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Being Practical: Lessons Learned from the 2016 Interactive Festival

By March 21, 2016 November 7th, 2017 No Comments

At the world’s largest interactive festival took place in our hometown of Austin, TX, we got a glimmer of the future. However, I think it is equally important to understand what paths we can take today that will lead us to being ahead of these future trends. There is no question in my mind, that virtual reality was the “buzziest” of trends at the festival. Companies from McDonalds, Dell, Gillette, IBM and others all had different experiences experimenting with virtual reality. But, just as Fortune called McDonald’s VR experience gimmicky, virtual reality may have fewer practical applications today. Perhaps the most practical of all the VR installations was IBM’s bicycle ride with ultra cyclist and small business owner Dave Haase on his putting data into action to improve his performance. The use of virtual reality to train people using the data collected and analyzed by the cyclist and his small team provided huge gains to their results. I can see opportunities where companies of all sizes can leverage VR for training purposes.

It is time to be Remarkable

Last week, we published a story on how Patrick from the new MiniDoughnutFactory in Tampa has been having lines out his door with his simple social media strategy. Make sure every box of doughnuts is ready to have a picture taken and posted to Facebook and Instagram. Simple but remarkable. While walking the trade show in Austin last week, I ran into Olloclip CEO, Steve Muttram. I personally have used Olloclip lenses on my iPhone for the last several years. These inexpensive clip on lenses to your iPhone allow you to change the way your photos look and add some more visual interest with the ability to go wider, fisheye, telephoto and macro options. Here is Steve to show you how:

Right before the festival, Facebook announced the acquisition of the MSQRD app. Like SnapChat, Instagram or the Dynamite app, it allows you to apply filters to your visual content. Larry Lieberman, the CEO of the Dynamite app explained to us how an SMB is using these filters to stand out from his competition:

Data, Data everywhere but how will it be processed

Thirteen years ago, I co-founded the Web Analytics Association (now the Digital Analytics Association) understanding the challenge most organizations were having processing and analyzing web analytics data and finding analysts. We are on the verge of the Internet of Things explosion where billions of new digital data sources will begin to add an exponential amount of data to our world. The good news is that Artificial Intelligence agents are developing rapidly and will be in place to help us. From Apple Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Now, Amy at scheduling appointments for you, and Chef Watson planning recipes for meals and drinks based on what ingredients you have at hand or helping with customer service, there will be more and more artificial intelligence applications to make use and put into action the data that would otherwise overwhelm us.

Location, Location, Location

We live in the world of context. What of the most valuable pieces of data we can gather about consumers today is location data based on their mobile devices and usage that they carry around 24/7. I met up with David Kaplan from who explained to us the top 3 things SMBs should know about using geo location data:–c

How will you apply these technology trends to your business?

Marc Smookler

About Marc Smookler

Marc Smookler has founded 6 companies—2 of which have been acquired and 3 of which are market leaders in their respective spaces—the leading brick-and-mortar retail analytics company (, a leading online retailer (, and a cutting-edge marketing services platform ( Marc’s companies have generated over $300M in lifetime revenues and sold over 150,000 products worldwide.

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