Posts on Aug 2015

Why Sound Is the Next Marketing Medium

Why Sound is the Next Big Marketing MediumDo you hear what I hear? Sure, you hear the traditional cacophony of life’s audible sounds as you go about your day. But did you know there is another background noise — one you can’t hear — that’s revolutionizing the way we connect and interact with the world around us?

Sound – specifically the ability to send messages, data and video over ultrasonic frequencies — has the power to become the new technological standard for real-time engagement and focused marketing initiatives.

Why do I think sound will be the next great marketing medium?

Speakers and Receivers Are Already Everywhere

Stop and think about how many inexpensive and efficient speakers there are in your day-to-day existence. In addition to being in all your devices, there are speakers embedded everywhere – at major sporting venues and big buildings all the way down to your car and your kids’ toys. In fact, there are more speakers on Earth than people.

If you think about each and every one of these speakers carrying data via sound, you realize there’s massive network potential for transferring information. In addition to the size and scope of this network, sound can also go where other technologies can’t. For example, Bluetooth technology only works at short range and connectivity is highly dependent on the physical environment.

On the other hand, sound travels through the air at great distances, needing nothing more than an existing speaker or microphone infrastructure. With so many outlets capable of transmitting and receiving sound, any previous limitations related to connectivity or location disappear.

New Tech Is Continually Expanding What’s Possible

Less than four years ago, we started using voice commands and asking Siri to organize our lives. Then came Google Now, which learns our search habits to provide information we might be interested in. Even  Amazon Echo wakes up through voice activation to tell us the weather and news, or even stream music.

Every day, our world is speaking to us through embedded technology that’s always on and always listening. And as more and more devices come to market with this new software, pretty soon everything around us will be listening. Sound will become the default method for efficiently and effectively sending and receiving the information we need – whether it’s a recipe, educational content or even marketing messages.

Sound Offers Limitless Potential

As a marketing medium, sound creates countless new opportunities to connect with users at scale, with hyper-focused precision. Imagine being able to use data-over-sound to deliver ride-sharing information only to fans leaving a stadium exit. Picture being able to automatically serve up different player stats to individual fans based on who they’ve liked on Facebook. And of course, there are countless other ways data-over-sound technology will continue to be developed and applied.

That’s the kind of meaningful marketing strategies I’d like to see more of. Wouldn’t you?

Follow @LISNR for more ideas on using sound to enable meaningful marketing moments.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

In-Store and Online: Connect with Your Customers Both Ways at Once

In-Store and Online: Connect with Your Customers Both Ways at OnceNo matter the purchase, today’s shoppers use the Internet to research and find the best deals—before they shop, and even while they’re in a store. 81 percent conduct online research before buying, and a whopping 75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store.

Recognizing changes in shoppers’ behavior, earlier this year Visa challenged startups to find new digital solutions for several key business initiatives. LISNR was tapped to help Visa drive digital commerce and develop a new way to make mobile payments.

Given how prevalent the Internet is in just about every buying decision, it’s no wonder retailers and brands are looking for new ways to connect with customers in-store and online — especially by using technology.

A Brief History of Shopping Technology

 Near field communication (NFC) is a form of wireless communication between electronic devices. One of NFC’s biggest benefits was the premise of simply tapping your smartphone to check out and pay at a store. Despite NFC technology being available for over a decade, adoption has been surprisingly slow. Part of the delay has been due to NFC technology needing to be embedded in devices. Android phones integrated the capability first, with Apple Pay coming to iOS devices just last year.

Much focus has been on using NFC technology to easily and securely make payments. However, there are other ways to use technology to enhance the shopping experience that don’t require additional hardware.

The Retail Moment

It’s important to note that once shoppers are inside a brick-and-mortar location, it’s highly likely they’re ready to make a buying decision. There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers and brands to capitalize on those moments leading up to a purchase with a customer experience that is highly personalized and customized to their needs.

Bluetooth beacons were initially seen as a way to deliver targeted and relevant in-store experiences. But those applications have proved tricky, due in part to Wi-Fi connectivity requirements and proximity issues.

But because of new technology that delivers messaging, data and video over ultrasonic frequencies that can be heard by any device equipped with speakers, proximity-based and hyper-targeted enhanced experiences are quickly becoming a reality for shoppers.

Recently LISNR worked with John Frieda to create intelligent end-cap displays that used sound waves to simulate personal hair consultations and deliver coupons at-the-shelf. In this case, users downloaded the John Frieda app, set up their user profile, and enabled microphone access. As customers visited participating store locations, speakers enabled in the end-caps triggered the sound-enabled experience to shoppers. Those with the app enabled were asked a series of questions about their hair. Once the survey was complete, the simulated personal consultation concluded with specific John Frieda product recommendations and coupons delivered via the customer’s mobile device.

The Potential for Retailers

Using sound technology in-store also helps retailers and brands better understand what their customer’s journey looks like. How did shoppers walk the aisles, and where did they spend the most time in the store?

For example, just because a customer strolls by a display doesn’t mean they’re ready to make a purchase. LISNR can enable timing settings in a SmartTone, delivering targeted communications only after a customer spends a specific time in a designated area.

Captured data from these technified in-store experiences can be aggregated into a visual heat map. The data enables retailers and brands to make smarter display decisions — making it easier to connect with shoppers in-store, delivering exactly what they need and when they need it.

Discover other ways to connect with customers both in-store and online by following @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

What Is a Smart Tone?

What Is a SmartTone?Heard of the Internet of Sound yet? With more tiny, inexpensive speakers on Earth than people, the relatively new concept of using technology to send data over sound is gaining speed fast.

What Is a Smart Tone™?

Smart Tones are a revolutionary and proprietary data-over-audio communication protocol developed by LISNR.

Historically, audio tones have been an identifier or a trigger. For example, you produce a tone with an ID of 456. When a device hears tone 456, it goes to a cloud server to find out what that is. The tone itself doesn’t transmit data; it just finds the data on a server.  Shazam uses a similar technology in its need to record a fingerprint of audio and then check the server to identify music.  

Smart Tones are better in every aspect. My team and I have spent the last three years working to make ultrasonic technology more efficient, including synchronizing data more quickly and minimizing RAM and CPU usage.

How do Smart Tones work?

Smart Tones send data over ultrasonic frequencies, turning any audio speaker into a beacon capable connecting devices and triggering 2nd screen interactivity. Smart Tones are inaudible to people, but easily detected by virtually every mobile device manufactured today with a speaker or microphone.

Any existing infrastructure – stadiums, indoor or outdoor venues, automobiles and even TVs – outfitted with speaker or microphone equipment can transmit Smart Tones.

Once a smartphone hears a Smart Tone through an existing mobile app, the tone tells the device exactly what to do, versus going to a cloud server to find the data. As just one example, we can send a Smart Tone and tell everyone’s device to pulse the built-in flashlight on and off, creating an instantaneous and synchronized light show.

Frequently compared to Bluetooth technology, the differences couldn’t be greater. Smart Tones:

  • Need no additional hardware or local implementation.
  • Don’t require Wi-Fi/cell service.
  • Minimal power consumption.
  • Device neutral.

All of these capabilities translate into incredible efficiency. Smart Tones require very little RAM/CPU power to decode the tone, meaning transmitted data can be synchronized to one-tenth of a second.

How are Smart Tones being used?

When you think about the speaker and microphone infrastructure embedded almost everywhere, Smart Tone applications are truly limitless.

Sports teams are using Smart Tones to activate meaningful second screen experiences in the stadium and at home. Imagine you’re watching a football game, and Smart Tones are embedded in each team’s official app. Immediately following a scoring drive, a notification is sent through the stadium’s speaker system as well as through the TV broadcast. Devices hear the tone and light up with a “TOUCHDOWN!” notification. Whether you’re at the game or on your couch at home, the tone also tells all devices to show the scoring replay, turning each individual device into a pocket Jumbotron.

Other uses of Smart Tones include:

  • Sending proximity-based messaging to fans based on their specific location.
  • Delivering additional content to viewers at home.
  • Sharing recaps of what was just missed.
  • Providing updates about changes in schedule times or locations.

Smart Tones are poised to become the new technology standard for real-time and hyper-focused customer engagement, peer-to-peer communication, and secure data transfer for connected devices in the evolving Internet of things.

Follow @LISNR for the latest ways Smart Tones are transforming second screen experiences in broadcast and live events.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called Smart Tones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to device connectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

5 Ways to Engage Your Audience on the Second Screen

Second screenWhen you hear “second screen”, what do you think? Sitting on your sofa watching TV, surfing the latest cat videos on a mobile device during commercial breaks? #guilty

New technology delivering data over sound is re-booting second screen experiences everywhere. These new second screen experiences give brands, teams and content creators the opportunity to enable meaningful content delivery and enhance physical world experiences.

With the average person spending more time on their phone and laptop than sleeping here are five ways to better engage your audience on the second screen.

Understand your audience demographics

Knowing your audience and their desires is the first step to creating engagement. Beyond age and gender, drill deep to specifically find what they like and don’t like. You can’t deliver a meaningful experience if you’re off the mark with what you share. Case in point: Most 37-year-old male sports fans will be turned off if anything related to “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” crosses their second screen device during a ballgame.

Get precise

Technology provides the ability to get laser sharp about likes and dislikes—down to an individual audience member. “Smart” second screen experiences now utilize detailed social graph data and app profiles to deliver meaningful messages.

While it might be useful to deliver coupons to those walking by a retail store, take it a step further and deliver data, content or offers based on people’s specific interests. Rather than a generic coupon, think about sending notifications about a particular designer’s sale because the consumer likes that designer on Facebook. That’s the right combination of precise and meaningful that make an engaging second screen experience.

Design for speed

Meaningful content needs to be delivered in real time. No one wants to hold their phone to a TV for 10 seconds to learn about a song playing, or a commercial that’s already over. The moment is missed.

LISNR technology is synchronized to one-tenth of a second. If you want to see the biggest play of the game again, not only does your second screen experience let you replay it on the spot, but you can also control camera angles of the replay and see the latest player stats.

Create a simple user experience

No one wants to have to download another special technology or follow a set of complicated instructions just to participate in a second screen experience. LISNR seamlessly integrates with existing apps. Users spend more time engaging with your content than getting the experience itself to work.

Plan for interactivity

Too often second screen experiences are only about impressions. Build in social voting, contests or other interaction points throughout the experience to keep audiences engaged. Plus, you’ll know how many people engaged with the content and what generated the most interactivity — way more meaningful than just eyeball counts.

Looking for more ideas to connect with audiences on their second screens? Follow @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

4 Ideas to Create Amazing Fan Experiences

Sports teams, artists and brands are looking for fresh ways to up-level fan experiences. Enabled by cutting-edge technology, they are giving fans opportunities to get up close and personal with favorite teams or artists in completely unexpected ways.

These fan experiences are hyper-relevant, synchronized to one-tenth of a second and most importantly, leave meaningful impressions.

Here are ideas for sports teams and artists looking to offer amazing fan experiences.

Get location-specific

Imagine being able to send guests in a precise event location content relevant only to them. For example, fans seated in the upper-decks at a baseball game could receive instant video replays on their mobile device following a close call at home plate. Talk about bringing the right content, at the right moment, to fans.

LISNR partnered with Budweiser for its “Made in America” festival to bring fans closer to performers. Using existing speaker infrastructure, several zones were programmed throughout the venue. Based on a fan’s proximity, LISNR technology determined what content to send. When fans passed by a stage, they’d be notified if their “must-see” band’s performance had moved to a different stage. Or when guests neared the exit, they’d receive ride reminders from Uber.

Be part of the show

What better way to bring fans closer together with artists than making them part of a live performance? In association with Sony Xperia, Swedish House Mafia partnered with LISNR during their One Last Tour. During a special concert moment, fans were prompted to hold their mobile devices up and become a part of the show as Swedish House Mafia’s state-of-the-art visuals came to life across fans’ devices in the crowd. No Internet connection or special technology needed — everything happened straight from the band’s app, which attendees had already downloaded. This brought the band together with fans for a totally unique and share-worthy experience.

Go behind the scenes

Everyone wants to feel like a VIP during sport or entertainment events.  With advancements in second screen technology, teams and artists can virtually take attendees backstage by sharing sneak peeks. You can broadcast a coach’s pep talk before the team takes the field or offer an inside look of the artist’s green room.  And, you can do this for thousands of fans instead of just a privileged few.   

Tap into the power of competition

Make fans feel like they’re influencing what happens at an event by giving them a poll to participate in. Fans can use their mobile device to vote on the top play of the game before the final quarter is over. Or festivalgoers can use their mobile devices to trigger a band to come back on stage for the encore and vote on what songs should be in the final set.

With new technologies like LISNR that send data over audio, there are more amazing opportunities than ever to create “surprise and delight” experiences for fans.

Follow @LISNR for even more fresh ideas for creating amazing fan experiences.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

What I Learned from #WHDemoDay

Rodney Williams, LISNR, at #WHDemoDayPresident Obama hosted the White House’s first ever Demo Day yesterday. Entrepreneurs from all across the U.S. (including myself!) were invited to join, share stories and demonstrate the role entrepreneurs have played in the U.S. economy.

The event also showcased several new initiatives designed to provide more Americans (especially minorities and women) with opportunities to turn their ideas into game-changing products and services. As Megan Smith, the first female U.S. Chief Technology Officer, put it: “So many Americans have the grit and creativity of a world-class entrepreneur, but they lack the resources–mentorship, networking, funding, training–to bring their ideas to fruition.” Now, programs like Start Up in a Day make it easier for small businesses to get up and running quickly and easily.

I was fortunate enough to speak about the genesis behind LISNR, but I was also inspired to hear others’ powerful stories about their innovations. Frankly, what struck me most was the determination and passion I heard from each and every entrepreneur. Too often all the attention and news soundbites are given to Silicon Valley, but there is a groundswell of disruptive innovation happening, in ways never imagined, across the country in every industry. From the company harvesting sheep manure to turn it into gas, to the company that makes smart blood testing devices, to many, many others at #WHDemoDay, it’s clear we need to make it easier to bring innovative ideas to market.

Several powerful statistics from #WHDemoDay:

  • The US is now the #1 place for tech innovation and investing (ahead of China).
  • 1 percent of small businesses (businesses with fewer than 500 employees) created 40 percent of the U.S. economy’s net new jobs.
  • Just 3 percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women.
  • Less than 1 percent of venture capital-backed business founders are African American.
  • Teams with at least one female founder perform 63 percent better than all-male teams.
  • Companies in top quartile for diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

#WHDemoDay Key Learnings

  • It’s in our blood. It’s remarkable President Obama opened his “house” to us on his 54th birthday. It felt like he was giving us a stage to showcase innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship are part of the American dream DNA. We owe it to ourselves to continue creating opportunities for anyone to be able to bring their ideas to market. So much data and momentum shows supporting these ideas will build a brighter future for all of us.
  • Stick with it. One of the most powerful stories I heard was from Ramona Pierson, CEO of Declara. Despite a long and arduous recovery from a horrific accident, she continued to see opportunities for change and innovation. Everyone has an experience in life that leads to an AHA moment or a passion project, so stick with it—no matter how challenging it may get.
  • Be a thinker. It was a tremendous honor to be in the same room with Steve Case, Daymond John of Shark Tank fame, and nearly 100 other entrepreneurs from every walk of life. You don’t have to be a coder or possess technical skills to bring your idea to life. We have to keep thinking about those things we’re passionate about, or are a problem we have. Be a model for inspiring and motivating others to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.