Now I understand Google glass – #SMCAKL – Through the looking glass

Well, call me a cynic but I wasn’t convinced having tech strapped onto my glasses would be worth the ergonomic nightmare and invasion of layers interfering with my reality.

Tonight’s social media club Auckland on augmented reality featured some great insights on the possibilities of social media listening tools from Oracle (don’t mention the Americas cup).
We also saw cats, soccer and some great app based experiences and extensions of brand touch points from @imersia. They’re doing some great work with brands to create third world come augmented experiences for many brands. A great tie or invitation for multichannel brand experiences.

There’s a definite hurdle with all AR apps that having good data plans can help – as you’ve got to download the app to start the interaction – and have a WiFi or 4G connection to get the full experience (forgive the employer plug). But once downloaded there’s some amazing interactions available. I almost wonder who can (or will) seal a deal with an OS provider to pre install or at least create some API for AR interactions.

me wearing google glass :-)

Mark Billinghurst from @HITlabNZ presented an interesting history. That of social media and then the progression – from cameras strapped to foreheads – right through to the current beta Google Glass trials. A great case of who you know vs. what you know and being in the right place at the right time. All without fear of looking crazy with cyborg like appendages.

As the project has progressed, many of the worlds leading tech experts have been invited to GoogleHQ to sample the experience. We were lucky enough to have a live demo and hands on with the samples Mark brought back.

Here’s Sergey Brin giving background and his intro to glass.

The software and Google suite experience through glass was impressive, even if the current tech specs of 5MP pics and 720P video are perhaps low or an iteration off smartphone hero stats. A relatively simple voice activation or swipe to choose menu items or launch apps was easy and intuitive. Even the simplest of activities like heads up walking directions, email or meeting alerts and geofenced annotations reminding you to get milk – looked great.

Whilst many will harp on about privacy issues I can already see a security use for google glass and the police making special requests. Could you imagine, like a donor list, subscribing to have your glass switched on in emergencies to record video. Say for example you’re in line of sight and within a geolocation of a crime your glass can be switched on to anonymously record crimes. Jury time could reach an all time low. Policemen could also wear them on auto record for quality purposes.

Even better, if you could stream constantly, you use image recognition to replace the Internet of things. Google glass could see you’re out of milk and prompt you at 5pm when you pass the store heading home, and suggest an alternative route if traffics heavy. Or even suggest a walk in the sun with the kids if you had too much pizza over lunch.

Perhaps it’s Orwellian and slightly scary, but with the right explicit personal control I’m IN. Just think of the collective knowledge potential for humankind! The fastest way to tie your shoelaces is spreading so slow!

Rights, Critics, Publishers And Social Media In The Music Industry

Last night I attended my first Social Media focused event here in Auckland. Held by the Social Media Club Auckland called ‘Tweet to the Beat – When Music and Social Media Collide’

The evening had some great cider and pizza pre start and then after a short ‘shiny new thing’ segment covering the website 25mostplayed.com, a very open panel with some interesting music industry figures and experts.

Here’s a quick rundown of my takeaways from the event.

25 most played
A compelling concept that – via Facebook opengraph, an app on your main iTunes mac and a weekly update – lets you share and compare your 25 most played songs with others.

Not that interesting for those with distinct taste, but there was a business element building.

We reviewed lists by those that ‘liked’ a fashion retailer. This could be a great way to pull a play list for your retail outlet that resonates with your clientele right? Also, they’re working on developing check-in facilities. So – if you check into a venue your 25 most could then be added to their playlist.

With genre based filtering to fit the locale, this could mean everywhere plays music you like or close to it.

Aggregators and Curation
25 most played reminded me of the recent news Matt Cutts released about Penguin 2.0 – Google’s wave of updates.

There’s a specific focus there on understanding curation sites like paper.li and scoop.it. I think sites like this will play a larger role in both mechanical aggregation of friends activity, but also as a space for experts to share their opinion. Something Google is also focusing on, understanding people who are an expert in X.

Dean Campbell talked of this a little and the struggles as a reporter to get interviews with some artists. This being a very strong signal of who is influential in an industry. He was the only one to get an official interview with Lorde, New Zealand’s latest teen success story.

Social media is giving more space for everyone to share opinions. We see their relative importance as likes, follows and retweets. Still, there is a large space for industry experts, critics and connected consultants to make or break an artist.

Mystique and scarcity is also a tactic in social media

Scott McLauchlan of Universal and Saiko (who represent Lorde and Mt Eden) spoke of their efforts NOT to share too much about Lorde’s life – which is paying off. It also allows her to be authentic, saves on ghost writers and keeps her fans wanting more.

I can see this tactic working well for luxury brands as well but the mantra of ‘sharing valuable content not just sharing’ works for all digital marketing in my books.

Rights and economies of scale

Fiona Perry and Paul McLaney AKA Gramsci talked of holding onto the rights to your music as a must and that streaming music, and royalties from each play is the future, but it’s still yet to gain critical mass. Also of interest was that the Finns (Crowded House) are probably the only Kiwis to earn enough from iTunes to live off it. And, according to Fiona, the admin and data processing to check all the pips and cents from each streaming sites leaves little in profits.
There seems to be still a stronger focus on big data, technology and standards to allow these streams to be profitable whilst working with the percentages the big labels take ask Spotify.

They also reiterated that Universal, Sony and the other big players with their contacts, scale and marketing will still be needed if you aim to make the big time.
But more and more bands are making money from the gigs, merchandise and appearances along with the music. Sideline ventures bringing in money I guess means they’re keen to get their songs heard and clips watched online to build their brand…

I’ll leave you with a catchy number from Lorde. I’m sure she values the experience, contacts and influence Scott and his team provide.