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#PSFKhome take-away – Connected, Mobile, Customizable & Multi-functional is the Future

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Now thru August 16.

Now thru August 16.

Recently I was able to get a sneak peek at the home of the future, thanks to PSFK and their The Future of Home Living exhibit.  Of course these sorts of glimpses into tomorrow are nothing new. But this was more than a Tex Avery cartoon or Disney’s peer into a Monsanto-sponsored crystal ball. The PSFK vision is based on some strong cultural anthropology and features products that are already in production.

PSFK Labs’ Director of Consulting Scott Lachut, intros the The Future of Home Living report by noting that it:

“[f]inds that life at home has become incredibly dynamic and interactive thanks to a host of interconnected technologies and systems, versatile and space-saving designs, and platforms that connect to nearly anyone or anything at the click of button. Imagine a home that controls the environment to ensure your personal equilibrium, a suite of services that accommodate an on-demand lifestyle, and furnishings that can adapt throughout the day to meet virtually any need from sleep and work to socializing and play.”

PSFK has broken down their findings into three uber-trends: Adaptive, On-Demand and Equilibrium. These three concepts focus on customization, speed and balance respectively, and often intriguingly cross-pollinate.  These trends bring to life several underlying behaviors that have been developing over the last several years – mobility, DIY and of course connectivity among them.

Above it all other trends, chiefly the Quantified Self and the Internet of Things, can be seen as real technology drivers that are pushing the development of new products that will see not only in homes, but in retail spaces and certainly places like hotel properties.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK founder, adds:

“The home of the future will look less like some robotic, sci-fi vision replete with hovercrafts and much more similar to what we

PSFK's Future of Home Living exhibit.

PSFK’s Future of Home Living exhibit.

see now with a few key exceptions. New dwellings will no longer have rooms that act as static zones where only one activity can take place and single items of furniture, appliances and technology will no longer serve a only one purpose. Everything in the home of the future has multiple functions, many configurations and offers a variety of options to the user.”

From my perspective the key take-away for brands is the need to creative products and services that are multi-functional, connected, customizable and mobile. It sounds obvious, but it’s not always easy for brands to align what they do with emerging consumer behavior.

If you want to attend the Future of Home Living exhibit, it will be in NYC now through August 16. Register (for free) here.

For an a quick rundown of PSFK’s efforts, check out this post. For a little more, check out this slideshare deck. If you want the full report, you can get that as well.

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Tipping Point For Mobile, Generation World and Merging Physical and Digital

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Hello and happy Friday. I’ve just returned from the dmexco event in Cologne, Germany where I acted as moderator on a panel entitled, The Tipping Point for Mobile. I was joined by Dan Rosen, CEO EMEA for Joule, and Dave Gwozdz, CEO of Mojiva. The thrust of the discussion centered around what advertisers can and should be doing to leverage the explosive consumer usage of mobile devices. As you’ll see from the video of the session, Dan and Dave really know what they are talking about:

 

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I’d also like to share with you a couple of other sessions from dmexco, which was an absolutely massive event. How big? In one of the two huge trade show floors they had a McCafe… inside the Google booth!  Ok, but on to the other sessions. First, here’s a Day 2 keynote from Y&R Global CEO, David Sable on Generation World. A great presentation:

 

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Later on Thursday, David Sable was joined by Frank Cooper of PepsiCo and Lisa Utzschneider of Amazon to talk about the merging of physical and digital:

 

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There were many other great panels over the two days, I encourage to explore the dmexco YouTube channel which offers all the sessions in full.

 

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Google and Nokia Patents Pave the Way for the Future of Advertising

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what advertising will look like in the future. Not the “next year” future or the “100 years from now future,” but the reasonable future. Say, 10 years from now.  With two intriguing announcements this week, now seems the perfect time to introduce a new series on “The Future of Advertising.”

First, as reported by Digital Spy: “Nokia has filed a patent application that would involve users having vibrating magnetic tattoos that alert them to incoming mobile phone calls or text messages.”

I’ll give you a minute to think about that.

The alerts would consist of “vibrations of “one short pulse, multiple short pulses, few long pulses… strong pulses, weak pulses and so on”, said the patent filing.” The obvious question: Who would want such a thing put on their body?  Well, at first blush it doesn’t seem that it would provide enough of a benefit for consumers. But taking a deeper look at the technology makes me wonder about other applications.  How could a band use this during a concert to send this sort of haptic feedback to the audience? How could a brand like Nike use this during a marathon to alert or encourage runners?

It’s difficult to see it right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this come to market with some edgy, ambitious company.

Next up is Google, who, according to this headline from The Atlantic: Just Patented Background Noise. That might be stretching it just a bit, but “The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” There we have it. Via sensors in your phone, Google will no if it is hot, or what show you are watching, and serve you relevant ads. So while the patent has just been granted, it’s not far fetched to imagine that a few years down the road, ad agencies will be trying to figure out how to leverage this.

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Mobilityness and the New Consumer

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From Tatiana Plakhova's Information Diving series

Earlier this week, my colleague Thom Kennon wrote a terrific piece called Mobility and the New Marketing. In it he speaks of a new era we are now embarking on, an era of mobilityness. I thought it a fantastic word, conjuring up a wealth of possible definitions and explanations. Here’s how Thom describes it:

  • Mobilityness describes the irrevocably altered dynamic for the how, when, where, why and what of our planned brand communications.
  • Mobilityness describes the way a human feels as we shift seamlessly between research, info seeking into a discovery, referral and purchase event.
  • Mobilityness describes the operating conceit we all now enjoy which says I should be able to access anything I want or need whenever and wherever I want or need it.
  • Mobilityness describes the nature of branded content when it is socialized by users and recontextualized for fresh discovery.
  • Mobilityness describes the core principles driving our integrated 4-screen planning and optimization of branded rich media and video content.
  • Mobilityness describes the immense challenge traditional media planners have in addressing a given target with any specific certainty for a particular message or brand frequency.
  • Mobilityness describes the equally immense opportunities presented to new marketing (aka experience) planners and creatives who become adept at engineering and optimizing organic brand+human experience architectures.
These are all helpful and excellently paint the picture of what we as marketers are facing in today’s world.  But I think the concept of mobilityness goes beyond marketing strategies (though those are relevant). Mobilityness speaks to the very nature of how people are living their lives today. This idea of mobilityness of the self manifests itself in several ways:
The Mobilityness of the Physical
Advances in technology and a growing global marketplace are having massive effects in places like India. As reported by the Youth Ki Awaaz website:
In a country with 600 million farmers, of which 40 percent are willing to quit farming for various reasons, mass migration from rural to urban areas has increased rapidly. Between 1991 and 2001, 73 million people have migrated from the rural areas to elsewhere. Mass migration is a phenomenon that is a consequence of various problems in the rural India.
Equally significant numbers of internal migrants can be seen in China as well, and while we can debate the benefits of this, or the reasons, the fact remains that mobilityness has a physical attribute. People have the opportunity to be physically mobile like never before. Right now we can’t say for certain what impact this is going to have in those regions, or globally, but it’s reasonable to assume there will be both a positive and negative impact. How, as marketers does one engage the newly urban? Surely differently than those born into an urban, or even suburban, culture.
This type of physical mobility will surely bring with it a change in attitudes towards consumer culture and a change in consumption behaviors that we can only guess at right now. The new mobilityness goes beyond the physical of course, it helps to shape our identies as well.
The Mobilityness of Identity
Laptops, tablets and mobile phones have had a massive impact on Knowledge Workers and members of the Creative Class. How, as marketers, do you classify the following “consumers”:
  • It’s Saturday morning and you’re at your child’s sporting event, but you’re answering a work email
  • You’re at the office, with 10 minutes before your next meeting so you play a quick round of Angry Birds on your iPhone
  • While watching a movie at home, that you got from Netflix, you’re also surfing the web, doing research for a work project

Mobilityness has enabled us to be multiple ‘people’ simultaneously. How, where and when to target people is no longer a science, it has to be an art.  All this time-shifting and multi-tasking and  has led to an @work state of mind.

The Mobilityness of Persona

Distinct from identity is persona, and thanks to the emergence of the social world, our personas have taken on an air of mobilityness as well.  I can be a different person, or explore different part of my personality, on Twitter, Facebook, Turntable.fm, etc. World of Warcraft presents a great example of this mobility of persona.

world of warcraft avatar

A gamer and his avatar.

Simply dropping a cookie on my computer isn’t going to necessarily be helpful. You may have found me on Facebook, but that ad for the Panasonic TV isn’t relevant to me there, as it might be on Cnet. Likewise, just because I’m killing time on playing a game on my phone, doesn’t mean I’m interested in downloading ringtones, especially when it is 2:30pm on a Thursday.

Where once mobility of persona was manifested in the physical – see Grant McCracken’s book Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture for more on this – now everyone can change identities, not overnight, but by the hour or minute. In fact, one can hold multiple identities simultaneously. I can watch House Hunters on HGTV with my wife, while, with my laptop in front of me, I can crack jokes with friends on Twitter and answer work emails.

The Mobilityness of Relationships

Who are your Twitter followers? Are they also your Facebook friends or your LinkedIn contacts? What happens when you change jobs, or get divorced? Relationships have taken on a new sort of mobilityness as well. Not only do our relationships have a certain portability, but even the term has an elasticity that it didn’t previously. When was the last time you said or heard the term “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon“? A sort of proto-meme, I rarely hear people speak of 6DoKB anymore. Why? Perhaps because social media has allowed me to be one degree away from a ‘relationship’ with Ashton Kutcher, or Shaq, or Kim Kardashian. Well, maybe it’s not a real relationship (whatever that means), but it has the appearance of a relationship. Today we can get an intimate portrait of a star, and the traditional media vehicles (celebrity magazines and TV shows) have been disintermediated (though they continue to exist). Our access to relationships, with celebrities, athletes, artists, business executives, etc. has seen a transformation of upward mobility. People we previously would never have had direct contact with, either due to physical proximity or social station, are now available to us.

This really is just scratching at the surface. There are other facets of the notion of mobilityness that I’ll look to explore in future posts, but I’d like your thoughts on this concept as well. Please leave a comment, agree or disagree, and let’s start a conversation.

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