This morning I’m at the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s Digital Solutions for Tourism Conference 2016. Why am I along? Well EDINA has been doing some really interesting cultural heritage projects for years
Introduction James McVeigh, Head of Marketing and Innovation, Festivals Edinburgh
Welcome to our sixth Digital Solutions for Tourism Conference. In those last six years a huge amount has changed, and our programme reflects that, and will highlight much of the work in Edinburgh, but also picking up what is taking place in the wider world, and rolling out to the wider world.
So, we are in Edinburgh. The home of the world’s first commercially available mobile app – in 1999. And did you also know that Edinburgh is home to Europe’s largest tech incubator? Of course you do!
Welcome Robin Worsnop, Rabbie’s Travel, Chair, ETAG
We’ve been running these for six years, and it’s a headline event in the programme we run across the city. In the past six years we’ve seen technology move from business add on to fundamental to what we do – for efficiency, for reach, for increased revenue, and for disruption. Reflecting that change this event has grown in scope and popularity. In the last six years we’ve had about three and a half thousand people at these events. And we are always looking for new ideas for what you want to see here in future.
We are at the heart of the tech industry here too, with Codebase mentioned already, Sky Scanner, and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh all of which attracts people to the city. As a city we have free wifi around key cultural venues, on the buses, etc. It is more and more ubiquitous for our tourists to have access to free wifi. And technologyÂ is becoming more and more about how those visitors enhance their visit and experience of the city.
So, we have lots of fantastic speakers today, and I hope that you enjoy them and you take back lots of ideas and inspiration to take back to your businesses.
What is new in digital and what are the opportunities for tourism Brian Corcoran, Director, Turing Festival
There’s some big news for the tech scene in Edinburgh today: SkyScanner have been brought by a Chinese company for 1.5bn. And FanDual just merged with its biggest rival last week. So huge things are happening.
So, I thought today technology trends and bigger trends – macro trends – might be useful today. So I’ll be looking at this through the lens of the companies shaping the world.
Before I do that, a bit about me, I have a background in marketing and especially digital marketing. And I am director of the Turing Festival – the biggest technology festival in Scotland which takes place every August.
So…Â There are really two drivers of technology… (1) tech companies and (2) users. I’m going to focus on the tech companies primarily.
The big tech companies right now include: Uber, disrupting the transport space; Netflix – for streaming and content commissioning; Tesla – dirupting transport and energy usage; Buzzfeed – influential with huge readership; Spotify – changing music and music payments; banking… No-one has yet dirupted banking but they will soon… Maybe just parts of banking… we shall see.
And no-one is influencing us more than the big five. Apple, mainly through the iPhone. I’ve been awaiting a new MacBook for five years… Apple are moving computing PCs for top end/power users, but also saying most users are not content producers, they are passive users – they want/expect us to move to iPads. It’s a mobile device (running iOS) and a real shift. iPhone 7 got coverage for headphones etc. but cameras didn’t get much discussion, but it is basically set up for augmented reality with two cameras. Air Pods – the cable-less headphones – is essentially a new wearable, like/after the iWatch. And we are also seeing Siri opening up.
Over at Google… Since Google’s inception the core has been search and the Google search index and ranking. And they are changing it for the first time ever really… And building a new one… They are building a Mobile-only search index. They aren’t just building that they are prioritising it. Mobile is really the big tech trend. And in line with that we have their Pixel phone – a phone they are manufacturing themselves… That’s getting them back into wearables after their Google Glass misstep. And Google Assistant is another part of the Pixel phone – a Siri competitor… Another part of us interacting with phones, devices, data, etc. in a new way.
Microsoft is one of the big five that some thing shouldn’t be there… They have made some missteps… They missed the internet. They missed – and have written off phones (and Nokia). But they have moved to Surface – another mobile device. They have abandoned Windows and moved to Microsoft 365. They brought LinkedIn for Â£26bn (in cash!). One way this could effect us… LinkedIn has all this amazing data… But it is terrible at monetising it. That will surely change. And then we have HoloLens – which means we may eventually have some mixed reality actually happening.
Next in the Big Five is Amazon. Some very interesting things there… We have Alexa – the digital assistant service here. They have, as a device, Echo – essentially a speaker and listening device for your home/hotel etc. Amazon will be in your home listening to you all the time… I’m not going to get there! And we have Amazon Prime… And also Prime Instant Video. Amazon moving into television. Netflix and Amazon compete with each other, but more with traditional TV. And moving from Ad income to subscriptions. Interesting to think where TV ad spend will go – it’s about half of all ad spend.
And Facebook. They are at ad saturation risk, and pushing towards video ads. With that in mind they may also become defacto TV platform. Do they have new editorial responsibility? With Fake News etc. are they a tech company? Are they a media company? At the same time they are caving completely to Chinese state surveillance requests. And Facebook are trying to diversify their ecosystem so they continue to outlast their competitors – with Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, etc.
So, that’s a quick look at tech companies and what they are pushing towards. For us, as users the big moves have been towards messaging – Line, Wiichat, Messaging, WhatsApp, etc. These are huge and there has been a big move towards messaging. And that’s important if we are trying to reach the fabled millennials as our audience.
And then we have Snapchat. It’s really impenetrable for those under 30. They have 150 Daily Active Users, they have 1 bn snaps daily, 10bn videos daily. They are the biggest competitor to Facebook, to ad revenue. They have also gone for wearables – in a cheeky cool upstart way.
So, we see 10 emergent patterns:
- Mobile is now *the* dominant consumer technology, eclipsing PCs. (Apple makes more from the iPhone than all their other products combined, it is the most successful single product in history).
- Voice is becoming in an increasingly important UI. (And interesting how answers there connect to advertising).
- Wearables bring tech into ever-closer physical and psychological proximity to us. It’s now on our wrist, or face… Maybe soon it will be inside you…
- IoT is getting closer, driven by the intersection of mobile, wearables, APIs and voice UI. Particularly seeing this in smart home tech – switching the heat on away from home is real (and important – it’s -3 today), but we may get to that promised fridge that re-orders…
- Bricks and mortar retail is under threat, and although we have some fulfillment challenges, they will be fixed.
- Messaging marks generational shift in communification preferences – asynchronous prferred
- AR and VR will soon be commonplace in entertainment – other use cases will follow… But things can take time. Apple watch went from unclear use case to clear health, sports, etc. use case.
- Visual cmmunications and replacing textural ones for millenials: Snapchat defines that.
- Media is increasingly in the hands of tech companies – TV ads will be disrupted (Netflix etc.)
- TV and adÂ revenue will move to Facebook, Snapchat etc.
What does this all mean?
Mobile is crucial:
- Internet marketing in tourism now must be mobile-centric
- Ignore Google mobile index at your peril
- Local SEO is increasing in importance – that’s a big opportunity for small operators to get ahead.
- Booking and payments must be designed for mobile – a hotel saying “please call us”, well Millennials will just say no.
It’s unclear where new opportunities will be, but they are coming. In Wearables we see things like twoee – wearable watches as key/bar tab etc. But we are moving to a more seamless place.
Augmented reality is enabling a whole new set of richer, previously unavailable interactive experiences. Pokemon Go has opened the door to location-based AR games. That means previously unexciting places can be made more engaging.
Connectivity though, that is also a threat. The more mobile and wearables become conduits to cloud services and IoT, the more the demand for free, flawless internet connectivity will grow.
Channels? Well we’ve always needed to go where the market it. It’s easier to identify where they are now… But we need to adapt to customers behaviours and habits, and their preferences.
Moore’s law: overall processing power for computers will double every two year (Gordon Moore, INTEL, 1965)… And I wonder if that may also be true for us too.
Shine the Light â€“ Digital Sector (5 minutes each)Â
Joshua Ryan-Saha, The Data Lab â€“ data for tourism
Brian Smillie, Beezer â€“ app creation made affordable and easy
Ben Hutton, XDesign â€“ is a mobile website enough?
Chris Torres, Director, Senshi Digital â€“ affordable video
Case Study – Global Treasure Apps and Historic Environment Scotland Lorraine Sommerville and Noelia Martinez, Global Treasure Apps
Apps that improve your productivity and improve your service Gillian Jones, Qikserve
Virtual reality for tourism Alexander Cole, Peekabu Studios
Using Data and Digital for Market Intelligence for Destinations and Businesses Michael Kessler, VP Global Sales, Review Pro
Tech Trends and the Tourism Sector
Jo Paulson, Edinburgh Zoo and Jon-Paul Orsi, Edinburgh Zoo – Pokemon Go
Rob Cawston, National Museum of Scotland â€“ New Galleries and Interactive Exhibitions
Wrap Up James McVeigh, Festivals Edinburgh