In the battle for digital-mobile supremacy to come, whoever creates the best experience, and markets it best, will slay all other competition. In much the same way Google snapped up 67 percent of web search from Microsoft and Yahoo! over the last decade, a similar opportunity exists on smart devices. For those waiting the bell signaling round 1 or a mobile ad war, Bing may be the way that sounds. Here’s how.
Several days ago Microsoft announced the release of their latest version of the image app Photosynth. This variant, a far more useful and user friendly version of 3D visual capture and sharing, allows users (and Bing) to snap and render stunning real time panoramas, walks, walls, and spins that can turn each Photosynth user into one of those Google Street cars you’ve seen, albeit more mobile and multiplied times several million. The instant I heard about the capability, I contacted the head of Bing search (Mr. Bing himself) Stefan Weitz. My question for Stefan was a logical one, “How might Microsoft’s latest innovation serve the traveler?” This was forthcoming:
“As we strive to recreate the world in all its beauty to help people make better decisions, tools like Photosynth allow us to take users past the words and explore all the richness that is reality.”
Collection Room (Courtesy Hotel Felicien)
“That’s what I thought,” I thought. For those out there who haven’t been keeping up with what’s the next hurdle in social-digital, mobile advertising of all kinds is about where web search was in 2004. This AdAge Digital story proclaims the recent “explosion” in mobile ad revenue that will now power a mobile search and ad war that makes the search engine wars seem tiny.
Already mobile ads account for $9.6 billion, and by 2017 eMarketer predicts that mobile will eclipse the desktop with $35 plus billions versus $27 billion or less. The opportunity is massive, and in my estimation Bing and Microsoft know all too well. To make more sense of how big an opportunity this is for Bing, watch Stefan Weitz explain how Bing is addressing converting users here. In a nutshell, Bing has known all along mobile search results (and ads) would be different than the Google search stereotype.
Then a client of ours, World Independent Hotels Promotion (WIHP) rolls out proof of concept service designed by one of their executive called SnapTraveller. It just so happens a blogger event in Paris last week was just the sort of mobile, meets media, meets design and hospitality gig something like Photosynth was made for. As it turned out, Bing supported the event at Paris’ latest fashionable stay, Hotel Felicien (Epoch Times 2012). By way of collating all this “happenstance”, world famous fashion designer Olivier Lapidus designed Felicien to be cutting edge, a sort of new age guest experience set to embrace the digital guest – and the guest intent on a one of a kind hotel room experience (see auditorium Photosynth below). For me, as a technology evangelist, the temptation to connect all these “dots” was tremendous.
Photosynth, Bing, mobile, hotels and travel, design geniuses, marketing, and sharing worldwide our world in 3D… I know some of you follow my train of thought here. “Is our world about to be a three dimensional, all encompassing advert?” More importantly, “Who will emerge as the leader in contest for all the add dollar marbles?” Let me suggest here that Facebook and Google, the leader so far, are both riding the proverbial coat tails of their massive user bases. What I mean is, their current mobile ad revenue is not based on disruptive innovation nor superior mobile mechanisms.
Motorola (losing $1 billion a year) is, so far, a huge “fail” for Google – so is G+. Meanwhile the jury is still out on Microsoft’s Nokia move, and Bing does have the most stunningly visual search there is. Add in Photosynth, some hotel and travel initiatives, and pretty soon you’ll be seeing 3D ads featuring your world, from inside the places you buy stuff. Microsoft, Bing, everyone affiliated with FairSearch stands to win massively if Google is forced to be more competitive in the emerging mobile space. With Motorola sucking wind as a good investment for Google, and with Windows Phone picking up page with innovations like the Lumia 1520 (ideally suited to image intensive ads), it looks like the end user is all set to get a better and better experience. This is as it should be competition wise, Google has stumbled over their users and community more than a few times.
Nokia Lumia 1520 (Nokia.com)
Now the reader understands why I focus on a boutique hotel experience in Paris, or maybe you do. Try and imagine a TripAdvisor or Expedia empowered with 100 million mobile user shares of hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, museums, and so forth. What, did you expect Hotwire and all the others to just rest on their desktop laurels? Google’s coffers are lined with hotel owner AND Expedia adwords dollars. If you think a race is not on for the mobile ad space, Google just penned a deal with Best Western to “Google Street” the insides of their hotels. I have it on good authority, the insides of Hotel Felicien and the high fashion of Olivier Lapidus will be on display very shortly via Photosynth. Rumor has it shooting is going on at Felicien this week.
Yes, 2014 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and competitive years technology and the social-digital sector has yet seen. Anyone who thought Microsoft’s Bing was down and out was certainly decidedly wrong – mobile is a whole new ballgame. Let’s not forget Yahoo! or Apple either. Marketing businesses, art and creativity, technologies and design, and the ideas that power advanced communications are converging on a single point – the user or guest experience. Hey, winning is only an Adsynth (not Google Adsense) away, you know?
Phil is editor-in-chief of Everything PR News, and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. CEO of Argophilia the online travel development, and Co-Editor of Argophilia Travel News, Phil now enjoys engaging the world’s travel sector with the vigor of a tech guru.