The Future of the Internet and Communications

Every year new technologies are changing how we communicate.  Ten years ago the tools we relied on to communicate are completely different to what we use now.  As technology evolves, we are becoming seamlessly and constantly integrated with the internet and communications – being constantly ‘connected’ is exciting and scary. Constant changes in advertising technologies, platforms, and devices have consumers wondering – what is next for the internet and communications?

Artificial Intelligence is the future of advertising. Today major data companies are collecting touch points on every single internet user through tracking pixels. The analysis of these data touch points helps advertisers identify trends in consumer behaviors, helping marketers make more informed decisions about when and how to reach their audiences. Artificial intelligence can provide unique insights into customer journeys. Even placing advertisements on interfaces that marketers might not have known their audience was on. This greatly increases the impressions on advertisements and, helps optimize clicks and conversions.

Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies are the next step for video marketing. Today video is the fastest growing online media for engagement. Video has amplified storytelling on the internet for consumers and companies. Content is king and authentic stories matter in effective branding and messaging. Content has proven to be very impactful in consumer behavior and engagement, and with video content on the rise, it is only a matter of time until augmented and virtual reality become a communication standard.

Interactive Voice Search is the future of communication. Voice is the natural source of communication. In fact, in 2016, 20% of search queries are done by smartphone voice searches. Even though, voice command has been around for a long time, getting the system to communicate with us has taken some time. With the launches of the Amazon Echo, Apple Home Pod, and Google Home, key players in e-commerce, search, and engagement are making it known that investing in voice-activated technologies is the future of communications and interactions.

Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Interactive Voice Search are a few of the key technologies for the future of the internet and communications.  What new technology do you think will help shape the future of communications?


A Timline of Google Adwords

Launched on October 23, 2000, Google Adwords has been around for 17 years. Google Adwords has revolutionized digital advertising, introducing many of the major advertising concepts we use on the internet today.

How Did Google Adwords Transform Digital Advertising?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, banner ads were the dominant internet advertising format. In late 1999, Google introduced a form of native advertising to the mix. They decided to sell only unobtrusive text ads and target those ads based on search terms to keep them separate from organic results.

When first introduced the text ads were sold by a sales rep. There was no self-serve, no bidding, and no pay-per-click(PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC).

The advancements made on Google Adwords throughout the years have transformed the landscape of online E-commerce. And as digital is constantly evolving, it is important to know where we came from so we can predict where we will go.

A Google Adwords’ Timeline

Check out this timeline of 17 of Google Adwords’ most important milestones to celebrate their 17th birthday:

  • October 23, 2000 – AdWords launches with a total of 350 advertisers, some of the first advertisers were:
  • February 2002 – Introduction of Cost Per Click (CPC) pricing
  • April 2003 – Google acquires Applied Semantics
  • November 2005 – Google Analytics is launched
  • August 2007 – Google introduces the first video ads to YouTube
  • September 2007 – AdSense for Mobile launched
  • March 2008 – Google finalizes its acquisition of DoubleClick
  • May 2010 – Remarketing comes to the Google Display Network
  • June 2012 – Google Product Search becomes Google Shopping, transforming the business model from organic to paid.
  • August 2014 – Website Call Conversions announced
  • September 2014 – Ad customizers are introduced
  • September 2015 – Native Gmail Ads launched
  • December 2015 – Google introduces Smart Goals
  • January 2016 – Google AdWords app launched for iOS
  • February 2016 – Google eliminates PPC ads from the right-hand side of the SERP, a bold move toward a ‘mobile-first’ approach to AdWords
  • July 2016 – Expanded Text Ads officially launched
  • September 2016 – Facebook surpasses 4 million advertisers – a number higher than the total number of advertisers on Google AdWords

    Source:  “An Interactive History of Google AdWords.” WordStream,www.wordstream.com/articles/interactive-history-of-adwords.

Artificial intelligence (AI), video advertising, and augmented reality are all new forms of advertising that companies and marketers are experimenting with. As a marketer and advertiser, I am most excited about how augmented reality will transform this industry.

Now that you have a clear direction of how far we’ve come with Google Adwords and digital advertising as a whole, where do you think the future of digital advertising will go?


Ted-Talking About The Internet

According to Wikipedia, the internet is defined as the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to link devices worldwide. Today we use the internet to do absolutely everything.  However, the internet has a lot of pros and cons. Here are 3 Ted talks about the internet to help you balance the zeros and ones.

  1. How Cognitive Surplus Will Change The World by Clay Shirky
  2. Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” by Eli Pariser
  3. Why Videos Go Viral by Kevin Allocca

Check out these 3 ted talks at https://www.ted.com/playlists/26/our_digital_lives.

A little more about my favorite talks: 

In Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”, discover the filter bubble. This is a cause of the deep insights being performed on consumers by big data companies. These companies trap our actions and behaviors on the internet. But what will they do with the data? And what does it mean for consumers?

What are some of your thoughts on the pros and cons of always being interconnected?



4 Ways Walmart Is Using AI & Big Data to Improve The Customer Experience

Walmart is one of the oldest retail chains in the country, however, it is still on the cutting age of retail technology. Since, 1962, Walmart has remained relevant by providing a seamless customer experience and today, to do that they are bridging the gap between online and in-store retail. 

Check out these four ways Walmart is remaining innovative during the age of big data: 

  1. Pick-Up Towers 

Walmart launched 16 x 8-foot self-service kiosks at the entrance of stores for customers to retrieve online orders. Customers who’ve purchased items online can just scan the barcode on their online receipt and their products appear on a conveyor belt 45 seconds later.  The Walmart Pick-Up Towers have been an improvement over their traditional pickup process. 

      2.  Facial Recognition

Walmart is researching ways to use machines to identify levels of frustration on customers as they wait in line. The machines will learn to identify different levels of frustration. As the machines become more intelligent they could trigger additional resources to run the checkouts. 

     3. IoT to Monitor Products

Walmart filed a patent application to integrate IoT tags to products. These tags would provide insights into product usage, auto replace products. It would also monitor expiration dates and product recalls. The data collected would help Walmart determine when and where products are being used.  The patent relies on a variety of technology including Bluetooth and barcodes. 

For marketers, the data collected through this patent could help create personalized advertising and cross-selling opportunities. 

The tech world looks forward to the next level of Walmart retail innovation. Hopefully, it will be to buy me milk every time I runout and forget to buy. 


ISPs and Internet Privacy

Back in October, the FCC passed a law that never went into effect. This law would have required that Internet Service Providers receive explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data like financial or health information, or browsing history were to be shared or sold. The law never went into effect because Congress repealed it recently.

Today advertisers’ audiences are spread across devices. Internet Service Providers are the missing piece of information that advertisers need to connect internet users across devices. There is an incredible amount of user behavior data in this. This would greatly increase the amount of data that is mined from people and sold to companies.

For advertisers, the most interested and valuable data is search, social media data and ISPs can get them closer to understanding this.  Would this give marketers and advertisers too much of an insight into consumers?  Or because this is the time of instant gratification,  do today’s consumers want hyper targeted advertisements to cut out media noise?



3 Companies Bridging The Digital Divide

What is the Digital Divide?

The digital divide is the gap between demographics, regions, and personal choices that separate the computer literate an the computer illiterate. This is the difference between persons with access to modern information and information platforms. The digital divide exists between:

  • the educated and uneducated
  • between socioeconomic groups
  • globally – nations that have access and nations that do not or have limited/restricted

The digital divide can be seen in low-performance computers, lower-speed wireless connections, limited access to subscription-based content and more…


The digital divide is very real. In a 2013 study, the U.S White House broadband report showed that only 71% of American homes have adopted broadband. 


How can we improve on the digital divide?

There are many ways to improve the digital divide including:

  • improved literacy
  • democracy
  • social mobility
  • economic growth
  • economic equality


3 Companies Helping Bridge The Digital Divide Gap

  1. Amazon Prime Student Subscription

Prime student seeks to bridge the digital divide for students. If you have a .edu email address you can sign up for Prime Student. This give you access to a free six-month Amazon Prime trial. You will receive free two day shipping on eligible products, unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and media, unlimited photo storage and student exclusive discounts/deals. At the ends of the trial, you will be eligible for 50% off a Prime membership.

    2. Comcast’s Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials seeks to bridge the digital divide for low-income families. It provides families discounted monthly broadband internet service. They also provide the hardware on a need basis. The program takes bridging the digital divide a step further by also offering extensive free digital literacy instruction, on-line and in-person in English or Spanish.

     3. The Accountability Lab

The Accountability Lab is trying to bridge the digital divide gap globally. They are currently working with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism in Liberia to build an open data hub and government information portal. This project combined with mobile penetration and internet literacy initiatives are helping provide critical information to thousands of citizens in Liberia.




What is ‘Social’ by ‘Social Definitions’?

Social media – we live by it, companies are desperately trying to grasp it, and your older relatives are telling you it is rotting your brain. (Funny thing is they use it more than anyone!)

We are all familiar with the concept- create your profile, build your friend base…use it…use it…use it. But what actually is a social network and what makes it social? Why are all website social media? You can interact with people on them. You can create a profile on some of them, make comments, and engage with others, but many of our favorite websites that do this are not considered ‘social’ by the ‘social definition’.  So, what is a social network and what defines it? 

What is a social network?

Social networks are virtual communities, usually profile based, that bring people together who share certain interests or ideas, to interact with each other, make new friends, and post media. On social networks, millions of different people can create new content to be distributed, shared, or altered. Sounds similar to a website right? Wrong, there are 3 distinct features that a social network must have to define it as ‘social’.

What defines a social network?

A social networking site is defined as a web-based service that allows individuals to:

  1. Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system. 
  2. Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection. 
  3. View and traverse their list of connection and those made by others within in the system.

This defines a ‘true’ social network, according to a 2007 scholarly article by Boyd and Ellison.

Now that you know the true definition of a social network, which platforms that you use are ‘social’ by ‘social definitions’?



The Internet … 30 Years Ago

In a land far, far away, there was no modern day internet. Today we: send emails; make calls; share media and information, and develop relationships over the internet. A study by Pew Research Center conducted in December 2015, found that 73% of people who live in the United States use the internet daily.

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The internet is everything superficial to us. But in the year 1957, the internet as we know it did not exist. What was the internet like in 1957 and what concepts help shape it into the internet of today?

The Internet in 1957

In the year 1957, computers only worked on one task at a time. This was called batch processing. Computers were extremely large machines and had to be stored in special cool rooms. Developers were not able to work directly with them. This indirect programming leads to many computer bugs.

Remote Connections – The First Step

In 1957, remote connections were installed so developers could work directly on computers.

Time Sharing – Another One

Time sharing is the sharing of the processing power of one computer with multiple users. The idea of time sharing was first introduced in 1957 and became the first concept in computer technology as we know it today.

The Cold War Heats Up The Internet

The next step in the development of the internet was on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik 1.  This was the Earth’s first official satellite in space. The United States fired back with a technology of their own, DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, was the large scale knowledge transferring system. From DARPA’s central role in the information revolution that helped further the development of ARPANET.  The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, also known as ARPANET, was an early packet switching network. It was also the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP.

Packet switching and the protocol suite TCP/IP were fundamental concepts in the development of the internet. Check out the whole history of the internet.


Media Convergence: Changing the World – One Connection At A Time

Smart phones, Facebook, and tablets. Oh, my! This just touches the surface on how many devices we have nowadays to connect us with each other. Don’t have my number, Facebook message me, not on Facebook, slide into my Instagram DMs. It is almost impossible to fall off the map. And what’s more impossible, turning a blind eye to media.
So what makes us so connected? Is it our constant longing for human attention? What about our obsession with knowing everything that is happening in the world, at all times? It’s both, but you can blame media convergence. Media convergence is the interconnectivity of platforms and devices. In English, you can now watch your favorite television show on your smart phone, tablet, computer, or desktop. You can catch a basketball game LIVE on Facebook. That’s media convergence. And it’s changing the world!
How might you ask? Well, there are three ways it is altering the way we interact with media, companies, and each other.

Big Data and Media Convergence

The first and most important way media convergence is changing the world is the rise of big data. Media convergence is one of the reasons companies can literally market to you anywhere. Because all of our internet touch points are being tracked in combination with our devices, the ‘eye in the sky’ knows exactly what you Google. It knows exactly how long you spent watching Netflix today- 5 hours, #alwayswatching. It is changing what companies know about us. We are no longer apart of a demographic, we are categorized by our online behaviors. Don’t believe me, every time you see a “like us on Facebook” plugin on a website you are being tracked. Every time you enter a website, there are cookies on it. However, big data is not all bad. Marketers and advertisers can now fully understand you. They can present you with products, services, and content you never knew you wanted. My only advice, watch what you are Googling late night.

Instant Gratification and Social Media

The second way media convergence is changing the world is the idea of instant gratification. You can now watch your favorite shows, listen to your favorite music, or see what your friends are doing on Snapchat, anytime and anywhere.  The media you want to consume is at your fingertips at all times. You can have it in the time it takes to load a mobile app, a web page, or platform. In the past, TV shows were events. Everyone gathered around the television at 8:00 PM on Thursday to watch Friends. Today, you can use your smart phone to watch it live or your DVR to record it and skip commercials. Media convergence, taking couch potatoes to the next level!

“Do It For The Gram – Or Whatever Platform You Use”

The third way media convergence is changing the world is creating media producers out of media consumers.  Social media and Web 2.0 are a direct result of media convergence.  You can create posts, tweet, take pictures; in a matter of minutes. And with the rise of instant gratification we discussed before, people are doing this more and more. “How many likes did I get?” “Did you see what I just shared with you?” “Do it for the gram!” These are all examples of everyday language that has evolved because we as media consumers are also producers. And companies are capitalizing on this! What a better way to get people involved with your marketing campaigns then having them make a video for you. Every day more companies are turning to curated content to push out to their consumers. And what better way to know what consumers want to see from advertising then letting them do it themselves.
Media convergence has changed the world in many ways. It allows for media consumers to be in control of what they consume and when. It lets them create their own media and most importantly it gives us, marketing, communications, and advertising professionals insights into the consumer behavior that we have never had before.