Couple of interesting developments that point to the future disruption of different markets.
On January 6 WeChat - the Chinese mobile messaging app - made it possible to book and pay for a taxi through the platform. Since then, 21 million and taxi rides have been booked this way and the daily run rate is 700,000 bookings via WeChat.
Related - 'What's not being said about BitCoin'.
Mobile messaging app growth, their appetite for entering payments and bookings and the underlying (growing) strength of BitCoin as an open payment platform set the scene for many industries needing to adjust to a new world in coming years.
Uber’s competitor set just got more interesting.
IBM are putting Watson to use as a marketing tool and it might point to changes in the skills of future marketers.
IBM built Watson with the goal of it beating human competitors in the game show Jeopardy. To do that, Watson needed to have the ability to process language in the same way that we do. It needed to be able to negotiate ambiguity, complexity and nuance to be able to understand what it was being asked and then find the correct answer.
This ability to understand natural language means that if given social media content (the more the better), Watson is able to sort through it, ‘comprehend’ it and even build a digital fingerprint of an individual based on the content of their posts not their usernames. It doesn’t matter if you use your real name on Facebook, a pseudonym on Twitter and something different again on Tumblr - it can link all these together and build a rich picture of who you are and what your likely corresponding consumer needs will be.
It can then of course contact you with a highly relevant offer.
It’s effectiveness is skewed towards heavy contributors to social media (if you only browse and read, it will know less about you), but it nevertheless marks a significant shift in how large organisations will connect with their customers in future, and the sorts of skills marketers will need to succeed.
The typical Japanese consumer - at least in the Telco space - has always been far ahead of their western counterparts. Tokyo-ites were hunched over their phones thumb typing frantically on public transport in 2000. So perhaps we can still look there for a glimpse of our own future.
And if you’re involved in product development, it’s worrying.
The NY Times today reported that Japanese Telco NTT DoCoMo will cease selling the highly successful Sony Xperia Z smartphone 5 months after it launched - hungry for a new, different model.
But it’s not just phones - the article refers to pop group AKB48 who have a rotating cast of 67 and released 16 versions of new and repackaged work on new years day.
Apple has resisted this trend though, releasing new models only (roughly) every year - so they perhaps also offer a glimpse of how to succeed in this type of frantic market.
Mining asteroids and bringing the exotic minerals back to Earth is now approaching reality.
Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are the current leaders - with DSI expecting to launch an exploratory spacecraft in 2015.
When I think about my childhood science fiction narratives and the 2015 goals of most businesses, I think its fair to say those working for either of these firms (or NASA) are working in the future.