Microsoft’s Concept of 2019

While browsing social media sites and doing research on Microsoft, I came across a video on YouTube titled “Microsoft’s Concept of How 2019 Will Look Like.” This peaked my interest because I haven’t seen any video of Microsoft’s Future Vision Concept at all for the year 2019 (roughly). I had no idea that Microsoft thought that far into the future for technology either. It’s interesting how a company will formulate a “vision” or a plan of what the future has in store for us and what sort of things we can expect. The YouTube video itself is clever and pretty spectacular.

The video opens with a girl and boy interacting online internationally with (what looks like anyway) a holographic board. They exchange messages through writing text and pictures using their fingers to produce lines. After a couple of scenes, it cuts to a wide shot of a classroom and someone interacting with a full holographic or surface “smartboard.” The video goes on to show touch screen displays in airplanes, businesses, at residential homes, and pretty much everywhere you turn. Some of these touch displays are used on glass tables and windows. They also show interactive displays on coffee mugs, note cards, and even newspapers (reminds me of the Daily Prophet and the moving pictures from the Harry Potter universe) showing information such as news and weather. Incredible magic indeed.

It goes without saying that the technologies showed in the video are pretty ambitious and that Microsoft will have a lot on their plate (trial and error, lots of testing!) if they want to produce these ideas in the next seven years. But there is hope because some of the “future tech” shown in the video is plausible even by today’s standards. Microsoft has released their Surface tablet and I can see airlines having touch screen displays on their planes in the very near future for customer convenience. There are some refrigerators that are out today that have touch screen panels and even have cameras to take inventory of what you have.

If most or even half of this technology is possible by the year 2019, the social media and networking scene will explode with the amount of new possibilities. Imagine waking up or walking into your business and seeing news feeds, sports, and/or social networking updates displayed on glass. Or even presented on interactive newspapers. Retail stores could have a whole new way of displaying product to customers. Social media experts will have new ways of getting the information to its customers. I’m even sure its possible in the future that people could pay online bills without having to go to a computer monitor and using a web page. 2019 is seven years away and Microsoft sure does have work ahead of them if they do want to have their complete “Future Vision.” Microsoft’s Concept of 2019 video is posted below.


What are key realities of the new social economy?

The social economy is always changing in our country. Like new technology, people who invest in the social economy should familiarize themselves with the new social economy policies and where they stand. Not to mention social media sites are always adapting to the economy and are prone to big changes for public use. The key realities of the new social economy that I think are the most important are understanding your consumers – their wants needs and desires, allow customers to shop whenever and wherever, understanding and recognizing new technologies either for marketing and/or sales purposes, treat customers with respect, and give the consumers straightforward pricing when advertising.

If companies get stuck in the “old” mindset of the social economy what it was like in the past, they will seriously have issues and struggle to stay in business due to the new social economy. This happened to Circuit City and they are not a company anymore. People are shopping online more than ever. Companies must be open to fulfilling online transactions and supporting consumers with their purchases. This includes offering impartial, professional advice on the latest and greatest technology and answering questions so that the consumer feels confident when making his or her purchases. Doing these simple steps helps to build trust with customers and customers will have a better experience shopping online and/or utilizing social media to buy.

Online sales are especially crucial during the holiday time. Depending on the company/brand, Black Friday could very well make or break consumers’ trust with a particular company/brand. Selling the products or services to customers that they need either online or physically in a store is very important. This is a step of understanding your customer and customers dislike when they are pushed to buy something that they do not need. Every dollar counts in our current economy and this is a perfect way to turn people away from buying from you if you “just sell” instead of selling the right solutions.

I found an article that was published earlier this year on The New York Times website and the author says, “Things like improved communication and collaboration from social media in four major business sectors could add $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value to the economy.” He goes on to say, “There are challenges to using social media effectively, the main challenges are organizational and personal, as managers have to develop non-hierarchical cultures, where data and knowledge are exposed and shared, not hoarded.” So there is major potential to put more money back into the economy but sellers in the new social economy need to use some common sense. They need to learn and respect their customers. They also need to understand upcoming technology and more importantly, recognize the updated social media technologies to further support the new social economy.


Call of Duty: Black Ops II

The long anticipated wait (for some people) for the next Call of Duty entry is finally over. Treyarch is back at it yet again and takes the reigns as the development team behind the title, making this their second entry of a Black Ops game. This is also the ninth video game in the award winning Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty: Black Ops II takes place in 2025, many years after the first Black Ops game. Technology has become a major focus in the United States military and is a dominant force. The official campaign overview from the Call of Duty website for Call of Duty: Black Ops II is as follows: “A time-spanning, generation-spanning narrative, Call of Duty®: Black Ops 2 introduces players to an insidious villain named Raul Menendez who hijacks the US military infrastructure to further his own agenda. Harness the power of near-future technology and advanced robotics to pull the world back from the brink of annihilation.”

In addition to the game’s campaign, Black Ops II will of course have a multiplayer mode where players can go head-to-head, using the most cutting-edge weaponry and equipment from the year 2025. From the gameplay that I’ve seen, I’m happy that the development team went back to making the multiplayer look like the multiplayer from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty 4 arguably has one of the best FPS multiplayers out there. Also, no Treyarch game would be complete without a Zombies mode either! Players will be able to use their future tech and take on the undead throughout different maps in the very popular Zombies game mode. It has been said that 4-8 players will be able to play Zombies at a given time, depending on the actual game modes.

I’m working one of Best Buy’s midnight releases tonight of Call of Duty: Black Ops II but not gonna be picking up a copy. I’m skeptical of the game itself and not sure if the game will be a hit or miss. I have faith that the game could do well but I keep thinking back of a game that already did the idea of “future technology” in a war setting. Battlefield 2142 anyone? Granted, 2142 did not have a campaign but I’m wondering why Black Ops II feels the need to be in a future setting? Also, Treyarch could of very well made the same game without the Black Ops title (Call of Duty: 2025). Boom, done. Why does this Call of Duty game need to be a sequel? This is the point where I think some developers slap numbers on the end of games that have done well with the market, which should not be the case at all.

Anyway, the ad campaign and marketing for Black Ops II is getting the true Call of Duty experience. On Facebook, advertising and marketing is done under the Black Ops page and the page is filled with information and content for Black Ops II. It shows pictures of people standing in lines waiting for the midnight release, screenshots of the game, and clever banners. This could be a disadvantage though because I don’t know why the Black Ops page had to be taken over when they could have just made a new page for Black Ops II. Anywho, the Call of Duty Twitter account has been busy with updating info about the midnight release and communicating what players will receive if they pre-order the game. They also tweet status updates of players waiting in lines for the game and respond to people’s feedback/mentions.

There are numerous videos on YouTube advertising Call of Duty: Black Ops II as well as TV commercials. These include cinematic videos of in-game footage as well as live-action advertisements. I’m surprised to see that Wal-Mart does not have their usual “Call of Duty midnight release” commercial on TV for Black Ops II. Instead, the very popular “Surprise” live-action advertisement is circulating on TV, featuring some famous celebrities and web personalities. This commercial is another “There’s a Soldier in All of Us” ad campaign that Call of Duty is known for on TV. The “Surprise” live-action video can be found below. Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases tonight at midnight and officially tomorrow, November 13th.


How should marketers behave in social media environments?

In this new age of technology, there has to be experts for almost every line of work. For instance if a new laptop comes out, chances are there is someone learning all there is to learn about that specific laptop. If a new gaming console hits the market, there has to be someone present to help consumers to explain the new technology to them. Same holds true for any social media interaction. There must be experts in the social media environment. Without them, interacting on social networking sites would be impossible/frustrating/almost like pulling teeth. Also without social media experts or marketers, information would not be updated and sites would just be jumbled with all sorts of information all out of order. With that being said, all marketers need to first recognize and understand the social media environment they are in.

All marketers (and every business person for that matter) should act professionally in a friendly manner and adhere to ethical business decisions. This goes along with the subject of “Who do consumers trust in social media?” Marketers should take time to learn each of their own environments and know how to mold interactions to what they are promoting. I personally wouldn’t want someone to tell me certain “facts” that turn out to be false on social media sites when I request additional information or just asking a simple question to get an answer quickly. If that happened, I (as well as many other people) would not trust that particular marketer and the negative response would reflect towards that brand. People would say, “Why would you trust someone that mislead you with the wrong info and essentially just wasted your time?” Consumers are good at dropping products or services in an instant and moving onto something else because of a negative experience. Marketers should be swift to answer questions and basically move conversations along in a positive interaction that leads to consumer interest toward their brand.

On a business side, I found a blog that outlines some behaviors marketers should demonstrate (particularly close to the holiday season as well). “Understand customer behavior on all channels: Marketers must integrate customer profiles from offline transactional data with digital and organic/owned media channels. To maximize the benefits that come with the social channel and with all channels, marketers need to understand how customers behave through each using all types of data.” Marketers also should use integrated social media for both offline and online interactions and not on a “case by case” basis. “To really see the benefits of social media, marketers must coordinate all offline and online campaigns. Social media must be as much a part of your in-store campaign, as it is your digital campaign.” Finally, marketers should set content up that is easily accessible for their consumers. Nothing drives a customer more furious than having a new product’s info hiding in a weird place on a social media channel. “Make it easy for your customers: Marketers need to create an environment in which it’s easy for customers to amplify the good news about your brand.”


Video Games and Tablets

Technology moves rapidly these days. Every six months or so, you see new technologies come out. The world of computing and processors improve each year. Desktops are getting smaller, TV’s are becoming thinner, laptops are becoming thinner, and overall technology is becoming more convenient to carry/transport and use. There is actually one area of computers that is fairly new that has a strong niche and strong target markets. What is this area you may ask? The answer is: Tablets. Tablets have exploded with popularity with consumers within the last couple of years. This is because tablets are portable computers, even more portable than lugging a laptop around. They usually have great battery life, they usually have a camera to take pictures while you are out with friends or family, you can browse the web instantly, and there are thousands of apps to choose and download. Customers also love tablets because they are easy to use, especially when accessing social networking sites to interact with friends.

Having popular tablets like the iPad, the Galaxy Tab, the Asus tablet, and now Microsoft’s Surface, there is huge potential for the game industry. I would say a good portion of the game industry studios have already drawn up plans to make games for tablets or they might actually be in the process of making tablet based games. Either way, a new study on tablet usage from Google found that people use their tablets to check their email more than anything else. After that, they spend more time playing video games than anything else. According to an article I found, “Now even social gaming, the segment that was eating into console and handheld time just a few years ago, is transforming into something else, losing players that once stayed glued to their desktop screens to other activities. Where is everyone going? According to Google, tablets are the machines people play video games on these days.”

I think gaming on tablets is so popular because it is very easy to download a game and very easy to play them. By having these two easy experiences go hand in hand, the customer has a lot of fun doing it and they will continue gaming. Another reason tablet gaming is so popular is because of Angry Birds. Angry Birds was one simple idea for a game but it was executed well and now it is one of the most (if not the most) successful game for tablets and mobile devices. Seeing how successful Angry Birds is now, companies wish to match what the Angry Birds deliver for gaming (and fun!) therefore having multiple tablet based games. “More than 51 percent of those surveyed used their tablet for gaming, and almost 11 percent of all time spent using the tablet was for playing games.” I’m glad to see video games becoming increasingly popular on tablets rather than social networking. Social media is great and all, but my main focus is video games because I major in Game Design and will be entering the game industry very soon.


What are the pitfalls of social media for Marketers?

Social Media can be a very beneficial tool to a company if it is used the right way. Marketers should not underestimate the use of social media. Marketers should also realize that using social media is not solely a marketing strategy either. So there has to be a fine line for marketers when using social media as a support tool and should not be the only tool. I found a couple of relatively recent articles that have useful information and do a good job of explaining the different downfalls of social media for marketers. Again, I stress that social media platforms are helpful but marketers should be thinking outside of that box too and focus on promoting their product(s) and/or service(s). I’ll summarize what the two articles provided for information.

One major disadvantage for marketers using social media is that updating the social media accounts takes a lot of time and effort. “It is ongoing work to find new angles about your products continually and to post and re-post information. The information is only visible for a short time before newer posts replace it. In addition, publishing obvious advertising copy is unacceptable in the social media world, therefore you must present the information in the form of conversation or you will lose followers.” Also, a social media study was done by Monash University and they found that American businesses are expected to spend more than $3.1 billion by 2014 for social media marketing. That is some serious spending for any company on just one aspect of marketing out to customers. Some people think that social media marketing is intrusive on their privacy. “According to Web Pro News, eight out of 10 social media users feel ambivalent to uneasy about sharing personal information and place social networks low in security confidence.” Another disadvantage and could be damaging in the realm of social media marketing is negative post responses. “Unhappy customers or industry competitors are able to post disparaging or offensive pictures, posts or videos and there is not much a marketer can do to prevent these occurrences. Still, negative or other non-constructive feedback cannot be ignored. Social networks must be managed efficiently enough to immediately respond and neutralize harmful posts, which takes more time.”

The other article stresses that a disadvantage for marketers could be not having a strategy or plan for social marketing. “You should build a plan for your social marketing like you would for any other marketing discipline. Your plan should include the strategies, tactics, branding, messaging, content, tools, resources, and goals that will help you make your social media presence a successful part of your marketing.” Also, companies should incorporate social media into integrated marketing programs and not run social media like sideline programs. Another disadvantage is if a company/brand uses social media for more of a “status” rather than use it for business purposes. “Too many B2B companies use their social channels to push out one-way PR announcements and top-down messages. You can instantly set your company apart from competitors by delivering interesting and valuable content and engaging in two-way conversations about topics that really matter to your target audience.”

A big disadvantage of social marketing is simply neglecting your following. People are following your company for a reason! Do respond to feedback and messages to keep the customers engaged so they keep coming back to you. Finally, don’t obsess about the “numbers.” “Your social media presence should be making an impact and contributing to the success of your marketing campaigns.” These definitely are the major downfalls of social media that marketers should recognize and avoid at all times to stay successful.