The World Wide Web. A concept that has changed the way we communicate, learn, entertain ourselves, buy stuff. It has been the source of my income and my frustration for over 15 years.
However, I think we are at a point I predicted in a talk I did back in 2002. Technology has reached a point where it has infiltrated our daily lives to a point where we have a expectation that it will be there and it will just work. It is now an invisible layer that has influence over our daily lives.
There is still however a massive gap between my online world and my experience in the ‘real’ world. The race is on now amongst the giant tech companies to find the missing link. Chinese based Baidu recently announced big plans to drive it’s online to offline model and they are not alone.
For me however it is a little more organic. This is a project that has been at the back of my mind for over 5 years, we have dabbled now and then, and always reached a point where we thought the technology was not at a point where it would be supported.
The original concept as drawn on the office window goes something like this:
WWW stands for: Who you are – Where you are – What you likeName of the source
Once you know Who someone is, Where they are and What they like, you can tailor their online and real world experiences to add greater value.
Let me give you an example: You walk into a shopping centre, your phone in your pocket, and your app sends you a push notification that the shop you like to buy black shirts from is having a sale on black shirts. You decide you will go and get some, and as you approach the store, they get notified it’s you, and greet you with “Hi Rich, after some more black shirts today?”
How does that make a consumer feel? Remembered? Valued? Loved? of course it does. This may seem an unlikely scenario, however here is why the data is already there to achieve this, but no one has found the connecting fibres to make it seamless as a relationship.
I have a Country Road loyalty card, every time I purchase my purchase data is recorded and stored in their system.
Guess what – I have only ever bought black shirts from them aside from 2 gifts I purchased for Kel. However they do not send me notice when black shirts are on sale, they send me emails once a month about their preppy pastel bullshit that are of no interest to me. My instore experience does not benefit from their knowledge of my spending history at all, only minutely when the sale is being made.
A massive percentage of the population now carry a supercomputer in their pocket every day, this means the time is now for these engaging technologies to come to the forefront in the real world. Technology in retail is constantly advancing, but as yet has not embraced the automation of the customer experience.
The technology I am talking about is what I refer to as the Contextual Web and we call our idea CUBES. It works on three axis and gives the sense there is a multi dimensional (not in a foo foo sense) world that is currently seen as flat by social platforms.
We need to allow users to discover, connect and engage, with a strong focus on the outcomes desired by commercial organisations. These are the people that are going to drive technology, as businesses need to improve the way the interact, or they will perish in the face of online competition. The main competitive advantage the offline world has over the online world is – WE ARE PEOPLE – and generally, we like to interact with other people.
CUBES is not a replacement for facebook or twitter, it is an add-on. It is a way to make sense of the noise and find what matters most to you.
Businesses on facebook have to be sought out, and when you do find them, not many build relationships very well when you do connect. CUBES will have a very clear path to success for businesses in how to build connections, engage with those users and build long lasting relationships. Based on the data they can access and have collected.
There are a number of technology hurdles for us to jump over to develop this platform. It is however achievable.
This is my great work. This is what I will achieve.