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Predictions 2010 :: #2 :: Real-time gets real



2010 will see massive growth and increasing importance of real-time. Not just as a buzzword - though it will mainstream as the latest buzzword bingo term very soon - but as a true way of thinking about data and the way people use, interpret and represent it.

Over on Mashable, Bernard Moon did a good job of grouping real-time into four categories: collaboration, analytics, search and commerce. I'm going to use those four categories to provide a few examples.

1) Collaboration: Given the launch of Google Wave and the skyrocketing importance of Twitter will have a profound impact on the way we share. Email discussions will become instant and collaborative, thanks to Wave. There are already signs of how Twitter is changing how we share information, as it fundementally reshapes how we send and receive news.


2) Analytics and measurement: Tools like Chartbeat, Brandwatch, Radian6 and others and will become more powerful and more widely used. The ability for marketers to make decisions in real-time will impact the speed at which their agencies are expected to react and place a premium on agility.


3) Search: As all the major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo for starters) are currently integrating real-time results. This will dramatically raise the profile and importance of real-time search. And beyond Twitter, Google and others are already integrating real-time sports scores and news into their search results. (I remember doing this when I was at i-won.com 10 years ago, but that's another story.) Here's Google's Matt Cutts on what's coming up in "Google Caffeine" and a video interview with him done by Mike McDonald.


4) Commerce: 2010 will see the rise of real-time pricing for consumer goods, especially via mobile. Apps like ShopSavvy and Compare-Everywhere will provide consumers with unprecedented levels of information and price transparency, all at their fingertips and all at the moment of purchase. In the video below, Jeff Sharkey talks about how he built his Android app, CompareEverywhere:


What does this mean for the advertising industry, specifically? The speed at which things happen is going to get even faster, and only those agencies who can keep pace will stay relevant. Agency models need to shift in order to allow them to monitor, understand, engage and create timely and relevant communications. Those who donít will look old and out of touch to clients and their customers. The impact of real-time will be dramatic, and the numbers will speak for themselves as media consumption patterns will force marketers and agencies to adapt or fail.


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