The future of fast food: faster, more convenient, healthier, more luxurious

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On Friday I was interviewed on the current affairs program Today Tonight about the future of fast food. Click on the image to see a video of the segment.

Perhaps the dominant trend in society today is increased expectations. Those expectations apply across all domains, but absolutely in the immediacy of our everyday lives.

As people feel – and increasingly are – time-poor, speed and convenience dominate. Not surprisingly, customers are expecting fast food to become even faster.
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Designing content for the reality of multi-screen access: smartphone, tablet, PC, TV

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The relatively recent rise of smartphones and tablets has changed how we use tech and how we consume news. However, while they have eroded usage of the long established interfaces of PCs, laptops, and TVs, they certainly haven’t supplanted them.

This has lead us to the dawning of new phase in which a large proportion of people in the developed world consume content and use applications across four different primary screens: smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, and TV (or more generally the primary large screen in the household).

Google is clearly interested in understanding how people use these four screens on their own and together, and has sponsored an interesting study The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior, also embedded below.


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Scenarios for the downfall of Facebook and a new landscape for social networks

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Today I gave the keynote on Social Media and the Future at Marcus Evans’ CIO Summit.

In question time after my keynote I was asked whether Facebook will still be the dominant social network in 5 years.

I think the degree of uncertainty on this front is too high to make a firm prediction. However given the current market landscape and trends over the last couple of years, the most likely outcome is that Facebook will still dominate.

In structured futures studies, one of the most powerful tools is trying to build plausible scenarios for how alternative outcomes to what is expected could come to pass.

In this case, we need to tell a credible story on how Facebook loses its predominant position in social networks.
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In the global talent economy over 50% will be mobile workers

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[This post first appeared on the Getting Results From Crowds book website]

Research firm IDC has forecast that there will be 1.3 billion ‘mobile workers’ in the world by 2015, representing 37.2% of the global workforce. This points to the massive explosion of what I call the ‘global talent economy’, in which talent can be and will be anywhere.

The forecasts suggest that the bulk of the growth will be in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), which will see 838 million mobile workers in 2015, up 237 million from 2010, representing well over half the global mobile workforce.
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The global state of the mobile industry

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Mary Meeker, formerly of Morgan Stanley and now of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, continues to do her annual presentation at Web 2.0 Summit, providing an unparalleled compilation of research about the global internet industry.

There is a lot to digest in the 65 slides of the presentation, so I thought it was worth pulling out some of the more interesting ones on mobile. Below is the full presentation, plus six charts giving insights into the state of the global mobile industry.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)
Here are the 7 selected charts with brief commentary:
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Capturing all your browsing data: the difference between Amazon’s Silk and Opera Mobile

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Chris Espinosa has written a very interesting piece about the Silk browser that comes on Amazon’s freshly announced Fire tablet.

The “split browser” notion is that Amazon will use its EC2 back end to pre-cache user web browsing, using its fat back-end pipes to grab all the web content at once so the lightweight Fire-based browser has to only download one simple stream from Amazon’s servers. But what this means is that Amazon will capture and control every Web transaction performed by Fire users. Every page they see, every link they follow, every click they make, every ad they see is going to be intermediated by one of the largest server farms on the planet. People who cringe at the privacy and data-mining implications of the Facebook Timeline ought to be just floored by the magnitude of Amazon’s opportunity here. Amazon now has what every storefront lusts for: the knowledge of what other stores your customers are shopping in and what prices they’re being offered there. What’s more, Amazon is getting this not by expensive, proactive scraping the Web, like Google has to do; they’re getting it passively by offering a simple caching service, and letting Fire users do the hard work of crawling the Web.

In a discussion on Twitter, Mark Pesce and Alexander Sadleir pointed out that this is basically the same as what Opera Mobile does. The Registry wrote last year:
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Detailed stats: Social networks dominate Internet usage, Australia still #1

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Research company Nielsen has just released detailed statistics on online activity, focusing on social networks and blogging, which at 22.5% of time spent online dominate Internet usage, with more than twice the next category games, at 9.8% of time spent. Below are a few highlights and comments from the full report.

Facebook completely dominates the social networking and blogging space, with over 70 times the next most prominent social networking site. Interestingly Tumblr’s dramatic rise (+183% over the last year) has taken it to overtake Twitter in time spent online. However Nielsen’s methodologies look only at website visits and don’t the majority of time spent on Twitter, which is on web and mobile clients. Facebook also dramatically surpasses the amount of time spent on Google, however Google is still mostly not a destination site. Over time initiatives such as Google+ may change that.
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Futurist conversations: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the future of Nokia

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In this final video in the series of ‘futurist conversations’ between myself and Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency, we discuss the future of Nokia as a keyhole on where the mobile phone market is going.

Here are a few of the points we make in the conversation:
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Power, patents, competition, and ecosystems: Google’s bid for Motorola Mobility

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Yesterday I was interviewed on ABC TV about Google’s bid for Motorola Mobility.

The interview segments aired were on the value to Google of Motorola’s patent portfolio and the implications for the Android ecosystem.

Below are excerpts from the transcript of the interview on ABC.

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The 8 sources of customer value in mobile apps and marketing

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When I recently ran a webinar series for Ketchum on Tapping the Power of Mobile, our second session focused on running successful mobile campaigns. Perhaps the most important thing that companies and agencies delving into mobile marketing need to understand is that there must be real value for customers and consumers in order for the campaign to have any success. There is an enormously deep and broad pool of mobile apps and services available, and brands will only get a look-in if they are genuinely creating value. Only at that point is there any chance of marketing value being created.

Below is a summary of the 8 sources of customer value in mobile. Any campaign that has any chance of success must be creating strong customer value in at least one of these spaces, and possibly several.


Here are examples of the 8 sources of value.
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