October 2, 2015

The Weekly Wins: Sports data, ad blocking, and floppy disks

WRITTEN BY: Michelle Knight

This week ads got a load of digital attention. You can’t scroll through your feed without another piece on the impact of ad blocking.

At the same time, marketers are making ads that watch us (creepy), we worry about our over-connectedness and look into why doctors in Norway are still using floppy disks (in 2015) – for those youngsters out there, floppy disks aren’t one bit floppy. So find a good spot, a juicy glass of grape juice and enjoy the top digital marketing news in this week’s edition of The Weekly Wins.

“I will spend my last breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong."

1. The war on ads continues

Apple’s assault on advertising (and in part Google) continues. This week’s ad blocking think piece is from Jason Calacanis who lays out the real battle over ads. Apple, who Calacanis says are trying to kill ads, not for ads sake, but to take more market share from Google, sell more phones and, “flip many publishers from ad-driven models to subscriptions … in Apple’s App store.”

For Apple it’s a win/win. The best part is that just by allowing ad-blocking apps, they aren’t really getting any publisher blood on their hands. So it’s actually more significant than that. For Calacanis that means, “Publishers are screwed. Google is really screwed. Consumers win. Apple really wins.” So a battle over ads is actually a battle over control of the entire mobile market with publishers caught in the crossfire which is why Steve Jobs always wanted to destroy Android.

2. Meanwhile, the ads are watching us back

This is 100% true and 100% creepy. It makes Apple’s move to help block ads almost appear self-sacrificing, some might even say heroic if they didn’t read the real story above. Meet the world’s first artificially intelligent poster campaign. The poster can read facial expressions and edit itself according to its audience’s reactions. According to Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder of the AI firm Affectiva, the future of technology means your phone reads your face. This seems like a rather strange role reversal.

“Each interaction is given a number, that’s it. We’re trying not to be creepy." - David Cox, chief innovation officer of M&C Saatchi.

3. Baseball’s futuristic player tracking system

Before we get into the science, let’s take a second to celebrate the Toronto Blue Jays first playoff appearance since before selfies (which is awesome). According to Vice’s Jason Koebler in his fascinating piece, Behind the Scenes of Major League Baseball’s Futuristic Player Tracking System, this is the year stats really took over baseball. Sitting in the sidelines just isn’t a thing anymore. Today we need to know how fast, how hard and why. And now we can. Statcast relies on radar, cameras, and optical tracking technology borrowed from rocket science to turn the field into something that’s essentially totally digital.

The Future of sports stats visualization is here

4. The art of conversation in a connected world

Sherry Turkle has been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years, and she shares it all in her must read New York Times article, Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. In it she looks at the effect of phones in social situations and shares her concern on its effect on connectedness and the value of interaction. With 82% of adults feeling their phones hurt their conversations, social interaction is no longer one on one.

5. The eternal use of the floppy disk

Before the cloud, and before powerful hard drives, there was actually disks you had to store data on. Turns out, Norway’s doctors still use these old-timey Floppy disks. You know, those colourful hard square things that are almost indestructible. The government has been helping doctors with this style of documenting and they say it not only works, but allows patients to switch doctors with little hassle. Unfortunately, this will soon be coming to an end in a push for better technology. Technology that is, however, less efficient and prone to more errors.

Floppy Disks: More than just retro artwork

It’s October, so watch out for those creepy ads, try to imagine a world without ads and think about dropping your mobile for a while (after you’ve read this of course).