By now you are probably familiar with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the many ways in which creators are using them to generate value. While NFTs are being increasingly used by artists and musicians, they can also be used strategically by offline businesses.  

Here are three ways NFTs could augment your customer engagement strategies.

1.       NFTs Create Communities

Organizations are using NFTs to provide access to private Discord groups, VIP fan experiences, exclusive meet-and-greets, and special merchandise all with the aim of developing devoted fan communities. Miami super club E11EVEN plans to host private in-person get-togethers for holders of its Captain Club NFTs. A new movie production company is even using NFTs to create a community of super fans who will be able to provide feedback on content produced by the studio.  

2.       NFTs Grant Exclusive Access

A number of brands are offering limited edition items and exclusive access only available to NFTs holders. Think of NFTs as the next member’s only initiative. Digital fashion brand Cult&Rain’s first NFT can be redeemed for an identical pair of luxury sneakers. Gary Vee’s VeeFriends NFTs grant access to its VeeCon conference for each of the next three years. And Buffalo Trace Distillery minted NFTs that correspond to a limited release of its O.F.C. Bourbon Whiskey, distilled in 1982. The holders of the NFT can redeem for a physical bottle of the bourbon and when they do so they also unlock a private VIP tour experience at the distillery.   

3.       NFTs Can Pay “Dividends” that Reinforce Engagement

NFTs can create value into perpetuity. If you buy a collectible in the physical world, the value of that item changes as the tastes and preferences of potential buyers change. But the underlying item does not change. With digital assets like NFTs, the original creator can assign additional value or utility to the NFTs they have created. In this way, you can use NFTs to pay “dividends” to your biggest fans. For example, the Gift Goat token is one of the NFTs created by VeeFriends. The NFT provides admission to the VeeCon conference in 2022, 2023, and 2024, but it also includes a series of physical gifts that are mailed to token holders.

While NFTs have initially occupied the digital world, they are increasingly influencing what takes place offline. Executives should start to take note.

Man U recently announced it is partnering with Sony to build the first professional football stadium in the metaverse. The Atlanta Braves became the first MLB team to announce it was also joining the metaverse. A plethora of interesting consumer-facing opportunities including ultimately bypassing traditional media distribution networks to deliver live matches, game highlights, and other content directly to the fanbase. Remember, the metaverse won’t be exclusively accessible through VR, but will also be accessible through other devices like laptops and smartphones.

In the process of digital mapping, their stadium experiences to develop the virtual reality replica appearing in the metaverse, Man U and the Atlanta Braves are creating a digital twin which opens up other opportunities for their respective organizations. There is tremendous focus on the consumer-facing applications of the metaverse, but in the process of building out the metaverse, organizations are creating digital twins of their physical assets. The enterprise applications could far surpass the consumer-facing ones.

A basic tenet of economics suggests that when the supply of labor shifts down or the demand for labor shifts up, it creates a shortage of workers at the current wage rate. If this imbalance persists, eventually wages rise, attracting workers into the workforce, resulting in a new equilibrium level of employment with a corresponding higher wage.

While wages have been rising, and are expected to continue to rise in 2022, worker shortages remain. Company executives often tell me they can’t seem to recruit workers even when offering higher wages. There are a lot of theories about why higher wages are not seemingly working to attract desperately needed workers.

The fear of COVID exposure likely kept some workers out of the labor force, at least early in the pandemic. Many executives have felt that strong unemployment benefits in the wake of the pandemic lowered the desire, and perhaps the necessity, to work. In the U.S. we have seen a sharp drop in the number of daycare workers, which has likely led to a reduction in childcare services and is keeping some workers out of the labor force. Some workers might be unwilling to return to the office for other reasons.

New research from Julie Hotchkiss suggests that higher wages may not be enough to sufficiently attract certain segments of the labor force. From her paper:

“labor supply decisions of both Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1980) and the millennial generation (born from 1981 to 1996) are less responsive to wage increases than decisions made by baby boomers at the same age…compared to baby boomers, millennials’ labor force participation decisions are only about three-quarters as responsive to wage changes and participation decisions by members of Generation X are only about half as responsive.

So what does this mean for employers? You will likely need to more aggressively offer non-monetary benefits and incentives. This is especially true for jobs requiring less education. You likely can’t avoid offering higher wages, but you also need to sweeten your offers with greater nonwage incentives to attract and retain the workers you need.

BMW owners are now able to get real-time video support from certified technicians through interactive video calls. The service is being powered by startup Blitzz.

Here’s a description from a recent release:

Instead of downloading an app, BMW Genius or Roadside Assistance customers can get a support link via text and be immediately connected with the representatives supporting their case via their smartphone. BMW representatives then work with customers to visually assess questions or issues with the car and walk drivers through how to use features in their vehicle or address any problems – all through an interactive video call.

For sometime now we have seen the camera play an increasingly central role in how we interact with the internet. Google lens lets users translate or copy text, search via images, and even get help with homework problems from the smartphone camera. Apple has its Live Text feature which lets users copy text using the camera and app developers can use the feature to help users autofill digital text from physical items.

Is video chat the ultimate concierge service?

Most people do not read product manuals, at least not in the U.S. Perhaps more companies will begin offering live product tutorials and support via live person video chat.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds AI-synthesized faces are indistinguishable from real faces and humans actually find them slightly more trustworthy. The results highlight not only the risks of deepfakes, but also a tremendous opportunity for researchers and businesses.

The study looked at three experiments. In the first experiment, 315 participants classified 128 faces taken from a set of 800 as either real or synthesized. Their accuracy rate was 48%, no better than a 50-50 guess.

In a second experiment, 219 new participants were trained on ways to identify deepfakes and given feedback on how to classify faces. This group classified 128 faces taken from the same set of 800 faces – but despite training, the accuracy rate improved to only 59%.

Finally, a third group of 223 participants rated a selection of 128 of the images for trustworthiness on a scale of one (very untrustworthy) to seven (very trustworthy). This group rated synthetic faces a slightly higher average of 4.82, compared with 4.48 for real people.“We found that not only are synthetic faces highly realistic, they are deemed more trustworthy than real faces,” says study co-author Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

The results make clear that humans intuition and discernment alone will not be able to effectively combat deepfakes. Researchers should be proactively focused on countermeasures and other tools and techniques that can help detect deepfakes.

While the results suggest deepfakes can be highly effective when used for nefarious purposes, it also highlights the effectiveness to which marketers can use AI-synthesized faces and tools in promoting their services and products. The fact that humans find AI-synthesized to be more trustworthy than photos of actual humans suggests marketers might be able to leverage this attribute to form a stronger bond between consumers and their marketing message. Already, companies like LG are using synthetic humans to promote their products. The study results also highlights the potential role AI-synthesized humans might play in the metaverse.

ast week, I was at the Car Wash Show in Las Vegas speaking about the connected consumer and what it means for the future of the car wash industry. And like so many of the industries I work with, there are massive changes coming their way. Here are some of things I shared about how the next shift in technology is transforming this age-old business.

The car wash industry is a highly fragmented marketplace, but that is set to change as the industry undergoes the next leg in its digital transformation. The fragmented nature is likely one of the reasons the industry has been slow to adopt certain technologies compared to other industry segments but that is changing rapidly. Technology adoption is transforming the front-facing consumer experience and the back-of-the-house operations. Some of these changes are changing the nature of the business, for example, by fostering unlimited wash subscription services, one of the largest areas of growth for the industry. But this is just the start. Consumer facing technologies like license plate readers and digital kiosks will enable a new level of customization, especially important in an environment where labor is hard to find. Technologies like Lidar, used by autonomous vehicles to create 3D maps of their physical environments, are being used to provide greater precision car washes and in the process use less water and few chemicals.

The next big step for the car wash industry is to connect the front-of-the-house with the back-of-the-house. That means connecting CRMs systems with digital kiosks so businesses can deliver a personalized experience at scale. It means gleaning insights from the data exhaust of increasing digitized and connected equipment. And it means using that data to make better informed decisions about things like promotions and staffing.

Of course, these are just some of the changes underway and many are coming to other industries, but I’m excited to see how the car wash industry is beginning to use technology and data to transform and grow.

Some recent research suggests groups working remotely can be just as effective as groups working in-person. So what does influence a group’s ability to work effectively together on a range of tasks? The research finds that how the work is done and who is doing it both appear to be strong predictors of collective intelligence in a group.

For instance, the largest predictor of collective intelligence is a group’s collaboration process. More specifically, two aspects of how groups coordinate their efforts are important: first, that they figure out which member is the best at different tasks and have that person take the lead on it; and, second, that members coordinate their efforts so that they cover all of the different tasks and don’t leave things unfinished. Our analyses show that coordinating members’ skills and covering all of the tasks are just as important for remote teams as they are for face-to-face teams, and collectively intelligent teams are able to coordinate in these ways regardless of where they are working.

In addition, we observed that who is doing the work has a significant influence on a group’s collective intelligence — not only whether they had skills relevant to the tasks, but also their social skills, especially their social perceptiveness. Groups whose members are more socially perceptive pick up on all kinds of subtle nonverbal cues, and we observed that they are also able to coordinate more effectively in the ways we have described — even when working remotely.

Remote teams have better tools at their disposal than ever before. But does your organization have the right processes in place? This is the question you should be exploring.

Last week I keynoted the second annual Asset Management Seminar by BKD CPAs & Advisors. It was a phenomenal night with a sell-out crowd attending in-person and several hundred more registered for the simultaneous virtual event online.

BKD’s CEO Tom Watson kicked things off by sharing a glimpse into BKD’s nearly 100 years of history and how they have built up a leading global #assetmanagement practice in just the last few years.

In my remarks, I shared my outlook for the global economy. I discussed risks on the horizon, including the myriad supply chain challenges we are confronting right now and what it means for diverse industries over the next year.

I also shared my thoughts on several big trends confronting the #investment profession, including major demographic changes that could have a significant impact on wealth distribution, risk appetite, and the future of #philanthropy. I also discussed the changing role of government, the changing nature of going public, and how #ESG is redefining every organization.

I closed with a look into the future. The world is shifting from #digitization to #datafication and this has massive implications for the investment profession. Not just for the art and science of asset management, but also for what it means for the businesses that we invest in.

Following my remarks, BKD hosted two great panel discussions. The first was a conversation with #fundmanagers moderated by BKD’s Kislay (Sal) Shah, CPA. I really appreciated the transparency of the conversation and an honest look into the challenges they are confronting in a #COVID economy.

The final session covered some of the biggest topics in asset management with some of BKD’s leading authorities (Brian Matlock, BKD Partner, Debbie Scanlon, Murat Yasanliel, CPA, MST, Stephanie Rocco, CPA, Paul Russell, CPA, Howard Hong, CPA, and Jim Jordon) on topics like the future of #LIBOR (or a future without LIBOR), ESG, #SPACs, and #DEI.

Thoroughly impressed with BKD’s entire team of #TrustedAdvisors!

#future #event #economy #supplychain

This week, I had the privilege of speaking at the 60th annual Nevada Hospital Association meeting, where I shared insights on the future of healthcare. In my keynote address, I focused on the exciting developments and challenges arising from technological changes and what these changes mean for hospitals and healthcare providers. Specifically, I delved into the shift from digitization to ‘data’fication and what this means for the future of healthcare.

As we all know, the future of healthcare is rapidly evolving, requiring new approaches from hospitals and healthcare providers. Data is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare and is reshaping not only how healthcare services are being delivered but ultimately redefining the services that healthcare professionals will offer in the future. Data is already being used in a number of ways like improving patient outcomes, reduce costs, and streamline healthcare delivery. It is also enabling healthcare providers to improve patient engagement in new and exciting ways to drive better healthcare outcomes.

Data is empowering doctors to identify health problems early on and provide targeted treatments tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Patient and consumer preferences are also changing the way healthcare is delivered. Wearable technologies are giving healthcare professionals access to a wealth of information and allowing patients to play a more active role in their healthcare. Patients are also demanding greater transparency and access to their medical records. Younger generations are accustomed to on-demand access and increasingly want real-time access to information. They also want to be able to self-serve which will mean viewing their test results and medical history online together with other relevant healthcare information.

The advent of telemedicine, wearable technology, and other digital tools are transforming the way healthcare is delivered. Wearable technologies are changing the scope of information available to healthcare professionals and also enabling patients to play a more active role in their healthcare. Telemedicine, as we know, is allowing doctors to diagnose and treat patients remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits and enabling patients to receive care from the comfort of their homes. It is also bridging the urban-rural divide in healthcare.

Emerging technologies will play an important role in shaping the trajectory of healthcare amd Artificial intelligence is having an outsized impact transforming all aspects of healthcare. AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns that would be difficult for humans to detect. This technology is already being used to help diagnose diseases like cancer and has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in the coming years. AI is also being used to develop personalized treatment plans for patients. AI is also being used to help predict patient outcomes. By analyzing patient data, including medical history and vital signs, AI can identify patients who are at risk of developing complications or who may require additional care. This can help doctors intervene early and provide more targeted care, potentially saving lives and reducing healthcare costs. AI is also being used to improve patient engagement and education. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can provide patients with personalized health information and answer questions about their care. This can improve patient satisfaction and help patients take a more active role in their healthcare.

Patient and consumer preferences are also changing the way healthcare will be delivered. Patients are demanding greater transparency and access to their medical records. The next generation is accustomed to on-demand access and they increasingly want to be able to self-serve by seeing their test results and medical history online.

Emerging technologies and changing patient and consumer preferences have significant implications for healthcare providers. To stay ahead of the curve, healthcare professionals will need to invest in digital technologies that enable them to provide more personalized, convenient care to their patients. They will also need to embrace telemedicine and other digital tools that allow them to connect with patients remotely and provide care outside of traditional office hours.

Most importantly, healthcare providers will need to be more flexible in their approach to healthcare delivery. This may require providers to restructure their operations and offer new services in new forms. In my remarks, I shared some strategies that all healthcare professionals can consider when framing the future. These include:

  1. work on competing time horizons simultaneously
  2. focusing on preparedness over prediction
  3. holding conflicting views concurrently
  4. holding strong opinions weakly

The shift from digitization to ‘data’fication will require healthcare professionals to think differently. The explosion of data will also require new processes as healthcare workers redefine the future. The future of healthcare is exciting and full of possibilities, and I look forward to seeing how healthcare providers will continue to innovate and adapt to these changes.