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Digital Outlook 2017 – The Transformation of Business and Communications

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Webinar November 9, 2016
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Digital Outlook 2017 – The Transformation of Business and Communications

There has been a massive evolution in digital technology over the last two decades that has resulted in a major shift in customer expectations. Doug Bannister, CEO and CTO of leading software solutions company Omnivex, is an industry pioneer who has spent the last 25 years at the forefront of this digital transformation.

In this webinar, Doug interviews Jean-Pierre Lacroix, a communications industry veteran and president of branding and design agency Shikatani Lacroix, about what the future holds for technology in business in this digital outlook for 2017 and beyond.

Find out:

  • How digital technologies are transforming businesses in every sector
  • What is driving digital transformation and its potential ROI
  • Which industries are at the forefront of digital transformation
  • Where digital transformation will lead us

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Webinar Transcript

Doug Bannister: Hi, I’m Doug Bannister, founder and CEO of Omnivex. Thrilled to be here today at Shikatani Lacroix, talking with JP Lacroix about his experiences in the digital industry over the last 25 years. JP?

JP Lacroix: Yeah, well, this is great to be interviewed and having a conversation about something that I’m very passionate about, which is digital signage. Actually, I call them digital experiences because I think we have to evolve the terminology and we’ve been doing this for 25 years counting. I still remember one of the first projects we did digital signage for. Rogers Communications, their flagship store, about 20 years ago. We used a Sony Trinitron TV, rear projected TV in the window. So the good news is that things have gotten a lot better since then.

Doug: Right. Absolutely. Now you touched on the Trinitron that you talked about there. I remember when I first started 25 years ago, we were doing digital signage on large LED screens. You know LED boards, red, green, and yellow. You see them in old financial exchanges, tickertape and things like that.

JP: Yeah the Barco system.

Doug: Exactly. Things have changed a lot over the years. So I’d be interested in asking you how has this impacted your business? The technological transformation over the last 25 years: how has it impacted your customers, your employees, all aspects of your business?

JP: It has a huge impact. Everything we do now, even if it’s consumer packaging or retail environment or corporate identity and branding programs, digital is a core element of that experience. It’s obvious. Consumers today use their mobile phones to connect with most brands. Most retail environments are being challenged to engage with customers, competing with online, and so digital plays a really important role in being that link between online consumer behaviour and the physical environment. So every project has a digital experience component. It’s at the core of what we do.

Doug: It really has changed over the years. One of the things I’ve noticed is that waves of new technology come through, right. When I got started, we were writing, you know we’re a software company, we were writing in DOS for our very first versions. Very character based. And Windows comes along and that’s all the buzz. You move through all these different technologies. Plasma screens, LCDs, now there’s LED backlights and things like that, phones. So one of the things I find in our business is that as we move through these types of technologies, the core values of our company—I’m sure you find the same, I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts about this—stay the same. What we fundamentally do is we share information with people and we find a mechanism to accomplish that. Technology may change, but that need always stays. Do you see similar kind of things?

JP: We’ve seen a major shift. It’s a mindset. You know, clients put value on where they spend their money and where they allocate their capital. For many years, the capital allocation was on hardware: screens, media players, all the great stuff. And actually very little attention was given to the content or the software driving that content. I would say it’s only in the last five years that we’ve noticed a shift in focus by our clients for many reasons. One of which is that they’ve already employed their entire digital platform and they’re looking at how do I get a better ROI on this investment. It’s not about saving money on hardware. It’s about engaging with customers and driving more sales that’s going to deliver that ROI. So our clients are shifting their attention towards effective content management. And it’s about time because to us, content management is really the core of the value that digital provides for the retail environment, for corporations, and training and a variety of other things. Content is the element that’s actually going to change behaviour. It’s not the size of the screen. It’s not how many lumens go through that screen. It’s really what message are you communicating with that content, and we’re seeing that re-focus towards content management.

Doug: That was fantastic. Now, how well do you find your customers are implementing digital?

JP: Oh, that’s a great question! You know, I was just reading a quote this morning by Cisco ex-president Mr. Chambers, and he was saying that 70% of companies have embarked on a digital transformation. And only 30% will actually achieve effectiveness in that transformation. I think that’s really representative of our work with our clients. Every single assignment that we do, specifically in retail brand transformations, has an important digital component. That client clearly identifies the need to develop that digital component, identify a willing to make an investment until they need to sign the cheque, deploy the digital platform. I mean, we’ve worked with that—I won’t name class—but we work with banks where we did an RFP you were involved in 10 years ago.

Doug: Yeah.

JP: 10 years ago. And they’re still trying to justify the investment for the hardware. The great news is the cost of hardware is coming down dramatically. Its intrusiveness in the retail environment is disappearing. You know, with old LED screens that are only–credit card thickness that can be curve, we now have digital technology that’s invisible bringing down the cost, and, so, we’re seeing more and more an eagerness to invest, but it’s still a challenge. It is still a heart attack, “wow, I didn’t realize it was going to cost this much, didn’t realize the national deployment was going be in the millions.” I think to a certain degree that those who haven’t stuck their toe in the water, that ticket shock is enormous, but for those clients that have actually embarked on digital technology and the immersion of mobile and digital and online, they see a huge benefit to their business, they see a user return their business. They know that consumers shop online, and if they can make that connection from an online experience to mobile experience in the stores, they’re going to retain that customer in their shopping, and, so, it’s just a matter of time. The number one question that clients ask us every time is “Can you demonstrate an ROI on the investment we’re going to make?”

Doug: Sure.

JP: And the good news with much more deployment in the marketplace, the establishment of benchmarks, we’re getting closer—we’re not there yet—we’re getting closer, to being able to justify a numerically ROI investment and deployment in digital.
Doug: Right. That is always a challenge.

JP: Oh, it is.

Doug: Now, you talked about, you know, John Chambers and the 70 percent businesses are going through these transformations. You talked about, you know, the retail experience that most of your clients are working in. What do you think is really driving the digital transformation within businesses? Is it primarily the customer focus? You know, “let’s provide this better experience for our customers?” Is it more internal-facing? You know, we want to improve productivity of employees? You know, is it reducing cost? What do you think is the main kind of area of the business? There do seem to be several.

JP: Yeah, I would say all of the above. Depending on the industry, category you’re competing in. It’s about being relevant to your customers, and if your customers are digitally-enabled and digitally-focused, then not having a digital platform, albeit mobile apps or mobile, website, or tablet-enabled Salesforce to be able to be smarter on their feet with customers who have done all the research ahead of time or finding those efficiencies, you know. How do you leverage big data? You know, today, most large organizations have spent billions and billions and billions in establishing and building infrastructure for big data. The problem is that last, you know, foot in the sales process between big data and the customer experience is lacking.

Doug: Yes.

JP: And it’s finding that link. And this is where mobile and digital technology are playing a pivotal role as, “how do we enable the Salesforce to provide things like inventory, you know, just-in-time inventory analysis. If a customer is looking for a TV, they can tell immediately if that TV’s in stock, they can tell if it isn’t, which store is closest, and they can actually capture that sale by having the TV sold there using, you know, smart wallet, and delivered to the home on the same day. And, so, you’re seeing organizations looking at “how do we build relevancy for brands when the consumers’ focus is digitally-oriented.”

Doug: Right. Absolutely. Now, how have you seen digital transformation affect your business?

JP: Well, the reality is designing—the DesignTree has always been digital. When I started the business, we had markers, and we had this thing called Paste Up, and we had typesetters. Then, some guy with a computer that was called an Apple really disrupted the industry. We were—I believe DesignTree was the first industry to be digital because we replaced typesetters with Mac computers, and Mac computers have better software with Adobe and InDesign and all these great platforms, and, so, we were always digitally-enabled as an industry. However, the connection between our digital-enablement with our clients—focus on digital—only happened about 10 years ago. And it’s much more of a transformation of how we look at business opportunities and business challenges. Now, we have a whole component to solving our clients’ problems by looking at a digital lens and looking at what that customer’s digital path to purchase is and how does that link to the conventional path to purchases and where are those key moments of truth that digital can play a pivotal role? And, so, yes, it’s transformed our business, but we’ve been on this journey for about 20 years.

Doug: Sure. It’s just been a continual thing; you know—

JP: Absolutely.

Doug: —constantly moving forward and getting things. That’s why I love working with companies such as yours, you know, because I’m an engineer, and it excites me to get in on these things, and, so, to see you driving this as well. It’s a fascinating trip that, I mean, we’ve both been on, right? We’re continuing to be on. Now, we talked about, you know, the—the ROI that you’re trying to capture and display and show for customers.

And, it’s certainly that’s what—some of the things you’re looking for as well, we talked about that. You know, it’s difficult, in many cases, to really show a pure ROI because things change slowly—or if things change dramatically, you know. Here’s the way we used to do things, and now we’re doing these a completely different way over here, so how do you show an ROI on it? Well, it’s difficult because the measurements from over here don’t really move forward to over here. But dealing with it, you know, if we don’t have the firm ROIs in many cases to, what are the benefits and advantages that you’re showing to customers to say “here’s what you can do differently, here’s what the digital solutions will allow you.” You touched on, you know, the big data and getting the last mile in there. What were the other areas, you know, that you’re really driving benefits to the customer?

JP: Well, let’s put it—turn it around, I’d say—the benefits to the organization is the ability of communicating effectively at the moment of purchase. You know, consumers buy emotionally; they don’t buy functionally, they don’t buy rationally. Consumers are irrational, and we all know that. The beauty of digital technology is that ability of connecting emotionally. You know, pictures connect to our hearts, visuals connect to our hearts. Not words, right? Not sound. Pictures. And, so, there’s a real opportunity for brands to connect with consumers emotionally when they’re making their purchase decision. For consumers, it’s simple. They’re looking for knowledge and answers to their buying decision, and they’re looking for cues and clues that will help them make the right buying decision. Today, the big challenge for consumers is, you know, complexity of choice. We have too much choices. Our stores are too big. Look at the average supermarket: when I grew up it was 20,000 feet. There are 100,000 feet. The average supermarket then had, maybe 12,000 products. They have 100,000 products. You know, shopping has become a challenge because we have too much choice, and digital provides an opportunity to cut that clutter and help that consumer to make that buying decision either before they visit the store or during their shopping pattern in the store or, you know, having the staff better educated and better enabled to answer the questions they have when they’re trying to make that buying decision. So, we see that being a true ROI. Maybe it’s not a return on investment, but, then, I would challenge—look at where the money is being spent today. It’s being spent in advertising. Trillions of dollars every year spent on advertising, in social media. They haven’t proven an ROI for both those models.

Doug: Right.

JP: But they’re spending billions and trillions of dollars, you know, hopefully, connecting with a consumer, hopefully, making it work, and the reality is the place to connect with consumers is at the moment of purchase. If we know the consumer’s making irrational decisions and they’re impulsive in those decisions, we know that it’s emotionally-driven. That last split second in that buying decision is the most pivotal. It’s not the TV commercial. It’s not even the online platform. It’s that moment of purchase, and that’s where digital plays a very critical role. Capture the consumer’s attention, drive visibility, reinforce an emotional message that resonates with the consumer, and then drive that purchase through an Apple wallet—whatever transaction process—and we’re seeing that whole POS—I call it the “second friction point in consumer behavior.” The first one is buying the product; find the product they’re looking for. The second key friction point is paying, and retailers are spending an enormous amount of money on self-POS systems. Loblaws has launched an entire express checkout that you check your own products out. That’s still pretty primitive. You should actually be able to check out your product when you pick it up and put it in your basket and then you just walk. And so you can see that collapse of payment systems and POS systems and making it easier to remove that friction point for customers. And that’s where digital will play an important role. As they’re picking up that product, a reminder, either through a method reality or on their phone or maybe even on the cart, saying, “Oh, by the way, there’s a special if you buy two of these, you know, they’re half the cost, and that’s where digital will play a critical role.

Doug: Right. I love your examples there, you know, the too much choice when—

JP: Yeah.

Doug: —I talk to our developers in-house. We make things easy to use, easy, and I—and I refer to something I call the “peanut butter paralysis,” which is, you know, you walk in and say “All I want to do is buy some peanut butter.” Well, is it low salt? Is it, you know, is it—

JP: Organic?

Doug: Is it light? Is it crunchy? Is it this? Is it that? Like, just too many options, right? It just you wind up spending either not anything, or, you know, it takes you far too long to actually make a choice for what you want. So, I like that idea. I also like the idea of—because one of the things that I talk about is, you know—as technology changes, it changes the ways we can do things, and I use the example in one of my talks to our company about, you know, when steam gave way to electricity, a lot of manufacturing plants just kind of took out the steam engine, put in electric engine, and did things exactly the same way as they did before, so they didn’t get these big benefits, right? And, so, to your point about, you know, paying the moment you take it off the shelf, well, if you look at the retail experience, one big problem was the whole transaction, the answer you saved all that up to the end, and then you did that once. But digital will allow you to do that seamlessly many different times, and, which changes the whole thing. You don’t need cashiers to check out—you just go take it and put in your cart. You’re done.

JP: Yeah.

Doug: I love that idea. I think that’s awesome. Now, you’ve obviously had lots of experience in digital transformation. You work with many different customers. Do you see particular industries or particular, you know, areas, in retailing where digital transformation has more of an impact, more of a benefit?

JP: That’s a great question. I would say there is a balance. There’s a balancing act happening, being disrupted, and leveraging digital technology, so the industries who are the most prone at being disrupted, who are vulnerable to new startups and new technologies or new business models are also the firms that need to—not necessarily have—but need to embrace digital more effectively. And I’ll use banking as a great example. You talk to any banker today, it’s not about Omnichannel—that’s ten years old now. They were one of the first to develop banking platforms or to create a digital online experience for the customers because they know customers like doing banking online. But you have now Fintech startups—technologies that allows you to transfer money, you know, easily. To bypass throwing out 50 forms in order for you to get along, you know, that simplify, again, the elimination of friction for the customer in the banking industry. And I think the banking industry is awake. They’re not going to let themselves be disrupted by Fintech. They are embracing Fintech technology. And it has a huge play in what happens in the branches. Less and less consumers are going into the branches. Those branches need to change their meaning and their value to their customers. It’s not about transactions; it’s about knowledge and empowerment. And, so, you’re seeing the banks, the smart ones, you know, slowly shifting their attention toward—from transaction to knowledge, to empowerment. Going to universal bankers where—where that teller now is enabled and empowered to talk about retirement plans, investment plans, things about the financial security of the customer. And, so, there’s a great example of an industry that has embraced digital, not because it’s a nice thing to have, but because it’s a necessity, for avoiding being disrupted.

I would say general merchandise retailing and the Canadian Tires and the Walmart’s of the world were selling commoditized items is another industry that needs to wake up when it comes to digital technology, because they’re all about transaction. They’re all about selling to the consumer. It’s about basket sizes. It’s about increasing the amount of products customers buy when they visit their stores. And digital can play in a really important role at reminding them about things. “Ah, have you, Miss Consumer, you know you bought toilet paper the last time you were here. That was a month ago. You may want to replenish.” “I didn’t think of it.” Because most consumers who go to a supermarket don’t have a shopping list. Only, I think, 12 percent of all consumers who go to a superstore come with a shopping list, and, so there’s a great opportunity to drive in pull sales for the Walmarts and the Canadian Tires of the world, but they’re not there. If you go to those stores—maybe Canadian Tire’s picking up the pace—but if you go those stores, and that shelf activation using digital technology is still not there. They still haven’t figured out the value, you know, that basket size value, and the smart ones will.

Doug: Right.

JP: Now, it’s all about big screens. It’s not about shelf.

Doug: Right.

JP: Communications. It’s about big screens creating a lot of excitement, which is great—it reinforces the brand’s relevant—but, at the end of the day, that split second purchase decision—digital plays a very minimal role in that, and it shouldn’t.

Doug: Right, that’s interesting. I know, ah, one of the things I like to look at when looking forward down the road is to look, you know, where have we been? How have we gotten here? And I remember reading an article that said, you know, when they—Bell and AT&T labs first invented the transistor, they said “Okay, this is great. What are we going to do with this thing?” Okay? Because it was a solution in search for a problem. They said “You know what we can do? Let’s make a personal radio.” This was back when radios were the size of Credenzas, right? And they said, “How do we make—we can make a personal radio. This is great.” So, in 1954, they introduce this thing, and they sold 100,000 units in the first year. It was a tremendous success, and the people who bought them were kids, and they listened to Elvis Presley. So, there’s a case of the birth of rock and roll was only made possible through the digital transformation that was possible through this piece of technology. And, certainly, you know, this drive to personal, and you see that again with personal computers, you see it with personal music systems, with Walkman, you know, this kind of personal thing. So, what you’re talking about there is moving from the large screens down to almost a personal experience at the shelf: this peanut butter, that peanut butter, this, you know, this item, that item. Those—that’s what the shelf displays can drive if you look at the drive and advance of technology, it’s always coming down to, you know, personalizing things—making things relevant to this particular consumer.

JP: Yeah, you know, again, I’m back to my analogy of—my reference to advertising. You know, they spend trillions of dollars building an image of the consumer, and, then, the last split second, the consumer switches to another brand. So, there—to me—the model’s upside down. To me, the money needs to be spent in the store experience.

Doug: Right.

JP: It needs to be spent when the consumer is making their buying decision. Not online, not on the radio. Yeah, those are great to build brand awareness, an affinity, but, at the end of the day, when most consumers can be switched at the shelf level, that’s where the real battleground is, and that’s where the money should be spent.

Doug: Right.

JP: That’s where big data plays an important role: the connection between mobile devices and all shelf communication. This is where the real battle grounds can be won and where the smart retailers are going to invest their money. Reminds me of a little story set about four years ago. We were hired to do the reinvention of Office Max. And, you know, online sales had huge impact on the performance of the stores. Those stores were average 25–27 thousand square feet. Our mandate was to create urban microstores, stores that were 17 to 20 thousand—even smaller than that. When we looked at digital signage, shelf signage, and we looked at the—what do you call, electronic ink—sign elements, and we costed it out, and the client was very interested in having digital signage because it allowed them to change their pricing by zone, and then move very quickly at a competitive response. But it was going to cost $300,000 for that, and that’s one store. So, you imagine them the multiple. And so, you know, the challenge still remains that they—it is a huge nut financially for retailers to embrace digital. Um, and it’s great. Those platforms—I’m sure today that platform would be 100,000. So, 100,000.

Doug: Still a lot of money.

JP: But I think it’s more of a mindset by retailers. To say that flyers are our most effective marketing vehicle when, really, their stores are most marketed—effective marketing vehicle. And effectively communicating to the consumer at the shelf level is going to drive more revenue and more sales for them than—than doing, you know, advertising and radio and promotions and billboards. And, so, it’s just a mindset. And that brings me another comment. I think what digital has done is it has forced organizations to rethink their business model. You know, the business model before was “build it and they will come.” You know, the game was “as many stores as I can open–the better off I am because that’s how I’m going to gain market share.” That no longer works. And what digital is providing is a platform for people to reevaluate their business model. So, you look at Loblaws, you know, market leader in the supermarket category in Canada. They’re smart. They’re digitally. They spent their money now on—on a loyalty program that rewards behaviour. Not just purchase, but behaviour—that is very smart. They’re now exploring, you know, order on your phone and pickup at a drive through. They’re exploring eliminating these anxiety points. They’re re-evaluating their business model. And I think most organizations now are being challenged through digital to re-evaluate their business model. And, if you’re not—if you’re a retailer or a packaged good company or a corporation; if you’re not re-evaluating your business model based on digital, the odds are you’re not going to be around long-term.

Doug: Yeah, yeah. Things are changing.

JP: Absolutely.

Doug: They’re changing fast. One of the other interesting things: you get this exponential growth, right? Which a lot of people will—humans in general—don’t really appreciate the—you know, the implications of digital growth or exponential growth. And, obviously, with Moore’s law, digital is on that path, right?

JP: Yeah.

Doug: Things are changing so fast, and if you can tie a business process into that sort of exponential growth or decrease in cost or increase in revenues, whatever it is—if you can figure out how to tie that in, then you’re going be in a great position for reaping those benefits for years to come.

JP: Yeah, it’s the opportunity to leverage, consumer behaviour, establish consumer behaviour to your advantage. I mean, the fact is, we did a study, called the mobile zombie. It’s because, basically, that’s what we’ve become. We’re so connected to our phone. I mean, the first thing people do when they get up in the morning is check their phone. The last thing they do when they go to bed is check their phone. They check their phone every 3 to 4 minutes a day. A day. When they go to the bank, when they’re in the branch, they’re checking their phone on their account. They’re not—they’re not connecting with it in the —digital signs. They’re looking at their phone. And, so, there’s a real opportunity to disrupt that behavior and engage that consumer through digital signage, large-scale digital signage, through geo-fencing, things that connect to their phone. Those are the real opportunities that we see in the near future. Geo-fencing is strange. It just makes sense that if you walked in on an app, that you’d receive a message when you’re in the branch. You get it with, you know, Starbucks, you get it with TripAdvisor. You’re close to this restaurant, that restaurant. But it’s been—there’s been this huge reluctance by retailers and manufacturers to leverage geo-fencing, and I just scratch my head. I just—it is so obvious a tool.

Doug: Huge impact.

JP: Huge impact. I mean, in the petroleum business, there’s a company that, ah, did a test for an American petroleum, and they increased sales at their inner C-store by 30 percent through geo-fencing just by reminding the customer of an offer or just reminding them, “Hey, come in and have a coffee.”

Doug: Right.

JP: Because we’re so busy in our lifestyle, we have so much on our mind every day. We have, you know, it’s not just complexity of choice. It’s—I call it complexity of tasks. You know, you get up in the morning, you have 20 things to do, and heaven forbid if your kids go to soccer or hockey, and you got another 30 things to do. We don’t have time to think about anything else. And, so, being able to bring it as a service—and a valued service—a reminder about something you may have forgotten or something you may need. To me, that just makes sense.

Doug: Yeah, yeah. Oh, I totally agree with that. Now, you talk about, you know, looking at geo-fencing and another thing sort of in the near-term. You know, we’re talking about this kind of in—in a relation to 25 year history that we’ve both been sort of on, and seeing things change. Where do you see things going further out, you know, in 25 years from now when you and I sit down and have this chat again? Where—you know, obviously, in our roles, and in our positions, it’s to be somewhat of a futurist, and to be able to look forward and say “Well, here’s some other crazy ideas.” Who knows if they’re going to come to pass from that? But you must have thoughts on that.

JP: Oh, yeah. So, I would say there are—there’s a couple of factors that are going to have a huge impact on our behaviour as consumers: how we buy, how we think of things. What is artificial intelligent? So, you know, the–cause and effect. Cause is: we have so much data, we don’t know what to do with it. Effect: introduce artificial intelligence that eliminates the human factor, that is able to do, through algorithms and learning processes, take that information and customize it to every individual, right? Because, today the consumer wants personalized service. They don’t want any mail that’s been sent to everyone; they want an email that talks specifically to their needs. Reminders and services and offers based on their buying patterns and their behaviours, and artificial intelligence is going to provide that in spades. It’s going to free up time. We’re talking about how it’s going to impact the auto industry—hugely impact the auto industry. They’re predicting that by 2025, half of the cars sold in the world will be self-driving cars, driven by artificial intelligence. And, so, you’re going to see that movement impacting everything we do. Absolutely. The way we buy, the way we shop, the way we enjoy life. So, to me, that’s a pivotal technology.

The second technology is what I’ll call invisible technology. I believe that innovation happens when you eliminate steps and friction points in the way consumers live their lives, right? So, you think of wallet pay. Well, wallet pay—you don’t need to carry your wallet anymore; you got your phone. You know, Google Maps allows you to travel, you know, and never get lost. You know, and it’s getting better and better. So, eliminating these friction points or these steps is where innovation has succeeded at bringing value to consumers, and, so, one of those steps is how we absorb visual information, and now, technology is “we’re going to hang, you know, we’re going to hang a sign—a digital sign—on the wall. We’re going to have to cable it to—to that sign, and we’re going to have to build a network—and, to me, all of that’s going to go away. With—they’re testing now, digital pay. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but in, I think it’s Sweden, they will paint a wall, and the wall will become an LCD screen, and, so, you—so, the physical restrictions of digital signage will go away. It’ll be whatever you want it to be.

Doug: Yeah.

JP: And, so that will open up all kinds of, uh, great avenues of experiential and immersive experiences. You know, we think of the VR and AR as being kind of trailblazing. I view those as interim steps because there’s still—you got to wear this clunky thing on your head. To me, immersive experiences are going to be real. Ah, they’re going to be 3D. 3D and 4D projection screens where you’re going to be in that space. And we’re just at the cusp of that technology.

Doug: Yeah, I totally agree with that. It’s interesting, I use the example of everybody has these phones now, but it’s, again, personal phone. But I equate that to walking around with flashlights. And we all don’t walk around with a flashlight lighting up the room; you walk in, you turn on the switch, and there’s ubiquitous lighting. And—

JP: Absolutely.

Doug: That’s what we use, right? And if you want to go into a dark corner and fire the flashlight, it has a use. But, otherwise, it’s ubiquitous and everybody shares and everybody uses—so, to your point, you know, with the digital paint, you walk in and the computer will be ubiquitous, and the display will be ubiquitous, right? And, so, and it will react to you as a person and then if we can get rid of these double slabs of glass we carry around in our pockets, great!

JP: Yeah.

Doug: Even better, right? So there’s, you know, it keeps changing, and it keeps going on, and one of the exciting things that I look at is—I am completely in agreement with you—if you look forward, and you say, well, one conclusion you have to come to is there will be more data. Hey, there’s—there’s no arguing that. There’s—

JP: Yeah.

Doug: There’s been sensors, IoT, Alza. There will be more data. And one of the best was, you know, humans aren’t evolving at the same rate as our technology is. So, if you look at, you know, the bandwidth of the senses and the fastest and the easiest—

JP: Yeah.

Doug: — and the best way to get information into a person is through their eyes. So, all down the road, if you have ability to combine data with a visual experience, which is kind of the businesses—that we’re both in, I think this is going to be a great long term future for both of our companies.

JP: Yeah, the— I mean, it’s a very exciting era for designers. When you think of it, when you start creating virtual experiences, you’re no longer restricted to the power of gravity, the laws of gravity, right? You can—you don’t need to be an architect to build a building now because you can build it virtually.

Doug: Sure.

JP: You just need to have the right aesthetics and understanding of consumer behaviour, but you don’t need to be an architect. So, you’ll see a designer building, designing building, see architects creating, you know, identity programs. You’re going to see that these tiers of design professions are going to collapse. And that will have a huge impact. There already has had a huge impact on our industry. If you go back 20 years ago, you know, we had typesetters—or 25 years ago. You know, that, overnight, disappeared. Right? Comp companies, you know, making comps for packaging—that’s gone away. Even printing now is going. Customize printing, digital printing, it’s, you know, these big print runs are gone to customized print runs, and, so, you’re seeing a big shift from, you know, efficiencies of mass to efficiencies of personalization, and I think that’s going to play a really important role in how we deliver communication marketing materials. It’ll all have to be personalized. It’ll all be about—back to my original comment. It’ll all be about what’s the right content. What’s the story we’re telling to our customers, and how relevant is that story at that moment of purchase? And how do we intertwine that story with the way they live their lives? And how different is that story from your neighbour’s story or your daughter’s story or your wife’s story? That will be where the real battleground be won. It’s about content and content management.

Doug: Right. Well, that’s fantastic. JP, I want to thank you for your time here today. It’s been a very interesting conversation, you know, and I look forward to working with you for many years to come.

JP: Great! Thank you very much. Till again. It’s always great to talk about digital.

Doug: Yes.

JP: Thank you.

Doug: Thanks.

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