Finance

Online gurus’ digital future… Innovation falters… New tech tools… Online Barbie…

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Online gurus look into the digital future

Online gurus from around the world have been sharing ideas at the ad:tech conference in San Francisco. Advertising Age reports on what the leaders of the digital revolution are saying:

Un-sexy innovation: Social networkers may be getting the clicks, but they are not necessarily the ones who will make the money, according to Bob Davis, founder of Lycos and global managing partner at Highland Capital. He predicts those who think innovatively about making money from networking, rather than the network hosts themselves, will be the ones who are successful in the long term.

All media is online: Convergence is already taking off, aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews says, but the next five years will see it take hold. He predicts the businesses that understand and adapt to this will be become the new media monoliths.

Faster, faster: One thing is for sure, according to Jonathan Nelson, the head of digital strategy for Omnicom: the innovative thinking will come from countries where broadband is fast. “We think broadband is 1.5 megabits per second with DSL,” he says. “In Japan 95% of the population is 20 megabits per second. That’s more data than is coming off a DVD player.”

He is talking about the US, but his comments couldn’t be more appropriate given the current broadband debate raging in Australia.

Australia’s innovation growth faltering

A new innovation index published by IBM Australia and the Institute of Applied Economic & Social Research shows a drop in innovation in Australia. The Innovation Index of Australian Industry declined 2.6% in 2005 on the previous year, after growth of 29% between 1990 and 2004.

The new measure is based on activity in the areas of research and development spending, productivity growth, organisational restructuring, and patent, trademark and design applications.

The study’s authors say the fall in organisational, managerial and marketing innovation in 2005 suggests some companies are overlooking the need to reorganise themselves to meet the demands of globalisation and its emerging market shifts.

The rate of patenting in Australia peaked in 2002 and is falling but the level of R&D intensity has increased since 1990 and has been the biggest driver of innovation, possibly because of the government’s R&D Tax Concession program.

The best performing industry is wholesale trade (7.4% per annum); next is manufacturing (3.8%), and then finance and insurance (5.5%).

New tech tools for business

More Australian businesses are using sophisticated mapping technology. Mapping applications are bringing together marketing and sales and helping companies define sales territories and locate stores.

Franchisors Fitness First and McDonald’s use satellite maps overlaid with demographic data, growth projections and traffic flow to determine the location of new franchises. Real estate agents now offer maps and satellite views of properties they are selling and insurance companies are using mapping data to predict the effects of climate change and to predict disaster impact.

Online Barbie

Here’s some competition for Second Life. Or is it actually a training ground for Second Life?

Mattel has launched a social networking site, BarbieGirls.com, which caters for girls from toddlers to teens, and allows them to create Barbie-like avatars. The girls can give Barbie an outfit, hairstyle, skin colour and lipstick of their choice.

Avatars can walk around the virtual Barbie world, and chat with other avatars. New friends can be officially become friends and appear on each others buddy list.

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