Is Your Mum Safe?

Throughout my last year at Microsoft, I’ve been working with my communication and marketing colleagues on a big milestone – XP End of Service. It’s impossible to work in the IT industry and not know about this date – it’s a big priority – and we can certainly expect the momentum (and noise) to ramp up in the coming weeks as D-Day fast approaches – 8th April 2014!

http://sajeideas.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/xp-end-of-support.jpgIn case you didn’t know, all operating systems have an end-of-service (here are Microsoft’s) because what is possible today just can’t support what is possible tomorrow. Let’s face it, all of the brilliant things we enjoy about technology right now were almost inconceivable when XP was first invented more than a decade ago.

As such, this end-date is a critical milestone, because those remaining on XP after the cut-off are exposing themselves to very high risks – security breaches, hacks, bots, etc…. However, a more compelling reason for me is quite simple: those still on XP are not even close to experiencing all of the wonderful things technology delivers today.

XP is a 12 year old operating system (OS), and while one of the most popular OS’s in Microsoft’s history, today it can only deliver a sub-standard experience. When people upgrade a whole new world opens up to them – something I’ve seen firsthand, with reactions varying from relief to almost wonder – when they migrate to Windows 7/8. When people upgrade they understand for the first time what is really possible.

Recently, I was brainstorming some ideas with my colleagues, trying to clarify which industries remain at high risk and what we could do about it. Top of the pops are financial services, healthcare, telcos, insurance and retail. However, what really caught my imagination was this number:

There are currently 20 million individuals in Asia still on Windows XP. Yes, 20 million – that’s almost the population of Australia!

(If you’re interested, there are more than 230 million users on XP in Asia, including China. Take China out of the picture and it’s down to close to 60 million. Minus India it’s more than 40 million. These numbers include businesses and can be found at Statcounter. However, it is the individuals that caught my attention. The one’s who probably don’t even know.)

So I start thinking – who are those individuals? Where are they?

And then it occurred to me that my Mum is probably one of them.

The problem is my Mum wouldn’t know XP if you smacked her in the head with it. She knows as much about technology as a new born babe, and while not everyone of her generation is as technology illiterate (although both of my parents seem to be), I’m thinking the message to the Mums (and Dads) of the world may not be getting through?

So how do we get the message to them?

Well from where I’m sitting, it’s simple – we go over to our Mum’s house and check out her computer.

But wait I hear you asking: why is it important that my Mum knows about this? Why can’t she just keep on using an old operating system in peace? She’s really happy with it right now – why rock that boat?

Here’s one possible scenario of why this could become an important issue to take seriously. Let’s say your dear old Mum has her bank details on her PC and it gets hacked and someone takes her life savings. She calls the bank expecting everything to be resolved. However, the banks have decided to approach these situations differently, and the first thing they do is send in forensic teams to analyze her computer. “What!” exclaims your Mum, “that’s not how it’s supposed to work?”

To be honest, I think this is fair enough – we should be 100 percent responsible for our personal data, because it’s our personal data after all. And it seems the banks are switching onto this and asking: “have you taken the most stringent steps you can take to protect your information before we agree to reimburse you for any losses?”

To my knowledge, the banks have focused on making sure your security software is effective. However, perhaps if you’re still on XP after April 8th 2014 that will be enough to make your claim invalid? It’s certainly possible.

Never heard of a bank taking these steps? Neither had I until recently. A friend in Australia was hacked and she had to give the bank her computer for forensic analysis. Her security was up-to-date and she was OK. But will my Mum be?

I’m obviously not speaking for the banks here, nor am I suggesting they will definitely do this, but things are starting to move in that direction – with personal responsibility for our data lying squarely with us. As such, I believe it is a potential threat and something we shouldn’t expose our Mums to. It’s also why your Mum needs to understand that this IS an important issue for her.

Yes she probably won’t enjoy learning a whole new operating system – who does? – but this is the safest route for her (and all of us) to go. We’ve got to make sure we’re secure digitally.

In the meantime, you’ve got a month to go until XP is no longer supported. The big industry players (mentioned above) that are still on XP have got enough money and resources to keep their IT infrastructure safe. Your Mum hasn’t.

So get on over to your Mum’s house, make sure she’s up-to-date with her technology, try and find the patience to teach her how to use a new operating system (or pay for her to go back to school if you don’t have that patience), and don’t forget to take a nice bunch of flowers to make her day. When your Mum’s safe and happy, it’s good for everyone.

In the meantime, I found this video of how Microsoft thinks technology will look in 2019 – you certainly won’t get to enjoy any of this stuff if you’re still on XP.

Please do share this with your Mum if you think she’ll value it and if you’ve got any thoughts on the risk to individuals still on XP, I’d love to hear it?

Cheers

Andrea

PS: what’s this got to do with communication? Everything. Technology is the core tool of the communication professional today – making sure you’re using the latest and greatest (as well as the most secure) is critical for success.

Some additional links

As many of us know, it’s not just individuals at risk today, it is also small to medium business (SMB) owners. I found it startling to learn that more than 70 percent of SMBs in Asia employ between 1-4 people – many of whom remain at risk with XP.

Microsoft and its partners are offering great incentives to this community – as is the high street outlets for individual consumers (like Mums) – but here are some handy links across the region, especially if you want more insight of what XP End of Service really means to you and your business. These links are specifically for SMBs in Asia Pacific.

The overall Windows XP site is here

Then by country in Asia Pacific – not including China or India.

Australia
New Zealand
Korea
Singapore
Indonesia
Thailand
Malaysia
Philippines
Vietnam
Sri Lanka
Bangladesh
Brunei

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Scoot Off Message?

I’ve been part of a very interesting discussion about newsjacking on LinkedIn today – see links for an explanation of Newsjacking. Essentially, on the back of disgraced Briton’s (Anton Casey) horrible social media comments that went viral world-wide last week, Scoot thought it would be a good idea to offer a flight deal to Perth – “Escape Plan: Fly to Perth Cheap Cheap, Poor or Not” and then it features a cartoon of a “family” – which is obviously the Caseys.

Scoot Airlines

The image that appeared on Mumbrella Asia today

Anton Casey said some terrible things, and the fact he lost his job is quite right. We do not live in a world where that sort of attitude is acceptable and social media provides the perfect forum for comments like that to go far beyond anyone’s personal community. I abhor any racism or elitism, because we’re all just people doing the best we can, whether we were born with a silver spoon in our mouth or not – I happen to be a “not.”

However, the frightening thing about this scenario is how much the wife and five year old son have been attacked as well. Sure the Dad can be hauled over the coals, but a five year old boy? Let alone his wife.

Sure, she might not have the greatest taste in men, but this is now a family in extreme pain. I can only imagine that Anton Casey is learning one hell of a lesson right now, and it’s going to be a long time before he recovers from what he did – if he can at all. But my take on this whole situation is definitely more along these lines – “Where has our Empathy Gone?” written by William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement. I think I’m going to join.

Whatever happens to this family, Scoot jumping onto it and offering a promo deal that takes the mickey out of the Casey’s is beyond poor taste. The Oreo blackout at the Superbowl is a class act and world-best practise example of newsjacking. My colleagues issued this little Tweet when Apple announced its new iPhone color range.

Newsjacking

Kudos to my colleagues for this one – it got lovely attention

That’s newsjacking.

A whole bunch of tweets and Facebook posts today linking brands to the Grammys? That’s newsjacking.

Scoot jumping on the back of a family’s pain and a country’s outrage? That’s not newsjacking. That’s just poor taste in my humble opinion.

So what have we learnt this week?

  • If you don’t have reasonable social judgment, social media probably isn’t a platform you should be engaging on. If you don’t know if you have good social judgment, I’ll give you a clue. If you regularly offend complete strangers or friends of friends at dinner parties, it’s probably best if you cancel your Facebook page
  • The law needs to look into these cases and get moving. A five year old boy should not be featured on the front page of any forum. Equally, the global sharing of an individual’s personal address, phone number, work address, colleagues email addresses, etc… well that doesn’t seem right either
  • If someone makes an ass of themselves, let’s leave the kids out of it. A child cannot help who their parents are
  • There is no privacy anymore. If you want to make judgmental comments – great, knock yourself out – but when your comments go viral, you now have unequivocal evidence that it’s not pretty. And let’s not forget there are hundreds of thousands of Anton Casey’s out there, he just happened to get caught
  • But more importantly, Brands need to really think about when it is OK to jump onto a newsjacking opportunity. Scoot was definitely off message for me this week, and they started off so well.

What else do you think we’ve learnt? Or do you think it’s OK that Scoot newsjacked this story?

Cheers

Andrea

PS: apparently Scoot took this campaign down pretty quickly today, but I wonder if we’ll see another sacking?

PPS: the irony is not lost on me that I am now newsjacking a newsjacking…

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Jo Malone London and Coach. Two Brands, One Winner

Jo MaloneI have a very sweet and thoughtful husband. He makes me work really hard at birthdays and Christmas to ensure I – at least – equal his thoughtfulness in the gift-giving department. I’m a lucky gal. For Christmas, he designed my very own perfume at Jo Malone London and he got an absolute winner. It is the perfect fragrance and I wear it every day.

Steve told me (after I opened it) that he had an absolutely fabulous experience at Jo Malone London and is keen to take me there so I can experience it as well. A good endorsement for a brand – especially in Asia where it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, following his Christmas shopping foray, he also received a handwritten letter thanking him for his custom. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a commercial exchange resulted in something so personal. And guess what? Steve and I are both delighted.

Jo Malone

Customer service excellence from Jo Malone

On the other hand, I wrote to Coach in 2013 following the Bangladeshi building collapse that resulted in more than a thousand deaths. A friend challenged me to understand where my ‘brand of choice’ sourced its products after I blogged about a new handbag purchase. I’ve been a Coach fan ever since I lived in Boston in the late 90s, when I first discovered it.

It’s simple, elegant and perfectly suits my style.

Getting back to Bangladesh. This disaster upset and infuriated me. But the thing that angered me most was big global brands – who have been benefiting from low cost labor in these countries for decades – standing back and washing their hands of it, or worse, pulling out all together.

Apparently, rather than fixing the problem or taking some responsibility, they think it’s better not to be associated with it at all. I personally believe that global companies have a responsibility for the quality of their products, as well as the safety of the humans making these products. This counts if the products are made in-house, outsourced once, twice or a thousand times. Ignorance is not an excuse – not today.

CoachNow it’s very important to mention that I do not know if Coach is making its products in Bangladesh, because when I emailed Coach HQ to ask where the individual products were made, I got a reply suggesting I speak to the Singapore helpline. I replied that this was not a question the Singapore helpline could handle and asked HQ for a response to my very simple question.

I never got a response, but worse, Coach Singapore has added me to its marketing list. I now get both SMS and eDMs from Coach on a regular basis, however since this incident, every time I receive marketing outreach it absolutely infuriates me. It infuriates me because they did not answer my question yet believe I will continue to be interested in its products?

I’ve been loyal to the Coach brand for more than 15 years, but now they have lost me and I will not buy Coach again. That is what happens when a brand does not listen to a customer and answer the customer’s question. That is what happens when a brand does not distinguish between the types of communication a customer sends in. Coach did not identify that this specific request was not an opportunity for marketing. Coach did not recognize that a loyal customer had some very valid concerns and wanted it addressed. Coach got it wrong.

This is the world we live in now. I’ve had a bad experience and I’m writing about it. I’ve also had an excellent experience and I’m writing about it.

Therefore, has what I’ve written influence your attitude towards either brand? Would you walk into the next Jo Malone London store to see if they delighted you as well? Or would you bypass the next Coach store based on what I said? I’m curious to know.

It doesn’t take much to lose a customer these days, but it’s not about single customer losses anymore. One voice can impact thousands, or can it? Perhaps it’s only the Kardashians who have that sort of power?

What do you think?

Cheers

Andrea

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Does Klout Have Clout?

I love Klout. I love the idea of it and know that – over time – it’s going to be a cracking part of our digital and professional lives. However, right now, it’s not great for me. The clash is I’m seeing Klout referenced more and more to measure a person’s influence in business (which includes whether someone is employable), but I am wondering if it is really an accurate reflection of a person’s clout today?

KloutA challenge I had recently was my Klout score actually went down by an average of seven points after taking on a full-time role. If anything, I thought it would have gone up – particularly as I’m working for a global company, engaging more broadly on social media, and sharing a lot of information which is gaining significantly more shares/retweets/etc… than when I worked for myself. Suffice to say, I definitely feel I have more ‘Klout’ these days.

But my challenge continues. At the moment, Klout measures my impact based on my personal Facebook page, one Twitter handle @AndreaTEdwards, my Google+ page and my LinkedIn page. With that said, it doesn’t appear to capture all of this activity and I don’t know how to change that… probably un-tech-savvy-me’s fault!

However, I also have:

  • Two additional Twitter handles
  • Three additional Facebook pages (along with my personal page)
  • Two WordPress blogs
  • One Blogger blog
  • A YouTube account
  • A slightly inactive SlideShare account
  • and I’m active on Pinterest

There are many more social channels people are active on (and I have more accounts I’m not active on) but of my 17 social media “assets” only four are being measured (to a certain extent) to ascertain my Klout. Therefore, it’s just not an accurate reflection of what I’m doing right now, which is a shame, because I’d love to know my real Klout score.

Of course, it takes a whole lot of effort for the developers working on the backend of Klout to integrate all of these channels – I get that – but I am definitely looking forward to the day it happens.

So right now I have to ask the question – is it a valuable measurement tool to ascertain a professionals’ clout? Maybe I’m just missing something? Would love to know your thoughts.

Cheers

Andrea

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The Culture of Business Cards in Asia

When I was in the US a couple of weeks ago, I noticed very few people willingly exchanged business cards, and on a couple of occasions when I offered my business card, people looked at me like I was a little bit weird – not unusual for me :). Then I noticed this article doing the rounds on social media this week – “The Era of Business Cards Is Dead” – which was featured on .Inc. It made me wonder if this is still the case in Asia?

From what I am seeing, I don’t believe it is – not yet at least.

Handing out business cards in most of Asia is still a very ritualistic process, and it’s a deeply respectful part of doing business – which is why you never EVER throw it across the table at someone – something I’ve seen people do and it always makes me wince. You not only hand over your business card flat, name facing up, while holding it with two hands, but you also receive another person’s card with two hands at the same time. But it’s not over yet. Once you receive a card, you must spend a moment actually reading it and even better – offer a compliment about the information you are reading.

When I first came to Asia, I found the physical hand-over quite difficult to manage, so I watched and learned. I discovered the trick is not to have anything in your hands, which can be hard when you’ve just arrived and everyone wants to hand you their card before you disrobe or even have time to set up your laptop/tablet/notebook/get-your-pen-out-of-your-bag, etc..! Tip, don’t be late, which is also important in much of Asia… but not in Singapore, everyone is late in Singapore.

Business card culture in AsiaHowever, it’s not only the giving and receiving of cards that is important, you must then place them on the table – usually aligned with where the people are sitting. When the meeting is over, you collect the cards and respectfully place them in a suitable card carrying device and please, don’t go stingy on your card holder – quality brands always get the nod of approval in Asia. The important thing here is do not randomly shove them in a pocket when the meeting is over – it’s very bad form.

This isn’t just me, I found this article and this one which is essentially saying the same thing and speaks more about the protocols.

I haven’t seen this culture change in the last decade working in Asia and I wonder if it will? Yes people can find you online easier than ever before, but there is something significant around business cards in this region that doesn’t seem to be changing – a culture with respect very much at its core.

So my question to you – do you think Asia is changing in regards to business card traditions? Or like most change, perhaps we have to wait for the younger generation to discover an equally respectful process for new meeting introductions (if they want to stick with formality of course, which I think they will) and in the process, they can contribute to environmental concerns as well? If we look at how smart phones are evolving, this could certainly be the answer. I can see us bowing as we NFC each other’s details.

With all that said, there is a bonus to business card culture that I really appreciate – it’s great to be able to see people’s names, in writing, when I’m meeting them for the first time. In this region, the names are often so complex, the added guidance is definitely appreciated.

What are you seeing – do you think the era of the business cards is dead in Asia?

Cheers

Andrea

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Innovation, Evolution and Technology for Marcoms in Asia

I attended IDC’s Software and Services Client Summit in Singapore recently, and it was nice to catch up with many old friends, as well as to hear some key insights on what CIOs are experiencing, and IDC’s perspective on the exciting evolution taking place today in our region and industry. I do love the tech sector. But there was a lot that is relevant to marketing and communications professionals as well.

IDC refer to “The Four Pillars” which are expected to dominate the business/IT landscape for the next decade. The Four Pillars are: Big Data, Cloud, Enterprise Mobility and Social Enterprise, but IDC presented this on the 3rd platform. I hadn’t seen the 3rd Platform visually represented before and it seemed to resonate with me so much more as an image – I’m obviously a visual learner. There’s a great article on it at ZDNet if you want to know more.

(Unfortunately, I couldn’t get access to a 3rd Platform image to share, but if you’re on Pinterest, check out IDC’s Infographic site – nice find. Also the Infographic featured takes you nicely through the market opportunity IDC have identified around the four pillars.)

Explaining the 3rd Platform:

  • The 1st platform was the mainframe/terminal – with thousands of users
  • The 2nd platform was the client server – with millions of users
  • The 3rd platform is mobile/cloud – with billions of users

The 3rd platform is expected, according to IDC, to drive 90 percent of IT industry growth from 2013 to 2020. As such, IDC recommends that 80 percent of IT industry energy should be spent on 3rd Platform offerings and capabilities, and the 3rd Platform is about solutions, not hardware. This enables a new way to do business, and while the other two platforms are still with us – and will not be going away – that is where the majority of energy needs to focus.

Infographic IDC The Four Pillars

However, CIOs are finding the current evolution in the IT industry difficult, because there is still a lot of existing infrastructure to support. As Simon Piff, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure / Storage for IDC Asia Pacific said: “The CIO is looking so far forward, but in reality, a business still has a lot behind them. As such, a crisis is apparent.” I hope not!

Throughout the event, there was a lot of great information shared, but in order to follow the rules of blogging brevity (:)), some key points stood out:

Highlights

  • The Commonwealth Bank (or Commbank) in Australia is now measuring more access to accounts via mobile devices than on desktop/laptop computers – that’s significant
  • Air New Zealand is a Top 10 YouTube site (terrific result for an ANZ business) and when I had a look, I can see why – nearly 11 million views (see below), and I’d certainly pay attention on that flight. Then again, check out the one with the All Blacks featured here which is probably more my style…. although is that Richard Simmons? It is, isn’t it? Awesome
  • Cloud is providing emerging countries – which we have a lot of in Asia Pacific – an opportunity to leapfrog the mature IT countries (like Australia and Singapore)
  • BYOD cannot be contained, so CIOs need to focus on strategy and implement
  • App downloads have increased 5x in two years – which is only going to grow with “BYO_____(fill in the blank)”
  • The future is EaaS – Everything as a Service. Therefore CIOs need to assess what can they do as a service – i.e. what can they put in the cloud? The cloud allows CIOs to fail faster, learn and try again – although this is also a challenge in Asia where failing is not culturally embraced
  • But in Asia automation is also causing fear for IT professionals – fear of losing jobs
  • The expectation in Asia is agility, flexibility and speed – which incorporates multi-platform, multi-model and multi-delivery. This means an expectation of now

What does it all mean to communication and marketing professionals?

My interpretation of the 3rd Platform and the Four Pillars for marketing and comms professionals is embrace Enterprise Mobility. While the tech professionals are focused on how to consolidate their infrastructure to support a mobile enterprise, we equally need to maximize how we market through these various channels (not just the what but the how) – which reach billions of people in this region (and continues to accelerate) – to grow our business and positively influence our buyers.

Equally Big Data is a unique opportunity for us (see previous Big Data blog), as we can now utilize the awesome analytic technologies available to more deeply understand our customers and improve our services to meet their needs. The customer knowledge we now have access too should mean less “push” marketing, and more “pull” – because we now “know” them.

And then we have Social Enterprise. Everyone has been talking about social media for years, but the social enterprise is a whole new opportunity marcom professionals can maximize to build high quality campaigns, that are targeted and segmented by interest areas. From my own understanding, social enterprise is the bridge that will bring the current, external social media revolution together with the internal social tools available (like Yammer) – converging internal and external communications for the first time. This means the customer tweet reaches the engineer that can fix the problem – it’s pretty cool. It’s a big, broad area and I am looking forward to seeing how true collaboration technology can really enhance our campaigns this year.

Cloud? This is a different one for me from a marketing and communications perspective, because it’s about delivering the scale to drive the other three pillars. With that said, cloud does deliver cost savings, speed-to-market, geographic spread with potential for rapid growth, and so much more, but it’s important to marcom professionals because it’s the enabler that allows us to excel and succeed rapidly. However, it is the other three pillars that are the disruptive forces in the current status quo. As my colleague Dan McHugh says about the Four Pillars: “get on board or be run-over, essentially.” Cloud is the enabler within The Four Pillars, which is why it’s so important.

There you go, my perspective on how all of this technology talk applies to marketing and communications professionals – but am I off the mark? I’d love to know what you think about applying the Four Pillars to the marketing and communication professions in Asia?

IDC’s event covered a lot more, but this is what stood out to me. I think we’re definitely up for some exciting times in the marketing, communications and IT professions, as we all try to make sense of how IT can revolutionize the way we do business.

Thanks for a really interesting event IDC.

Cheers

Andrea

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The Big Data Opportunity for Asia Pacific

Recently, Microsoft hosted Kenneth Cukier in Singapore. Ken is the Business Correspondent with The Economist and co-author of a new book entitled: Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think, which was launched in March 2013. Presenting on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ of Big Data, there were many take-aways from the events I attended in Singapore.

Kenneth Cukier Big DataBefore delving into Ken’s insights, there is no question that Big Data is on the horizon for the regions’ CIOs and business leaders, however there is also a lot of confusion around what it actually is. Donald Feinberg, VP & Distinguished Analyst, Information Management, with Gartner (who I also met recently), summed it up very simply when he said: “Big Data is not a market, Big Data cuts into every market – it’s a piece of the server, software, networking and analytics markets. It’s very important to understand that it is not a market by itself.” Donald also explained that enterprise customers are not looking for Big Data solutions, they are having issues with data and that is the problem they need to solve.

Big Data refers to three areas of the data pie:

  1. The size or volume of data
  2. The velocity or speed, such as streaming data, smart meters, trade data, and so on. It’s also important to note that velocity doesn’t necessarily mean big
  3. and variety – which essentially encapsulates unstructured data, such as social media, blogs, and more

So what is Big Data then? The volume, velocity and variety-type assets, alongside the new, innovative tools that analyze and manage them. Simple.

If you’re still confused, here’s a Forbes article contributed by Gartner for a better explanation.

Bringing the discussion back to Ken, who brought in the human angle around the discussion, he started with the fact we are producing more information than ever before, with information doubling every two years. The scale of this growth is actually quite staggering. The challenge in the past, however, is that data was expensive to collect, so we limited ourselves. That is changing with technology advancements – particularly in the analytics space – and Ken explained that today’s data capture capabilities means we can harness more – “it’s like the ‘Black Swan Effect,’ it allows us to factor in the outlier.”

One interesting societal Big Data example he discussed is happening in Canada, where the medical fraternity is gaining tremendous benefits from information insights. Nationwide, Canadian doctors are capturing 16 vital signs on premature babies (which is adding up to 1,000 data points/second), and this information is allowing them to spot the possibility of infection in babies 24 hours in advance. As an example of the benefit of this project – in the past, when a premature baby stabilized, the doctors took it as a positive sign the baby was on the mend. However, now they know that when a baby stabilizes, this is, in fact, the danger sign. Doctors are unclear about the biological mechanism occurring that is putting the baby’s life at risk, but now they have a bigger picture of what the information actually means, so they can act long before the baby’s’ life is at risk. In this case, Big Data is saving lives.

Kenneth Cukier, Big Data panelKen discussed many more cases of how Big Data can benefit society, and I found it an incredibly interesting topic: “we are moving into an era of Datafying aspects of living – just as Facebook datafies our friendships and Twitter datafies stray thoughts and whispers. In 50 years, we’ll look back to this time and compare how we manage data today to how we view bloodletting from the past.” I liked that comparison.

According to Ken, Big Data is a huge opportunity for Asia. It relies on three areas to succeed – skills, mindset and data:

  • Skills – the technical tools to get the job done
  • Mindset – the idea on what to do, thinking about the world in a data driven way
  • Data – the most abundant thing of all

Globally, Ken sees this as a significant global shift, the likes of which does not happen often. He said it’s comparable to the early computer science revolution which really started in the 70s and 80s – and could only grow as quickly as Universities could graduate computer science professionals into the market. It was a decade before the Universities were able to catch up with demand. The core skill of Big Data is mathematics, and world-wide, this is where Asia always comes out on top. Ken believes the world leaders in Big Data will be people with the skills and insight to collect and interpret data – which means this is an area Asia can step forward and own.

But “in the next 15 years Big Data will become how it is done, therefore it can’t sit in a strategic silo. It needs to be technology for all,” said Ken.

Big Data means we have the ability to harness the social value of information to improve life for everyone, but there is one vital piece of the pie that needs to be taken seriously – privacy laws must be rethought and reconfigured. In Asia, where the current laws are not as rigid as the US and Europe, this provides an opportunity right now. However, Ken believes a comprehensive privacy debate is needed immediately and it needs to be conceived in line with the benefits for humankind, while also factoring in free-will.

To illustrate this point, Ken said: “we are moving from the issue of privacy to propensity – so the ability to predict crimes based on past crimes – however with propensity comes the need to safeguard freewill.” I actually found the freewill aspect fascinating, as understanding someone’s ability to do something, based on a whole host of data inputs, doesn’t mean they will actually do it – such as committing a crime. Therefore, in the future, will we act or intervene before something happens, potentially changing the path of someone’s life? Or do you allow that person to play out their life and only act when harm is done? Interesting right?

Makes one think of ‘Minority Report’ right?

It’s certainly a fascinating discussion and a hot topic in the business world right now, but one thing I know for sure – the collection and use of data is certainly going to keep the legal professionals busy for the next couple of decades.

As I expect it to be a strategic asset for communicators and marketers in the future, let me know if Big Data is on your horizon and what are your primary goals? Also the core issues you see moving ahead? If I don’t know the answer, I’m now surrounded by people who do.

With that, I am definitely looking forward to reading Ken’s book – Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think – it’s next on my ‘to read’ pile.

Cheers

Andrea

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