Fringe Tech and Fritters

Yesterday I gave a talk at Dragon Army titled Fringe Tech and Fritters. You guessed it, we ate fritters and talked about fringe tech! My talk focused on three technologies that are in various stages of disrupting markets and marketing. It was a blast, with lots of laughs (apparently I can be funny) and learning. Here’s a summary.

5G Cellular

5G is coming, and it’s going to be huge! We have all been through the paces from edge to 3g, 4g, 4g LTE (whatever that means) and now 5G. It’s easy to think this is a minor iteration in the technology that won’t matter, but you would be wrong.

5G is going to be up to ten times faster than 4G LTE. How fast is that? Imagine that 4G LTE is a moped cruising down the road. 5G would be a 747 jet by comparison. That’s a lot faster!

Speed disrupts. Consider how the Roman roads allowed for the speed of travel to increase, allowing for the expansion of an empire. Or, how the automobile revolutionized not just travel, but every part of modern civilization. 5G speeds will disrupt virtually every industry. When you have an internet connection on your phone that can download a 3GB movie in 35 seconds, do you need an internet service provider with cable internet anymore? 

5G also will supercharge the Internet of Things (IoT). More bandwidth allows for more connected devices. Its speed means those devices connect and communicate in real-time. 5G will require less battery consumption, allowing more devices to be like the Apple Watch, linking directly to networks without having to route through a phone first. This connectivity will permit for a new generation of IoT devices to be born.

5G will have a massive impact on marketing. As videos are more easily streamed to any device with a screen, video consumption will rise. Instant data communication will mean instant analytics, which will lead to more customizable and quicker marketing opportunities. Mobile design and development will be freed from having to continually worry about load time on mobile, allowing them to become more user-focused and complex. Augmented reality (AR) will move to the forefront and become an essential part of marketing planning as specific AR devices become common. Voice technology will continue to improve and expand rapidly.

Voice Technology

Voice technology is on the rise, with more users joining in every day and more devices entering the market. Voice is anticipated to be a $40 billion channel by 2022

Smart speakers are dramatically improving already. The tasks they can accomplish are expanding. For example, Goole has an automated service that can call and make reservations on your behalf. And, some voice technologies can even recognize different voices as they make requests, leading to greater personalization for each user.

“One example of a brand that has successfully incorporated voice technology into their strategy to set themselves apart from the competition is Whirlpool. They joined with Amazon to create a line of intelligent and voice-activated appliances that can converse with customers, answer questions, and even provide guidance about things like what ingredients a person should buy.”
– The Digital Marketing Institute

As voice continues to grow, brands will have to jump in to avoid being left behind. They will have to consider how to provide value by sparking action or inspiring happiness with their users. An easy way to do this will be to partner with an existing Alexa skill, or to create an MVP using a software framework.

If voice technology still seems like a fad, consider this. Amazon and many other companies are investing heavily in integrating this technology into our daily lives. Recently, Amazon created Echo Frames, glasses with Alexa built-in, and Echo Loop, a ring (worn on your finger) that supports Alexa. Bose has joined in with high-end headphones and glasses. Just think, now you can talk to your ring in public and really weird people out when it talks back!


Podcasting is on the rise, and companies are starting to take notice. In the same way that smart companies built amazing blogs leading to growth in the early 2000s, companies are creating great podcasts with loyal audiences today that will fuel their business tomorrow.

When companies think about podcasting, they shouldn’t think about building an audience. Audiences are great, but there are other, better, reasons to consider a podcast. Here are four of them.

1. Connect with niche groups

Podcasts allow companies to micro-target niche groups. Once they have found their niche, they can then create content specific to that niche, helping grow their audience.

Some examples of great niche podcasts are:

2. Create brand fans

Your organization’s fans already love podcasts. By creating a podcast, you can keep them informed and engaged, providing value that they can’t, or won’t, find anywhere else. 

Some examples of Podcasts building brand fans are:

3. Create high-value content quickly

Creating long-form written content like white papers, eBooks, and blog posts take time. Podcasts can speed things up. Instead of having to write, edit, edit, edit, and then rewrite a piece of content, you can record and transcribe a podcast with a tool like Temi. This approach allows the podcast to become a long-form, keyword-rich, piece of content, improving SEO performance.

Podcasts are also great for social because one podcast episode can spawn 15 – 30 pieces of shareable content in the form of clips, quotes, graphics, etc.

4. Rally Internal Teams

Internal company podcasts are an easy and quick way to keep employees informed. They are great for:

  • Building culture
  • Internal communication
  • Onboarding new team members
  • Learning and development
  • Reaching workers away from their desks

Podcasts are more enjoyable for employees to consume than newsletters, and they don’t require them to find information in places like intranets and company portals.

Some great examples of internal podcasts are:


5G is coming quicking in 2020, and it will revolutionize more than we think. Voice technology is going to continue to rise with massive investments from the biggest names in tech. Podcasts are not just a fad; they are not dwindling; they are expanding rapidly. Companies that don’t pay attention to these trends may miss an opportunity at best, or be left behind at worst. 


If you want to check out my slides from the presentation, here you go:

And a Bonus!

As a surprise for our audience we made a custom playlist of the podcasts we love. And, since you made it to the bottom of the post, you get access too!

Check out the playlist!

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