IoT Bite Sizes

When Pac Man and Pokeman Go, those curious and smart icons — became iconic hits — we heard about them after the take over, they had already mastered connecting people and communities to hubs, spots and passions. Those tiny anime digits show the power of the digital spiral and connection. In a way, they too are data storytellers.

The power of a spiral magnifies much more when when reading The United Nations Broadband Commission,The State of Broadband 2015 Report which states that `It is not just the humans who are getting connected. Many analysts agree that the Internet of Things (IoT) is now coming of age, and foresee strong growth in the IoT in their predictions.. There are currently five connected devices for every person connected with the Internet. ITU predicts that there will be 25 billion networked devices by 2020, by which time connected devices may outnumber connected persons by a ratio of six to one, transforming our concept of the Internet and our connected society forever.`

The United Nations Broadband Commission,The State of Broadband 2016 Report `explores promising new uses and applications of ICTs for development, including mobile, satellite and the Internet of Things (IoT). Mobile broadband currently offers some of the best prospects for putting information and empowering apps into the hands of individual people, but satellite offers universal coverage and good reliability for connecting communities, schools and remote areas. Connected sensors and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity may represent the next frontier in the ICT4D story, in the emerging ‘Internet of Things’. This is a major development, which promises to change ways of doing things through better information in real-time and improved learning opportunities. The report explores the exciting new applications made possible by sensors and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) for monitoring and improving agricultural yields, water irrigation, fires and tsunamis. `

Development yes — and huge insights to the massive hyperconnected IoT possibilities. And a definite insight on how massively impactful IoT will be on bite size communications.

The 2016 Report goes further and states `as 5G possibities potentially enable ‘massive connectivity’ for billions of IoT devices in a ‘hyperconnected world’, and highly reliable, virtually zero-latency communications. Many observers see 5G as facilitating the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) or even the Internet of Everything (IoE) with the vision of a seamlessly connected intelligent environment for smart homes, smart cities, connected cars and connected vertical use cases as well. ` That being said — 5G is only a possibility if and if basic connectivity is enabled and massively upscaled for massively underserved communities. Else we have great vision but great hyper connectivity gaps in underserved commnities.

Now back to Bite Size — Bite Size communications — takeover digital communications especially in a connected society of people and things.

Short , sharp and powerful: That is the power of bite- size both in its viral and communication impact as well its emergence as a new digital business model capable of communicating messages and as data storytellers. Lets hope Bite Size commnications can spiral more policy and action and leadership on generating access to and for nderserved communities.

Digital media platforms have emerged as frontrunners in the race towards global digitisation. But if bite size communications that characterize social media platforms such as Twitter, You Tube, Whats App, We Chat, Line, Kakao Talk, Weibo, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and the other existing and emerging digital media platforms are to deliver on goals — be they entrepreneurial, commercial, policy, infrastrcyre, access, they need to be embedded in a smart campaign and underpinned by a carefully crafted legal policy. Bite size communication can revolutionise marketing strategies maximise revenues and generate change but without sound legal, operational and media strategies, can backfire damaging an organisation’s revenues and brand and value or the message itself.

What is the value of bite size communications?

Short, pithy headlines are meant to catch our attention and incite us read further. Long used in the world of print, social media platforms today are leveraging this short short sharp communication to expand their following. After all, consumers are just a click away. Click on the bite size tag and you are connected to the narrative and page.

What are the legal implications of social media sites?

Social media platforms and the communities it cultivates using them, are valuable company and organisation assets. But what do companies need to do to safeguard this rich source of client data and business intelligence?

A first step is to ensure appropriate digital rights clauses are included in the employment contracts of staff specifying that social media accounts belong to the company. Staff also need to discouraged from speaking in the name of the company on their own social media sites. If it occurs, any such commentary should be prefaced with statements, such as “I post/write in my personal capacity” or “the views expressed here are solely my own.” Such measures can help minimize any risk of negative impact on the company, its brand and products by employees. Internal policies and advocacy in organisations and companys’ will ensure employees are cognisant of these issues and measures to be taken.

Are there other steps to take?

Additionally, when rolling out and managing digital media campaigns to strengthen engagement with target audiences, company’s also need put emphasis on quality control and make employees aware of the legal pitfalls that may arise including but not limited to inflated promises or exaggerated specs which can give rise to false advertising claims as well breaches of consumer laws . To this end, content plans need to be developed and implemented. This can be a huge undertaking, involving multiple actions ranging from editorial and technical control to co-ordinating design, media clippings as well as evaluation and mentoring. This too includes the process of creation and when curating content Intellectual Property considerations abound.

The Law and in particular, Intellectual Property, digital media, consumer, privacy and trade laws and the Media are, in effect, strategic partners in brand building and revenue generation. Oversight of a sanctioned digital media presence must ensure authenticity and integrity of information in all formats and media and that prevailing laws and regulations are respected.

Accuracy of content requires knowledge of Intellectual Property laws including careful content scoping to mitigate copyright infringement as well how to protect and commercialise content to ensure high value premium and brand recognition for companies as well consumer and data privacy laws and laws relating to , communications, digital transactions, commerce and trade. A short sharp, bite size media communication crafted on the basis of in-depth analysis of the purpose, appropriateness, and potential value of a campaign to consumers, has the potential to add value to an organisations or company’s bottom line.

The tone of a digital marketing campaign and its content must be coherent and must resonate with target audiences. It is an opportunity for a company/ organisation to enhance its brand value. By strengthening such a key intellectual property asset in this way, an organisation / company is protecting its capacity to generate revenues and maintain or expand market share.

Effective bite size communication requires a digital literate audience, those who know how to use technology and / or who are learning, albeit self learning through use. Catch phrases and tag lines need to be carefully crafted, accurate and short. They also need to be protected as they are potentially valuable marketing assets. This involves registering them as a trade mark and /or securing an appropriate domain name. Such an approach helps to build credibility and can be useful in encouraging target audiences to act on their choices and buy a product or service. Digital campaigns involving external partners, such as agencies that deal with advertising, public relations, marketing, and endorsements or other stakeholder organisations require sound contracts with clauses that address questions relating to ownership and use of intellectual property assets associated with the campaign and dispute resolution, as well as clear milestones and deliverables. An understanding of the law of contract and strong negotiating skills are essential.

Organisations or companies with large scale operations and a global footprint must identify a focal point for managing and coordinating its social media presence across the globe in multiple languages. Multilingualism is a communication asset in a global economy.

Digital media strategies including hashtags and viral campaigns must include reputational risk mitigation and monitoring. This is as important as researching, compiling and analysing metrics. Viral campaigns can backfire — and some do. Incident management checklists or how to respond to queries must be prepared. This is as important as preparing the digital bite and strategy.

H&M, the Swedish clothes stores initial launch in South Africa was rather uncomfortable –with its Digital Presence in South Africa bearing scrutiny. Innocuous or just thoughtless or was there something deeper at play? In response to why only White models were used — it responded that it seeks to convey a professional image. In a globalised world — thoughtful and respectful responses are necessary. Responses that lead to race aspersions whether inadvertent or not. The NYPD #myNYPD twitter campaign in New York was meant inspire confidence but attracted negative postings of errant policing. Gauging a reaction is part of reputational management. Cause marketing needs sensitivity and UK Kellogg’s “ feed a hungry child” — 1 rt = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child” was viewed as distasteful self marketing commercialisation. I am still puzzling this though here…a RT — would have increased the possibility of increased spend from Kellogs for a philanthropic cause…

It is important to sensitise digital teams in Legal, Compliance, PR, Communications on incident management and on the effects on brand damage and reputational risks.

Bite size communications on Platforms

Bite size communications are bringing about a huge shift towards “new systems where value is being created outside the firm, and that’s a platform business,” notes Boston University Professor, Marshall Van Alstyne in an interview in MIT Technology Review. ( economics of the internet of things/)

In an increasingly interconnected world, where devices have the ability to communicate with each other, business platforms have a pivotal role to play in matching service providers and consumers of those services. Such business platforms, Professor Alstyne notes, serve as “a published standard that lets others connect to it, together with a governance model, which [sets] the rules of who gets what… Most companies compete by adding new features to products. They haven’t been in the business of thinking of how to add new communities or network effects,” he notes. In today’s world, digital platforms are the new product.

Digital platforms are the new frontiers of business and bite size communications have great potential to boost the impact of digital marketing campaigns and foster business growth.

Silo stats are not reflective of lifestyle, the global world and new frontiers. The ingrained capabilities and viral nature of digital communications is transforming media. Digital silos are out. Digital platforms are new frontiers. In a world of people and things, they are the human communication — forum.


In the digital takeover of communications, let bite size communications bite! Let the magic of platform spark. Its economics is proving itself. And it`s a massive communications data storyteller. Human to Human. Human to IoT. IoT to …and a focus on IoT must include a focus on development. Build as we communicate — and enable access…

Ayesha Dawood is a South African and Harvard educated lawyer. She is a Harvard LL.M graduate. She is a Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard where she focussed on digital media innovation. @ConsultAyesha