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A review of the Science Museum's latest exhibition 'Our Lives in Data'

By Megin Gauntlett, Insight Executive
Being part of the *multiply team at Posterscope, we are more than comfortable with data as valuable currency. We pride ourselves on using the best, proprietary approaches to data in order to understand consumers better. This understanding in turn enables us to deliver the most targeted messaging, in the right moment and in the right location.
But what is the viewpoint of the consumer? How much do they actually know about the capture and use of their data? And when put in the consumer’s shoes, would you still think that the scores, reams and mountains of data collected and cleaned regarding your life is interesting or invasive? We can sometimes think about consumers as though they are different and separate to us and we must be careful that we don’t create a practice of dehumanising data.
We wanted to go to the Science Museum’s current exhibition, Our Lives in Data, to see their approach to education around data’s usage and how children, in particular, are shaping their views in a personalised, but essentially trackable, life.
Our Lives in Data was made up of four different sections; transport and smart cities, the IoT, genomic and social. The first and last are areas in which Posterscope have a large amount of experience. We use transport data every day in our work as Location Experts, defining how audiences move around the city in order to better understand how to reach them in the most relevant ways. We regularly use social data in our planning tools to see what is resonating for consumers, how they feel about brands and lifestyles and what they are gravitating towards in terms of behaviours.
The exhibition was set up as a blend of static exhibitions and interactive experiences. In the transport section, there was a data visualisation of Bond St Station showcasing how new tube stations and transit hubs are designed using predictive consumer data – knowing how people move through the station and streets surrounding it to enable city planners to create better, frictionless travel. This was interesting given Posterscope’s new partnership with Digit Group in the smart cities space. Using data to understand a location better and predict behaviours from a design perspective is only a decade or so old. But now, with connected payments, mobile signal data and the like, we can make the city work harder for its inhabitants.
Moving through into the IoT section, we saw connected toys showcased with variant degrees of consumer uptake – we have all heard the story of the doll that learned to speak not so kid-friendly words. This section also featured a type of paint that could be used on routers to block Wi-Fi signal pickups from external users. Considering Wi-Fi signals is a key method of understanding a location’s footfall at present, this paint was a surprise to some in the group. The exhibition also discussed whether consumers have been educated enough on the options available to them in this area when it comes to privacy of signals themselves (regardless of the fact the data collected is not being used to see individual information).
We then saw how genomic experts were using VR headsets to navigate their way through huge amounts of genetic data to better treat patients, even before they are sick. The exhibition talked around how the technology which began as a platform for better gaming has actually had a remarkable effect on how doctors and scientists can view microscopic and subatomic worlds. Given the complexity of educating children in genomic data, this area of the exhibition remained top line but it was a great way to show how a familiar technology like VR can be used to solve complex human issues.
Finally, we moved on to the social data area of the exhibition, with some very interesting facts for children and adults alike. For example, they shared that ‘Facebook users have four times the audience online than they estimate’ and that ‘within two weeks, 71% of people self-censor their own Facebook posts’. These statistics were interesting from a consumer perspective – we all know we self-edit but the fact it was post-rationalised editing showed how consumers are highly conscious about the image (and data) that they share with their ‘friends.’ The exhibition referred to ‘personality data’ or what we would call consumer trends.
There was an interactive element which replicated a basic planning tool – you could select which brands you like, and to what scale, and the tool would punch out a more personalised ad for you at the end. This is of course extremely pertinent to our world of dynamic adverts where Posterscope delivers relevant advertising content against specific audiences and mind-sets. It was surprising and exciting to see how the world of dynamic advertising was shown to kids and visitors, creating a positive connection and awareness around why ads were personalised to them.
Finally there was a video debate from the Policy Director of Facebook and Dr David Stillwell and he is a lecturer in Big Data Analytics at Cambridge University discussing data privacy and the future. Their conclusion was that consumers are demanding a personalised world with both brands and platforms understanding them and creating experiences with their individual preferences in mind. However, proceeding with caution was the message of the day – safe handling of data is the top priority.
In conclusion, visiting Our Lives in Data wasn’t about learning new data-trends, it was about understanding how the increasingly complex area of our business and the world going forward is being communicated to the younger generation. Brad Gilbert from the *multiply team said “the exhibition’s content may not have been new for us but it’s interesting to see an exhibition that explains simply to the public their data is captured and used. People are becoming more informed and empowered about the handling of their data, and it was important for us to see how this exhibition presented this to the public.’
Our Lives in Data captured the key areas of data in our daily lives, but it also enabled visitors to think about what would be missing in a world without data and the see-saw we all balance to improve our daily lives vs living an Orwellian existence. Given all the debate on this in our industry, it is important for us to remember that not all consumers are data experts but that we are all consumers.
Our Lives in Data is open until 01/09/2017 and you can find out more about the exhibition here.

The smart ice cubes that tell bar staff to order you another drink

The cubes alert bar staff when your drink is empty and brings you a refill.

Many of us are aware of the concept of the Internet of Things, a system in which everything – from your smartphone and self-driving car, to your smart TV and fridge – is connected to the web. It’s an exciting proposition – a world in which your car can alert your house that you’re on the way home, triggering the heating to be set just right, flicking on your living room lights and queuing up your favourite Friday night playlist.
But what if you’re out with friends? Well, the Internet of Things might be about to disrupt a bar near you – and solve a problem you’re likely to have faced time and time again.
MARTINI, the world’s leading vermouth and best-selling sparkling wine maker, is trialling the MARTINI Smart Cube.
The concept is simple. A barman places a MARTINI Smart Cube in your drink when serving. The ice cube-shaped device, which is 3D printed, then bobs around until your drink is finished, at which point it senses the lack of liquid and alerts the bar staff, ordering you a fresh glass.
The technology is based on Apple’s iBeacon technology – a software protocol that allows a hardware transmitter, typically with Bluetooth low energy connectivity, to broadcast a notification to nearby devices. In this case, two liquid sensors recognise when they’re no longer submerged, triggering the drinks order to be made. Using Aerogel – a technology built by Nasa – the temperature of the cube is kept cool, while staying buoyant.
The MARTINI Smart Cube also sends the bar staff an indication of how far the drink is from the bar, so they can deliver the drink without fuss. As soon as the drink order is automatically sent to the bar ordering system – via an iPad Pro – the bar staff know immediately where that drink needs to be delivered.
The result? No more tearing yourself away from that all-too-rare catch-up. MARTINI Smart Cube will do the ordering for you. And there’ll be no more drink mix-ups either. Each cube has its own unique pulsing colour combination, so everyone knows exactly which Martini & Tonic is theirs.
But it’s not just a crowd pleaser. In the future, MARTINI Smart Cube might track your alcohol consumption, keeping you informed about how much you’re consuming. It could also alert you if your drink has been tampered with.
We’ll raise a glass to that.
Video below:
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Via: Wired 

The Internet of Things: Not just a bunch of junk

By Nick Halas – Head of Futures at Posterscope
Throughout time, storytelling has consistently predicted the future, correctly or incorrectly. When Robert Metcalf invented the revolutionary Ethernet cable in 1973, he publically predicted his invention would be useless in a year or he’d eat his words. A year later he did.
Predicting the next big thing isn’t easy, but how do so many sci-fi dudes get it right? Back to the Future Part 2, was released 17 years ago in 1989, and still managed to accurately predict smart eye-wear evocative of today’s Oculus Rift and Google Glass, that could also receive phone call notifications.
Although we’re still waiting on several other predictions the film made to become a reality, including Hoverboards, this movie foretold the Internet of Things (IoT) where all devices play multiple functions through a connected digital network.
Before writing the script for Minority Report (2002), Director Steven Spielberg consulted with industrial designers, futurists and advertising professionals in order to accurately predict what a future world would look like. This would explain why Minority Report features tech innovations we’re now familiar with like facial recognition, personalised outdoor advertising, swipe and pinch-to-zoom touch screen motions, tablets and motion-recognition software, the list keeps growing!
These storytellers accurately brought to life what we now call the IoT which has become a fully founded reality, but what does that mean for advertisers? Until now we’ve left sci-fi to the movie creatives and adopted new technology at a slower pace than what we’ve previously seen as far flung predictions in the movies. This is no longer so far away, the main message at every tech conference I’ve attended this year is how the IoT will revolutionise the way we communicate.
There’s been a lot of airtime allocated to the IoT, but this discussion tends to always be future facing, explaining what could be, often without a clear, real life application for each innovation. This is what the formerly mentioned film creatives did so well – visualising the benefits the IoT would bring to consumers and displaying the functional benefits by applying a practical application to the technology.
So what do I think the IoT will look like and how will it evolve over the next few years? I believe this depends on whether the advertising industry as a whole takes up the challenge to innovate in a truly functional way when creating campaigns instead of letting the tech lead. In order to do this, we need to begin focusing on the following areas:
Functionality
To successfully adopt the IoT as an advertising medium, the industry needs to start with identifying the problem that needs to be solved, which should then inform the tech solution.
Currently a lot of IoT innovations are just replicating other technology in more streamlined ways, like the smart watch which is basically another iteration of the smart phone. When enchanted objects – objects that we use in our everyday life with an enhanced purpose – become commonplace we will have reached a functional moment for the IoT.
Enchanted objects will have a much bigger place in our lives as we begin to build technology into objects we already have another function for. This will not be another TV hat, but instead objects that we actually use in our everyday life with heightened features, like a wire enabled pocket instead of simply putting devices in our pockets.
Connectivity
The IoT is basically just a bunch of useless technology until we start to focus on connectivity, and not just connectivity between one device and another, the interconnectivity that creates an ecosystem of functionality for the user.
We often get so wrapped up in the innovation of new devices, that we forget devices need to connect across channels for them to be truly effective and a functional part of the IoT. Therefore the growth of operating systems will become more important than the tech – as this will provide the advertising advantage.
Infrastructure and Operating Systems
Often the IoT is relying on an entirely artificial infrastructure, a lot of which hasn’t been tried and tested over a long period of time with multiple connected devices.
Maybe we’re running before we can walk but we definitely need to improve the infrastructure the IoT relies on. Part of this infrastructure will be developing operating systems that not only connect devices, but connect across media channels so that the IoT can become a truly integrated approach.
IoT and out-of-home (OOH)
So, where do I think the IoT will take the OOH industry? Beacons, image recognition, CRM payments, transport tracking and device pairing are all part of the future for OOH. We’ll be seeing greater collaboration with digital and mobile campaigns, both as an extension network and as a platform for the delivery of dynamic personalised messaging.
What we often come up against in the OOH world is how do we turn a great one-off campaign into a scalable campaign that yields results for our clients? To make this leap with the IoT, we need to start thinking beyond campaigns that are ‘an industry first’ and therefore a must share and start to plan participation based campaigns.
There are definitely sceptics, and developing the IoT in the OOH space will definitely be a learning process. A quick scroll through Twitter and you come across the account @internetofshit which highlights useless tech, created for the sake of adding another gadget to the IoT rather than for a specific purpose. Here at Posterscope, we’re ready for the challenge, we’ll try to push the opportunities of connectivity and will continue to work with partners to develop infrastructure and operating systems to aid OOH’s access and advertising potential to the IoT.
Maybe if that Hoverboard does ever get off the ground, it will be able to instantly notify the OOH advertising the locations it’s travelled in order to trigger a personalised ad. In turn the OOH advertising will notify the user when they need to recharge the board, and the closest location to so. Then we’ve really gone full circle and put the intelligence at the heart of technology, making the technology the decision maker – but that’s a whole new can of worms!

Mobile World Congress: What the Advertising Industry Learned reports The Guardian

As the sun sets on the Barcelona event for another year, what do the announcements and innovations mean for the ad industry?
More than 100,000 delegates from 204 countries attended Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, while 2,200 companies exhibited their wares.
So what were the important announcements from MWC 2016? In the lead up to the event, virtual reality (VR) was expected to make a splash, while many were hoping for insight on hot topics such as adblocking, internet of things and data security. We spoke to four MWC delegates, including Nick Halas, Head of Futures at Posterscope, on what they thought of the event and what the innovations might mean for the future of the advertising industry.
Nick Halas, head of futures at Posterscope
In spite of the plethora of new mobile device releases and mass media frenzy over VR, in fact the evolution of IoT [internet of things] was the trend at this year’s MWC that may hold the most for out-of-home (OOH) advertisers. The mass market is gearing up for connected cars, like Huawei and Audi’s new partnerships, wearables and home security. It’s essentially becoming every connected device you can think of – including those that are innovative but in my opinion somewhat creepy, like the Sony Xperia Ear.
There’s a tidal wave of change that IoT is bringing with it, and it’s promising to be transformational for everyone involved in the OOH ecosystem, particularly for the digital out-of-home sector. We’ll be seeing greater collaboration with digital and mobile campaigns, both as an extension network and as a platform for the delivery of dynamic personalised messaging.
Additionally, it will enable advertisers to better interact and engage with consumers via beacons, image recognition or device pairing. This will extend into CRM and payments, such as Visa’s expansion of its Visa Ready program, and even possibly directly with vehicular movement as both connected cells – the car and the poster site – will be able to communicate with each other.
To read the full article in the Guardian  click here
Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters