A Graphical Eye on the Future

At the Business Growth Hub Future of Digital Event in Manchester

In my role as creative director at Gabriel Design I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Future of Digital Conference put together by the Business Growth Hub at The Lowry on 1st April 2014. What a great day it was. I have always had an interest is high tech gadgets and the future, probably down to being a science fiction fan, and a lot of what was discussed and displayed at this event was in the realms of science fiction not so many years ago.

There was a fascinating cross section of topics, from drone journalism to 3d printing, from cyber security to telecommunications, from smart cities to ‘the internet of things’. All of which were fantastic and a quick search will find information on all of these in more details.

At the Business Growth Hub Future of Digital Event in Manchester

This is, however, Graphical Content and I would like to focus on the ideas which we put forward which comes more into a graphical/branding remit. For example John Owens of Instruct Studio spoke clearly about the need for a coherent message in the digital age. Many smaller businesses sometimes appear to ignore or avoid the issue and determine that once a logo has been designed that is all they need to consider. I agree with John’s views on supplying a complete image both on and off line. Businesses should consider all elements, such as colour palettes, type faces, language used, layouts and designs when presenting themselves. I will be writing more articles on Graphical Content about this in the future, although it was great to hear someone else champion similar ideas.

A number of the speakers spoke about ‘big data’ and its various uses. In a time when budgets are tight and competition fierce being able to target prospective customers accurately and affordably can be key, and making use of the data is crucial. A keynote speech from ao.com underlined how important it is to challenge and filter this data ourselves. Simply assuming that the information supplied is correct and useful can be just as wasteful and planning a random marketing campaign. Meanwhile Purple wifi outlined their service which allows for data pick up via log in to provided wifi services. This allows for buildings (for example hospitals or shopping centres) or events (gigs, festivals and sports) to offer free to use wifi via a social media log in. Once logged in the system has access to your public data and can then tailor your experience accordingly providing more pertinent advertising on digital screens to the customers present. A great example of this was a university open day where prospective students opted in for free wifi and allowed access to data on their chosen subjects and likes. This allowed for targeted digital signage around campus directing lost parties to the correct location and advertising suitable venues.

At the Business Growth Hub Future of Digital Event in Manchester

For a more hands on approach Event Beat provided their services for the Future of Digital conference itself. They were able to cherry pick tweets making use of selected hash tags and display them on screen around the venue. They were also able to upload photos almost in real time reflecting the event back to itself and increasing engagement. It was very exciting every time I saw one of my own tweets appear on the big screen! Apparently they are able to tailor to any social network and also make use of video on multiple screens. They have worked successfully at festivals and sporting events allowing for a very public interaction. Handled well this kind of social interaction can work well for businesses of all sizes and will be something else I shall look at in a future Graphical Content.

Of course a lot more was covered throughout the day; discussions on how home based 3d printers could allow for home printing of merchandise prior to heading out for an show or how social media should not be seen as an add on any more. One thing however, which really took my eye and amused me was this great use of technology from Pepsi Max, who have made some cracking marketing of late. Enjoy…

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