Anstandig Blog

How will VR change our future?

We might associate virtual reality with games, but as I discussed in my latest episode of Anstandig on the Future, VR has the potential to shape the future of fitness, the workplace, and much more.

Let’s look at a few points discussed in Anstandig on the Future of VR.

VR and Fitness

The pairing of VR and fitness is only natural.

VR provides lots of capability to shake up your workout routine: from delivering a personal trainer and your favorite music to you mid-workout to transporting you to workout in some of the moth breathtaking places in the world.

The benefits can be traced back to gaming, including reports of people playing Beat Saber for so long that they lost weight thanks to the game’s full-body movement.

And that’s just a game. Imagine what VR can do in the world of fitness when it’s designed for that purpose. Thankfully, programs like Supernatural VR Fitness help with exactly that.

VR and Commerce

In Anstandig on the Future, we’ve discussed several technologies that can change the way commerce works. VR is another to add to the list.

Imagine modeling an outfit that has yet to release or seeing your new car before it ever arrives at the dealership. All this and more is possible thanks to VR.

Its power is washing into real estate, too. From home designs to touring places and museums, VR is being used much more frequently in that sector, too.

VR and Business/Enterprise

On-the-job training can be effective when done well, but imagine if you could show employees exactly how to do their job.

That’s the potential of VR training, and it even expands to something as serious as military sector training.

Enterprise VR training revenue is projected to hit 4.2 billion by 2023, and that covers anything from teaching employees how to stack boxes currently to teaching doctors how to do open-heart surgery.

Onboarding and training might be looking a LOT different pretty soon!

What’s next with VR?

VR might have as much life-changing potential as anything we’ve talked about thus far in Anstandig on the Future… if not more!

If you enjoyed thinking through these different use cases for VR—all of which came from my newest episode of Anstandig on the Future—I hope you can give the rest of the show a listen and learn more about how VR can impact the world we live in.

While this is a fun blog, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what I covered in the show. I hope you can listen and share your thoughts with me here, or on Twitter, @anstandig.

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Common Truths and Myths about the Growth of eSports

eSports have come a long way. As I discussed in my latest episode of Anstandig on the Future, the very first eSports match was a competition for a magazine subscription and beer.

Now, according to New Zoo’s Global eSports and Live Streaming Market Report, the 2023 projected revenue of eSports is 1.6 billion dollars.

An industry experiencing such phenomenal growth bears opportunity for not only media companies, but for other companies as well – particularly in an advertising and marketing role.

As eSports continue to boom, let’s look at some of the common ideas associated with eSports and decide whether they are a MYTH or the TRUTH!

Idea 1: All eSports viewers are men

Fact-check: MYTH.

This is far from the truth. In fact, the current gender split is about 70-30%, men-to-women, and that number continues to level out as more women are joining the eSports circle as both viewers and players.

Companies are taking strides to ensure that eSports are for everybody, regardless of gender. Several initiatives are underway, including Global Gaming Women and Women in Games.

On top of that, eSports is the only major sporting scenario where teams can be co-ed. Not only does that mean it’s in everybody’s best interest to seek out the best players regardless of gender, but a mixed team shows that gaming truly is for everybody.

Idea 2: The people investing in eSports are companies with money to burn on experiential ventures

Fact-check: MYTH

Another myth, and another that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Instead, almost the exact opposite is true here.

Many small brands are getting into eSports. A great example is Otter Pops popsicles, which invested in an Overwatch league and reignited interest in their brand with a younger audience.

If anything, eSports are probably more small-company friendly than any traditional marketing channels because they cost a fraction of the amount as something like a nationally-televised football game or major sporting event.

On top of that, audiences of eSports are younger and have disposable income… plus they’ll spend an average of 100 minutes watching the stream!

Idea 3: eSports tournaments don’t make money.

Fact-check: TRUTH.

While this might come as a surprise, this one is actually true.

It’s the ripple effect of tournaments that results in brand growth, game sells, and income. eSports make the most money when viewers go and buy the games for themselves, which is why companies keep hosting these tournaments.

They’re not a cash cow—they’re an investment in the brand!

What’s next with eSports?

Technology trends are all pointing toward an explosion in eSports. We see faster internet, the advent of 5G, growth in streaming popularity, cheaper gaming systems, and better mobile games as signs that the ever-growing market could boom very soon.

If you enjoyed these myths—all of which came from my newest episode of Anstandig on the Future—I hope you can give the rest of the show a listen and learn more about what this growth in eSports might mean for you.

While this is a fun blog, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what I covered in the show. I hope you can listen and share your thoughts with me on Twitter, @anstandig or here on LinkedIn.

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The Future of Retail and Omnichannel Shopping

Imagine you walk into a store, and after a bit of shopping, you find a jacket and pair of jeans you like. You scan them into the store’s app with your phone and complete your purchase right there. Just like that, you’re good to go.

Or, perhaps, you don’t want to browse the entire store, so maybe you do the shopping on your couch using your laptop. After finding the clothes you want, you pay online and go to the store to pick them up.

These situations are simple examples of omnichannel retail shopping. Omnichannel is shopping that combines both the physical and digital experience with new ways of marketing to provide a seamless customer experience with connective tissue running through all marketing efforts, fully encircling the potential customer. If done well, it ensures brick-and-mortar stores maximize every square foot of space.

If you polled the public, the consensus might be that retail shopping is transitioning into a more online-exclusive experience, this is not the case. Instead, omnichannel retail shopping is an opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores to get the most out of their storefront in exciting new ways.  It’s a more cohesive shopping experience that uses all the channels—as “omni” suggests.

The latest episode of Anstandig on the Future discusses how omnichannel shopping ultimately provides new potential for innovative businesses and a more convenient shopping environment for customers.

Brick and mortar shopping is not transitioning into a future of online-only sales. It’s evolving, improving, and becoming more customer-centric as digital marketing campaigns not only drive awareness of brands, but also educate consumers about the brands as well through socials, videos, and even blog posts. When mastered, this can turn a brick-and-mortar store seeking foot traffic into a retail superhero.

Omnichannel consumers and their relation to revenue

As online shopping has increased in popularity, consumers are more frequently exhibiting one of two behaviors when it comes to researching a product before purchasing.

The first is “showrooming.” This consists of an individual testing a product within a physical store but then proceeding to purchase the product online. The other behavior, “webrooming,” is the opposite. The individual will research a product digitally, then go and purchase it in a physical location. Without an omnichannel presence, there would be no shifting between the digital and physical, meaning these consumers are more likely to purchase a product because of the two interactive spaces.

This interaction between physical and digital when purchasing a product may seem abnormal at first, but according to Harvard Business Review, consumers who used more channels when deciding on their purchase were more likely to be loyal customers. Additionally, individuals who had interacted with both physical and digital locations spent four percent more in-store and ten percent more online when compared to single-channel consumers.

This provides a visible example of how the omnichannel approach can be effective.

Existing businesses shifting to omnichannel

As a result of the pandemic, companies such as Walmart and Best Buy started converting sections of their physical stores into fulfillment centers. Kroger is touting the strength of its omnichannel shopping ecosystem as part of its recent earnings results, and Target is talking about the future of the omnichannel customer experience.

Another example is a startup by the name of Alert Innovation, which has designed a futuristic model for a grocery store. In this design, the customer only physically gathers fresh market goods, while a robot collects the packaged items that the customer had electronically communicated.

Ultimately, we can see that even in the rise of digital abilities regarding consumption, it would still potentially involve a strong omnichannel approach.

The power and future of retail shopping

Individuals shop at a retail store for several reasons – some of which online shopping will never be able to imitate.

For example, there’s a sense of destination when it comes to brick-and-mortar shopping. Consumers are taking an excursion out of their house, going on an adventure to seek unexpected bargains, buys, and loot from their favorite stores. This is experiential shopping unlike anything a web browser can provide… and when customers go, they also spend more!

Another strength of physical stores is that they offer more personalization to individuals. Many of the brick-and-mortar stores with the most foot traffic are the ones offering more personalization in the shopping experience and therefore playing on a natural human desire.

As technology improves, so does a store’s ability to combine personalization and advertising more and more simply. In the future, companies will be catering to individual customers. In other words, retail is going to be solely about you!

A current example of this is online simulators using face recognition to show how you’d look in specific clothing items.

The future omnichannel shopping experience

Here are a few different ways the omnichannel shopping experience will continue to evolve in the future.

1. METHODICALLY DESIGNED VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE OF PHYSICAL STORES. Retailers create a VR tour of their physical store. There are resources such as Obsess that make it simple to build. This allows consumers to roam the store virtually.

2. STRATEGIC DATA GATHERING ON CUSTOMERS. Many SMBs are already using services like Shopify, which allows you to log an individual’s information and streamline the process while building a database.

3. THE POWER OF LOYALTY PROGRAMS. Retailers will invest in loyalty programs or leverage products like Smile.io, which provides customer loyalty programs both online and in-store.

4. CONVERTING DIGITAL BROWSING TO IN-STORE VISITS. A new metric of success: how many digital browsers showed up in the store? There are already technologies designed to accelerate conversion, like Hero, which encourages customers to browse physical stores digitally while also giving them the ability to set up appointments to buy products in person or remotely.

5. RATING AND REVIEW MANAGEMENT:  Over half of consumers read at least four reviews before buying a product, and half of internet users post reviews at least once a month. In other words, customers are more likely to trust a shop and buy from it if reviews are present, so review and brand management are crucial.

6. CONNECTING IN NEW WAYS. Well-placed influencer reviews and physical ads are essential to becoming an omnichannel operation. While happy customers will always be loyal customers, retail marketers will constantly have to learn new ways of connecting with customers as we evolve.

The Omnichannel Experience

The omnichannel will not only change shopping… it will improve it. If you’re interested in learning more, give the episode a listen, and be sure to check out all the other episodes of Anstandig on the Future.

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The Metaverse in Business, Socializing, and Play: Anstandig on the Future

Daniel Anstandig

A metaverse is a collective digital experience that can be shared by multiple individuals at once. While the definition might seem simple, the potential is off the charts.

The latest episode of Anstandig on the Future gears up to explore the metaverse, and the results are an exciting blend of social, business, and play potential.

For an idea that traces its name back to science fiction, there’s an undeniable amount of very real effects that the metaverse could have on daily life if the idea comes to fruition. That’s why Mark Zuckerberg recently called Facebook “a metaverse company” and why Epic Games announced a $1 billion funding round “to Support Epic’s Long-Term Vision for the Metaverse.”

In this post, let’s take a look at a few ways the metaverse could impact how we socialize, do business, and even play. For more, be sure to listen to the episode of Anstandig on the Future.

Business potential of the metaverse

While the pandemic was devasting in many ways, it also accelerated our drive toward a more digital future. The business potential of the metaverse is the next logical step.

Now, as you sign up for almost any event, you’ll see the “virtual option.” The metaverse will present that, but instead of watching the business conference on our computer screens, we’ll experience it in virtual reality.

Imagine a world where we all strap on Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headsets and sit in a board meeting in which we’re all in the same virtual room, interacting with avatars of our peers and even our own computers screens. We could be doing this from anywhere in the world, and when that becomes the possibility, new frontiers of work and commerce will be unlocked, too. We’ll have new jobs, new opportunities, and a new way to look at “business.”

It might just be sooner than you think, too.

Socializing potential of the metaverse

The metaverse will also affect the way we socialize—and this doesn’t just mean how you interact with your friends and neighbors.

For one, a metaverse will connect us on a much wider network so that we will be able to virtually meet people from all around the world. Connectivity will increase as the internet shrinks distance.

Consider the ability to attend a conference, concert, or even a dance with people from all around the world and being able to interact with them face-to-face, thanks to our avatars. Social circles could grow tremendously.

Ownership will change, too. Presumably, the metaverse will have its own digital currency, and  “owning” something in the metaverse will point back to conversations about cryptocurrency and NFT’s. When assets become less physical, we’ll have new ways to think about what we value.

Play potential of the metaverse

Most people think of the metaverse, in its current form, as a game-like reality. There’s a lot of truth to that—currently, it is.

The best active example of the metaverse is Epic Games’ Fortnite, where there are tons of avatars piloted by real people, and they converge and play together in a virtual world.

As the metaverse becomes more subversive, meaning more virtual reality and fewer screens, the play potential will increase, too. While four friends can play Fortnite from four different countries today, there’s potential for a future where four friends can go inside a game with astonishing virtual avatars of themselves to play sports, video games, or even just hang out.

While the business and social ramifications are important, we can’t ever forget our need for play, too!

Ready to explore the metaverse?

The metaverse could be a disruptive technology in a whole new way, changing the way we live our lives, work our jobs, socialize and play.

But the potential alone is enough to get me giddy with excitement.

If this post piqued your interest, you should listen to the full episode of Anstandig on the Future. In the episode, I discuss everything from the history of the idea to the technology needed to make it come to life.

Whether you’re listening while washing dishes, driving to work, or perhaps while entering your own metaverse on Fortnite, this is an episode you need to hear!

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How NFTs can Impact our Future

Daniel Anstandig

This past year, cryptocurrencies have seen a rise in popularity. As a result of this, the term “NFT” has started to float around. Although NFTs are not a cryptocurrency, it is part of the Ethereum blockchain.

An NFT can be considered a one-of-a-kind digital art form with the ability to be purchased. It is exclusive to the buyer, by certificate, which identifies the digital asset as solely the buyers.

The latest episode of Anstandig on the Future provides a further look into the NFT market, beginning with a brief assessment of the NFTs’ background, while also incorporating a current understanding of NFTs. The episode transitions into the potential benefits (and risks) the NFT market can affect our world. Specifically, this includes things such as contracts, fraud, and the environment.

While in the midst of the NFT golden age, there are various aspects to consider before getting involved in the NFT market.

What Does an NFT Look Like?

There is much confusion on what an NFT can actually look like, so let’s clarify.

Let’s say there’s a musician wanting to make an NFT for their fans. One way of approaching this could be releasing a few seconds of a music video, and that would be the NFT. Or a portion of a song that hasn’t been released yet. Then the NFTs will be auctioned off, where fans would have the ability to bid.

It must be noted that there are no limitations to the digital art being sold as NFTs. The opportunities are endless. In other words, there is no definitive list of what an NFT has to be.

This is certainly one of the more exciting characteristics of the NFT, creativity is encouraged. There have already been unique NFTs that consisted of GIFs, Tweets, and even articles. As the NFT market progresses even more creative NFTs will appear.

How NFTs Hurt the Environment

As a result of NFTs relying on the Ethereum blockchain, large amounts of energy are required.

This is due to cryptocurrencies involving lots of computer power in order to function, which of course means massive amounts of electricity are being used. Specifically, Ethereum is mostly mined in Eastern Europe where energy costs are extremely low.

Not only are the energy costs low, but it is being sourced from non-sustainable energy. So, the energy is coming from something like coal which is more harmful to the environment, rather than a source like solar or wind.

Is There a Way to Make the NFT Market More Green?

Yes, companies are working toward solutions to shrink this energy footprint, while also supporting the NFT economy.

One example is Green NFTs, which is providing bounties for individuals who mint NFTs using green energy while powering the Ethereum blockchain.

Another current solution that’s being created is new blockchains that require less energy and still allow the NFTs to link.

Moving Forward with NFTs

As established, NFTs have a lot of potential influence regarding digital properties and creativity, although it comes with various risks including the environment.

The biggest concern of NFTs is energy consumption, now energy-reduced options are available to minimize this concern. Together, let’s do our part and make sure we’re making environmental-friendly choices when involved in the NFT market.

Whether you’re listening in the car, on a commute to your office, or while preparing lunch in your own kitchen, I hope you enjoy Anstandig on the Future.

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Before Anstandig on the Future, we had a podcast called Innovation19. Here’s what we learned from the first season of the podcast.

Last year, during the pandemic, on top of my work as CEO of Futuri (and learning to bake a lot of sourdoughs), I hosted a podcast, Innovation19, produced in-house using Futuri’s POST podcasting system. The goal for the podcast was to dive into the technology and innovation topics that are shaping our future that would also compel my friends and colleagues in the media, marketing, and entertainment industries.

My next endeavor is a new podcast, Anstandig On The Future, which will launch July 7 (more about this later!). With Innovation19, I produced 20 episodes about all things technology and new discoveries. The common thread was this — even during the most uncertain time in recent history, humans kept innovating and my guests stayed hopeful about the future. As an optimistic futurist (I hate dystopian narratives), this filled me with hope, too. Here’s a breakdown of some of the highlights from the season, and a look at what’s next.

In Scroll With the Punches: AI and the Future of News, we discussed Futuri’s TopicPulse and other AI-based approaches to figuring out what your audience wants, so that you can curate your news to their specific needs. The news cycle is shorter than ever before. Tech-powered assistance in the newsroom is essential.

In Episode 7, we spoke to a famous expert on change and uncertainty in the business realm, Rita McGrath, who encourages people to take calculated risks for the sake of innovation. Rita answered the question, “How do you encourage executives to look out into the future, so they’re proactively innovating?”

Advancements in Commuting: Personal Planes, Hyperloop Trains, and Driverless Automobiles was another personal favorite moment on the podcast, since I’m obsessed with all things transportation. The episode explores how we still have a long way to go before flying cars are a thing; yet in the meantime, we do have helicopter-like eVTOLs (vertical takeoff and landing machines), which Uber wants to roll out to major cities over the next few years. Your travel will be faster and more energy-efficient than ever before.

Futuri Executive, Tracy Gilliam, walked us through The State of Broadcast Advertising Sales in 2021. This was a hard year for traditional ad models, especially ones that relied on people being, you know, outside their homes, but executives got scrappy and figured out how to make campaigns sing—being innovative along the way.

Robots: MindBody, and Soul (episodes 18, 19, and 20) formed a collection regarding the nature of the robotic mind, body, and soul. Although we aimed to explore evolving technology, when dealing with robots, particularly the concept of “the singularity,” things got mighty existential mighty quick. So much of what defines a human or robot is up to the observer (or what you program a robot to observe about itself). As is the case with life’s great questions, there were no clear answers, but as the world evolves into a more automated one, it excites me to continue this conversation.

I made a lot of Baby Yoda references this season (it was a bit of a running Easter egg for my dedicated listeners). This began in Episode 2, This Is The Way: How ‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Innovative Tech Wisely. Here, we discussed how virtual production methodologies, like Industrial Light and Magic’s incredible LED screen technology, is getting so good, that executives visiting the set thought at first sight that they had built actual sets and blown through their season budget.

Hollywood’s History of the Future: What Sci-Fi Movies and TV Got Right About Today’s Technology was a total blast, flying cars (finally!) and all. Science fiction lets us envision the world how we want it to be, and oftentimes says much more about our current state of the world than how the future will realistically look. Of course, sometimes you get lucky, such as when they filmed 2001: A Space Odyssey and accidentally invented the iPad!

And finally, for Valentine’s Day, we looked at dating apps on Tinder Bender: Dating Apps As Case Studies For Marketing, Branding, and More. Apps like newly IPO’d Bumble were a window into how to brand effectively and influence people, even in an oversaturated market. The key takeaway? When you have a lot of competition, try and focus on one differentiator and do it very well, as opposed to trying to excel at everything. Also, don’t be afraid to innovate and change the plan as you go, whether with different marketing strategies or pivoting your model.

So, what’s next? Anstandig On The Future will also provide an optimistic futurist perspective on innovation, but diving into other topics with greater specificity. And with most episodes under ten minutes long, you’ll be able to learn a lot in a short amount of time about a particular facet of the media, tech, and entertainment industries. Think — NFTs, Apple, and the future of work, just to name a few upcoming topics. If you’ve read this far (I love you, too) and you’re curious to keep discovering with me, check out Innovation19, and look out for the premiere of Anstandig On The Future on July 7.

Here’s to the future!

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How Apple’s Customer First Approach Created a Tech Giant

Daniel Anstandig

The first episode of Anstandig on the Future studies Apple, and in creating the podcast, it made me realize just how massive the company is.

Basically, Apple is everywhere.

You can stream Apple TV+ on your Apple TV while reading emails on your MacBook and sending texts on your iPhone. Even the word “podcast” is a portmanteau of the words “broadcast” and “iPod.”

In many ways, Apple has extended far beyond serving as a B2C company…

It’s a lifestyle.

Or, at least, to many customers.

There’s a reason why the consumers of Apple products are as passionate about their iPhones or Airpods as most fans are for their favorite sports team: there’s a bond between company and customer that’s nearly unmatched.

In other words, Apple has become the largest company in the world by market cap not by trying to become the largest smartphone vendor, but the most beloved.

But how did Apple make this happen, and what comes next?

The History of Apple

Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, and while the company sold computers and tech products for decades, everything changed in 2001 at the introduction of the iPod, the sleekest and most portable music player ever created.

The iPod was a massive success because Apple created something to engage a gigantic target audience in a non-speculative market. The combination of use and design proved effective for the 2007 launch of the iPhone, too, and since then, those two elements have heavily infused every product Apple has released.

But with so much established dominance, how can they stay on top?

Apple in the Future

Ceaseless innovation is the single most important piece to maintaining competitive advantages for tech companies, and we see that in Apple’s history. The iPod turned to the iPhone, which paved the way to iWatches, iPads, AirPods, Apple TVs, and more. On top of this, they release a new iteration of previous devices almost every year.

To keep up with the trend, Apple is working on even more products in the coming years—and many reports about each of them can be found on Mac Rumors. Of these reported projects, some of the most noteworthy are Apple Chips, Apple Glasses, and even—wait for it—and Apple Car.

In short, Apple maintains its lead on the technology race by continuing to innovate with its eyes set years—or decades—down the line.

Can Apple stay on top of the pack?

Apple has made some mistakes over the years.

One such problem has been rooted in the company’s quest to offer sticky solutions that encourage consumers to get not one Apple product, but all Apple products. For example, remember when Apple controversially removed the headphone jack from its iPhone around the same time it introduced new—and expensive—Bluetooth earphones?

Other shortcomings are more aligned with Apple’s emphasis on design outweighing practical application. My favorite example of this is the Apple TV remote. It looks sleek, sure, but it is also very easy to lose.

For Apple to stay on top, they must not only continuously innovate, but also they must never let form overtake function or forget the mindset that got them in the position they’re in: always put the consumer first.

Ready for more?

Ready for more about Apple’s future? Want a deeper dive into the past? Want to learn the 6 Pillars of Steve Jobs’s Design Philosophy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, download Episode One of my new podcast, Anstandig on the Future. I hope to see you there!

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