“You can’t fight the future”. This is a saying a former boss of mine often used that stuck with me. Ironically, he didn’t subscribe to the philosophy himself, but that’s another story. The point is things change and you either have to adapt or be left behind. Yes, there will always be the laggards and luddites that claim they can do just fine sticking to the way things have worked in the past, but don’t expect these people to be leaders of the majority. Because one of the innate traits that has made humankind such a successful and far reaching species is our ability to adapt. From the stone age to the ice age and now the information age, humankind has adjusted every single step of the way to make the most of the environment they exist in. These are truly exciting times considering the speed of innovation and rate of change in global standards of living that are unprecedented in history. The world is moving faster and it is being fueled by the access to information, tools, and social connections the Internet has made possible for many of it’s citizens. The internet has practically become an essential part of survival in the modern world.
I don’t like to make predictions about the future because more often than not people who do end up being wrong. I subscribe to Bill Gate’s philosophy that people generally overestimate what will happen in the next two years but underestimate what will happen in the next ten. So, with this as my compass I predict that everything will eventually be integrated with the web in some form or another. Pretty soon the Internet will become as pervasive as electricity; it will be everywhere yet invisible. It will just be there and permeate our every day lives. A really exciting thing that is evidence of this is Augmented Reality. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Augmented Reality refers to the live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment whose elements are supplemented with, or augmented by, computer-generated imagery. For instance, imagine using the camera on your mobile phone to take a picture of a historical monument and then having it automatically overlay information regarding the historical significance, who designed it, when it was erected, and so forth. Or, take it to another level and imagine a pair of eye glasses that could automatically display information pertaining to whatever you were looking at be it a person, object, or place. It might seem like science fiction associated with the Terminator (Hence my tribute to SkyNet in the header image) but it’s already science fact in some laboratories.
The future is coming and it will be brought to us in large part by the Internet. In Canada, according to a recent Ipsos survey, internet activity has surpassed TV viewing on a weekly basis. People are finding their products and services on their own and relying less on traditional advertising to inform and influence them. We are becoming a digital “search culture” with access to vast amounts of information and peer reviews to guide our decision making. Want to reach 18 – 24 year old males? Forget a witty TV ad with some buxom blonde. Instead think about in-game advertising on the Playstation Network where ads can be popped in and out of various games in an instant and made contextually relevant to the games environment. How about reaching middle aged females? Forget about placing an ad in House & Home, they’re on Facebook sending comments to their kids in College and posting pictures of their latest ladies night out. They’re also doing the majority of household purchases and using the web to research the best deals.
The times they are a-changin’. The future is coming and just like the shifts humankind experienced in the past we’ll have to learn and adapt to the new way things function. It’s in our nature to adapt, so embrace it. The typical “push” advertising and marketing practices that have been around for years are now being challenged and upended. Information is driving the new revolution. Resistance is futile.
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