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Smart Cities And Why Local Ads Will Be More Relevant And Powerful For SMEs?

Welcome to the new era of Smart Cities and Smarter Citizens forcing us in the communication Industry to finally dump the inefficiencies of the past and start focussing on small Data and local media.

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Smart Cities, or similar such classifications, will see the confluence of Infrastructure and Technology. This convergence will soon change the way we live, commute and consume.

From garbage disposal to Driving License renewals to shopping with IoT, the future of Indians will be intrinsically linked to Smart Devices. Even more than the current. “The Smart Cities Mission” of the Government of India has laid down a list of potential features that appear as futuristic as they seem unbelievable! Converging the much needed ramp up in infrastructure including better roads and housing, better waste disposal and sewage treatment, better electricity management and water utilisation through technology enabled ‘smart use, we are going to see the next big leap in Urban Management. Hopefully making quality of life better, simpler and smarter.

On the other hand citizens armed with smart-phones will be able to get the full benefits of e-governance: transparency and accountability in an uncorrupted seamless manner. Improving not just our standards of living but our quality of life too.

For us marketers, all this will result in un-dumbing the present.

  • Skill based target definitions: As technology becomes the operating system in future, we will all have a larger emphasis on skills rather than education. This will demand a re-definition of socio-economic classification. No more will lifestyle/ education be the primary variable but ‘skill based demographic and behavioural classification’ will become the necessity. 
  • An Audience of 1: Local restaurants and movie theatres and museums and concerts will find it easy to use this new classification to target THE INDIVIDUAL rather than the masses. The dreaded word in communication “ROI” will get a new lease of life. 
  • Death of The Big Data: All the above will result in the emergence of local media that addresses the need for information, entertainment and brands for this new consumer. The Audience of 1 will force ‘mass’ media to reshape itself even as local brands would be nimble enough to leverage this shift first. Local brands and restaurants and other SMEs will discover the power of small data (behavioural data that will precisely predict what kind of detergent each person in that suburb prefers…that micro) and thus unleash targeted ads to only the ‘needy’. That will give them superior ROIs (sorry to re-use that dreaded word again). 
  • The Renaissance of SMEs:: We will see an upsurge of local brands and local businesses using local cultural codes targeting the local citizen. Why? Because on the one hand these newly smart citizens will be impatient for immediacy of delivery. On the other hand small businesses would be better positioned to respond to localised needs faster. We suspect a mushrooming of locality level service providers, each integrated to similar such, to provide localised, customised, even personalised solutions. So, essentially we will be heading back to that romantic age when the local ironsmith/baker/milkman knew each villager and serviced each home specific to the needs of immediacy.

Welcome to the new era of Smart Cities and Smarter Citizens forcing us in the communication Industry to finally dump the inefficiencies of the past and start focussing on small Data and local media. Because, it WILL be possible. Faster than we can predict.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Arun Raman

The author is the Chief Strategy Officer at GREYgroup

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