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   William Tylander

The Future Is Connected

You wake up to a ring tone, make plans with friends, work out with an app, find recipes and create shopping lists while recording your favorite show. The distinction of where our digital lives end, and our analog lives begin, is being blurred by an increasing network of applications, platforms and devices. This sets new demands to brand relevance.

Blame it on Ericsson and their GS 88 “smartphone”. The smartphone got smart not because they enhanced intelligence but because they enhanced connections.

It is the ability to connect and share that creates actual value but ‘the connectphone’ is just bad copy. Once the terms for human intelligence and telephone became one, they would never be laid asunder.

Smart, Smarter, Smartest

Now, the expectations are for all technologies to be made “smart.” LG, Panasonic and Samsung all have appliances coming to market under this moniker. And while the promise for programming your washing machine remotely or listening to Pandora from your fridge are indeed enhancements on earlier models, the increased value is suspect.

Stil, real value propositions do exist for these technologies beyond a world of the Jetsons made real and it lies in the connection.

Concerns about your washing machine spying on you notwithstanding, the promise of all these smart devices lies in the connections they enable. And the digital thread that connects all these disparate acts is data.

Through capturing bits and bites in everything we do, patterns emerge that can be used to truly make a difference. And while we’re still years away from a smart grid capable of capturing a fuller potential there are opportunities now to be exploited.

Unsurpassed Branding Opportunities

For brands, nowhere does the promise of a connected strategy hold stronger than with television. Viewers now support their activities on a variety of devices and content suppliers are engaging them on all possible screens. These various platforms are allowing brands to connect with users like never before.

In the U.S., Major League Baseball has fully engaged the multitude of platforms where their content can be consumed from mobile and tablet to smart televisions and gaming consuls.

Through their At Bat universe of apps, MLB is directly engaging 2.2 million subscribers in more markets and at more times than ever before. All the while collecting information about how, where, when and what their users consume in terms of content.

The Development Dilemma

On the development side, languages and standards have been grasping for a solution to “write once, run anywhere” since the advent of Java Developer Kit in 1995, on to Steve Jobs’ thoughts on Flash and more recently via open source technologies like HTML5, heralded as the “one code to rule them all.”

We know the solutions aren’t that simple. This is evident in Zuckerberg’s recent ‘mea culpa’, and Facebook’s premature embrace of the web technology.

Interestingly, for new domains such as the ensuing SmartTV era the choice lands on HTML-based solutions, which allows for easier coding and porting, smaller learning curves and quicker adoption by developers – and thereby consumers.

Follow the Users

But while standards are opening up the opportunities to develop natively for various platforms and devices have never been better, important lessons are still being learned to follow and optimize the user experience at every turn.

The best we at Spoiled Milk can do as a facilitator of the connected promise is to work closely with our clients to understand their users and deliver solutions that work best with the devices on hand.

We believe in our integrated setup to make the most from the best design and UX perspectives, consult with senior experience from various development platforms and apply the business strategic eye to capture the opportunity which connected data brings.

The connected future is calling. To all the brands out there ready to take the directive, we are at your service.

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