Q&A with Mark Melling, Head of RYOT Studio EMEA

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AW360 speaks with head of Verizon Media’s RYOT Studio EMEA, Mark Melling, about what he will be speaking about at this year’s APAC.

What are you talking about at AWAPAC?

5G! But really getting under the skin of what it means to businesses and consumers beyond the faster phone. Overall, marketers across many industries are not aware of the benefits that 5G will bring to them, so there’s not yet that translation to consumers as to how they’ll benefit from what will be transformative technology across so many sectors. It means so much more than the speed of your mobile, 5G tech will have a profound impact on everyday life. In media we’ve given some examples of use cases through AR demos, but haven’t gone enough into the value exchange that this technology will drive between businesses and consumers. Essentially what we need to do is focus more on the technology and the value it will bring to consumer’s everyday life, rather than focusing on gimmicks.

Why do marketers need to understand 5G?

They need to understand the technology because its impacts will reach so much further than the mobile phone and communication. We’ve seen in the past that when generational telecom technology shifts so do competitive advantages between brands when the right (or lack of) strategy is in place. Look at how Apple used 3G tech to leapfrog BlackBerry, or how Netflix along with the rest of the ‘Gig Economy’ took advantage of the move to 4G. With the right planning and marketing strategy ahead of the move to 5G, brands can capitalise on an incredible opportunity.

When will we see a real impact with consumers in APAC?

I get this question quite a bit – and this all depends on the take up of the technology. Most estimates have it as 2-5 years away, but as I mentioned before, if the value exchange we demonstrate continues to be that your phone will be faster, or specific use cases that appeal to niche audiences, that’s not going to drive people to run out and spend a ton of cash on a phone and a 5G data plan. However, if we start showing people what positive impacts it will have on industry and society beyond mobile communication, I suspect the impact will come a lot sooner.

Who are the marketers leading the way in this space globally?

I think it’s interesting to look at marketers who aren’t necessarily the ones using 5G technology today, but are experimenting with the tech, ad products and platforms that will be supercharged by 5G when it comes. I loved what Samsung did recently with the rare iKONIK skin in Fortnite, what Audi is doing with VR tech, and what innovative companies like Vodafone, HP and P&G are doing with us on Mixed Reality advertising formats.

What is one widely unexpected consequence of it you can foresee?

One that consumers likely aren’t expecting is the fact that in many cases the tech we carry, and increasingly more importantly wear, won’t necessarily get more complicated, but rather simpler, as computing will be shifted from local devices to the cloud or MEC. More simply, I really expect AR glasses – fashionably indistinguishable from the eyeglasses we wear today, and a far cry from the clunky headsets currently in market – to become one of our main, if not the main, connection to the digital world.

Mark Melling will be speaking on ‘5G: The Age of Humans’ at Advertising Week APAC on Tuesday, July 30, on the Verizon Media Stage.

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