Part II: Product Integration or Transhumanism? Who Needs a Smart-Phone When You Have a Smart-Arm? The quick cycle of awe, adoption, and finally, ubiquity of new technology has propelled the usage of Body-Product integration from a crazy concept to numerous tangible products. Companies such as MC10 and Mielke Product Design have taken this a step further, developing technologies that are literally implanted into our physical selves. MC10's Stamp-On Circuits and Jim Mielke's Digital Tattoo Interface (DTI) are on the frontier of internal Body-Product integration. The DTI, which combines the 'beauty of a tattoo with the convenience of a cell phone,'? is a microscopically thin Bluetooth enabled device, implanted just below the skin of the forearm with a light-up screen resembling tattoo ink. It is, as the inventor Jim Mielke announced, "waterproof and powered by pizza." So It Turns Me Into a Robot? The details of how it works are slightly less beautiful, once it is inserted below the skin through a small incision, it is then connected to main arteries, which convertblood glucose and oxygen into the electricity it runs on. It was ahead of its time, debuting at Greener Gadgets Design Competition 2008, but clearly failed to gain traction in time for Doomsday 2012. The upside to this device? You may never have to search for the remote control again. The downside? You are one step closer to becoming a remote control yourself (or at least like Lepht Anonym, advocate for practical transhumanism). The Future of Robot Humanoids, or a Giant Step for Humankind? 'We decided it was time humans stop conforming to electronics. So we're making electronics conform to us.'? 'MC10 Inc., the company behind Stamp-On Circuits While the DTI, which makes Google Glass look like a flip-phone, has yet to come into full product fruition, the recently debuted Stamp-On Circuit is reminiscent of its epidermally-integrated technology. Like a temporary tattoo, this fully functional, flexible circuit board is stuck on skin like a rubber stamp and can provide product integration that Nike+ Fuel Band could only dream of. In fact, MC10's Stamp-On Circuit already has its first consumer product partnership with Reebok's Checklight, which monitors brain activity to diagnose concussions during sports. The inventor of this technology, John Rogers of University of Illinois, has an optimistic vision for the Stamp-On Circuit's future. It has the potential to create personalized healthcare never before possible, with technology able to actively augment organ health, wrap around the heart, map brain function, or even someday prevent seizures. In his own words, it will 'make humans more superhuman.'? The Future of Body-Product Integration: Implications for Marketers While these healthcare breakthroughs lay in stark contrast to the dystopian reality some will imagine, these developments also have implications for marketers to consider. If the future of the smart phone really is on the body itself, intrusive mobile advertising becomes much more personal. It also brings to light how willing society has become to allow technology into the core of our existence. Permission marketing becomes necessary, and brands that violate privacy and personal space will be received more negatively than ever before. However, the closeness to consumers this technology can provide may be too tempting to leave alone. The Ultimate Opt-In As marketers, when considering this trend in products that allow users to give up their very bodies for the promise of health, we must keep in mind that with great trust comes great responsibility. Combine these products with the new trend in UI, where devices adapt to your skill level. Imagine the possibilities'integrated machines that not only adapt their interface to your skin but understand us better than we do ourselves. These devices will be able to adapt to our needs, thoughts, and rushes of endorphins. Whether this sounds like utopia or a Brave New World, or if these products seem like a distant reality, they are closer than you think'so watch out for them.
Part I: The Quantified Self "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create super-human intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended." ' Vernor Vinge, The Singularity, 1993 Come One, Come All, Into 1984 Not long ago, the idea of touch screens was brand new, hyper-futuristic, even Bradbury-esque. Its ability to be spread to the masses was somewhat doubted. Today, a simple walk down the street or a few minutes on a train will show you just how far that's come. It didn't take long for the technology to become mainstream, conventional, and alarmingly fast, the new normal. In our multi-screened paradigm of instant information, technology is advancing in ways that have the potential to influence the very evolution of the human species'namely, the Quantified Self. Big Data, Meet the Quantified Self What is the Quantified Self, exactly? It is a consequence of the capabilities of information and data tracking that modern technology has given us, except that instead of purchasing patterns, Internet usage, or even locations visited, it is data about our physical state. The Quantified Self is the technology movement that allows us to track every possible activity and influence regarding our bodies. Quality of air and breathing, sleep cycles, mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure, calories consumed and burned; the list is only limited by our imaginations. The idea is that this exhaustive level of self-tracking allows users to find the secrets to maximum productivity, health, and quality of life. Whereas in the past we trusted doctors, some of the most highly educated and honorable professionals, to monitor and evaluate this information, we are now able to take healthcare into our own hands. As sensor technology soars past the touch screen and accelerometers, our ability to understand our bodies and minds is reaching heights previously unfathomable, with the potential to make the need for doctors a thing of the past. Examples of technology that are leveraging data to quantify 'us': Mind-Reading: Northpaw is worn around the ankle and gives a constant, gentle, motor-derived vibration on whichever side is facing north. The idea is to train one's motor skills to have an instinctive sense of direction'a Pavlovian concept that could be controversial when applied to humans. Zeo, which tracks the quality of sleep through a headband, gives personal advice based on findings. Sports Related: Armour39'?¢, available Spring 2013, tells you how hard you worked out. The module plugs into the chest strap, stores your biometric info and syncs it with the Armour39'?¢ App or Watch. It measures calories burned, heart rate, intensity, and WILLpower'?¢-- an algorithm that combines how long you workout, what you did, profile info like gender and weight, and key heart rate measures to give you a single score. Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS is a heart rate monitor in watch form, which provides accurate distance, pace, GPS position, heart rate and calories burned; it can also guide you back to the starting point of your run so you'll never get lost. Garmin Approach S3 is a GPS-enabled golf watch packed with tens of thousands of courses worldwide, shows the true shape and layout of the green and helps users perfect their game. Vital Sign Monitors: Basis is a watch that captures heart rate patterns, motion, perspiration and skin temperature throughout the day and night. This highlights the trend of excessively quantifying ourselves, as well as the possibility of eliminating the necessity for doctors. Withings is company that offers, among other products, smart blood-pressure trackers that plug into your smartphone. Again, this device leaves us one step closer to cutting out the middle man (doctors), and trusting an app to guide our understanding of health. FitBit is a pocket device that measures steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, activity intensity, sleep quality, and elevation Reebok's CheckLight monitors the brain during sports to determine the level of injury or presence of a concussion (and could also be considered mind-reading). And last but not least: Nike+ FuelBand tracks your daily activity including running, walking, basketball, dancing and more. It tracks each step taken and calories burned. The Quantified Society If every possible piece of data about our bodies has the ability to be tracked nonstop, where does this leave the need for doctors, nurses, nutritionists, sleep labs, or pharmacies? In the near future, will all of our vital signs be uploaded to a cloud hospital, whose algorithms check for abnormalities instantaneously? As marketers, this potential for enormous amounts of personal data to be collected, as well as the ability to replace healthcare professionals, implies a huge amount of trust on the part of the consumer. Just as doctors must take the Hippocratic Oath, marketers must remain ethical and honest in their usage of personal data, and keep in mind that people could be putting their lives in our hands. Was there a Body-Product technology we missed? Tell us about it in a comment, and stay tuned for Part II, which discusses the darker side of Body-Product Integration and the Transhumanism movement.
In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king. Or one-cookied. Luckily for Oreo, the margin between brands who 'get'? social media and those who don't continues to grow. With 21,035 likes; 6,987 shares; 15,767 retweets; and 5,860 favorites and counting, Oreo's tweet's reputation precedes it. In case you are not one of those who liked, shared or re-tweeted, the tweet read: "Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark." The average alliteration was retweeted 10,000 times within the hour. What Oreo Got Right With half of Super Bowl ads containing a hashtag, Oreo was far from the only brand on the social media bandwagon. It wasn't the fastest, nor the most intelligent, but what Oreo's success is attributed to is a broader understanding of social's place in the media mix. Providing reporters with the 'inside scoop'? on the agency's quick thinking is what made the difference between 140 characters and the unofficial best ad of the Super Bowl. Controlling the Conversation It was not a brilliant quote, awe-inspiring design, or any cleverness beyond mere competence that lead to Oreo's success. By releasing statements to reporters hungry for material, in an age when the pre-releases of ads have stolen the currency right out of their pens, they pounced. In the world of social, too many brands allow poor practices to escape from them, for they provide much more interesting stories than brands doing it right. Bringing publicity to the people behind the tweets humanized the brand, which is arguably the most important goal of social media marketing. Twitter taboos are seemingly inevitable, and the key here is to strike preemptively. Seizing the Moment As Slate notes, the difference between Oreo's fleetingly famed spot and what dozens of other brands produced on the fly was not rocket science, nor was it magic. Oreo simply had a grasp on the bigger picture of social media. As a good friend and public relations professional once told me, 'A tweet is like throwing a shot of whisky into the ocean,'? in pursuit of getting a fish drunk. Well, Oreo told the press exactly where and how it threw that metaphorical shot, and like clockwork they stampeded in and celebrated it. Invite Your Fans In Brands and people alike often forget that while social provides the vehicle, it is really content that drives virality. For Oreo, the tweet was much more than a timely comment. It was bringing the audience into the 'mission control'? room with Oreo execs and the social media team - putting the viewer in their shoes. The self-proclaimed 'culture jacking'? romanticized and humanized the creative genius of the digital agency responsible and gave the brand more credibility for relinquishing control in a heated moment. Other brands also benefited exponentially from the ability to tap into the cultural zeitgeist to engage their audience, including: LifeStyles, Audi, Tide and PBS. Priceless ROI Today's 140 character or less landscape has upped our societal threshold for being impressed. Those hundred-thousand-dollar-plus seconds of ad time are doomed to fail, with such high expectations to live up to. That fact made earned media all the more priceless; the world was hungry for fame they could be all the more a part of, beyond choosing their own end to a commercial. Social Bowl XLVII Oreo captured the magic real-time broadcasting achieves, something brands have trouble with beyond sponsorship and experiential campaigns. What made this two-bit, essentially free advertisement's success surpass the billion-dollar, celebrity-studded TV spots was that it made viewers feel the brand was right there with them. When companies can show their loyalty through the highs and lows of something as emotional as the Super Bowl, people will want to show the loyalty right back. The Tweet in Summary Was it a stroke of luck or a stroke of genius that gave Oreo so much fame for so few dollars? In 140 characters or less: Oreo showed a higher understanding of the media landscape, and by calling it 'culture jacking,'? kept the magic alive. #Winning!