The Britton Digital Update—Week of January 9, 2017

Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news

While we were busy trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions of exercise, diet, and productivity, the tech geeks of the world converged in Las Vegas at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. There were two major topics talked about at CES: digital assistants and smart products.

If you read last week’s Digital Update, on 2017 predictions, I explained how digital assistants (Alexa, Siri, Cortana) and assistant devices (Amazon Echo, Google Home) are poised for huge growth and integration this year. Now that the assistants’ APIs are open to developers, more skills are being developed, making these assistants more useful. What was talked about at CES was how many products will start integrating those assistants.

  • Ford announced that it is adding Alexa into vehicles via its SYNC 3 infotainment system. There were similar announcements from Hyundai and BMW. How cool would it be to start your car through your Echo Dot inside your home?
  • Remember when a fridge was the place you hung artwork from your kids? Those times may soon be gone. LG announced an Alexa-integrated smart fridge that can order items for you through Amazon and remind you of birthdays, anniversaries, and other events. Expect many more products to integrate these digital assistants.

The other big CES topic was anything with the word smart in front of it and that collects data with the intention of improving our lives. Some of the more interesting (or bizarre) smart items showcased at CES included the following:

  • A pair of smart shoes with “adaptive cushioning that supposedly shifts support as the user goes for a run, in order to improve performance and lesson impact injuries”
  • A smart smoke detector that communicates with your connected oven and shuts it off when it detects that your roast is burning and the kitchen is filling with smoke
  • A smart fitness ring (like a Fitbit, but for your finger) that tracks ”sleep and fitness, including steps, calories, and distance”
  • A smart hairbrush with a microphone that listens and tracks patterns of brushing to provide “insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends, and breakage”
  • A smart garbage can (it’s really an accessory for your “dumb” trash can) that can scan bar codes of things you are throwing away to add them to your shopping list
  • A smart bike helmet that can play music, answer calls, and even “send a text message to an emergency contact in the event on an accident”

In other words, digital assistants—and smart-technology integration—aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we better get used to them.

It’s not easy to stay up-to-date on all things digital. The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours and hours doing so, because we have already done that for you. Maybe it’s that we geek out on this stuff or maybe it’s that we want to ensure that we can react in real time to make our clients’ strategies efficient and effective—either way, we’ve curated the news from the past week so you can add “smart” before your name, just like the hairbrush and smoke detector. Enjoy!

My Large Nose

It’s no secret. I have a large nose. It’s apparently so big that it’s one of the first attributes that artificial intelligence notices about me. This week, Snappr (a company that connects people and businesses to professional photographers) released a beta version of an AI tool that analyzes your LinkedIn profile picture and gives you a score on the picture’s effectiveness and tips on how to improve that score. Whether you are just networking or are sticking to that New Year’s resolution of finding a new gig, this tool gives an interesting perspective on how people might view you.

Best practices are never a bad thing, especially with first impressions. I love my job, which is a good thing—because I could be in for a rough future with all these smart devices coming our way—but now I am even more self-conscious about my nose, thanks to artificial intelligence. Yes, that will be a fun session with my therapist.

If you try out this LinkedIn AI tool, tweet us your score!

And Now, Our Facebook Live Contributor …

Since video consumption will continue to explode over the next few years, it is imperative for your brand to be successful when it comes to live streaming. This week, Facebook added several useful new features to its Facebook Live platform. One of those features is designating someone who is not a page administrator as a Live Contributor, basically acting as a reporter (like the local TV news). According to Facebook, “This gives contributors the flexibility to stream great live content from a mobile device on behalf of a Page whenever it happens, while allowing the Page admin to maintain security and control over their Page.” This could help make facilitation of influencer marketing and celebrity takeovers much easier if that is a part of your marketing plan for 2017 and beyond.

In addition, videos that were recorded through Facebook Live can now be syndicated (cross-posted) to multiple pages to help save time. Facebook also added the ability to go live from your desktop (to avoid shaky mobile videos), comment pinning, and additional video insights. Oh, and Facebook added midroll commercials to your live stream, too.

Happy 10th Birthday!

Remember trying to type texts without a phone keyboard? Beyond that, it’s tough to recall mobile-phone life before Jan. 9, 2007. That was the day Steve Jobs came on stage at Macworld, in San Francisco, and said, “We’re going to make some history together today.” Jobs called it a “revolutionary mobile phone” and he was right. Ten years ago this past week, Apple introduced us to the iPhone, and we leaped light years forward with mobile and multitouch technology (read touch screen). I remember thinking I was cool because I had a T-Mobile sidekick back in the day and was able to have a keyboard. However, the iPhone brought this thing called the ”world wide web” to the palm of my hand along with incredible access to information. Our world was forever changed.

It’s interesting to look back and see how few features the original iPhone actually had. Going forward, my wish is that Apple innovates a bit quicker, just as Samsung is doing with its Galaxy phones (minus the Note 7 battery debacle). If rumors hold true, augmented-reality glasses that pair with your iPhone could be introduced in 2017, which would be a step in the right direction.

You can rewatch history with the original iPhone unveiling on YouTube.

Community Counts, Says Google

Previously, Google has made it no secret that it prefers local content when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Now that preference may extend to AdWords’ search engine marketing (SEM). The search giant announced this week that it “may begin showing location-specific numbers when available for retail businesses, even if the campaign uses a different, specific call extension for ad relevance and even for ads that only impact certain locations.” Why is this important to know? As a brand, it allows you to become even more relevant when marketing to potential customers in searches. If you can remove one click toward a customer accessing a location closest to them, those search results are, in theory, more relevant. This is particularly important if you use a call center or central number for customers.

Many of our clients prefer location-based marketing, so this is something we’ll keep a close watch on to see how Google implements this change and the effects it may have.

A Fitting Marketplace

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, said this week that the Apple App Store had its biggest month ever, generating $3 billion in revenue, in December. It’s a pretty impressive revenue stream considering that apps weren’t a category that existed until the iPhone was released 10 years ago (see previous section). Outside of Google and its Play Store, very few companies can compete with that. Fitbit is potentially one of them.

While it may not ever reach Apple’s level of revenue, Fitbit announced at CES last week its intention to launch its own app store as soon as possible in 2017. Its aim is to reach “employers and healthcare companies that use Fitbit’s fitness trackers for corporate wellness programs.” Rumors are that this could be launched alongside a smartwatch that could also compete with Apple. Its recent acquisition of Pebble (which made smartwatches and had a marketplace) could help bring this idea to market significantly faster. Just shaving a sliver off of those App Store dollars could be a huge lift for Fitbit.

For the rest of the news this past week, here’s a compilation of the best news stories that we don’t have time to expound upon but that you should probably take notice of:

If you liked this, check out our previous Digital Update posts or the Digital Update on Flipboard.

You think you know Britton? Well, This Is Britton.

Photos: BMDG

Dave Goode

Dave Goode

My name is Dave B. Goode (yes, it is my real name). If it sounds like a radio name, it is—well, it was. I had a 22-year radio-broadcasting career as a brand manager and morning-show host. I’m an amateur photographer. I love to cook. I am obsessed with social media. I have come to the realization that Chia Pet seeds do not work on a human head and that it is OK to be bald.

Meet Dave Goode