Archive for New Norm | 3rd Industrial Revolution

Industry 4.0 – Digitizing of Everything Else

Robot Attendees

In 2012 I wrote about the Digitizing of Everything. Since then, even more than I imagined has been reduced to 0 and 1, stored in the cloud or on drives, and changed the world forever.

Looking back, I realize that while I stuck a toe into the science fiction of the future as it was then (how do you refer to the future in past tense – the historic future?), the realities of just how much can and will be digitized is growing at an amazing pace.

Bill Gates and others are now raising concerns with the impact robotics and artificial intelligence will have in social, not technical, terms. This is a recognition that the realization of these technologies is now a foregone conclusion in the minds of forward thinkers, and the human impact is top of mind. Bill also sees some other technologies that we are on the verge of realizing.

Old MediaMuch of what we have digitized has been in the consumer and data worlds – music, video, text, shopping, documents, information, etc. While there are new formats that challenge the old – playing music on mobile devices rather than records; reading on screen rather than on paper; shopping online rather than in a retail store; filing a medical claim and getting paid online; completing HR process at the office – they do not destroy the old formats. Books, records, retails stores, paper medical claims all still exist and the Millennials seem to like these more tangible formats. (Everything old is new again).

Fringe concepts like face recognition for security, self-driving cars, 3D printed items, and unmanned aircraft – from the military to home delivery – are now all part of today’s world. They may not have had their Janus Moment and become the “norm”, but they are no longer the fringe.

We are however entering a period that I referenced to in the “historical future” of 2012 where computers are beginning to do new things, not just in new formats. I wrote:

In the book AFTER THOUGHT The Computer Challenge to Human Intelligence James Bailey proposes a completely new impact on humanity due to the computer’s ability to “think” differently than we do.

One example he uses to illustrate the impact of the speed of computing is weather predictions. Given the same data, humans could calculate the predictions just as machines, but in hundreds of “man-hours”. By then, the prediction would be useless.”

Today, we find Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Bots, Predictive Analytics, Conversation as a Platform (where Bots talk to each other instead of humans). Quantum Computing, and more. These concepts were talked about in 2012, but today they are fully realized if not fully implemented.

The result, what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This may sound familiar as well. That’s because in 2012 the Economist wrote about the Third Industrial Revolution. Yup, the Third Industrial Revolution lasted a brief 4 years. (it was televised and is available for streaming via NetFlix.)

The Fourth Industrial Revolution connects systems and computers in ways humans can’t (fully digitally) and begins to form new processes and tools around how computers, not humans, think.

Imagine this: a sensor in a subscription oven (one where the restaurant pays based on usage rather than all up front) sends its report to an intelligent system that predicts failure within 2 weeks based on usage, model, location, and more. This triggers the calendar bot to schedule the appointment with the restaurant based on day/times it’s open and the service center’s availability. Confirmation of the appointment is sent to the chef and the oven which displays the information on its screen – if a technician is needed at all that is.

Instructions are sent to the 3D printer at the restaurant (crediting the monthly invoice for materials used) and the restaurant’s alarm system pairs with the bot in the service tech’s device to allow access when he arrives. Or, an interactive bot walks the restaurant owner through the process of replacing the part using a video recognizing app or augmented reality glasses.

So why should the event and conference industry care?

  • Fewer Workers means fewer attendees: The example above shows that there will be fewer service techs and training in the future. If service teams and training are your audience and content, they may be greatly reduced inside of 50 years. Add autonomous vehicles like trains, trucks, ships, tractors, taxis, buses, and more and there will be even fewer audiences for these types of events. (More on the impact of Autonomous Vehicles in a later post). At one time, every elevator in the world required an elevator operator, now almost none do. In the future, one or more drivers per vehicle or one service techs per service call will seem as strange as one operator per elevator does now.
  • New workers mean new attendees, content, and conferences: However, new skills, technologies, and industries means new events. All the technologies above will form into mature industries over the next 20 years. The concept that a chef will also do maintenance on their kitchen appliance via augmented reality glasses means new and different skills for may attendees at what do not appear to be “technology” events. Tech, IT, Robotics, and more will become more mainstream and therefore more necessary curriculum for attendees everywhere.

    Robot at Microsoft Ignite

    Robot at Microsoft Ignite

  • Changes in business process: Bots and connected systems will replace the order taking, warehouse, and quality control process by sending orders directly to robots and drones for assembly into self-driving truck, or a 3D printer on site. How does a warehouse change if there are no humans involved in the storing and gathering? How can you change the Event and Conference business as an event owner, agency, or service provider?
  • Online attendee experience will change: Richer media, attendees navigating physical space via robots and/drones (just piloted at Microsoft Ignite), sessions streamed globally by attendees, attendance fees based on content consumed not physical or online access. Skype Translator alone allows for global audiences for content consumption.
  • Interconnected data: Just as Facebook and Google profit handsomely from the broad sets of data related to their user and their preferences, event data will become more broadly used and valuable beyond the event itself. Publishers once were the channel to new audiences with mailing lists; today all sources of information have increasing value not only to marketers, but to the systems that provide the augmented reality, predictive analytics, conversations, and more.

Robot Attendees

The birth of SkyNet is coming.

While Terminator shows one fanaticized version of what self-aware machines learning and working together might be, the events industry needs to digest the realities of how the digitizing of everything will impact, well – everything.

Be assured, even if the machines do rise, they will need an annual conference for networking, planning, and training. And the Resistance will need a series of events as well!

Who will be first to introduce an event for them?



MPI World Education Congress 2014 | Closing General Session


The Closing General Session at MPI World Education Congress 2014 featured Scott Schenker, the General Manager, Events and Production Studio at Microsoft and Founder of Janus Dialogs.

Scott believes there is magic in discovery and innovation. However the process of innovating is not magical – it comes from observing what others are doing, tapping the collective imaginations of empowered and engaged individuals, and embracing the fringe for new norms.

Developing a habit of appreciating, understanding, and being energized by these new norms – rather than fearing or dismissing them – has been one of Scott’s key to success in the Events industry.

Scott will share insights on how he approaches innovation, searches for new ideas, and “borrows” them from completely different industries to introduce them into the events he and his team organize. He will explore the four reasons for, and the four types of, innovation as well as the importance of looking at social, political, and economic realms, and the bright and shiny technical innovations.


Lessons from Kickstarter | “Person”-alized Marketing and Re-order the Order

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While the technology of additive manufacturing (3d printing) is at the foundation of the 3rd industrial revolution, other social, political, economic, and technical changes are fueling this disruption in more surprising ways.

Kickstarter (@kickstarter), launched only four years ago, serves as a crowd-funding site where those looking to start a project can find those willing to fund it. Unlike micro-loans or micro-investments, where the relationship is one of financial stakeholder, the backers of Kickstarter projects receive the final product and/or some form of thank you like a postcard or tee shirt for their support.

The traditional manufacturing model is build, retail/market, sell/fund, and finally deliver. Kickstarter reorders the process to be more like a service transaction – market, fund, build, deliver. You don’t “buy” a completed album; you back the production of it with the promise to receive a copy once it is completed.

While the reorder eliminates the need to guess what demand will be since orders precede the build, the greater impact is the relationship between the backers and the “starter”. The service model lengthens and tightens the relationship, requiring strong communications, regular updates, and trust. This increased intimacy makes all involved members of a community for (at least) the duration of the project. How is your experience marketing doing when measured against these criteria?

Kickstarter is possibly the ultimate in “people to people” marketing – the backing is truly of the person(s) behind the project. This “person-alization” of the project brings a new dynamic to the buying decision. Emotions such as sympathy, pride, exclusivity, charity, and association are deepened, and deeper, than anything a faceless company might achieve even with the most effective social media campaign.

Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) raised over $1,000,000 from 25,000 backer (ranging from $1 to $10,000 each) for an album, book, and gallery tour. Her project video (each project has one) reflects the “person-alization” aspect of the project, and the number of backers with their 850+ comments shows the extent of the community formed. [Warning: there are a few words within the video and comments that some might take offense with.]

Unfortunately, Kickstarter is starting to see failed projects of significant size – either where the “starter” was fraudulent from the beginning, or not able to complete the project despite using some/all of the backing.

One example, ZionEyez, succeeded in scamming $344,000 from over 2,100 backers. Others, such as Solid Watch, run months behind, upsetting the backer community. Different emotions come to the surface at these times. [Full disclosure: I am a backer of the Solid Watch project.]


While backing projects can be risky, Kickstarter represents a unique way to market, build community, measure demand, and source funds. Imagine asking a bank for a loan to produce an album on spec, it’s unlikely they would back the project. Ask the Kickstarter community to pre order DVDs, or support the project with a few dollars in exchange for tee shirts signed with thank you messages from the band, and you not only raise the funds needed, but build a following at the same time. “Friends and Family” funding on a global scale.

Many projects are related to the arts including albums from bands, plays from actors, books from writers and animators. But some of the most funded become actual commercial successes including video games and technology. The top 10 projects have collected close to $25 million together and results in companies/product such as:

TikTok + Lunatik iPod Nano Strap From Minimal (@ScottWilsonID): TikTok and LunaTik simply transform the iPod Nano into the world’s coolest multi-touch watches.” [Full disclosure: I am a backer of this project.]



Elevation Dock from ElevationLab (@elevationLab): Simple to use, quick undocking, and it works with or without a case.” [Full disclosure: I am a backer of this project.]



E-Pebble from Pebble Technology: Pebble is the first watch built for the 21st century. It’s infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watch faces and useful internet-connected apps.” [Full disclosure: I am a backer of this project.]



Is there room for a change in the development model of your marketing experience? Have, or can, you put a “face” to your marketing making it more “person-alized”? Some companies use mascots or celebrities – what do/can you use? Can you reorder the production process, or gauge interest on trial elements using lessons from this reordering of the order?


Note: As always, the desire of Janus Dialogs is not to adjudicate the appropriateness of any trend, but to bring it to the forefront for consideration by the caretakers for the shared moments in time we call experience marketing.


UPDATE: Thanks to @jessicakausen for contributing an article from @Forbes asking “Is The Crowdfunding Bubble about to Burst?” Talks about topics such as the backlash towards kickstarter projects on a site called KickstarterSucks, which highlights projects “deemed ridiculous” by its two founders; and other possibly misguided uses of the format.


Event Marketing Summit Presentation

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In early May of 2012 I presented at the Event Marketing Summit 5 trends facing the Experience Marketing industry. That presentation is embedded below.



Some additional notes related to this presentation:


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New Norm | Third Industrial Revolution


I was planning on writing this one last week but the Economist beat me to it, and much better than I could.

The impact of this new norm – 3D printing and additive manufacturing – will be nothing less than transformative to all aspects of business, society, and technology.

Think about printing new light fixtures at home whenever you want a new design, to the size and dimensions you need; or restoring a classic car by printing the pieces missing; or going to the 3D printer at home depot for any part for any home appliance every made; or printing custom giveaways on show site, with your prospects and brand together.

You owe it to yourself to read this special report.