Voice Marketing At CES Sets Tone For Year Ahead

While voice-assistant devices have the potential to become the preferred human-machine interface, the question remains whether there’s sufficient demand for consumers to incorporate the emerging AI into their homes and daily lives while receiving deals, sales and promotions.

As a range of brands announce new tech at CES, marketers and industry insiders are bullish that the fairly nascent messaging method will strike a chord.

“Brands today need to have a representation in the audio world, or sonic branding, as I like to call it,” Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer for MasterCard, told AListDaily. “With the evolution of the smart speakers that’s coming in a big way, how the brand gets into the audio space is going to be mission critical for the future.”

Tech giants and competitors are bidding and battling for consumer attention with voice and AI interfaces, whether Google, Amazon, Cortana or the like.

Google, for one, showed that it’s game with an unprecedented marketing push and coming out party, which served as a warning shot to Amazon and the rest of the digital assistant pack that it will be taking voice seriously—this year and moving forward.

Prognosticators are predicting that it will impact business strategies as well.

“Voice will become a preferred human-machine interface in 2018,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research of the Consumer Technology Association, which owns and produces CES. “Moving forward, we see voice as the fourth purchase channel, along with in-store, online and mobile.”

Koenig said that during the holiday shopping season, CTA research indicated that more Americans than ever planned to use smart speakers powered by digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant to help them research holiday gift ideas or make purchases. Smart speakers were a popular gift over the holidays, as Amazon’s Echo Dot was the top-selling product across all categories on Amazon, as reported by the Jeff Bezos-led brand.

According to Yin Woon Rani, vice president of integrated marketing at Campbell Soup Company, using applications for voice assistants to provide frictionless brand experiences that serve the consumer will be key for voice to continue to gain momentum.

“Voice marketing is an interesting journey—it’s about delivering value in a more intuitive way for people to access content,” Rani said. “We believe that voice will have an important use case in the future, but we do not have it completely cracked yet.”

With simple propositions like “what do I make for dinner?” Yin said that the brand has been seeing positive engagement metrics with Campbell’s Kitchen app for Amazon Echo. When consumers cook, it frequently means stopping for directions on second-screen experiences.

“I’m excited about the use cases we haven’t even dreamt up yet, but brands have to balance reach,” said Yin. “The more user-centric you can design solutions, the better off you’ll be.”

Yin said that marketers need to test and iterate voice innovation philosophy focused on solving sustained business and consumers needs and repeat different pilots against it. Applying data from voice to do the work for marketers means Campbell can monitor if people are searching for specific recipes for chicken, turkey, beef, pork, seafood, pasta and of course, soup. In turn, the brand can use insights to deliver more pertinent information.

“Every time we iterate voice, we learn something new in the logic structure.” said Yin. “The first time was very hard. Our plan is to learn, iterate and scale. Voice is the most intuitive interface ever, but because we grew up in a screen-based world, we have to reteach ourselves how to talk.”

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is also priming itself to advance platform communication. It used CES as a springboard for its Echo smart speakers into verticals like car entertainment systems, light switches and even shower heads—electroshocks not included.

According to eMarketer, over 45 million Americans will use a voice-enabled smart speaker this year, and according to Sara Kleinberg, group marketing manager of ads research and insights at Google, 72 percent of consumers who own a voice-activated speaker have already admitted that their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.

Patrizio Spagnoletto, head of media and subscriber growth at Hulu, says that he sees these kinds of AI integrations “as a way to communicate and find out the moods of consumers.”

“AI is a tool at our disposal, and it’s on marketers to make it right,” said Spagnoletto. “It’s a tool to drive conversation. As marketers, we need to balance data with creative, real-life senses. Once you have an audience defined, you still need to answer questions. It’s about engaging the audience in personal ways.”

Rajamannar, who’s overseeing MasterCard’s efforts in such areas like their briefing skill on Alexa, said that voice-based authentications are going to play a more prevalent role in the biometric cloud moving forward as well, adding that he’s surprised by how few brands are taking sonic branding seriously today.

“We’re engaging senses with a two-way communication that were not [being engaged] before, and that’s where the big change is happening,” he said. “Voice is absolutely a key marketing area for brands moving forward.”

In the meantime, platforms kingpins are pouring resources into voice, and somewhat forcing brand marketers to take the lead as well, Yin said. Whether or not consumers are clamoring for such luxuries, specially from brands, is another thing.

“Consumers want things that will make their life easy,” she said. “I think voice will play a role in that. Non-screen based interactions, whether its gestural or visual, will be the next frontier of experiences. Voice is just an obvious one, and at the tipping point of scale.”

Yin is convinced that there definitely is a future for voice marketing for brands—one that is not controlled by a monopoly—but she warned that it won’t be figured out anytime soon, or even by the next CES.

“I’m glad for both big and small players trying to learn, but there is no silver bullet yet,” she said. “You will see experiences at all kinds of scale both from brands and tech partners. As marketers, we’ll be a lot smarter in one year than we are today.”

“The wave of voice is coming very big,” added Rajamannar. “If you as a brand are not in that space, you will get yourself very quickly excluded, and that’s a risk to your brand in a big way.”

 

CES 2018’s Top Announcements For Marketers

There’s a lot to sift through at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, from self-driving pizza-delivery vehicles to a canceled speaking engagement by Ajit Pai, and lots and lots of AI. We’re sifting through the announcements this week to bring you the biggest ones for marketers.

Kodak Cashes In On Cryptocurrency

It was only a matter of time before blockchain made an appearance at CES, and Kodak has picked up the slack, announcing an initial coin offering for a proprietary cryptocurrency, KodakCoin. The new cryptocurrency will tie into Kodak’s photography intellectual property protection platform, KodakOne, allowing users to more easily detect unlicensed use of their photos.

But Kodak seems to be hedging its bets on its own cryptocurrency as well, as it has also started to rent out Bitcoin-mining equipment to consumers. The product, Kodak KashMiner, is a 2-year contract for an up-front payment, which will grant the consumer only half of the Bitcoin mined by the machine they rent (the other half going to Kodak).

The company was famously slow to adapt to the disruption digital cameras brought to the industry, but it certainly can’t be accused of that now.

LG: Artificial Intelligence In Everything

Riding marketers’ artificial intelligence buzz, LG announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that it was going to take a stab at incorporating AI into its own devices in the next year. The company’s approach may be surprising: rather than market incorporated AI technology to consumers, LG’s president and chief technology officer Il-pyung Park hopes to keep it behind the scenes.

“We don’t want to use AI as a marketing strategy,” he said to CNET. “You can talk about AI all day, but if the customer doesn’t get any value out of it, it becomes useless.”

At their presentation, LG promised AI incorporation with TVs, air conditioners and even washing machines. They even built AI into a home robot called CLOi, but may have embraced the “behind the scenes” approach a bit too much, as it failed to respond to any voice commands on stage.

iHeartRadio: Music Bots

The digital arm of radio platform iHeartMedia, iHeartRadio, has announced a slew of cross-platform integrations, hoping to bring the service out of the car and into every other facet of their users’ lives.

The platform’s Facebook chatbot will allow users to request station recommendations based on genre, location and popularity, and promises more functionality soon. The streaming platform also now supports Samsung’s Bixby voice recognition service, the Roku app and even Garmin’s latest GPS running watch.

All this comes in addition to partnerships with General Motors and Ford to natively incorporate the service in new vehicles, meaning that iHeartRadio might score new paying subscribers from Spotify from sheer ubiquity alone.

Rokid: Improving Augmented Reality

Augmented reality and voice control have been some of the largest buzzwords on the showroom floor, and Rokid has decided to combine them into one stylish package. Rokid Glass, not to be confused with other AR experiment Google Glass, seeks to solve the problem of interacting with smart glasses by making them voice-controlled, using a proprietary AI called Melody which they introduced last year.

Despite the similarity to Google’s admittedly unstylish offering, the Rokid Glass bears a closer resemblance to Snapchat’s Spectacles, which took off early before their artificial scarcity drove down consumer interest. Only time will tell if Rokid has figured out how to pitch AR headsets to the general consumer, but with voice control as popular as it is, consumers may bite.

Circuit City Back From The Dead

After declaring bankruptcy and closing down in 2009, Circuit City is making a resurgence starting in February, promising to relaunch as a “social-focused” e-commerce site, eventually with a physical retail presence as well.

In addition to relaunching as a retail platform, Circuit City will also partner with IBM Watson to somehow incorporate AI technology into its business model.

IAB, 4A’s Ad Terms And Conditions Updates Offer Long-Form Video Guidelines

For the first time in nine years, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) have updated their advertising terms and conditions for long-form digital video content. These changes, developed over the past year by a joint agency group, seek to clarify advertiser-publisher negotiations on subjects from high-level brand safety concerns to granular ad cancellation policies.

The new terms and conditions apply to all long-form digital video, which it defines as professionally produced digital content that lasts eight minutes or longer and is served ads dynamically, rather than including ads directly in the video itself. The addendum consists mostly of fairly dense legalese, but contains a brief checklist on the first page that breaks down the updated ad buying process.

“Video continues to grow as both a driver of revenue and ROI for buyers and sellers alike,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB, in a released statement. “Coupling that with the scarcity of long-form video puts pressure on the marketplace—and makes transactional guidance an imperative.”

The addendum adds guidelines for canceling unified, up-front and scatter ad buys, as well as covering implementation of viewability and fraud measurement controls to digital ads.

The updated advertising terms and conditions are still entirely voluntary, but the IAB and 4A’s promise that adhering to their guidelines will “markedly reduce the delay and expense inherent in preparing multiple, custom agreements,” especially for advertising newcomers like small businesses.

Though the IAB is currently taking public comments on the addendum, businesses need not comply with any guidelines with which they disapprove.

“As the media landscape continues to evolve with the convergence of TV and digital, there’s a need for faster, more agile processes,” said Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of 4A’s. “This addendum for long-form video will enable buyers and sellers to begin with a common point of reference, which they can choose to evolve or refine based on their own needs.”

The draft for the update will be available for public comment until February 5.

4 Digital Marketing Campaigns People Watched In 2017

With ad blocking on the rise and ad viewability an ever-increasing concern, brands are on the hook to produce digital campaigns consumers are willing to seek out, and not just sit through.

Swiss Army Man: Meet Your Best Friend Manny

The marketing campaign for A24’s Swiss Army Man took movie fans on as much of a journey as its marooned protagonist.

Featuring an AI chatbot, a ragdoll-tossing interactive website, unorthodox influencer activations, a user-generated blog, a real-life scavenger hunt and, for obvious reasons, free pizza, the campaign aligned not just with the movie’s tone, but displayed a fundamental understanding of its themes and message as well.

The campaign got so much traction that it even ended up interrupting Daniel Radcliffe with a text in the middle of rehearsal for a different movie. Like Manny in the movie, the digital marketing campaign was a real multi-purpose . . . tool . . . guy.

Heineken: Worlds Apart

Where A24’s digital campaign impressed with its sheer number of spinning plates, Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” activation’s strength comes from its simplicity.

Described by Fast Company as “the antidote to that Pepsi Kendall Jenner ad,” the video demonstrated the power of respectful, measured treatment of social issues, and racked up close to 15 million views in the process during a time of which some brands can’t get out of their own tone-deaf ways.

The video works in part because it keeps the brand in the back seat—both in the video itself, and its underlying message. Heineken never implies that its beer is the tool that can bridge ideological gaps, and it lets the strangers in its ad do almost all of the talking. At the very least, it proves the uniting power of furniture assembly.

Ted Baker: Keeping Up With The Bakers

Part of the problem with shopping for clothes online is the difficulty in getting a picture of how well the clothes might fit, and part of the problem with video advertising is the lack of opportunity to impulse-buy. Ted Baker solved both these issues in one fell swoop, producing a shoppable 360-degree VR experience, letting potential customers get up close and personal to the clothing and directly purchase anything that strikes their fancy.

Framing the video as a ’50s sitcom, Ted Baker used its social channels to promote the promotion as well, creating limited-time Instagram Stories for five different “channels,” drawing consumers back on a daily basis to, well, keep up with the Bakers.

Casper: Staycation Hacks

When it comes to producing exciting content, mattress companies have a bit of a tougher time of things than other lifestyle brands.

Casper leaned into this challenge, giving up on making laziness sound shareable but acknowledging that many people are going to stay in bed anyway. With its Staycation Story Hacks website, those who are fans of staying indoors don’t have to miss out on the social media attention that vacationers get.

The campaign fits with Casper’s values, gave them free press and social media attention, and most importantly was simple enough that their marketing team didn’t have to stay up too late.

Untethered VR Is Here, But Wires Aren’t The Problem

A number of untethered VR headsets have been unveiled this year with the hope of stimulating consumer adoption. Mobile and untethered VR may be the next step in the technology’s evolution, but experts agree that tethered isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“VR is definitely going in the direction of untethered, more than mobile,” Stephanie Llamas, VP of research and strategy at SuperData, told AListDaily. “However, on the gaming end, there will be continued potential for tethered devices for some time. Gamers will be more likely to want to add VR as an accessory to their gaming devices, but mainstream consumers will want to consume VR on standalone devices, looking at them as entertainment hardware rather than accessories.

“It will be a long time before untethered VR devices can render to the level of gamers’ expectations and contain enough content to give them replay value. So until that time, untethered devices will be most popular among those looking for entertainment that doesn’t require so much processing power,” said Llamas.

Mobile VR lacks the processing power and interactivity of VR powered by a desktop computer. To find the “sweet spot” between price and power, 2017 has seen the announcement of untethered VR headsets like Oculus Go, Vive Focus and Pico Goblin.

“Aside from the usual suspects making untethered [VR headsets] such as Oculus and HTC Vive, there are companies that are finding interesting ways to skirt tethering without actually removing it,” added Llamas. “With their recent product reveal, Magic Leap is notable in that the headset is tethered to a small, portable base, so it’s almost as ordinary as wearing headphones attached to a cell phone. Another company is TPCast, which has been available as a wireless solution for the Vive [in China] for more than a year.”

AfterNow founder and industry veteran Philippe Lewicki told AListDaily that the future of VR will eventually be untethered, but position tracking is more important than removing wires.

“The future is six degrees of freedom (6Dof),” explained Lewicki, with “degrees of freedom” referring to position tracking and the number of ways an object—such as a VR headset—can move within a 3D space. “Tethered headsets give a great VR experience because they are 6Dof, [while] the current mobile and untethered headsets only give you three degrees of freedom (3Dof). That’s a significant downgrade and is not the future.”

Much of today’s VR offerings simulate experiences in 3Dof—changing the camera view as users move their heads side to side or up and down. VR with 6Dof means that a user’s position is not only tracked by where they are looking, but how they are moving, including up and down and side to side—creating a more lifelike experience.

“It will take a bit of time, but 6Dof will arrive on mobile,” said Lewicki, who noted that Oculus and HTC will be releasing their 6Dof headsets at a competitive price point.

In the upcoming year, Lewicki predicts more interactive experiences for VR that are real-time and location-based.

“We are anticipating better screen quality, 3D room scanning and low network latency for real-time experiences,” he said. “It’s going to be an incremental improvement for VR. Its likely that AR will steal the show for a bit with Magic Leap and Hololens.”

App Developers Testing Gamified Ads; Brands Move Programmatic In-House

Video Ads, Metrically Speaking

For marketers, social videos work best for creating engagement, according to a report by Magisto. Customer testimonials and product overviews were most popular social video content, with 51 percent of respondents favoring each.

On mobile devices, however, marketers are looking to add more interactivity option to their video ads. A survey by AdColony finds that 69 percent of app developers have tested have tested playable ads this year, up from 33 percent in 2016. Despite full-screen video’s dominance in the market, 46 percent of app developers claim that playable ads are the opportunity that excites them most going into 2018.

Despite marketers’ focus on digital video as the future of ads, bad apples have somewhat spoiled the barrel. A survey by Clutch found that consumers trust ads they see online and on social media the least, with only 41 and 38 percent putting faith into the medium, respectively. Unsurprisingly, the established formats of broadcast video and print fared best, with around 60 percent of consumers trusting content in both formats.

Brands Pull In On Programmatic

A new report by the Association of National Advertisers has found that in response to growing transparency concerns, more than 35 percent of national brands have expanded their internal programmatic media buying structures. Last year, only 16 percent had shifted their programmatic in-house.

This shift reflects major brand concerns about the state of programmatic media buying—78 percent of marketers are concerned about brand safety and programmatic, and just 40 percent are comfortable with the current levels of transparency with their programmatic strategy.

2018 Projections

In the coming year, consumers want brands to improve their existing offerings more than new innovations, according to a poll by Code Computerlove. Just 18 percent of consumers claim to be looking for “something they haven’t experienced before” from digital experiences in 2018.

Marketing and advertising executives are predicting an increasing difficulty in finding creative talent next year, according to research by The Creative Group. Few executives (just 5 percent) expect to expand their creative times in the first six months of 2018. Instead, 78 percent of marketing executives plan to maintain the size of their existing teams, only hiring to fill vacant positions. Fortunately, no executives reported plans to downsize their creative staff, at least in the next six months.

Part of this lack of growth may come from a talent shortage—53 percent of executives reported difficulty in finding skilled creative professionals. Marketers report finding the most difficulty in finding employees in the fields of web design, research, brand management and digital marketing.

Rather than expanding their creative teams, marketers are investing in marketing technology, a survey by Conductor indicates. Of the marketers surveyed, 68 percent plan on spending more on martech in 2018, and 30 percent reported plans to increase their spending by as high as 25 percent. Over a quarter responded that they’re already spending more than $100,000 on martech platforms annually, and 4 percent spend more than $1 million.

Kids These Days

Gone are the days of children playing outside, a survey by eMarketer finds. Among US children up to the age of 11, the digital video viewing penetration is 47.5 percent. Between 12 and 17, that figure jumps up to 92.6 percent. Digital video viewership peaks between 18 and 24, at 94.7 percent.

Increasingly, a generational divide is appearing on the platforms used by influencers. Research by RBC Capital has placed Snapchat as the frontrunner among US teenagers, with 79 percent of those ages 13-to-18 having a Snapchat account, compared to 73 percent for Instagram and 57 percent for Facebook.

When asked which social network was most important to them, US teenagers further widened the gap between platforms. Forty-four percent responded that Snapchat was most important to them, compared to 24 percent for Instagram and just 14 percent for Facebook. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Snapchat’s Stories or Discover features that drive the most use: 68 percent claim that messaging is the app’s most important feature.

Despite its unpopularity among American teenagers, Instagram’s user base is expected to balloon in the coming years. A new forecast by eMarketer projects Instagram’s worldwide monthly active users will reach 928 million by 2021, largely swallowing adopters in emerging markets. As a result, Instagram’s ad revenues are slated to reach $10.87 billion in 2019.

“We see no signs of this slowing down in the near future, and the company’s strategic push toward international markets—in particular, Southeast Asia—will continue to fuel growth in the years to come,” said Cindy Liu, a forecasting analyst at eMarketer.

Authentic Influencers Drive Sales

A new survey by CITE Research gives more insight into the impressions and effects of influencers on the general public. When it comes to brand awareness and purchase consideration, social media influencers are a powerful tool—31 percent of US and European consumers have reported purchasing a product or service because of an influencer post. The majority consider someone to qualify as a social influencer once they reach the 10,000 follower threshold, while only 21 percent claim that being famous is a requirement. Additionally, less than half of the survey’s respondents considered promoting brands as a requirement to be an influencer.

“Through our extensive work with brands, we’ve found that influencer content is most resonant and powerful when influencers apply their own expertise, style and creativity—without heavy brand influence,” said Pau Sabria, co-founder of Olapic.

When it comes to influencer behavior, just 39 percent claim that on average, influencers post higher-quality content and just 31 percent think that influencers use ads in their posts more frequently. Authenticity is a major factor for consumer trust in influencers, with 43 percent claiming it was their top reason and 39 percent finding it important for endorsers to actually use the products they promote.

IAB: Small Businesses Are Driving Competition In Digital Advertising

Accessible tools, low prices and in-house creative options are leading millions of small businesses to invest into digital advertising this year, competing with national brands for viewability in search and social channels. According to the IAB’s latest bi-annual advertising revenue report, small business marketing efforts are in a large part responsible for the continued growth of advertising marketplace.

On Wednesday, AListDaily sat in on a livestream presentation of the findings from the IAB’s biannual advertising revenue study, which stated that over half of the companies on 2016’s Fortune 500 list are posting declining revenues, and yet, total digital advertising revenue continues to rise.

Advertising spend in general grew by 2.8 percent in the last year, yet for companies making over $250 million per year, that number was just 1.2 percent. To account for this counter-intuitive data, the IAB-commissioned Borrell Associates found that easily accessible marketing tools on platforms like Google and Facebook drew almost seven million small businesses to buy digital ads in the last year.

“There is a large (and growing) cohort of small- and medium-sized businesses who are engaged in digital advertising,” read Borrell’s report that was made available to AListDaily. “Their budgets are, of necessity, smaller—but their numbers are significant such that there is reason to believe they are, en masse, injecting significant dollar volume into the digital advertising ecosystem.”

What’s notable about this cohort isn’t just its size (6.8 million) but its saturation: 75 percent of businesses earning less than $50 million per year spend on digital advertising, and 63 percent of those expect to increase their spending in 2018.

Part of digital advertising’s appeal to small businesses comes from its budget-friendliness. Social media is the most popular and effective form of small-business marketing but accounts for just 4 percent of their marketing budgets.

“Local advertisers are going online to do their own buying,” the report reads. “Nearly two-thirds are inexperienced at marketing, and 70 percent of those amateurs make decisions without anyone’s assistance.”

The prevalence of inexperience makes social media’s accessibility and do-it-yourself options especially attractive to small businesses. In fact, four-in-five small businesses buy advertising on self-service platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This represents a potential for marketing service providers, as self-starters who may not be willing to spend on full small business marketing campaigns will benefit from the know-how of established professionals.

“Misfires and frustrations are likely to spur a stronger demand for marketing education and a greater level of consultation from marketing-savvy ad reps,” Borrell writes.

For the current growth to continue, small businesses might be the industry’s best bet.

“Better understanding this cohort will allow for all participants in the digital advertising ecosystem to tap into the opportunity they represent, as well as increase the value of digital advertising for this important constituency,” the report declared.

The Weakest Link In Blockchain Is Still Human Nature

Blockchain technology is disrupting the way data is stored and verified. While blockchain is more secure by design, humans are prone to mistakes and corruption.

What Is Blockchain?

While the technology of blockchain gets rather complicated, the basic idea is simple—one network that accurately tracks data from point A to point B and prevents tampering.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger that is shared among users rather than stored in one location such as a server. Everyone in the chain of information has a copy of the same information—updating with each new entry.

The blockchain is made up of a series of blocks containing encrypted data, along with a unique identifying number called a hash that corresponds to the entries before and after. This creates a ledger that keeps everything in its place and cannot be changed—at least not easily.

As data is recorded, it creates a new block with a new hash and adds it to the sequence—hence the name “blockchain.” Because it’s a distributed ledger, everyone gets the latest information at the same time. If the information doesn’t match—i.e. tampered with, it is rejected. Users no longer have one place to hack. This creates a transparent system of verification with an endless amount of uses.

Practical Applications

Imagine if you could trace your coffee beans all the way back to where they were grown. Blockchain would allow you to verify its origins and whether or not they are free trade. Donations to a charity could be tracked to make sure they reach the intended recipients and citizens could see exactly how their tax dollars are spent.

This new technology is already disrupting a number of industries, beginning with finances. First prototyped in 1991, blockchain is the distributed ledger that underlies Bitcoin. The technology cuts out the third party such as a bank, allowing users to transfer and verify the transfer of currency from one account to another.

For marketers, blockchain could solve the problem of programmatic advertising fraud. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is currently investigating the application of this technology to address challenges, as well as develop best practices.

Technology Versus Humans

Blockchain technology is important because it could solve the age-old problem of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.” But despite its built-in transparency and encryption, data is still entered by human beings—who are not perfect.

Whether through innocent error or intentional deceit, blockchain data is only as accurate as those creating the blocks.

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick often used “social engineering”—the manipulation of people, not computers, to obtain passwords and other key information.

“Companies spend millions of dollars on firewalls, encryption and secure access devices, and it’s money wasted because none of these measures address the weakest link in the security chain—the people who use, administer, operate and account for computer systems that contain protected information,” Mitnick said in his court testimony.

While a traditional hack of distributed ledger technology is inherently difficult, there is something called a ‘51 percent attack.’ That means when more than half of a blockchain network of computers supplies incorrect information, the rest of the system believes it to be true.

Blockchain is a powerful technology, but the market has yet to fully invest in exploring its potential. There’s still plenty of blank space in the blockchain landscape, and major players will likely need concrete proof that it’s worth the risk before they fill in the gaps.

Unicode’s New Inclusive Emojis Met With Mixed Feedback

The Unicode Consortium is furthering efforts to make its emojis more inclusive, expanding its emoji catalog to offer more diversity for hair colors and styles. Finally, people with red, white, curly or no hair will be able to see themselves in icon format.

Several of the additions, such as representation for redheads, have been in demand for more than a year. Curly or natural hair on emojis has been so hotly demanded that Dove released an emoji keyboard just for curly-haired women.

With emoji-based marketing generally considered to make brand messaging more fun—especially among women and those ages 25-to-44—this added diversity can only give brands more options for producing more inclusive content.

But Unicode is already taking flak on Twitter for its female curly-haired emoji, with some claiming that the hairstyle does not accurately reflect natural hair. According to Unicode, the look is based on the real hair of lifestyle YouTuber Ciara Anderson, but the emoji curls have many still feeling left out.

The new emojis are now available in beta, which means that the community backlash may result in a total redesign before the batch is released in Q2 of 2018.

The rest of the 130-emoji collection has been less controversial, with new additions like a fire extinguisher, stick of dynamite and frowning feces failing to spark any heated discussion. In the document discussing the added emojis, Unicode explicitly omitted non-natural features such as dyed hair, piercings and tattoos, which may well be the subject of the next inclusivity push for the image icons.

This year has seen many marketers pushing to better represent the diversity in the communities they serve, and the latest emoji update marks at least another small step in that direction.

The 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit And D.I.C.E. Awards Come To Las Vegas In February

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit (#DICE18) and D.I.C.E. Awards (#DICEAwards) will take place February 20-22, 2018 in Las Vegas. Leading video game executives and creators will gather to participate in the premier industry networking event and listen to key speakers address the conference theme – Made Better – tackling some of the industry’s biggest ideas and trends.

INDUSTRY SPEAKERS & THEME

Main stage presentations of all kinds —solo presentations, fireside chats or panels are available for the entire attendee base.  With the conference theme Made Better, speakers this year will examine the full spectrum of what drives the creative development process within the interactive entertainment community.  What are the measures of success, and how do we design towards them?  How do we evolve and balance innovation risk?  How do we inspire individuals and teams to drive change?  D.I.C.E. speakers will share personal insights and experiences on how they foster creativity and prosperity within the video game industry today and beyond.

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are smaller, breakout sessions geared towards a greater level of audience interaction and sharing. Panels and discussions engage with an audience of approximately 50 people and emphasizes joint exploration of ideas and concepts relevant to the industry and workplace.

ROUNDTABLES

Roundtables compose of intimate idea sharing with groups of approximately 10 to a table. A roundtable leader will present a compelling topic which will be explored from the varied perspectives of table participants. This is an excellent networking opportunity paired with premier idea sharing. There will be three different roundtable rooms, each focused on a specific theme: Business Leadership, Creative Development and Media Topics.

NETWORKING & EVENTS

Unmatched networking opportunities are a hallmark of the D.I.C.E. Summit experience. This year’s networking events include Topgolf Las Vegas, Magic: The Gathering, go-karting, a golf tournament and a poker tournament on the first day, networking parties, lunches and happy hours.

2018 D.I.C.E. AWARDS

On the final day, the conference will culminate with the 21st D.I.C.E. Awards co-hosted by Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot, honoring the best video games from 2017. The D.I.C.E. Awards serve to recognize excellence among peers currently working in games.

Don’t miss out on the 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit and Awards! AListDaily members receive a 20% discount to the conference and event.  Please reach out to mguice@alistdaily.com to get your code for registration.