Insights From Digital Shoreditch – Tomorrow’s World


This week I was fortunate enough to attended the Digital Shoreditch 2013 conference, the theme for the day was “Tomorrow’s World” where people were brought together to discuss the future, and what might be coming to technology and marketing campaigns soon.

The day was fully packed and I managed to catch about 24 different talks. I will resist the urge to put my 60+ pages of notes in this post, and instead I thought I would look at the trends I picked up on across many of the talks.


The Quantified Self

What is it?

The quantified self is a name for the changing consumer behaviour, driven heavily by “phygital” devices that combine offline activities with a digital record (think Nike+, running apps, Sleep quality apps, food diaries) driven in part due to the huge smartphone usage over the last few years, and an ever growing number of personal sensors that measure what you are doing, more and more people are measuring their daily lives for efficiency and fun.

44% of people wished they could be more like the person they are on social media” shows that people have a desire to improve their lives. This measurement of their activities allows them to quantify “how good they are” and make personal improvements. It could indicate the move towards a recognition culture where we strive for self validation. We’ve all Google’d people in the past, but how much further will that go in the future?

What will we see?

We’re already seeing devices such as the Fitbit, Mobile apps like Sleep Cycle and life-logging devices like Memoto. These tools can help improve your lifestyle by analysing what you currently do, and giving small suggestions on how to improve your life. Apps like Runkeeper add a social aspect and enables you to share fairly dull information (where you ran today) with your friends and track your progress, it turns your data in to something tangible and possibly worth sharing. Expect to see much more of this.


Owning your own data

“We’ve never known so much about ourselves, but we give it away for free”David Eve-leigh Evans

What is it?

As part of the quantified self movement people are also becoming more aware of what data they choose to share about themselves online. Apparently 85% of people want more control over the data people hold on them, yet only 28% (35% for tech-savvy people) of people feel their data is a valuable asset that they can use to barter for services.

What will we see?

As services get smarter people will become more aware of how companies are using their data, this could lead to a change in consumer behaviour and we might change what we share and how. Will we see services that allow us to sell our personal data to companies in return for services?


Ownership of “Stuff”

What is it?

Whilst people are becoming more conscious about who has their data, people are becoming more diverse with how they access their possessions, whether it’s renting music from a service like Spotify rather than buying physical CD’s, or crowd-sharing physical items in your local community, there was lots of talk about spin-off ecosystems around sharing and collaborative ownership of physical items.

What will we see?

There are already sites out there for organizing local communities to share physical items, will we see this trend take-off further? Will people be sharing handbags with their friends on Facebook?


Wearable Technology

What is it?

Think Google Glass, think the Twitter dress. I doubt we’ll all be walking around in 3D printed clothes, but embedded technology in our clothes is coming, and the fashion industry estimate it will be worth $10 billion by 2016.

What will we see?

It’s not just about what you wear either, how you go about shopping will be more technical, brands have already experimented with virtual mirrors, that you stand in front of and see yourself wearing a different outfit. Hangers that show how many facebook Likes that clothing item has had. Robotic mannequins that mimic how you stand and psychologically influence you.


Personalisation, Contextual Awareness and Predictive Analytics

David Eve-leigh Evans Explains Big Data - WTF

What is it?

Why don’t things know where we are and how we feel and adapt for us? Why does our car not see that we are tense and suggest some calming music?

Why does our phone not know we are at work and shut the hell up? (ok some do)

Why don’t our devices warn us that there’s a traffic jam and we’ll need to leave 30 minutes earlier for our meeting across town?

What will we see?

We’ll see our devices getting smarter, we’ll see them predicting the future (sort of) and we’ll see them more aware of where we are and what we are doing and give us better, more suitable information. Services that use your data and tailor themselves to your personality, imagine a clothing store that knows your “style” and recommends clothes. Or an app that knows you always walk to work down a certain road and can recommend you try a new coffee shop that has just opened up. Google Now is trying to move in to this space but the technology needs to get more intelligent, basic recommendations wont cut it in the next few years, products and services need to be interconnected, holistic and give coherent messages that make the world better. They will be additional organs or limbs that we rely on to live more efficient, happier lives.


Other interesting points from the day

  • Lots of people saying “mobile isn’t the solution - it’s part of a bigger solution”, your brand should be everywhere it’s appropriate to be.
  • Instrumentation for measuring biometrics, your lifestyle, your house, will grow massively and the data collected will be used to benefit everyone – “internet of things” related.
  • Jeremy Waite from Adobe said that Disney have 250 people working on their social campaigns…. unbelievable.
  • Naomi Morton spoke about how brands are no longer “we made a thing, you bought a thing” they are now about the service around the product. People expect a whole conversation with the brand around what they just bought, or what they are about to buy. Can you help people share your product?
  • “Food porn” – when you share pictures of your dinner on social networks are apparently the most “Liked” content on Facebook, but conversely also rated the most annoying content amongst users.
  • Mixpixie: 65% of music sales are still CD’s, this increases to ~95% during peak “gifting” times, like Christmas, mothers day etc.


And a few quotes I rather liked…

“The ikea catalogue changed the world” [by helping average people lead better lives] – Phil Teer

“The future is just like today, but with some more shit thrown in” - John Waterworth

“I’m interested in what happens after what happens next” – Doug Richard

“Be nice! it’s more expensive to do bad things” - Henry Hicks

“The future of startups is an abundance of startups” – Doug Richard

“[The future is] a nasty world of glowing rectangles and intrusive interactions” - John Waterworth

“Real-time is important – try crossing the road blindfolded with a 10 second delay on instructions” – Kevin Farrar

“People want to want creativity, but they don’t want it – creativity makes people question their assumptions and it makes them uncomfortable” – Dave Birss

“Dreamers create markets, not companies” – Phil Teer



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