Companies that were built on best exploiting the link in the first connected era -- which lasted a decade -- were Google and to a lesser extent, Amazon.
In 2007, we entered the second connected era, built around the smartphone and social networks, where it was a constant take it with your connection and the ability to share and democratizing of publishing. Apple, Facebook and Tencent were the big new winners of this era, while Google and Amazon continued to thrive as they adapted to a mobile world.
In 2017, at CES, we began to see the third connected era, which builds on the link, mobility and social networks with three new connection paradigms:
1.Deep connections between data that enable machine learning that powers Artificial Intelligence. (AI)
2. Distributed computing and connections across a spectrum of objects that connect to everything resulting in the Internet of Things, including big things called automobiles (IOT).
3. New ways of engaging and connecting utilizing Voice, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed reality to enable communication and tell stories in new ways. (Voice/AR/VR/MR)
This third connected era -- which builds on the first and second decades of connection -- is likely to be the most impactful, wealth creating and industry/society disruptive era of all.
It is also likely to be the most competitive.
At CES, it was clear the leaders of the first and second eras were likely to be dominant players in the third era joined by some new players from the computing eras of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Amazon with Alexa dominated the show, as its voice operating system was found embedded in toys and cars. Google with Google Assistant, Google Home, a super powerful new Google Translate, Deep Mind and its AI first mantra highlighted that this generation of leaders will not be easy to displace.
But in the wings, IBM with Watson, NVidia whose chips seem to be the chips for AI and no longer just fancy gaming graphics, and a re-invigorated Microsoft with Cortina, LinkedIn and Azure will ensure this third era will be more competitive than ever before.
Implications for Marketing and Marketers
Next-Generation CRM and Customer Service
AI and Voice will change customer expectations on relationship management and customer service. They will expect next generation recommendation engines driven by AI will anticipate their needs and will be easy and simple to interact with using Voice. Marketing will become increasingly anticipatory versus reactive. If Netflix and Amazon can recommend what I need, these same algorithms should be available across all service interactions.
Search will be revolutionized
Recently, Google replaced its head of search with its head of AI. Google realizes that increasingly, as shown in Google Now, we expect answers before we query the search box. Over time as voice becomes a key interface what will search advertising look like and how will it affect the ecosystem?
Frictionless commerce may be so smooth that there could be a backlash
If every object around the voice can be addressed to order things, could we find ourselves impulsively swimming in debt. Alexa, order me anything.
The rise of a new generation of creative storytelling
A combination of voice-based search, ad blocking and increased penetration of ad free content, like Netflix and Amazon, will result in fewer opportunities to engage and interact with people, thus placing a premium that every single interaction be as resonant as possible.
One can anticipate a new creative renaissance that uses smart bots, deeper engagement palettes like VR/AR/MR and “ads” being replaced by “connected experiences,” which combine intelligence and creativity. Technology will grow in importance.
The Third Connected Era may reduce Google's and Facebook's dominance in marketing
Google and Facebook will continue to very powerful platforms but as we move from ads to connected experiences, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon, Apple and many others will make it a far more competitive landscape as marketers focus on marketing experiences versus advertising experiences in the third connected era.
Control and sharing fetish may indicate growing uncertainty and isolation
There were a plethora of devices that allowed consumers to monitor, control and calibrate every aspect of their home, health and much more. Drones, robots and other mechanical objects listened and obeyed.
All the data and images could be shared. But is this control really a pacifier for a world changing fast and in uncertain ways.If we are constantly streaming, does anybody have the time and the bandwidth to watch or listen?