Above Photo: Google showcases interconnected screens at Google IO conference in SF.
By Chris Silva (cross posted) and Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analysts at Altimeter Group
Last year’s over hyped skydiving was replaced by down to earth by grounded product enhancements.
We’re live from the Google IO conference in SF with 6,000 developers, press, and media in San Francisco’s Moscone event center. We noticed a lot of Glass Explorer units (which surprisingly was barely mentioned in the keynote) we’ve purchased two to test, and will write up a detailed post on them after we’ve done a thorough test.
Today’s Google’s announcements were a wreck; a series of products flipping in front of you, rather than a well laid out showroom. To make sense of this patchwork set of announcements from a fragmented company, we’ve identified some top level trends:
Key Trends at Google I/O:
Products enhanced and interconnected –no major new products announced.
- Google can coordinate across all of your screens, making multi-screen easier showing its ability to tie together all of your experiences across the Google-system.
- Ironically, Google did not mention Google Glass. We believe this is because it was overhyped last year, failed to meet production deadlines this year.
- Google+ had several enhancements including a new 3 column layout akin to flipboard, deeper content with flippable content cards, Hangout now extended to multiple browsers, Google+ profiles have improved sign on capability–but no adoption numbers were touted in this flailing social network.
Google is virtually replicating planet earth, but “improving” the quality.
- Google maps is becoming a *Virtual World*. 3D experience with our uploaded photos. With virtual goggles like Occulus Rift you can walk through this virtual world, experiencing our world in just a few mouse clicks.
- The company announced the ability to use more granular location to allow better targeting of mobile users with apps and offers, finally bringing the inherently local capabilities to mobile that we’ve been awaiting.
- Retailers and hospitality should take note, Google maps now integrates photos of your stores from the inside. Internal decor matters to the search process.
Google knows what and who you love as we trade convenience for our data.
- Google announced that they could identify highlights of top photos in your albums, they were able to identify important photos based on facial recognition of your family, grouping these as important. Google knows who your family is –and what’s important to your heart.
- Google is becoming more like a media company, music streaming (Google All Access,) photo editing, magazine-ing of the G+ stream. “Google makes the world better with data.” Google+ becomes like a magazine,
- Speech recognition across the desktop and mobile and bringing personal context to all of their services, doing things like making everyone’s view into maps personal, with their important landmarks highlighted.
What it means: An unsaid contract. Google better organizes our world –and sells us back the experience
The big takeaway is Google is trying to let consumers experience as much of your brand before they buy it, for examples a search user can experience the inside of your store, the reviews, the photos and find the fastest way there –before ever leaving their chair. As such, Google or their advertisers, may influence the purchase decision.
In mobile, It’s about the services, not the devices: While leading with mobile products last year to get people into their sandbox. In social the story focused on rich media differentiating the Google+ network and it became clear that social-first products like Hangouts and Google+ sign=in will make a broader play across more Google and non-Google products. , across data and search – whether maps or analytics – Google wants to up the ante in the tools it offers developers and, in turn, the companies and brands they empower.
The Pithy Bottom Lines:
- For consumers, if you’ve bought into the Google ecosystem, expect the tools and products to get better but know you’re the product
- For brands: If you want to play in Google’s sandbox, you’ll ultimately need to pay.
- For Google Competitors: As Google has entered media, any industry is up for grabs; they may be your competitor and just not have announced it yet.
By Chris Silva (who’s cross posted on his blog) and Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analysts at Altimeter Group
Technologies are Emerging at an Increased Rate –Making Tracking Harder than Ever
SXSW is no longer about disruptive technologies being launched, instead, it’s a mainstream, it’s a mainsteam festival, actually) and digital leaders at today’s large corporations are already present, and you should be too. In fact, the amount of data created about the topic had nearly double year over year. Altimeter Group was well represented with 9 analysts or researchers at SxSWi this year, with a large team in Austin tracking what’s disruptive. Long known for launches of big names such as Twitter and Foursquare, as well as those with more hype that long-term staying power like Highlight – would be past its prime and recycling yesterday’s news. If you weren’t able to attend, Altimeter has captured the salient highlights to showcase here:
Major Festival Themes
- Hardware was king. Hardware was king at an event long vaunted as a software and service launching ground, as evidenced by long lines for keynotes by Makerbot founder Bre Pettis, and Tesla, SpaceX founder Elon Musk who spent a lot of time devoted to how hardware-based endeavours like the recent Dragon rocket launch can disrupt an industry as complex as space and airline transportation.
- Android curiosity is getting the better of early adopters. We had many conversations with current iPhone users who were openly discussing their desire to “try the other side” and get an Android device. Interestingly, this curiosity was based more on their gripes with iPhone than with specific Android features they sought. Further, most of the users we spoke with were not working for organizations that had adopted Google Apps for Enterprise and were hoping for tighter integration, they simply felt that, as one person put it, “it has to work better than this thing,” while shaking a shiny new iPhone 5 in the air. Granted, as screen sizes on Android devices continue to trend up, Samsung’s battery-wielding bike messengers may be a needed accessory to make it through a day of SXSW with our new Android handsets.
- Software innovation continued, but mobile enterprise was a star. Software was not forgotten altogether, and from the festival that’s brought us many a fun app and game, this year the interest was in work. It seems the developers and mobile-centric brands are finally on-board the billion-dollar-bandwagon that is enterprise mobile development. Crowds lined up around the block to hear about mobile apps for major brands and to help people do their jobs. The era of Angry Birds millionaires while not quite over, is waning and the future is better tools for work that act like the toys we all enjoy on our mobiles. I’ve never been to a conference in a yoga studio – Austin’s Wanderlust Yoga played host to a packed Mobile Saturday event – no less one that’s populated by contorted bodies and over 100 degrees all due to the high demand.
- Brands were at SXSW in force –followed by the vendors who seek to cater to them. A number of brands were present, with sponsored pavilions or lounges including Samsung, Pepsi, Oreos, esurance, GE, American Airlines and Chevy. While many early adopters criticized the infusion of large brands, this event has gone mainstream as every company is a digital company. To cater to these brands, there were a number of enterprise software vendors present who had sessions, parties, lounges and concerts, including Oracle, Salesforce, IBM, PR agencies, and social software startups including Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Spredfast, Expion, UrbanAirship, MutualMobile, Dachis, Bazaarvoice, Gigya, ExactTarget, and on.
The Technologies That Matter from SXSW 2013
||What it Means
|Our rating system includes: Watch, Experiment, Invest, Ignore.
||Who’s doing it today?
||Who will be impacted by this new technology if it comes to fruition.
||Insights and forecasts from our perspective.
|Gesture Based Interfaces. (Leap motion, Microsoft Kinnect)Our Call: Experiment
||Leap Motion, a small, $79 USB device launching in May allows users to control their computers using hand gestures in mid air. It’s able to sense individual finger movements for fine manipulation of objects and apps on screen
||Leap controllers have the potential to change the way we interact with our computers and will launch for Mac OS and Windows, immediately making the tech available to a wider audiences than Microsoft’s Kinect. Being able to physically interact with the digital will disrupt many software markets.
||They key to this disruption taking hold is developer support. High levels of developer support, though, or a major buy in from a CE vendor like Samsung for TV use will make or break Leap. Expect to see heavy interest from software vendors in the creative space like Adobe; Corel was running live demos at the event.
|3D Printing and Replicators (Makerbot, Factory.org)Our Call: Ignore
||A number of 3D printers were on display both in the demo hall, and including one brave entrepreneur who wore one on his neck at parties while it was successfully printing. Among the vendors include MakerBot, Factory.org and others.
||Every brand involved in electronics, consumer package goods, transportation, packaging, supply chain and beyond will be impacted as consumers start to act like producers.
||Although Altimeter is investing in a demo unit to trial, this market is still very young. We’ve identified business model opportunities for brand marketers, IP creators and owners of CAD diagrams, and supply chain of the composite and plastic materials needed to print. We believe a significant ecosystem is required before this is a ready market.
|Proximity Based Communications, Near Field Communications (NFC, Samsung)Our Call: Invest
||Austin was awash in proximity based interaction points this week such as the Samsung tectiles; one can imagine that these same pieces of real estate were occupied by QR codes in years past, though the QR was also readily present this as well and not dead. NFC-enabled badges, stickers and posters were everywhere.
||NFC, due to the potential for quick, almost passive interaction with a mobile device means potential for higher uptake, the problem? Not many devices yet support it and fewer users know what it does. This is still education time.
||Companies with NFC-enabled products hawked them hard – see Samsung entry below – but users’ have yet to process the idea that, beyond payments, using NFC as an event control point or trigger can usher in instrumented environments. This is a key Android differentiator that we’d like to see more manufacturers support.
|Collaborative Economy (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar)Our Call: Experiment
||Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft were in full force in Austin this year showing how shared resources can make getting around. A great deal of attendees we spoke to used AirBNB to find local rooms and houses to rent, as many Austinites skipped down to avoid the fray.
||Austin, traditionally short on taxis and public transit – not to mention woefully unprepared for 20k+ visitors, is a perfect market to breed affinity for these tools. These services are disruptors to the taxi service, and hotel and hospitality space.
||We’ll see many, many more of these services before the market shakes out. If transport, a leading industry in terms of getting to market early, is an indicator, users will have more and more need for distinct value props as many more “me too” services come online. At SXSW Tesla made motions to offer their car as part of the Uber fleet.
|Android’s Rise (Samsung, Google)Our Call: Invest
||The Samsung marketing machine was working overtime at SXSW attempting to show that a superior experience is possible to the still-ubiquitous iPhones many were carrying. This is good for Samsung and arguably drives Android awareness and interest. Samsung demo’d their TV and Phones were interconnected.
||The awareness and interest in Android is great news for Google except that it comes from Samsung and, therefore, muddies the Android brand. That said, when users are shown extremely high levels of service – to wit, bike messengers delivering fresh batteries to Samsung device users – it’s hard to argue with this approach.
||The Samsung brand is beginning to define Android. This will be difficult for other brands playing in the Android ecosystem like HTC and even Google itself. We can see why there’s some concern from Mountain View around Samsung’s reign in Android. Not investing in Android as an app player or a hardware concern is no longer an option.
|Space Exploration (SpaceX)Our Call: Ignore
||One of the highlights of the show was Elon Musk’s keynote where he demonstrated the privatization of space flight. His famed quote resonated throughout the event: “I want to die on Mars, just not on impact”
||The obvious disruption is the impact to commercial airlines as well as government space programs. That said, the technology is out of reach for all but a very few, though the promise is inspiring.
||The featured Grasshopper had VTOL capabilities meaning these space capable vehicles could land and depart from regular airports. While exciting, there’s little brands can do to interact with this trend, unless you’re a direct partner.
|Augmented and Virtual Reality (Google Glass and Occulus Rift)Our Call: Watch
||We had many discussions about Google Glass and its implications with many individuals at SXSW. Main concern? How will it work and what will the etiquette be?
||Everyone from mobile device manufacturers to the purveyors of content on those devices will have to figure out how to play in the AR realm, we have not talked to anyone yet, either mobile developer, hardware player or content magnate that has a plan in mind. Too soon, they all say.
||We’re bullish on Google Glass and, while we’ve not yet received our Explorer units to demo, we think the market will be very receptive to technology that augments daily tasks and does it in a lightweight way. We see a market emerging for AR-centric content and interactions and brands should be ready to play.
|MicroMedia Video (Vine, Memoto)Our Call: Experiment
||One emerging technology, that could grow is the Vine app that enables iPhone users to create 6 second video clips and share online. To experience this yourself, see this real time gallery. We also saw a lot of discussion on the Memoto camera.
||Now that journalism has extended to all consumers and citizens, the simple addition of video can extend a rich media format to micro communications.
||Expect marketers to enable Vine related campaigns and marketing to condense from the 30 second spot, to the 6 second spot. Then again people may simply adopt it as a way to “lazy tweet” as videos are so short. Twitter’s backing will certainly help
|Quantified Self (Google Shoe, Nike)Our Call: Watch
||Last year Nike debuted FuelBand at SxSW, this year the technology was everywhere, including a show that quantified activity tracking and encouragement, including a hotly discussed show by Google Shoe that gave recommendations on your fitness activity.
||The traditional athletic manufacture industry is now inundated with tech companies getting involved.
To a lesser degree, health and fitness services and facilities now find that consumers are self-managing their health by using Google.
|We think this market is real and growing, but, much like we see in the enterprise space, a lot of data is getting created and the use cases for that data are lagging behind; further, this is a series of walled gardens that don’t talk with one another yet, and require user-lock in. Right now the data is dirty and not being aggregated into a way that can be digested.
|Memes (Grumpy Cat, Harlem Shake, Meme Generator)Our Call: Ignore
||Grumpy Cat live appearance, a number of meme generators, popular from the website Reddit. In particular, Edelman exec David Armano was prolific.
||Traditional marketing communication may not resonate in the high churn of digital conversations.Harlem Shake, pretty much over with this hip cool kid crowd. Our take? Good riddance.
||Real time marketing, while a buzzword, requires modern communicators to morph, bend, and make topics of the moment their own through curation or creation.
Technologies on Life support
So what’s going away? We found that QR code will quickly be disrupted by NFC. While we saw a few QR codes present for marketing giveaways, we don’t believe this will persist year over year. This year, wifi and cellular networks were able to stand the high demand of network, as a result the stunt to make homeless wifi spots, will not re-occur. Location based apps, such as Highlight, Sonar, and Banjo were not the talk of the town, unlike the year before.
Altimeter identified a number of new technologies and tried to centralize in one comprehensive document. We will continue to follow these technologies and reference them in our upcoming research of disruptive technologies, for additional coverage, we found the coverage from Verge, of the highest quality, see their 2013 greatest hits. Companies who want to leverage and take advantage of these new technologies should do the following:
- Assemble teams to review the preceding list
- Weight, re-rank and rate the technologies as they may apply to your company
- Integrate into your existing roadmap for marketing, customer experience, and product roadmap
- Don’t try to do it all; many of these technologies will have a long “watch” period, some may never matter to your vertical. However, if you’re spending budget making office Harlem Shake videos, perhaps it’s time to re-allocate some budget to R&D on these new disruptors. Only, of course, if you’re interested in being ahead of what’s new.
We’d love to hear your point of view, what technologies and trends did you see that could matter, let’s start a dialog.
(Above pic: Techcrunch Disrupt featured 329 global startups over 3 days in San Francisco)
I just visited dozens and dozens of startup booths (so you don’t have to) at the massive Techcrunch Disrupt held in San Francisco, I also attended in 2011 and published my notes. I’ve been attending Techcrunch events since they were held in Mike Arrington’s backyard with beers, bbq, and a bouncing black lab over 5 years ago, they’ve come a very long way and Mark Zuckerberg said it was larger than his own Facebook conference.
There was an all-star cast of tech-arati including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Marc Benioff, Jack Dorsey, Tim Draper, Ben Horowitz, David Sachs, Kevin Rose, Aaron Levie, Cory Booker, and even Jessica Alba. In addition to the main stage pronouncements there was 204 companies in the startup alley as well as vertical specific days, and 125 in the international rows. I attended the third day, which had many international startups, as well as hardware innovators. Here are some of the interesting companies segmented by market:
Early Funding Birth B2B, SMB, and Enterprise Startups
New opportunities to serve businesses, both small business, enterprise and local merchants emerged, here’s a few worth noting:
- Taptara: The real standout enterprise player I saw was Taptera, which stems from former Genetech mobile team who spun off this enterprise class provider of mobile apps that stem around field productivity, collab, and collateral features. They have 6 major features including a directory system called Colleagues, Collateral built on Salesforce for curated content, Crescendo built on Box.net which offers presentation features for tablets and beyond, an Events feature that Disrupt was built on, and Concierge a Social profile CRM tool for sales teams. Business model is $10 a month per seat, with 20 employees, and only 15 mos old after raising just over $3.25m (pic)
- Alicanto: This novel approach for SMB retail: Alicanto is a virtual CMO for local marketing. Small mom and pops that are struggling to battle with big box and chain QSRs will need this contextually relevant artificial intelligence to provide non-MBA business owners to effectively market with ads, direct marketing, and even suggest partnerships with local merchants. (pic)
- Moovia: If Linkedin and Basecamp had sex. This application first provides employees with collaboration tools, but then encourages teams to score colleagues with their team based skills. As a result klout like points are distributed based on skillsets, and data can be used in a variety of other ways in the future. (pic)
- Kerio Workspace caters to SMBs offering a collaboration toolset built on their existing program. This company has been around since 1997, has 200 employees and stems from a legacy of voip products and beyond. This collaboration tool offers a heavy duty user interface for heavier collaboration with social features.
- The Fan Machine: Social marketing platform The Fan Machine caters to marketers to reach French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. They’ve 25 employees and have received $1m in funding and strive to compete with Buddy Media, Wildfire, and Extole.
- Freshdesk, which is 1 year old, offers social support and call center SaaS technology for SMB. With 80 employees and $6m funding, they tout 2k customers and offer 3 modules including: 1) Email., call and ticket systems. 2) P2P support tools, 3) Social CRM and news feed management of customers complaining in public. Biz model is $9 a mos per agent with an average of 10 agents. Competes with Zendesk.
- Superlead, a Brazillian startup offers lead generation tools for SMBs that include landing pages, lead gen pages, call to action features, and analytics. With only 7 employees they’ve raised 350k Euros.
Blue Chip Tech Companies offer Infrastructure to Fledgling Startups. Rackspace, HP, Best Buy, Ford, Microsoft all had booth presences to reach out to startups to offer infrastructure, business accelerators, resources, and partnerships. Here’s a few of the booth offerings:
- SAP was featuring big data quant analytics platform Hana, and showcased white label retail apps. They’re seeking to partner with startups and get them on their platform at early stage. (pic)
- Best Buy was here on hardware day offering a business accelerator program called New Blue, designed to help innovators get resources, distribution, and opportunity under existing BestBuy product labels called Insignia and Rocketfuel. (pic)
- HP, Rackspace were offering cloud and hosting to the myriad of fast growing startups.
- Ford has launched a Silicon Valley lab and offers both BugLabs (SW) OpenXC (HW) for developers to get involved. (pic)
Consumer Startups Revolved Around Themes –With a Few Interesting Technologies
Across the hundreds of startups featured, I walked by every booth, here’s a few consumer style apps, websites, and hardware companies that caught my eye:
- Shopperception, a South American retail startup, uses $100 Xbox Kinect bars to analyze real world shoppers to measure engagement pre point of sale and had several analytics dashboards. (pic
- Game Genome Project offers a “Pandora for Games” to recommend which games (and soon apps) which users should find and use They’re business model is a CPA model
- MakerBot, 3D printer, will be available for $2k and creates plastic figures, tools, toys, and devices, and will move to other forms of more pliable materials in the future.
- Interaxon, a Brain wave scanner, is a headband which measures brand activity, and will have uses for gaming, workplace productivity and eventually grab multiple forms of brain activity to track our Body APIs. (pic)
- Government sponsored Enterprise Ireland was present and has an evergreen fund of $350m for startups and larger org. Code 2040 offers a summer internship for US students of Latino and African American heritage who are interested in technology.
- BoostedBoards, an Electric skateboard takes you uphill and home for $1200. Made $100k on kickstarter (pic)
- Double Robotics, an iPad Robot is emerging, and for $2k you can be in two places at once with this remote controlled robot. (pic)
- Zoop, a Square competitor from Brazil has three input capabilities for local merchants includes Pin based security entry. NFC, SmartCard, Magnetic strip canning. They take a 2.75% fee charged to local merchant. (pic)
- Totally.me, a pre-launch social aggregator claims better than Flipboard with Pinterest style feed display. Content is de-duped and has other aggregation and features. (pic)
- Chronos offers a body data tracking application that tracks your daily time usage by your phone. This can be used to optomize how you spend time during the day, and competes with Latitude and Lift but claims more automated features. Biz model is fremium with lead gen CPA and ad models.
- Lit, a highly coveted free statndinga motorcycle stays upright with gyros. (no not Greek food) (pic)
- SuperManket: This one made me shake my head in amusement as well as practical application. SuperManket (yes “Man”) is a new dating tool where men advertise themselves to women (who control the experience). See screenshot of list of options, apparently “aging millionaire” was a top way men wanted to self-describe themselves. Business model is fremium and male members pay for positioning (think SEO) and ability to see who’s peeping their profile. (pic)
Most of these startups will not stand the test of time, and from year to year, I didn’t see as many trends changing other than the lack of SoLoMo companies from Disrupt 2011. One of my mottos is ABR: Always be Researching, and I hope these findings helped others who couldn’t attend the event.
I’ll be at LeWeb London with brands, and the agencies and software vendors who serve them as a keynote and co-host on the social track with Cedric Giorgi , I hope you’ll join us!
I’m pleased to attend LeWeb this June in London (new venue, new date, same quality show) it’s one of the highest production conferences in our space at scale. One of the fantastic things of the high-production global show is the focus on the future of how the web is moving the world, business, and ourselves forward.
I’m glad that Loic has selected the theme “Faster Than Real Time” based on Altimeter’s research themes (Adaptive Org), which will stem the many speeches at the event, and I’ll be there to speak with brands on stage, and conduct research live from these sessions.
What does Faster Than Real Time mean? It means predicting what people want –based on signals, data, and computing.
The amount of data being shared by consumers, and objects around the world is staggering. From body data from Nike+ and Nike Fuel Band, to checkins from consumers on Foursquare to the data rendered in Instagram pictures from mobile devices everything is being captured and shared. Even non-digital items and goods will soon have a digital signature as Google roles out Goggles that allow us to overlay data on everything and anything.
As a result, this data can be processed by machines, allowing us to anticipate and eventually predict what people will want and do, giving rise to an incredible opportunity for brands, governments, and peers to serve up needs before you actually know you need it. For example, Target’s recent example of predicting a young gal was pregnant before her farther actually knew is a bellwether of this future change.
Loic and Geraldine have offered a 100 Gbp discount to readers of the Web Strategy blog, register here and use “JEREMIAH” as the discount code.
See you at LeWeb, London, June.
ps: If you’ve my business card you’ll find the back says “For organizations, real time is not fast enough”
Left: Austin on Sunday, after rain dispersed.
If you didn’t attend SXSW and want a first hand perspective (or maybe you did go and partied too hard) then this post is for you.
There’s a lot to learn from SXSW: A Petri dish of social and interactive behaviors, a bellwether of what could be a trend for the year. It also has a downside from overhype, fanboyism, and an over inflated view of behaviors that may not persist as people return to work.
This year the conference was bigger than ever, word on the street is the entire 2012 festival has grown to include 50k (Tuesday evening, the festival said its official paid attendance count for 2012 was 24,569, up from 19,364 in 2011, a change of about 27 percent –via Omar of Austin 360, hat tip to Bryan Person) Secondly, interactive is getting larger each year, including dozens of sessions not in the convention center. After visiting SXSW five years consecutively, there’s a few observations (not strong enough to be called trends) I wanted to point out from my perspective:
Observation Set 1: In a sea of noise, new technologies emerged to foster intimacy
- With this many people this year, the need for smaller more intimate social networks to find ones friends was more important. Tools like Groupme (a darling last year) become very important among the SF tech contingent stemming around Chris Saad.
- Interestingly the rain caused some interesting changes to the social dynamics resulting in people staying longer at events for longer periods of time, and less venturing about the city and allowing for happenstance meetups in the street.
- Heavy usage of proximity based social networks like Highlight, Glance, EchoEcho, Banjo and Sonar resulted in rapid battery drain forcing social circles around those who had power and those who did not. Although these tools were hyped to be the darlings of this event, a clearly winner didn’t emerge as the dominant player.
- Surprisingly, the conference really struggled with processing the registration line, some folks were in line for over an hour trying to get their printed badge. It’s surprised that low fi technology of sending a pre-printed badge wasn’t done, or a new form of registration using mobile applications, or some type of bio scanning hasn’t been experimented with.
- The panel I was on “How social media comes of age –beyond porn” discussed how social technologies are mainstream and the opportunities for yielded data are at hand. Adrants was there covering our session.
Observation Set 2: The Sentient World continues to emerge as appliances, cars, and body data emerge to glean intelligence
- I experimented with a number of interactive digital displays including Pepsi’s booth which had a interesting phone booth that allows for interaction with LED screens that will soon be integrated with vending machines.
- Nike launched the fuel band, a device that captures movement of the human body and scores it with points (not an entirely scientific method, for example it doesn’t capture heart rate, sweat, GPS )
- Chevy, a heavy sponsor at SXSW had a strong presence at a number of key events including lounges and the famed All Hat event (by Binhammer, Armano, and Livingston), as well as featured their volts with first generation network screen technology for drivers to have independent TV and games for passengers including skype integration on a 4G network.
- Samsung sponsored the Blogger Lounge featuring their latest TV technology that will offer facial recognition, gesture recognition, and has voice command capability from the TV and an onboard mic on the remote.
Observation Set 3: Corporate Business continues to adopt interactive technologies and their presence was felt
- Perhaps most interesting to me, I saw more corporate executives at SXSW, including many attending the pre-conference Dachis Social Business Summit (perhaps the best content providers of the whole show). As more executives attend, it shows how the interactive and social space continues to mature.
- There was a heavy presence of social media management vendors with events, limos, and social clubs including Syncapse, Expion, Spredfast, The Hootsuite bus (pic), and Buddy Media with prominent advertising at the Austin airport. (Update: I failed to mention I sat aboard the urban airship self-powered mobile bar (pic)
- Oddly, a controversial campaign emerged where Austin’s homeless were featured as ‘wireless hotspots’ and tech mongers crowded around them to get access to wifi in exchange for a donation.
Observation Set 4: Hollywood appearances increased in frequency, crossing interactive and L.A.
- In prior years, the perceived celebrities were entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Biz Stone, Diggnation founders, yet this year, the real stars at select parties were Hollywood celebrities turned technology investors including Leo Dicpario, Toby Maguire and wife spotted Jimmy Fallon at the W during, among performances by George Clinton and JayZ.
- This will create a unique interaction over the coming periods as Hollywood (pro-digital rights) battles with technology companies who challenger their very business model for open data.
From an Altimeter perspective, we had five analysts on the ground covering keynotes, book signings, panels and more, and we announced our Three Disruptive Research Themes at our cocktail event Friday evening (and how we want to work with the market to align around these) and we’re pleased our last-minute -created branded umbrellas (thanks Shannon Geise) found to be a useful piece of swag during the conference. (pics here, here, here, and here)
Update: See comments about the growing “badgeless” movement below, and also my colleague Chris Silva (Mobile Analyst) shares his thoughts.
What would you tell 600 marketers from the largest global brands who have European initiatives?
That’s exactly what I was tasked to do here at Bazaarvoice’s Social Commerce Summit in London today. These brands, which are quickly moving into the space, have adopted social technologies that include: ratings, customer discussions, and aggregate that data right on their own corporate website.
While companies are quick to launch a social networking page for their brand, or integrate customer discussions onto product pages, our research has found there are two distinct classes of companies: 1) Those that are building programs that will not scale, forcing them to ever-respond to customers and fall behind internal stakeholder requests. On the other hand, 2) Those that develop scalable programs that involve business formation, enabling the crowd to do the work for you, and under pinning systems that will cascade across the enterprise are better suited to avoid a career in sanitation.
Here’s my slides for today’s keynote, based upon the following three research documents, in which we’ve interviewed and surveyed hundreds of brands, and the vendors who serve them. Read, use and share widely these reports:
The presentation, which comprises this body of research, is available for download (sans registration) below: (Update: I learned you need a slideshare account to download without registering, this is not my requirement, however)
Update: A video of they keynote is now available.
I’ve been watching with great intrigue the growing groundswell of the Occupy Everything that is directly challenging the economy, business, and the market. My business partner Charlene Li and I and the rest of the Altimeter analysts have been watching and discussing this growing movement, and want to learn more.
We conduct research (like this report on crises) for many of the large corporations that the movement is directing their energy at, and want to better understand this as this movement at this time is offering an ongoing dialog through their protests.
To learn more, Altimeter’s Charlene Li and myself (and other colleagues) will head to the movement to meet the protesters to engage in dialog and learn more from them their goals Sat morning in SF at 10am. We invite other business leaders (we’re business owners too) to join us, to engage in dialog and learn.
If you can’t attend (or too bashful to do so) please use me as a conduit, what questions would you want me to ask the protesters? Leave a comment here on this blog, or join the discussion on my Google+ feed.
I hope to engage in a civil conversation and learn more, as we continue to watch how business continues to evolve.
- When: Sat, 10am
- Where: SF: Federal Building, Market Street
- Hashtag: #ResearchOccupy
- Planacast: Sign up here
Update: Colleague Alan Webber has posted about managing to disruption, in the context of Occupy Wall Street.
Left Image: Startup Alley features 200 emerging startups, I talked to as many as I could.
In my quest for ABR (always be researching), the Three Web Strategy Spheres, I had a day to focus in on the technology sphere (the bleeding edge of it) to connect with a handful of the 200 emerging garage startups at Techcrunch Disrupt yesterday.
Trends: Emerging Startups Show Innovation –Despite Most Will Fail:
It’s been fun attending the Techcrunch events emerge from Michael’s backyard in 2006 to the now international events where thousands descend, here’s the high level trends:
- The air smelled like “opportunity”. with many entrepreneurs filled with passion bring forth their projects, some who travelled from around the world (there was even an Israeli row) to share their work. It smelled like geek. What’s that? A bit of bad breath, body odor, within this male dominated scene.
- There was marketing everywhere, even in the urinal. From street teams, phamplets handouts, ninjas, and other circus acts, the one that stood out was how one startup Fee Fighters put branded screen urinals with their logo and saying something like “you’re pissing away money”.
- Focus on products –not booth babes. Unlike a recent enterprise IT conference I went to, there were few scantily clad models at booths, the focus was on the products –not eye candy. This was refreshing.
- PR Opportunity: Their positioning from startups needs lots of help. I strolled down the aisle with one VC friend of the 200 startups, we noticed they had ridiculous company names missing vowels and cutesy logos. The biggest set back, is the lack of positioning or even tag lines. A majority of the banners lacked a descriptor of what the company did. This is a big opportunity for PR firms to assist this early market.
- Lots of companies doing the same thing. I saw many startups that did the same thing, with just a slight variation on which data element they will push on. I asserted that strategic marketing and early influencer adoption will be key to push them over the edge. However colleague Christine Tran correctly suggested that several sites have gotten early influencers on them such as Quora, EmpireAve and Google+ and have not received mainstream attention.
- Bubble? Not this part of the market. It’s not a bubble (over-inflation despite lack of revenues) as entry costs are so low. The NYT asserts that Disrupt felt like a bubble, but as someone who worked at Exodus in 2000 I don’t think so, why? Startup costs for these emerging startups are so low, with many just needing 50k seed fund they can get up and running. However, if we’re discussing valuation for the established startups, that’s a different story.
- Most will fail. Overall, many of these will never make it, and few would be considered by enterprise class buyers due to volatility and lack of service, support and security.
Startup Gems: What Caught My Eye
Despite that I’d guess less than 5% of the 200 startups will make it, here’s a few that caught my attention:
Over Saturation of SoLoMo Startups
Feature sets are a mobile application sorting data based on proximity data and immediate social graph:
- Sonar.me finds who’s near you and prioritizes by your social graph, (people you know) and recommends what to do. (pic)
- Holler is social network for local events by @allnick who recently sold his Facebook blogs. This startups focus on finding spontaneous events from friends, which I imagine could work in an urban setting. (pic)
- Similarly I met Doweet (pronounced “Do it”, see what I’m saying about company names?) which was founded by at 15 year old Israeli, Unlike plancast, which is public data Doweet is prioritizing mainly by your primary social graph (pic)
- Lastly, I also met Smolk Signal (again with the misspelled names) which has more public data offers a similar feature yet is situation on Google maps as an overlay to find hot spots of popular local events.
Startups for Bigger Business Rare But Unique
It’s important we look at both B2C and B2B technology and here’s a few that are for businesses to use, with a focus on enterprise class (companies with more than 1000 employees)
- Datasift, also more established, aggregates social data then provides a toolkit for data modeling, and output. think Pipes with far more features for modeling and output. (pic)
- Mancx offers a unique feature that enables sales teams to post public questions (likely anom) where they can put a bounty on an answer and crowd source answers. Common questions could be around competitive data, suppliers, contacts. (pic)
- Established vendor Badgeville (i’ve done a webinar with them) was a winner from the previous Disrupt, and continues to integrate gamification features with enterprise class clients.
Assorted Sundries Keep it Interesting
Here’s a few interesting things I saw, or got tours of to watch
- Former Digg founder Kevin Rose discuss his upcoming startup Oink which will provide ratings and reviews for all consumer products, then sort by location priority likely with contextual marketing. Oink is one of the companies to come out of his development garage called Milk. I joke that Beef and Leather will be the next product set.
- Had a tour of the 500 Startups (incubator) alley run by VC @davemcclure who posed for me while he’s lying down on the job. Recently, I had a private tour with the startups in his portfolio at their Mountain View office with Loic Lemeur.
- For grins, perhaps the most amusing company is Talk O’Clock a funny services where you sign up using FB connect and instead of an alarm clock a stranger calls you in am to wake you up. (pic)
- For celeb appeal, tech friendly Ashton Kutcher and Chamillionaire were there.
Hope that gives some perspective of those that couldn’t attend, my day at Techcrunch Disrupt.
Altimeter hosted our second roundtable lead with our newest hire, Chris Silva (blog/Twitter) who’s our newest analyst at Altimeter focused on Mobile Strategy. Chris also stems from Forrester, and was an analyst there focused on mobile, he was actually one of the trainers in my new hire orientation.
Above: Mobile Proud! Roundtable attendees show off their personal devices at the Altimeter Hangar.
Attendees consisted of representatives from startups, mobile app vendors, large device manufactures, brands, social web companies, and media creator: Almost Savvy, Appconomy, Ascentium, Avere Group, Box, DoubleDutch, FrontRow Antics, Janrain, LiquidSpace, Logitech, Mekanism, MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, Moxie Software, nvidia, Oracle, Pansonic, Quantinto, Ready to Go Information Technologies, Responsys, Retailigence, Rocket Fuel Inc, SAP, Seesmic, Social Guides, Sony Electronics, SPdL Marketing Strategies, Stanford University Dept. of Athletics, Tagwhat, The Estuary, LLC, and [wire]stone.
I kicked off our roundtable series (our last one was on Gamification) to foster a community discussion so we can all learn from each other, and the key findings will be shared in our Open Research reports. I personally learned a lot from the smart attendees about their visions on the future of the space, and we had a few laughs over a few beers along the way.
Groups were divided into three distinct mobile use cases for discussion:
- Enrich: I see this as driving leads, sales, and conversion using mobile devices, both for B2C and B2B.
- Engage: Lifestyle and contextual related content that isn’t only about transacting revenue but instead about providing greater value
- Entrust: Enabling workforces and business partners to use mobile technology to improve their work in a safe, scalable, and secure manner.
We were tasked to define the challenges in each use case, define current state of maturity, and ideate on future use cases. In nearly all cases, the groups came back indicating a host of challenges in this relatively new(er) medium, often stemming from a lack of understanding. Secondly, most groups believed that maturity was low, often stemming from disparate technology, data, and a focus on shiny. We ideated on the future and the “minority report” vision of contextual content where devices fade into the background was a semi-theme.
Here’s some of the key captures with captions:
Groups were anointed to work the Three Mobile Use Cases: Engage, Enrich, Entrust
State of Enrich: “Terrified CMO”
Future of Engage
The WikiWall, where attendees can leave their thoughts, click to see full size
Altimeter Researcher Jon Cifuentes leads a roundtable discussion
Roundtable 3 takes on Enrich
Community sharing in the round
Discussion stirs with Nvidia and Esther Lim, captures highlights via iPad
In the larger round
Culmination of the larger group, partial view
Mobile discussion in the Cloud Nine lounge.
Susan Etlinger, Altimeter and Shawn Myers, Responsys
There was a series of tweets from the tag #AltimeterMobile, see who was there and what they said.
If you’re interested in attending future events, please follow the Altimeter Group Twitter account, as we’ll have future Pilot Speaker series (more about Altimeter presenting our point of view rather than this interactive roundtable) on the future of media and digital. I’m considering hosting future roundtables on topics of integration, advocacy, and other topics related to my research agenda, leave a comment if you’ve a suggestion. I cross posted on the Altimeter blog, as did Chris Silva.
Last night, Altimeter hosted a first in many public roundtables on disruptive technologies. Twenty highly engaged folks that ranged form skeptics, brands, gamification vendor provider (Empire Avenue, Badgeville, Zynga, Gigya) to players of these games. The 1.5 hour discussion discussed how these platforms work, explored business models, how brands can get engaged, risks and challenges, and discussed how case examples are emerging. We had a mixture of Altimeter Roundtables are designed for everyone to participate and explore, challenge, expose risk, and discuss the future of disruptive technologies, and we did just that, below are the event highlights:
Above: Lively discussion on the topic of Gamification for consumers, brands, startups at Altimeter’s HQ, The Hangar
While we were able to live stream for attendees (Scoble, Chris Pirillo, Jim watched and tweeted and called in) we were not able to record the session, you can see some of the tweets tagged #EAshare, and here’s some of the highlights:
Opportunities Abound –But Benefits Not Clear
I lead an interactive Q&A with Empire Avenue (my take here) CEO, Dups, kicking off the event, and the primary focus of the roundtable, and we discussed how the platform works, and his vision. However, we quickly invited Ali from Intel up to share his needs from a brand perspective which were to engage with customers, focusing on reach and advocacy. We explored other potential use cases involving branded goods, couponing, and use brands like Coke as examples of companies that would want to get engaged. Of course, it was important to discuss what’s in it for the users of these tools, stemming from entertainment, connecting with others, or even increasing visiblity and repuation as we heard from Chris Salazar. Dups announced that their second iteration of the API will be released in a few weeks and that Ford will be offering branded virtual goods soon on the platform.
Concerns on Platform Interoperability
We explored head on some of the challenges and concerns, and Kristie Wells brought up requests for reputation and influence (even points and potentially badges) should be shared cross platform, but we could sense that could create business model conflict unless Badgeville or Gigya cut deals with Empire Avenue for brands like Intel to make these reputation pieces portable. I suggested that influence and repuation is already portable, even if the data is not transferrable and suggested that Scoble shifted his blog influence to Twitter, and then Twitter influence to Empire Avenue just by shifting his community. Teens in Tech founder Daniel Bru pointed out there are new startups emerging that allow for the transfer of these virtual goods, like Klip that will soon emerge.
Skepticism: Questioning on Burnout and User Desire
A few curious attendees indicated that they were skeptical but attended in order to learn new points of view, which we embrace. There were some vocalized concerns that if gamificaiton platforms don’t quickly shift reputation, points or badges to a transfered value like coupons, premium content, or other real world tangible ability some of these platforms would die out. One of the key findings is that the gamification of influence (like Empire Ave) isn’t for everyone, and many people are not driven by reputation and badges –they just want to connect with others and communicate.
Experimentation for Early Adopter Brands Will Yield Case Studies By Years End
We’re in the early days, I’ve only started to hear about this space about 6 months ago from Esther Lim (she’s been on the speaking circuit on the gamification topic), although reputation features in social media have been around as early as Technorati started to track blogs. Many interactive marketers and media professionals see the opportunity for brand engagement, loyalty, and eventually advocacy, there are still a lot of questions if the investment makes sense –it’s not clear to most if it increases consideration or moves revenue needles forward. We’re already seeing brands that are already socially engaged jumping into the gamification jungle, and we’ll see experimentation in 2011 and a few case studies of success, although most experiments will not win. Expect that CPG, consumer electronics, and retail/hospitality to be the first industries to move into this space, although B2B tech has already deployed gamification for internal learning purposes, like Cisco’s sales team at sales events.
See the first ever branded good in Empire Avenue: The “Altimeter”
We’re intrigued to the be the *first* company to have a branded good on this emerging platform, and will use this experiment to learn how other brands can apply this tactic. Physical attendees received the first ever branded virtual item inside of Empire Avenue, the Altimeter, which you can see on my Jowyang Empire Avenue profile, (or if you’re not on the game see this screenshot). Aside from branded affiliation the virtual Altimeter provides Net Wealth Increase of 50.00/day –adding value beyond just a badge.
This was the first in our ongoing series of Roundtables, we want to sponsor community conversations to advance the industry, and our research efforts for our clients. Want to attend an Altimeter Roundtable in the future? We’ll hold these every few months at our San Mateo office, The Hangar, follow our Altimeter Group Twitter account to stay informed.