During my Microsoft days, it was sacrilegious for me to own or support anything produced by Google. They were the arch-rival, the antithesis of establishment, and the pesky yet incredibly agile innovator. These days I fancy myself as an impartial tech enthusiast and avid believer in free market forces, and like my fellow Austinites I can barely contain my excitement over Google Fiber’s expansion into the heart of Texas. From this marketer’s perspective, the rising tech-tide will lift all boats.
Infrastructure costs/timing/regulations aside, let’s assume the Google Fiber announcement signals a not-too-distant future expansion of affordable broadband to the masses (Google or any other ISP). Consumers and brands alike should have plenty of reasons to rejoice. I’ve explored only a few of the reasons below, but as always I’ll welcome your feedback.
1. The entrance of new broadband technology puts pressure on established ISP’s, which drives down cost, boosts service quality, and ultimately drives more rapid innovation
- Benefit: affordable and flexible internet, cable, and wireless plans
- Caution: the hidden cost is privacy, Google now knows EVERYTHING about you
2. Ubiquitous connectivity leads to the genesis and availability of value-added on-demand services and applications
- Benefit: a fully-connected and “always-on” home, internet in every device in every room and on every street corner, startup paradise
- Caution: “with great power comes great responsibility” – once again buh-bye to privacy
3. Enhanced digital access leads to greater interactive and connected experiences for events, products, and services
- Benefit: adding a social “surround sound” to your favorite shows, concerts, and shopping experiences
- Caution: human social interactions regress exclusively to six second loops and 140 characters
1. Expansive broadband will enable rich, high-fidelity media options, ultimately enhancing commercial experiences and customer touchpoints
- Benefit: videos, banners, and ad placements won’t be device or bandwidth dependent, technologies such as augmented reality can flourish
- Caution: brand saturation and customer intrusion, focus on consistent/relevant vehicles and messages
2. Increased interactivity –> bigger data
- Benefit: digitized dialogue can lead to loads of data, which can be distilled into insights revealing unmet customer needs, market opportunities, and competitive activity
- Caution: data and insights are not synonymous, and organizations can drown in irrelevant datapoints
3. Organizations can separate themselves from competitors with the adoption of digital collaboration tools, which will be critical for partnerships, employee and team dynamics, and customer connection
- Benefit: no longer will you be constrained geographically for access to talent or customers, face-to-face interactions can literally happen anywhere, any time, on any device
- Caution: as Marissa Mayer discovered, remote-connectivity may actually depress productivity, and sometimes there’s no substitute for the good ol’ fashioned water cooler
Google’s investment in Austin perpetuates our reputation as one of the most innovative, vibrant, and exciting cities for commerce and entertainment. We have a unique combination of academic thought supported by The University of Texas, and an active, diverse, and growing population of progressive thinkers, resulting in rapid startup incubation and corporate growth. You couldn’t design a better petri dish for invention and investment. South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and Formula One may be the most recognizable symbols of our city’s distinctive culture. But those of us living here know that beyond all of the bells and whistles, it’s really just a damn cool place to be.
(Check out the video here)