Six Lessons We Can Learn from the Leaders in Tech

by Camille Blanchard, VP, Head of Innovation, West Cary Group


If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the future of marketing and technology disruptions, you should become a card-carrying GAM FAN. That is, you should be knowledgeable about the acquisitions and movements of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix (acronym: GAM FAN). Their calculated actions often provide clues to oncoming shifts in the landscape.

With that in mind, let’s take a look and see if WCGi can make sensible predictions based on reported news and activity. In "GAM FAN" order:

Prediction One: Google Expands its Dominance

Remember when Apple used to possess the crown for creating exciting events? The audience was filled with anticipation. Early adopters and tech professionals couldn’t wait to stop live-tweeting and start reporting on the next great gadget that would disrupt the space.

While everyone was looking in Apple’s direction, Google snatched the headdress. In a single October 4 event, the tech giant: unveiled its new virtual reality (VR) phone, the Pixel; introduced its Daydream View VR headset to the world; and announced the release of Amazon Echo competitor Google Home.

Google is dominating virtually every aspect of our lives – from search to video sharing (YouTube) to travel (Maps) – with its tech. It is poised to penetrate even further into our daily existence with its continuing focus on self-driving cars and a nearly $600 million investment in the secretive mixed reality startup Magic Leap.

Translation: Watch out. Google isn’t just a software company anymore. And competitors had better recognize.

Prediction Two: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Dominance Is an Inevitability

Make no mistake: Apple is not relinquishing the crown without a fight. With the September introduction of iOS 10, iPhone users can do more than ever before – things like using Siri to operate apps and making travel arrangements and meal reservations through Maps.

Follow the company’s 2016 acquisitions, and we see perhaps even greater potential for Apple in the AI space:

1.     January: Apple buys Emotient, a startup that uses AI software to analyze emotions from facial expressions.

2.     August: Apple acquires Turi, a machine learning and AI startup that develops products to help businesses understand data.

3.     September: Apple purchases Tuplejump, an India/U.S.-based machine learning team that simplifies data management technology.

Maybe Apple is taking Google’s capabilities expansion hint and carving out a big new niche to call home.

Prediction Three: Alternate Realities and AI Have a Date with Destiny

Microsoft has its eyes on an AI future, too. HoloLens owners can now navigate through the Windows store and install apps with their own voice. In a partnership with Lowe’s, customers can use the mixed reality headset to design their own kitchens. As an added twist, cognitive services AI can connect with users’ Pinterest accounts and make design suggestions based on the content it finds.

Oh, and did we mention that Microsoft has announced plans to launch the HoloLens in France, Germany, Ireland, the UK and Australia later this year? Each country is sure to yield location-specific use cases to which the HoloLens can be applied. Soon, it might not be just an MR + AI nation; it could be an MR + AI world.

Prediction Four: People Might Actually Start Remembering Upcoming Events

It may have gone unnoticed, but Facebook just made its “Events” a standalone app. The last time they made that kind of move, it was with a little thing called Messenger.

Through the new app, users can view:

  •  Personal planned events
  • Friends’ planned events
  • Location-based events with recommendations in real time
  • Commercial pages’ upcoming events
  • A calendar

So long, agonizing for hours over discovering fun “things to do” in a destination city. We predict in-app ticket purchases coming on.

Prediction Five: Shopping Will Never Be the Same

Everyone’s been so busy concentrating on Amazon’s Echo that consumers may have missed the drive-up grocery store the e-commerce and cloud computing company has been quietly building. So far, it’s unverified, but if the rumors hold true, consumers will be able to:

1.     Place an online order

2.     Schedule a pickup window

3.     Drive into parking stalls for loading

4.     Walk in for smaller orders

5.     Place orders in store on a tablet

It’s an idea that can bring optimization to one of the most tedious of suburban tasks, and it could be a game changer for shoppers everywhere.

Prediction Six: Consumer Choice Comes First

Netflix has made a name for itself by disrupting the television landscape. Now it has its sights set on the movie industry, and the two might not play nice. The multinational company inked a revolutionary deal with iPic Entertainment, and the arrangement grants the luxury theater chain screening rights to original Netflix movies the same day the content debuts on the streaming service.

Hamid Hashemi, president and CEO of iPic Entertainment, calls it "a significant game changer for consumers and fans, paving the way for a new frontier in shared-experience viewing of Netflix entertainment." We call it a radical way to turn the traditional movie to pay-per-view to rental model on its head.

In addition, a little-known fact is that films have to run in qualifying theaters (ones that regularly show new releases) for a week or more with multiple showings in order to be considered for an Oscar. This pact could provide a means of entry for lower-budget features to garner attention and become Academy Awards contenders – which means that lauded movies like Beasts of No Nation could be just the beginning. 

In short, if you’re ever at a loss as to where you should concentrate your business efforts, take a look at GAM FAN. Their actions often lend insight into the ever-shifting landscape of technology and can inform your company as to where it can make a play.



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