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LUON report | The Next Web Conference 2017

Last May, LUON’s technology evangelist immersed himself in the wild and wonderful world of The Next Web in Amsterdam. And these are his 3 key take-aways…

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1. Marketing and technology are HOT!

Enter ‘The Dome’… sounds like the title of a sci-fi movie, no? Yet, I kept both feet firmly on the ground, as I experienced how TNW provided a separate location for the session about marketing and media. With a total of more than 12,000 visitors, among which a large number of marketeers, long queues at The Dome were inevitable. Learning how patience is a virtue the hard way…
This year’s edition of TNW highlighted how technology not only has an impact on all things marketing, it genuinely transforms sectors too:

  • Technologies like blockchain eliminate the middle men.
  • Self-driving cars some? Think again: the reality is just round the corner and it’s bound to have a ground-shaking effect on 
    • the mobility sector
    • the environment (lower oil consumption)
    • subsequently: the oil import in the US
    • inner-city parking space 
    • the real estate sector (expect ‘distance’ to be thoroughly redefined)
    • freight transport 
    • the retail market

As a take-away, here’s a jaw-dropping fact for you:  every year, we earthlings are driving a distance of about 1.7 light years worldwide! 

2. The moment for Artificial Intelligence is NOW! 

The adoption of A.I. in  our daily lives (online as well as offline) was really tangible at TNW. No doubt, A.I. will be a major driving force for innovation in 2017 and beyond.

  • Artificial Intelligence begins with GOOD DATA.
    Kodi Foster from DATA VIACOM shared some inspiring thoughts on the use of social data. Especially  when you’re trying to learn more about your target groups. After all, social data reflects the perception of the user's platform, which does not necessarily correspond to who the user really is. So, when targeting, it’s wise to take the imageinto account  that a platform like Facebook has about its users. 
  • Nice example of A.I.: Influential
    It was cool to see how a platform can link the right influencer to the right brand. The simple principle is based on what influencers are discussing on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: NLP – Natural Language Processing. And if you think that’s spectacular: in the not-so-distant future it will become possible to recognize products in images and apply face recognition to measure the sentiment of an influencer about the brand.  


3. Digital Empathy to make a more human future

At Marketing Automation Day, we already emphasized the importance of the human aspect in a world dominated by technology. A.I. is just one example to help us communicate more human as a brand. At LUON, we’ve been both early adopters of the approach and avid ambassadors for the philosophy.
That’s why it kind of made me glow to see it’s really catching on. Digital Empathy was one of the common threads throughout the TNW conference this year:

  • “Technology can communicate, but it doesn’t have to speak”
    Amber Case from Calm Technology suggested we use the life-improving capacities of technology. Think ‘smart time management’ and ‘ease of mind’. What if we could find alternative, less-intrusive ways to get a message across? For instance, we could let today’s weather forecast control the color of environmental light to influence our daily sense of well-being. Or have a small ‘buzzer’ send people a subtle sign when the position of their body should be corrected in order to avoid back problems. Interesting stuff!
  • “In the race to 1-to-1, don’t forget humanity” 
    R/GA’s creative director James Temple showcased “Nike on demand”, a chat functionality that gives athletes customized information based on their context. This personal way of communicating made the athletes approach the brand as a companion.
  • ‘Hooked’-in
According to Nir Eyal, we must free ourselves from the constant distraction by current technology: “The use of smartphones at the table is socially unacceptable”. There are many things we can do to ‘free’ ourselves from technology’s choking grip. You could simply install a timer that reminds you to switch off your web connection after 10 PM. If that’s too tough to handle, there’s even software to help us become less dependent: DF YouTube (Distraction Free), News Feed Eradicator for Facebook,… 


Photographs Courtesy Of The Next Web

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