest hardware and software innovations.

“I always travel to Barcelona filled with a sense of excitement to see at first hand the progress being made within the industry I love”

This year’s theme? ‘Mobile is Everything’, which of course is something I’ve preached for a long time.

For me the theme is simply an acknowledgement that mobile connectivity is finally beginning to seep into all aspects of everyday life, and really is opening up a plethora of new opportunity. Whilst I’m yet to ascertain if I’ll be over or underwhelmed or by what’s in-store, as an MWC pilgrim I always travel to Barcelona filled with a sense of excitement to see at first hand the progress being made within the industry I love.

The trends you will see spoken about at this year’s event will closely mirror those of 2015.

NEW DEVICES, AND LOTS OF THEM

Every MWC is characterised by numerous new launches with most major handset manufacturers having something new to shout about.

The rumour mill is already spinning with indications that Samsung, LG, Sony, Microsoft and HTC are all tipped to be unveiling something new. Expect to see bendy and foldable phones, new types of battery technology, handsets that emit less heat. We will also see a growing number of Chinese manufacturers offering significantly but sophisticated handsets.

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-1024x566

VIRTUAL REALITY GOES MAINSTREAM

Portable virtual reality headsets are set to be a major focus at this year’s MWC with new unveilings being unveiled by the Facebooks Oculus Rift partnership, new updates of the HTC Verve platform, and the new IOS update from Google facilitating a further push into the VR Space.

Interestingly from Google, it is all about the software as opposed to the hardware-based approach from others.  The point is manufacturers are pushing each other to develop better and cheaper platforms, making device ownership a reality for consumers.

5G

5G is set to be THE theme of MWC 2016, as operators begin to get their hands around best ways to roll out this new technology.

Frankly, we as consumers need this planning, as the need for 5G services is already growing, and we need the roll out to be smoother and quicker than was the case with 4G, a bit like the service itself!

Internet chatter is already pointing out the potentially game changing implications this could have for industry as mobile consumers are able to access heavy data files at almost instantaneous speeds. This is seen as being a major ingredient that finally brings the internet of things to life. We can expect a few demonstrations of how the technology could be used to be on show at this year’s event.

INTERNET OF THINGS

This year’s MWC tagline ‘Mobile is everything’ seems to lend itself directly to the Internet of Things (IOT). At previous years shows we have seen dedicated pavilions set up to demonstrate how the IOT will come to life, in terms of how technology can integrate with everyday tasks. This year will be no different, and there promises to be plenty of manufacturers demonstrating how connectivity will play a role within their previously unconnected products.

Expect to see connected toothbrushes that talk to bathroom mirrors to tell you about oral health; washing machines that talk to your mobile app shopping list; toilets that talk to your health tracker to analyse your food and drink intake.

DRIVERLESS CARS

Driverless car technology has invaded MWC over the previous two years, and with the number of auto manufacturers exhibiting at the 2016 event increasing, I can only see a greater emphasis on this area.

When connected cars were first discussed, the conversation centred on the work Google and Apple were doing and the potential for disruption this offered. Since then, manufacturers have been keen to take back ownership of this area, and with Ford, Volvo, Jaguar and Toyota all rumoured to be unveiling their work at this show.

It is no secret that auto manufacturers see connected cars as offering them the possibility to generate a new influx of consumer money, so the race to launch the best products in this area is well and truly on.

mwc15-photos02

LACK OF ANYTHING NEW?

At first glance the apparent lack of anything new seems to be disappointing, but when you take a closer look actually the reverse is true.

It is not that the technology is not evolving, it is that the development is no longer focused on the breaking of new ground, but instead upon bringing these lofty concepts to fruition. That means taking a concept such as wearable technology and ensuring it works seamlessly and has a useful application within the real world, as well as ensuring cost of ownership makes it attainable at scale.

In my opinion these are the lenses that both device manufacturers and new technology developers need to apply to the products they launch. When these basic requirements are fulfilled we see the advent of new and exciting products and services that change the world – and at that point technology really does become exciting for both brands and consumers.

“These companies are the new giants of the global economy, and their success is down to the smartphone”

Since 2007 the smartphone has provided a platform that enabled new types of business to come into existence, and furthermore allowed them to grow their user-base rapidly. We have all marveled at services such as Uber, Airbnb, Hotels.com, and Amazon amongst many others.

They all have one thing in common: they identified a natural consumer behaviour and understood how they could use connected technology to simplify that behaviour, and then launched highly successful business upon the back of that insight. These companies are the new giants of the global economy, and their success is down to the smartphone.

BUNCH OF SENSORS

When you look at it, what is a smartphone? It is just a bunch of sensors that enables us to connect with our surroundings in new ways. The trends we will see highlighted at MWC 2016 such as the Internet of Things, 5G and wearables are simply a manifestation of these same sensors moving from only existing within the smartphone to being embedded within any number of previously unconnected devices.

But why is that interesting? In the same way that the smartphone gave birth to new businesses, new monetisation models, and new ways to engage consumers, wider connectivity will provide a more exciting platform for new companies to launch products and services that have not been imagined yet.

We have already seen evidence of that in the developments being made within the health industry based upon wearable devices, and the travel and luxury industries based upon virtual reality. I travel to MWC more out of excitement than anything – I want to understand the progress that is being made in putting together the essential building blocks that will enable a whole new layer of business and marketing opportunities.

Although the themes coming out of this year’s event will not change from the usual, I am hopeful the developments unveiled there will provide proof that progress is being made, and these lofty concepts we have all heard about are becoming attainable.

Most of all, I hope to leave MWC feeling inspired, armed with new ideas of products and marketing services that represent significant opportunities for my clients, that although we may have theorised about previously, are now possible! So come on MWC, don’t let me down. Here’s to another great week in Barcelona – hope to see you there!

 


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