Digital Innovation

Digital Innovation

IoT and GoT Have Something In Common: Feudalism

 

It’s 2017, and everyone is on the Internet, seemingly all of the time. You could be scrolling through your social media pages at a red light or shopping for something on Amazon during your lunch. The Internet has made our lives much easier but has also put us at risk. It’s not just the Internet itself; it’s the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects with internet connectivity and the communication that occurs between them.

IoT applications include Smart Home, the Apple Watch, AT&T’s Connected Car, Amazon Echo, and the Fit Bit. It seems that now everything from dishwashers to doorknobs requires an internet connection, but this has caused many problems. Recently, internet hackers broke into a casino through its fish tank. This tank had internet connected sensors that measured temperature and cleanliness. The hackers got into the fish tank’s sensors, then to the computer used to control them, and ultimately to the other part of the casino’s network. Our devices and products are always gathering information about us and our environment. That information is valuable not just for us, but for people who want to sell us things.

A good example of this is the Roomba, a useful robotic vacuum cleaner. The high-end models can create maps of its users’ homes to navigate while cleaning. Roomba’s manufacturer may plan to share those maps with its commercial partners.

It can be argued that even after we purchase a device, the manufacturer still owns it. A smartphone is a great example. Companies claim they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. This started to become the norm even before IoT. John Deere told farmers that they don’t actually own their tractors. Therefore, farmers can’t fix their farm equipment on their own or take it to a repair shop of their choosing. Tractors and other farm equipment must be returned to the manufacturer for repair.

Currently, we are still allowed to paint our houses whatever shade we want and have our cars repaired at whatever shop we choose. The expansion of the Internet of Things seems to be steadily moving to the Middle Ages. This expansion could be the return to feudalism: a system of medieval Europe where the king owned almost everything including everyone else’s property. Peasants depended on their relationship with the king and lived on land granted by him. Workers didn’t own the tools they used for farming, carpentry, and blacksmithing meaning that their way of life and making money was completely in the hands of their ruler.

Don’t freak out just yet! These problems become public relations nightmares for the companies involved, and there is overwhelming support to return power and privacy to consumers. Think about the Internet of Things the next time you walk to your car after leaving the bar, and your phone tells you how many minutes you are away from home. Many people love that their life is made simpler by the power of the Internet and accept the Internet of Things with open arms. However, beware of the hackers and those companies that are directly selling your information to control how you consume.

Advertising, Digital Innovation

The Retail Apocalypse and How Your Store Can Survive It

For some unfortunate retail brands, the apocalypse is already here: the retail apocalypse. As online shopping becomes more and more popular, brick-and-mortar shops are starting to close their doors, creating a rippling effect across major company icons. Sears and JCPenny alone have closed more than 100 stores each while businesses like The Limited have shut down completely. According to real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors, about one-third of all shopping malls could be at risk of shutting down from these recent closures. Is this the fate of all store brands?

According to some studies, not exactly. Like all trends, the “retail apocalypse” presents different opportunities for brands to reach out to a new audience. Though the shutting down of hundreds of stores hints at an end for traditional stores, that doesn’t necessarily spell out the end for retail as a whole. Arguably, Americans have been spending less money in general on physical items and more on restaurants and travel, but clothes and other retail remain a significant part of the sales cycle. Recent studies depict retail sales growing 4.1% from the previous year, so the need for fashionable clothes has certainly not decreased. Still, with the threat of stores shutting down entirely, new ideas should be used in finding a bigger audience.

Macy’s, one of the largest retail brands, has already begun revamping its marketing strategy considering potential shutdowns. One of its newest changes in promotion includes a focus on more centralized marketing as opposed to its previously national advertising. Rather than sporadic 30-second TV spots, the retail brand plans to introduce 15-second spots to local stations for annual tentpole events based on the seasons. Another strategy for maintaining a loyal customer brand is a new policy regarding credit card users to ease the purchasing process for more than one payment type. These new strategies hope to reach out to a young audience as well as maintain older customers, but only time can tell whether they will be successful. Of course, one of the biggest and best promotional ideas comes from one of the most underestimated resources in retail: The Internet.

Yes, while online shopping has been a significant rival to the classic real-life store presence, online promotion has been one of the most positive efforts towards reaching a new audience. Following the rise in online interaction, many store brands have embraced digital marketing by introducing a pick-up-in-store service which allows customers to search and purchase online and find their product at a physical store. Putting effort into online marketing itself can offer a new setting to reach out to younger consumers who are spending more and more time on the computer. No matter whether the Internet serves as an asset or an obstacle in the classic brick-and-mortar store, there is no denying that online services are here to stay, and there is no use in ignoring it.

There’s no telling how far the retail apocalypse will go or whether one-third of shopping malls will suffer in the meantime, but one thing that is certain is change. As technology grows, new traditions will follow, but that only opens more opportunities for those to change as well. That’s one of the thrills of working in retail.

Digital Innovation

Moving Towards Virtual Reality: How Did We Get Here?

Virtual Reality is no longer just a plot for a movie about the future, nor is it just limited to video gamers. Goldman-Sachs stated, “We see qualities in VR/AR technology that can take this from nice use case to a device as ubiquitous as the smartphone.” Marketing and media experts say VR advertising could completely change the marketing game within the next two years.

71% of consumers think a brand that uses virtual reality is forward thinking. VR is predicted to impact nearly every industry, but in particular, education, travel, journalism, health care, architecture, and marketing. Just as businesses had to make their web presence responsive for mobile, they will soon have to become accessible with VR. Typically, many brands will rush to utilize new technology and techniques before they understand the platform. It is imperative to look first at what other brands are currently doing with virtual reality.

TOMS, a shoe brand that rose to fame in 2006 by also being a charity to underprivileged kids, has already begun utilizing VR. TOMS takes their users to a remote village in Peru where they show the consumers how their TOMS purchase helps children in need. The user not only knows that each time they buy a pair of TOMS that it another pair goes to a kid in need, but also they experience that exchange themselves and, suddenly, it becomes real.

Mercedes has quickly risen to the occasion as well and showed off it’s latest SL model with a virtual drive on the Pacific Coast Highway in California. With the tool of virtual reality, users were able to look around the interior of the car, peer up through the sunroof, and watch as the car navigated through the road. This virtual experience also explored the convertible mode, where the user can see the Pacific Ocean. This experience is the closest consumers can get to test drive a car without actually test driving it.

 

While some claim the world may not be ready for VR technology, videos utilizing the tech have already racked up millions of views. A VR viewer that can attach to any phone called Google Cardboard has sold millions of units and has millions of clicks on its related videos. Forward thinking companies will recognize the appeal of VR advertising. VR immerses you in a virtual world from all angles, naturally, this would make VR advertising the most immersive form of marketing. Imagine an advertisement that is more than a static video, but an immersive world designed for the viewer to explore as they familiarize themselves with your brand. This is the world Velocity Agency is helping create!

Marketing experts are monitoring what they think will be highly useful in the marketing and media world. Imagine that you are in the market to find a hairstylist, and suddenly Virtual Reality could let you tour different salons before you make your decision. This is just one instance of how VR will help consumers make educated purchases. The question is not when will VR be widely used, but is your brand ready?

Click here to watch Velocity’s VR videos!

Advertising, Digital Innovation, SEO, Timeline, Velocity News

How Online Casinos Affect Traditional Gaming

The casino business is a billion dollar industry that has become increasingly popular online. Once famous features such as slot machines and card tables can now be played on mobile devices, no matter the user’s location. With this new market of online customers, the industry seems eager to break tradition to provide new and exciting offers for players.

Thanks to the use of mobile apps, everyday players can download their favorite games with the ability to save game activity as well as money earned. In addition to the connection, casinos also utilize these opportunities to offer free bonuses and prizes for long-term customers or extra purchases in a leveling-up process known as gamification. While the new medium of internet gaming is still a wide and untamed field of endless marketing, casinos continue to evolve around the promotion of their online games.

To expand the range of players beyond pure fans of gaming, some casinos are also taking to the rise of eSports and other games. With a new wave of millennial players beginning to take part in casinos, it’s imperative for casinos to provide attractions that cater to a new crowd. Though we do not yet fully know how eSports will impact casino industry there is reason to be hopeful. eSports events for games such as League of Legends and NBA2K are drawing larger crowds every year to watch players compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and sponsorships. As the popularity of eSports games such as these rises, betting on the outcomes of the matches is becoming more popular, as are smaller competitions where amateurs can compete for cash prizes. The use of eSports represents a new potential edge for casino operators as they expand their audience.

Although online casinos might make brick-and-mortar locations seem obsolete, the effects have proven otherwise. In Atlantic City, gaming analysts saw a 32 percent growth in Internet revenue with a 7.7 percent overall growth in gaming revenue according to a 2016 report. Rather than cause a decline in casino gaming, the increased online presence seems to coincide with a growth in consumer participation. From this evidence, a look into online games can be a good investment for anyone in the industry.

There are plenty of cases of states needing to turn to to the gaming industry to help raise revenue, and online gaming has proven especially helpful in supporting land-based casinos. Until the time when online gaming grows stale, casino-based or otherwise, it is necessary for industry members to recognize the role it plays for the casino industry.

Advertising, Digital Innovation, Market Information, Mobile Technology, Timeline, Velocity News

Betting on Millennials: Mobile Marketing Now

Face the Facts:

Velocity Agency Vegas SignWe are in the age of the millennial. In 2015 the US. Census reported that millennials now makeup the largest generation in the country. Additionally, it’s believed that Generation X will pass the Baby Boomers within the next ten years. This will result in the Baby Boomer generation becoming third in terms of population, and it is shrinking.¹


2+2=4

So, what does that mean for the casino industry? To put it simply, casinos need to adapt to the changing population. This means that the priorities of millennials need to be taken into account. Most casinos will look to capitalize on new skill based games. Many will look to add restaurants, bars and nightclubs that are considered to be destinations all on their own.

Hello, Is There Anybody Out There?

Sadly, casinos can do the research and can upgrade themselves, but if their marketing isn’t reaching the new younger customer all of their work will be for nothing. Millennials don’t consume media the same way that older generations do. This is why advertising and marketing needs to be specifically targeted at them. Perhaps, more importantly advertising and marketing needs to be easily accessible to them.

What’s So Smart About a Smart Phone?

Velocity Agency has years of experience working with casinos to help get their message across. Not only do we create custom websites and advertisements designed to reach specific clientele, but we also work with casinos to create custom mobile apps. These apps not only serve a functional purpose, such as a map of the casino and resort, but they also serve as an efficient way to put your latest news and updates directly into a customer’s hands.    

In 2015, the Pew Research Center came out with a study showing that 68% of americans have smartphones.² With that in mind, it almost seems foolish not to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Fill out the form below to find out how Velocity Agency can take your marketing and advertising to speeds you won’t believe.

  1. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/
  2. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/
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Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology, Social Media

Using Videos for Marketing: A Call to Arms

When it comes to building your online brand, video marketing has taken off largely for one reason: video provides a richer storytelling format for advertisers. In fact, Facebook released a statement on their Facebook for Business page that reads:

“Compelling sight, sound and videomarketingmotion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns, particularly when brands want to increase awareness and attention ov
er a short period of time. From launching new products to shifting brand sentiment, this video format is ideal for marketers who are looking to make a large-scale impact, and for people who will discover more great content in their News Feeds.”

With Facebook putting so much emphasis on the use of video content, you too should be focusing your marketing efforts on video content.  But, what exactly is it that propelled video content to the forefront of the social marketing world?

Here’s our two cents:

Online video views are rising rapidly. It’s projected that by the time 2017 rolls around, 69% of consumer internet traffic will be headed towards video content. This rising trend has gotten the attention of businesses of all sizes, and the videos are about to pour in.

Consumers are clamoring for branded video content, and they respond well to it. Commercials and advertisements can be deemed useless almost instantly by consumers. The internet offers an effective way to spread your message organically.

Furthermore, advances in mobile technology bring videos right to the palm of the consumer. Videos are generally viewable on all screen sizes, and often work better on mobile platforms. For the first time ever, mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage, which has a direct correlation to video views. Mobile platforms, such as Snapchat, have revolutionized the way videos are watched. And, when you compare the vertical layout of Snapchat to the horizontal layout of YouTube, you’ll notice that a vertical layout makes it far easier to pick the ads from the content. Across any platform, vertical viewing is the most popular option.

The rise in video content for marketing can be widely attributed to Facebook. The social media giant now averages 8 billion daily video views from its 1 billion users. If you’re not utilizing video content, this is your call to arms.

Digital Innovation

The Future Is Now: Avatar-Inspired Online Shopping

With Cyber Monday surpassing Black Friday in gross sales this past holiday season, it is

safe to say that online shopping will continue with exponential growth. While online shopping is

very popular, it still has an intrinsic downside; an estimated 30 percent of all purchases are

returned, which drives up the retailer’s overall costs. With this cost increase, it’s no wonder

that retailers are developing better ways to decrease returns and increase customer

satisfaction – Queue the Avatars.

 

Multiple international clothing companies, along with Hewlett-Packard Enterprises

leading the charge, have created an Avatar-based experience; multiple cameras scan your body

and stitch all of the pictures together, accounting for movability, skin-tone, hair style, etc. Once

the stitching process has been completed, you will see yourself displayed as an Avatar on your

preferred device. Now, you are able to select various clothing items to see exactly how they will

look on you without ever stepping foot into a dressing room! This technology, coupled with

your first-party browsing and shopping data, can even suggest various clothing items based on

past purchases and preferences. Hewlett-Packard believes that this is just the beginning for

Avatar use; they envision it being utilized in gaming devices, tracking weight loss, and

recommending clothing based on the changes in one’s body. As brick and mortar is still a viable

way to shop, the introduction of Avatars make it even more tempting to shop from the comfort

of your own home.

Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology

Virtual reality in the palm of your hand

As technology increases at an exponential rate, the public is being integrated into the technological realm faster and faster. With advancements such as 3D printers, voice recognition software and hover boards, the world we inhabit is slowly becoming what was once only imagined in a sci-fi movie. Thanks to another innovation by Google, virtual reality has become a physical reality.

Google Cardboard has brought the world of virtual reality to the comfort of your home, in the palm of your hand. Cardboard gives the user full submersion into a 360-degree virtual world. The purpose of Cardboard is to encourage the development of virtual reality applications and to make these applications available at a low cost.

One application of Google Cardboard being tested is virtual field trips for students. The affordability of Cardboard, and the authenticity of its virtual worlds provides students with an opportunity otherwise unattainable. Through Cardboard, the students can travel across the globe to locations far from reach, even underwater and the surface of Mars. Each student will view the selected reality through Cardboard, while the instructor uses a tablet to conduct a guided tour and point out learning objectives.

When should students expect to travel across the world from their desks? The Expeditions Pioneer Program is currently scouting locations to introduce Cardboard into the classroom. This program came to New Orleans through Loyola University to spread awareness, and revealed that it hopes to be inside schools as soon as the 2016-2017 school year. Aside from the occasional student catching a case of motion sickness, Google Cardboard looks to have a promising future in schools of five countries.

Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology

Twitter rolls out Moments and Facebook test Reactions

The next time you login to Twitter you will notice a new icon on the bottom of your screen. The lightning bolt icon will allow you to access Twitter’s newest feature, Moments. Moments gives you access to trending stories on Twitter along with the most relevant tweets. There are several topic areas in Moments: Today, News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun.

When you first enter Moments you will default onto the Today section, which is a collection of stories and videos from the various sections. News is selection of hard news stories and videos. For instance, when I logged in, I had live video and tweets from the recent terrorist attack in Israel show up. Sports is going to have the latest scores and sports-related stories trending on Twitter. Entertainment has tweets about new book releases, music and celebrity news, TV premieres, and fashion. Fun is where you find Buzzfeed-type stories and things that are trending that don’t fit into other categories.

This is a first attempt by Twitter to solve the question new users often ask, “I’m on Twitter now what do I do?” If you don’t follow anyone on Twitter, it can be a pretty underwhelming experience. Mentions give a new user something to do the first time they login. It also becomes a de facto source for breaking news. Considering how many journalist and news organizations use Twitter, I’m sure this is a welcomed feature.

 

Twitter Moments on iPhone

This week Facebook also began testing 6 new “reactions”

For years people have been clamoring for a dislike button, and Facebook has resisted. Well, Facebook finally decided to offer something beyond the “Like” button. The new options are “love,” “yay,” “wow,” “haha,” “sad,” and “angry.” These are quite similar to the emojis used in text messaging.

Facebook Test Reactions

 

Mark Zuckerburg felt that in certain cases people would like to display some empathy in certain situations and a “Like” wasn’t always the best choice. Facebook felt that these new “reactions” could help to make that choice easier for users. Currently the new feature is getting beta-tested with users in Ireland and Spain. No word yet from Facebook on if or when it will roll out to the rest of us.

 

Digital Innovation, Market Information, Research

Snapchat Vibe

Snapchat-Icon

Most people’s social media experience is limited to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but odds are you have at least heard of the popular smartphone app Snapchat, with over 100 million daily users and 400 million “snaps” made per day. Snapchat is a social media application that allows you to send photos or videos to your friends and family. The app also lets you video chat with friends who happen to be on at the same time as you. It’s a convenient way to instantly connect with people who are probably closer to you than the 500+ friends you have on Facebook. This is because Snapchat friends can only be added through a user’s address book or through an exchange of usernames.

In an effort to become more profitable, Snapchat has recently began to allow big-name brands like People Magazine and Food Network to advertise on their platform. While there have been many complaints about Snapchat’s controversial $750K fee charged to companies looking to buy ad space, everyone agrees that the popular app among teenagers is gaining more and more headway each day. That being said, many major companies are disgruntled with the fact that-like the users’ snaps-their ads will disappear within 24 hours. Additionally, Snapchat mostly targets teenagers and young adults whose income level might not necessarily appeal to big businesses. With these thoughts in mind many companies may choose not to do advertising on Snapchat.

However, many brands still choose to market themselves on snapchat because of the great advertising opportunities the app affords them. Advertising a new product or rebranding an image on Snapchat has been proven to help a company’s profits in the long run. This was the case for McDonalds who recently promoted their “Love is Endless” animated commercial to Snapchat in an attempt to revive its reputation after a reported decline in global sales.

Another example of a brand effectively using Snapchat is Audi’s innovative idea to live “snap” Superbowl XLVIII. Audi strategically collaborated with the Onion to interact with the Millennial demographic. By Audi live snapping the game, the brand was able to bring awareness to their brand while garnering more than 5,500 new followers on Snapchat.

 

Snapchat’s decision to only solicit top-name brands like McDonalds or CNN demonstrates to the “category leaders” that the app’s audience numbers are attractive enough to be on the same playing field as other social media game-changers like Twitter or Facebook. Even with all this success, as with any other global giant, they are bound to run into some pitfalls. A short time ago, Snapchat came under fire after a minor’s nude selfie was dispersed to students at a high school in Chicago. Her boyfriend’s decision to screenshot the image before sending it to his friends revealed the “dark side” of Snapchat. Back in 2011, when the app had first launched, many parents questioned the application’s intended uses. Was it just another social media platform or was it a device that would make “sexting” that much easier? The answer is up to the user. Snapchat can be used for both good and evil, but it is important to remember the consequences associated with the latter.

There are many ways that local businesses can use Snapchat to market their businesses. Although Snapchat is rumored to be “anti-native” advertising, local advertisers can find useful ways to build their brand in a way that’s relevant to users. Companies just need to come up with a creative and dynamic way to get consumers interacting with them on Snapchat. One example of this is Louisiana State University’s radio station, KLSU, who has encouraged listeners to “snap” their song requests to the station.

Our prediction for Snapchat is that eventually users will be viewing “click-through” ads generated in a way that is similar to Youtube’s sponsored commercials. That way, small businesses will be able to market themselves in a way that is both cost-effective and profitable. We’ll be looking forward to see what happens next with the app that has everyone “snapping”.

 

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