Technology in Service of Mankind: The Punishing Signal

Think of all of technology’s broken promises, starting with the last time you updated your operating system. It’s a discipline lousy with hyperbole, half-truths, and lies, lies, lies.

But every now and then, our best and brightest bring technology’s glimmering potential to bear in an effort to improve the collective quality of life.

This time, that group is the Mumbai Police Department …

Last week, the department posted this lovely video explainer to Twitter. It outlines their latest effort at fighting noise pollution, and quickly went viral.

By hooking up decibel meters to red lights, the police assessed honking noise in real time and then, through an admirably perverse algorithm, delayed green lights, resetting the countdown if the honking volume exceeded 85 decibels. In their words, the idea was “honk more, wait more.”

While admirable, this effort feels rather ironic coming from a country that acknowledges the free-for-all nature of their chaotic roadways with the admonition “Good brakes, good horn, good luck.”

Will this clever trial quell India’s addiction to honking?

Hard to tell, but in a country with 11 times the population density of the United States and no subway or mass transit system, the question really is ‘what can it hurt?’

Fingers crossed and holding my ears for you Mumbai…

In Mumbai, traffic is exceptionally loud thanks to the national proclivity for honking.

PS: Hat tip to Greg Popp who steered me to this story in the NYT. Good luck with your shoot in NZ, amigo.

Taking Marketing Beyond Advertising

Today’s unprecedented access to information, demand for transparency, and empowerment of social recommendation speed the transition from mass marketing and toward more relevant and personalized communications: in short, digital video content.

Advertising improves selling, but video content improves communication. Of all kinds. Which in turn, improves sales. That’s why it’s where marketing is moving.

Make no mistake; I love great advertising. And great advertising still builds brands. But it’s no longer the only way. Because it’s not just brands that need building; businesses and organizations of every kind need to reach audiences with compelling messages.

So there’s always another story to tell.

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Video: Evolving Beyond Selling

So yesterday, I was lucky enough to present for the West Michigan Content Strategy Meetup’s first-ever lunch and learn webinar.

Of course, being that it was ‘first ever’ and involved warring Apple and Google technology platforms, it was a bit of a car wreck; dropped signals, video blackouts, etc. But happily, like all things digital and video, you can fix it in post. So we did.

My thanks to my old friend Scott Smith and the charming and redoubtable Laura Bergells for making this a terrific experience, technical difficulties and all.

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Making Innovation an Advantage

HackSee this? This is a hack Ryan Summers developed for the CGI team working on the Dolby job. It’s a GPU cluster: a series of five $600 boxes that could soon disrupt the world of render farms. A standard motion graphics render farm has roughly 60 nodes, each with one processor and four cores, for a total of 240 cores. In contrast, each of these five GPU’s contains around 2500 cores. They don’t need cooling, they require far less power, and they’re infinitely scalable; all huge advantages over current render farm technology. GPU’s like this were developed by the gaming industry to process heavy math. Ryan’s repurposed them for our needs to generate more renders, quicker and cheaper

As an industry solution, these types of GPU’s are not entirely ready today, but in a few months, they could be. And that’s the point; until the industry generates software to catch up to these processor speeds, Digital Kitchen can leverage this technological advantage to make us more competitive in the marketplace. While others have lower cost margins based on how they’re structured, getting more done more quickly helps us to close that gap.

Innovative thinking like this doesn’t only relate to hardware. As technology reinvents itself on increasingly shorter cycles, all sorts of opportunities will become available to anyone paying attention. Most of us recognize we no longer need to build websites from scratch; we can customize existing platforms already coded for security and responsiveness. We no longer need to settle for a stock shot or set up our own second unit shoots; we can access a community of DP’s on something like https://genero.tv/ and get a bespoke shot reasonably quickly and for a fraction of the cost. Hacks like these won’t work for everything, but in the right situation, they lend DK a real advantage.

But that advantage relies on embracing change and innovation. As it does for any company. After all, it’s at the heart of no less than Steve Jobs’ famous mantra: stay hungry, stay foolish, stay curious.”

Let’s…

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