Author Archive for Frank Gilbane

Gilbane Digital Content Conference – last day to get special hotel rate

Today is the last day the hotel will accept reservations at the discounted group rate for the Gilbane Digital Content Conference! Book Today in order to receive the discounted rates! See below for more information:

Hotel Reservations

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the official conference hotel for the Gilbane Digital Content Conference 2016. The following discounted guest room rates (plus applicable taxes) have been arranged for attendees who book by November 11, 2016.

  • Fairmont Rooms (one queen bed): $249 single/double
  • Deluxe Rooms (two double beds or one king bed): $279 single/double

Please note that the discounted room block is subject to availability and therefore is not guaranteed. So, please book early! As a special consideration for our attendees, the discounted group rate includes complementary in-room WIFI.

Reservations can be made online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/gilbaneconf2016.

Or, to make a reservation by phone please call the Fairmont Global Reservation Centre at 1-800-441-1414. Be sure to mention you will be attending the Gilbane Conference in Boston so you receive the discounted group rate.

Gilbane Conference Opening Keynote Presentations

Wednesday, December 2, 8:30 am – Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston

Gilbane conference opening keynote

Moderator: Frank Gilbane, Founder, Bluebill Advisors, Gilbane Conference

Donna Tuths, Global Managing Director, Accenture Interactive, Accenture Digital
Global Marketers and Digital Transformation: What They are Doing and What They are Thinking

Scott Brinker, Founder, chiefmartec.com & Co-founder & CTO, ion interactive
Building an Infrastructure for Marketing Digital Transformation

Jon Marks, CTO and co-founder, Kaldor
Are Apps All They’re Cracked Up to Be? (Or Should We Just Embrace Mobile Web Instead?)

Scott Calderwood, Director, Digital Web Strategy, SAS Institute
Key Ingredients for Today’s Modern Web Experience

Michele J. Givens, Publisher and General Manager, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.
Strategies for Improving Digital Outreach & Increasing Audience Engagement

The complete schedule, program and other details can be found at gilbaneconference.com.

Stay up-to-date between now and the conference with the Gilbane Advisor.

What is your experience using technology analyst firms?

If you use analyst firms to inform your technology strategy you have a lot to choose from. Analyst firms come in all shapes and sizes and their individual strengths and weaknesses, especially in terms of technology expertise, is not constant. They have the same keeping-up-with-new-technology “whack-a-mole” problem everyone else has. Even worse, analyst firm business models leads to a “create-a-category” challenge, which is further complicated by the needs of their technology product customers who have their own ideas about product categories and trends.

Companies that can afford it wisely hedge their bets by working with multiple analyst firms. But whether you work with one or many choosing them can be intimidating. One useful tool is the annual Analyst Value Survey conducted by Kea Company. They have a detailed report you can buy, but they also publish useful findings and commentary in press releases and their blog.

The Analyst Value Survey (AVS) is the only public survey into how people value different analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester and dozens of mid-sized firms. The survey has been annually held since 2000.

Buyers of analyst services use the results of the AVS to see which firms are perceived as delivering the highest impact on their IT decision making.

Technology Providers use the AVS to improve and justify their prioritisation of relationships with analysts who impact their business.

Research Firms use the AVS to understand how they can deliver more value and overtake their competition.

See more information about their survey, or share your own experience by taking the survey now.

 

iOS / Web developer opportunity with MassChallenge startup

A startup I am advising in Boston is in this year’s MassChallenge accelerator program and looking for a developer to work mainly on their iOS app. The company is AutismSees, and the description of the job is below. If interested please respond to: autismsees@gmail.com

We are looking to hire a coder who is proficient in iOS as well as web development. (Java, HTML, CSS)

Podium

Is an app that allows practice of an interview or one on one conversation with real-time feedback and a score on the practice session based on voice recognition, eye / facial tracking software. Data and analytics are given to Autism Research on social and communication interactions. The app rewards users for practicing, and for increasing eye contact and successful body language during practice. Ability to export scored video interview to therapist, coach, mentor, or future employer.

Our mission is to enhance the social and occupational functioning of teens and young adults with technology that allows users to practice speaking, interviewing, and presenting to an audience.

We are entering Mass Challenge in Boston 2015 and also received the Ozy Genius Award for our development of the app this summer.

This person would ideally be someone who could integrate to our team and work alongside me as an Independent Service Provider (contracted basis) for equity in the company if we choose to hire them for the team at close of the summer.

The project is to develop an iOS app with integrated facial and eye tracking software (already in place from Visage in our product) based on designs our team is building. The app will allow users to stream questions from our Podium interface live on-screen of the application, with a start and stop time for each question. The user can select an audience on-screen to practice speaking to and receive feedback (in-app) based on the results of their speech timing, and the Visage Software.

The developer would need to work well with a team and with our Advisor for Technology Development at Tufts. He or She also needs to have a creative vision and passion for helping others – a desire to code something to help students around the world improve social and communication skills.

The future of watches

Apple watch image - copyright Apple“The future of watches” title is a bit grand for this brief post, but this is somewhat of a companion piece to The future of tablets and the context of both is the evolution of computing devices. In the case of tablets we are still figuring out their role in the ecosystem after many years and over four since the initial iPad, the first breakthrough tablet. It will also take some time, and development, to see where smartwatches fit in, but it is now a much more interesting question.

The Apple watch announcement stumped many commentators who needed extra time to digest it. A reasonable reaction given neither product nor platform are done yet. This makes it a bit difficult for technology, market, or financial analysts to answer questions like what the Apple watch is really for, whether it is a new product category, will it be another breakthrough product for Apple, how it will change the mix of Apple revenue, do I actually need or want one.

Communication has been the killer app for computing at least since the Web and is why smartphones are the current king of the hill. Smartwatches are the most likely next-in-line competition to smartphones, certainly more so than tablets or glasses, before we enter the world of implants, stick-ons, or other fashion accessory choices. Smartwatches with phone functionality could surpass smartphones as the planet’s most popular personal computer: easier to carry around, potentially cheaper.

Apple would not be investing so heavily if they didn’t expect smartwatches to overtake or at least approximate the success of smartphones. They are betting large on the watch becoming a general purpose computer in the same way the iPhone has.

Or, they are reaching even further…

It doesn’t make sense for Apple to invest much in accessories, or niche markets. Even fitness is not interesting enough in itself. However, fitness is a great way to enter into the much larger healthcare opportunity, which in turn provides an environment to learn about new user experience technology and the complex device integration and data sharing necessary for it, and other complicated applications of general purpose computing. The iPhone would also benefit. This path also has the advantage of providing cover.

Also see:

Rich ruminating… Ben Evans: Ways to think about watches.

Working through what the Apple watch is about… Ben Thompson: What I Got Wrong About Apple Watch and Why Now for Apple Watch

Compared to other smartwatches… Rachel Metz:  Is This the Smart Watch You’ve Been Looking For?

Review from a watch industry analyst… Ariel Adams: Apple Watch Hands-On: The Wristwatch Just Caught Up To The 21st Century

The future of tablets

The future of tablets isn’t what analysts thought a year ago, or even last fall.

The market for PCs continues to decline (but at a slowing rate: IDC, Gartner), yet tablet growth is also slowing forcing many analysts to scale back their forecasts. Smartphone growth is slowing as well.

There is a lot of discussion, mainly from an investor point of view about why: saturation, price points, supplier market share, etc., that are relevant for both business and consumer markets. Recently the focus has been on iPads because of Apple’s earnings call but the trend is not limited to Apple.

Why aren’t tablets taking more share away from PCs?

Given the phenomenal growth of tablets the last few years, their computing power, and the large overlap of general use cases shared with PCs (email, browsing) it did seem that tablets were on track replace PCs in large numbers. But the use case overlap was not large enough to support the forecasts. Tablets are tweeners, fighting for space between the superior communications of smartphones and greater productivity of PCs. Being in the middle is not normally a desirable spot for a product, but tablets excel at information and entertainment consumption and this middle is a pretty big and happy place to be.

What do we use PCs for? For years we have been using PCs for some combination of productivity, information / entertainment consumption, and communication. PCs were largely designed and most useful for productivity, whether business or personal, and that’s why we bought them. As PCs evolved and became capable and appealing for information/entertainment consumption and communication we bought more of them. And at some point whatever motivated us to buy a PC, our actual use of them flipped – we now spend a higher percentage of time using our PCs for information / entertainment consumption and communication than we do for productivity. And of course this is the domain of tablets and why they have taken as much of the PC market as they have.

But tablets are simply not as good as PCs for a large number of productivity applications. Until they are this will act as a governor on tablet growth and allow for a shrinking but still large market for PCs.

In The iPad Is a Tease Jean-Louis Gassée points out that:

So far, Apple’s bet has been to keep the iPad simple, rigidly so perhaps, rather than creating a neither-nor product: No longer charmingly simple, but not powerful enough for real productivity tasks. But if the iPad wants to cannibalize more of the PC market, it will have to remove a few walls.

I would say Gassée’s post is from the point of view of a user who would like to replace his PC with an iPad but can’t, that this is a larger cohort than enterprise users or even power users, and that this is the best way to think about the productivity penalty portion of slowing iPad sales.

What would make a significant dent in the iPad’s productivity penalty? Microsoft Office support alone is necessary but not sufficient. A better solution for text entry than accessory keyboards, smooth and rapid app switching, and easy file access would each make a big difference. See below for links to other thoughts.

There is also a maddening and ironic side effect of using iPads for industry applications where they are productivity enhancers. For example, I used to be able to choose between an iPad (mostly research and entertainment) and a laptop (mostly work) for most trips, but a couple of my current projects include working with apps that only run on the iPad. I can’t be productive without having both an iPad and a laptop. Even in the office I often need both within reach. Unfortunately this situation is likely to get worse as more iOS, (and Android!) productivity apps appear.

Watch out for smartphones

Benedict Evans suggested another avenue for inquiry in a tweet:

.@asymco @gassee posit: slow iPad sales are worse news for the PC market: implies phones can take the greater share of PC use cases

— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) April 21, 2014

I don’t know Benedict, but I picture him smiling devilishly as he composed that tweet. As well he should have.

The more types of computing devices there are the more complicated figuring out use case fit is going to be.

The future of tablets

The future of tablets seems promising in the near term since neither PCs nor smartphones can match their information and entertainment consumption experience and tablets will get better at aiding productivity. The better they get the more market share they’ll take. And of course we haven’t seen all the new industry apps where the tablet form factor and interface is a net productivity advantage.

On the other hand, the right kind of user interface – perhaps a high resolution holographic interface not dependent on form factors for projection – would free us from our quaint categories of PCs, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, glasses, and be truly disruptive. Once computing power and user interfaces become independent of physical size all bets are off.

Further reading on iPad growth:

The iPad’s Curse — Ben Bajarin

iPads and Tablet Growth – Benedict Evans

Don’t Give up on the iPad – Ben Thompson

How Apple Could Continue to Own the Enterprise Tablet Market — Tim Bajarin

The Astonishing, Disappointing iPad – MG Siegler

Marketing strategy versus technology – should be a virtuous circle

Scott Brinker has another must-read post. I excerpt parts of his post below so I can expand on it a bit but you should read his full post along with the comments.

In his post Scott explains he is responding to statements made in a podcast by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. After linking to the podcast and agreeing with much of what they say Scott makes three points:

  1. “Marketing technology is not just about efficiency — it’s about experiences.
  2. The relationship between strategy and technology is circular, not linear.
  3. Marketers cannot abdicate their responsibility to understand technology.”

and mentions the one quote he really disagrees with (emphasis is Scott’s):

“Figure out your process first. And then get aligned with your internal IT guys to figure out what it is you exactly need to facilitate. Because that’s the only thing that technology will ever, ever do. The only thing technology will ever do is facilitate a process that you have more efficiently. That’s all it’s ever going to do.”

That is a pretty strong recommendation for option A in Scott’s illustration below.

strategy technology circular

Scott Brinker – strategy and technology are circular

I want to make three points:

  • The fact that the relationship between technology and strategy is circular – that they have to inform, influence, and advance with each other – is true of all enterprise applications and for all functions and has always been true.
  • If you replace “technology” with “data” or “big data” or “analytics” the points that Scott makes are equally valid. (For a different take on this see Big data and decision making: data vs intuition.)
  • Technology is not just a set of product features. The features are possible because of creative combinations of underlying software concepts, programming languages, data structures, and architectures. Without some understanding of the underlying fundamentals it is natural to think product features define software capabilities and thus to limit insight into strategy possibilities. Marketers (or other professionals) with little to no technical background can compare feature sets and build strategies that match, or build strategies and look for the set of already existing product features to match. Each of these illustrate what we might call the bad kind of circularity (as we mean when we call an argument circular) and they handicap innovation. The good kind of circularity is a strategy/technology dialog of what ifs, informed by what might be possible, not by what is already known.

It is both natural and common for consultants to overemphasize option A, because way too often option B is overemphasized at the expense of option A by both their customers and technology vendors. Good consultants spend a lot of time and effort helping customers overcome an under-appreciation or political deprecation of the importance of strategy. But all of us need to be careful not to suggest either linear false choice.

What is Content, Context, and Educational Marketing?

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

You could say that our conference has assumed content marketing since our initial focus on web content management has always attracted marketers. But there is certainly a lot more attention now paid to the crafting of content, as well as to matching content to context whether that is channel context, customer context, buying-cycle context, or better, at least these three. In spite of the wise-cracky session description, you will hear thoughtful and reliable commentary on one of the biggest buzz terms of the year.

C5. Content, Context, and Educational Marketing

Wednesday, December, 4: 9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

Content Marketing is certainly hot. But what is it? Is it new? Is it old? Was there ever a time when marketing was content-free? Has it always been content-free? Is there some new kind of content that makes marketing different? Is it a strategy, a methodology, a parallel universe? Snarkiness aside, it is easy to see that carefully created or chosen content can help improve success rates of different kinds of marketing objectives. This session takes a serious look at what content marketing is today, how you can use it, and how it is evolving.

Moderator:
Jose Castillo, President, thinkjose

Speakers:
Kipp Bodnar, Director of Marketing, Hubspot
WTF is Context Marketing?
Doug Bolin, Associate Director, User Experience Design, Creative, DigitasLBi, and Adjunct Professor, Mass Art
Beyond Content Marketing, The Emergence of Edumarketing

 

Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

Digital experience designers are familiar with the approach of responsive design even if they haven’t used it. If they have used it they know it is not quite as easy as it first sounds, and the popularity of responsive design courses suggests there is a still a lot of learning going on. But even if you don’t need to understand the code, if you are a marketing manager you need to know what you can expect responsive design to accomplish and what level of effort it entails.

C2. Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

Tuesday, December, 3: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Responsive design has been around since the early days of the browser wars, but as mobile channels grew it became both more important and more complex. Gone are the days when new digital channels, form factors, and other device characteristics can be anticipated and digital strategies need to reflect this new reality. This session will provide multiple perspectives on what responsive design can do, what its limitations are, and what its future challenges are.

Moderator:
Tom Anderson, President, Anderson Digital

Speakers:
Scott Noonan, Chief Technology Officer, Boston Interactive
In Koo Kim, Senior Manager, MOBEX, NorthPoint Digital
Scrap the Big Launch, Fly a Kite: How to Create and Maintain Control of Smarter Mobile Apps with Real-Time UI Updates, A/B Testing, and Personalization
Christopher S Carter, General Manager, aLanguageBank
Are You Prepared to Create Content for the Internet of Things?

 

Multi-channel Publishing and Content Reuse

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

We’re big believers in the potential for learning from colleagues in other industries. There are many shared challenges crossing vertical boundaries not always obvious because of different vocabularies, and often a gem can be found in the variety of solutions, or an idea can be sparked by a slightly different lens on the problem. The publishing industry’s influence on computing and digital experiences goes way back and is especially applicable horizontally – markup languages, style sheets, electronic type – and of course multi-channel publishing. This is why we have usually included a publishing track in our conferences. This session looks at how a couple of publishers have dealt with some thorny multichannel publishing issues.

P2. Multi-channel Publishing and Content Reuse

Tuesday, December, 3: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

In this session two publishing organizations report on projects that involve moving publications and existing content from print to multi-channel digital. Business Insurance, part of Crain Communications, implemented a digital publishing strategy that supports interactive digital content and content reuse across print, Web, iOS, and Android, all based on HTML5. Wolters Kluwer Health now creates textbooks with versions for print, multiple eBook formats, and integration with Learning Management Systems and other advanced learning tools. As part of their multi year initiative they report on a recent project where they implemented round tripping between XML and author-editable Word documents, and discusses the technical and organizational problems they solved.

Moderator:
Tom Brown, VP, Multichannel Solutions, HP

Speakers:
Dave White, Chief Technology Officer, Quark Software Inc.
Case Study: Transforming Print Content into Mobile and Web Apps
Ken Golkin, Technical Project Manager, Wolters Kluwer Health
and
Niels Nielsen, Managing Director, Avalon Consulting, LLC
Long Cycle Reuse in Textbook Publishing: Cracking the XML–>Word–>XML Round Trip Nut