30/06/2014

By Joy Dean, head of partnerships at Widespace

Fifty years ago, we all imagined that by the time we got to the year 2014, we’d all be living in a world run by robots. We imaged that by now, we would be living in a world similar to that of the Jetsons, where flying cars are the norm, communication is instantaneous and a robot greets you when you return from work. Although we haven’t quite achieved the flying car or the robot maid just yet, we shouldn’t underestimate the strides we have made. After all, when you think about it, what is a mobile phone if not a personalised mini robot attached to the palm of our hand? What’s more, these devices are, as they become more and more technologically advanced with each passing year, increasingly holding the key to significantly impacting the way we live our lives.

Today, there’s little doubt that mobile is now the basis of a new way in which we must all live our lives. The mobile web has revolutionised the way we all live to the extent that it has made its way into every facet of our lives. In addition to work and play, our mobile devices also help us to share what we are doing, who we are doing them with, while also monitoring your productivity, your fitness levels and even your sleep. In today’s world, what can you do that cannot be done by your mobile device? In fact, recent technological developments mean that you don’t even need to touch your mobile device but rather respond by voice activation.

One of the most obvious by-products of this new 24/7 reliance on technology is that we’ve seen mobile advertising becoming almost omni present in our day to day lives. As a result, advertisers now have the opportunity and ability to specifically target their audience with useful advertising content through more engaging ad format.

As human behaviour evolves, we are increasingly becoming available online 24/7. With that comes an opportunity for advertisers to provide relevant and real time information, in a manner that reflects the behavior of end users. As a nation that is continuously on the go, both technology and advertising have had to adjust and find a way to reach out to consumers. With the introduction of hands-free engagement, marketers are opening the doorway to a new era in premium brand advertising.

Indeed, as marketers look for new ways to communicate with consumers through mobile advertising, voice recognition presents vast opportunities. It can even be argued that traditional forms of advertising no longer reach an attentive audience as our attention span decreases. Studies have shown that 48 per cent of respondents use the mobile internet to kill time. But there is no arguing that an advert that literally talks to you is going to grab your attention.

Voice recognition is only one example of how mobile advertising is embracing the changing nature of human behaviour. Other examples can be seen in the increase in facial and fingerprint recognition technology. In September last year Apple launched the iPhone 5s, the first smartphone to feature the Touch ID fingerprint scanner which has now found its way into models across the market. Fingerprint scanning is a technology that identifies individuals by measuring physical characteristics related to the body, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris recognition, and even DNA. Mobile advertisers haven’t missed a beat on this development and are jumping onto the bandwagon of opportunities. Last year, Widespace launched the world’s first voice-controlled ad for smart phones, based on Nuance voice recognition technology.

With global advertising expenditure expected to reach $41.9 bn by 2017, it is no surprise that the advertising industry is taking advantage of our ever-increasing mobile lifestyle. We may not be able to live up to the Jetsons lifestyle just yet, but it is still safe to say that mobile technology has truly brought us into a new, mobile-enabled age, which is set to stay for the foreseeable future!