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Mark Pappas of CMI Media Group On How 5G Technology May Improve and Impact Our Lives

An Interview With David Liu

From phones to watches and tablets, each of us is using connected devices more quickly. With the increased capacity of access points, more devices will be able to be connected. This means the functionality will increase, both in terms of how many devices and also to which speed devices can connect and transmit data. This leads to broader adoption of health monitoring devices. Doctors will have the ability to use health monitoring data to help with their evaluation of their patients’ health due to the ability to quickly access and analyze the data transmitted via 5G.

5G infrastructure is being installed around the world. At the same time, most people have not yet seen what 5G can offer. What exactly is 5G? How will it improve our lives? What are the concerns that need to be addressed before it is widely adopted?

In our series, called, How 5G Technology May Improve and Impact Our Lives, we are talking to tech and telecom leaders who can share how 5G can impact and enhance our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Pappas.

Mark Pappas, SVP, Innovation is a catalyst within CMI Media Group to spark and drive innovation forward. He is responsible for bringing new and unique opportunities to clients and works alongside partners to create new offerings, keeping on the cutting edge of technology, media and advertising. He has been responsible for many firsts for the pharma marketing industry while at CMI Media Group, stemming from his strong relationships with leading emerging media companies and pharma clients paired with his early-adopter mentality and passion for technology.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I have worked in digital marketing and emerging media for over 15 years, including 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry working on a wide range of products from OTCs to biologics. I have experience in launching portfolios for multiple clients across many therapeutic areas ranging from immuno-oncology to biologic therapies and beyond. My experience prior to that is quite unique. For the majority of my 20s in the early 2000s, I was DJing around the world. From that I learned how to build my own websites and market myself utilizing the social media platforms that were prominent during that time. As DJing calmed down, I entered the agency world working on the search side but followed my interests to the grey areas of media and found my sweet spot interest-wise in audio and digital marketing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

There have been many interesting things that have happened since I began my career but for me personally, my favorite was the opportunity to speak at SXSW. I always find it fascinating when you explain things to an audience, you see everything click and then witness them having that real “ah ha!” moment.

Additionally, witnessing the rapid digital transformation brought on by the pandemic was the most mind blowing thing to me. We went through about 8 years of innovation in one year.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote is from Alan Kay who said “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” This is basically how I approach everything I do in my role. My job is to bring new ideas and offerings to clients.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I grew up with my father owning businesses that were future forward. He had a satellite radio network that was subscription based in the 80’s. It was basically an early precursor to XM/Sirius that specialized in ethnic music, primarily music from Greece and Italy. He has an entrepreneurial mindset and I like to think I picked up.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I’ve never been one to sit back and just wait and see. I always look for opportunities and if the right one does not come along I try and make my own opportunity.

Another trait of mine, that can be seen as a downside by some, is that I’m endlessly curious. Anytime something really interests me I fall deep down the rabbit hole researching and learning everything I can. I know enough to be dangerous about many things in our industry, which sparks a lot of ideas.

Persistence would be another. Following interests and ideas and pursuing them is what has landed me in the position I am in today.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects? How do you think that will help people?

Unfortunately, everything I’m working on is highly confidential because it is innovation related but one thing that caught my attention and I am spending a lot of time on is Social Audio, the rapid increase of digital audio and podcasting.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Like 4G, 5G has many different facets, and I’m sure many will approach this question differently. But for the benefit of our readers can you explain to us what 5G is? How is 5G different from its predecessor 4G?

The simplest way to communicate the impact of 5G is by thinking about the speed of your current mobile phone if you have not transitioned yet. 5G will be 100x faster. You already stream Netflix and YouTube with little lag, imagine it being 100x times faster.

There also is a significant increase in the number of devices that are able to connect to an access point. With traditional Wi-Fi, on average 250 devices can connect. With 4G, hundreds of thousands can connect. With 5G, millions of devices can connect to a single access point. This means less infrastructure can provide an increased level of access.

Can you share three or four ways that 5G might improve our lives? If you can please share an example, for each.

EXAMPLE 1: From phones to watches and tablets, each of us is using connected devices more quickly. With the increased capacity of access points, more devices will be able to be connected. This means the functionality will increase, both in terms of how many devices and also to which speed devices can connect and transmit data. This leads to broader adoption of health monitoring devices. Doctors will have the ability to use health monitoring data to help with their evaluation of their patients’ health due to the ability to quickly access and analyze the data transmitted via 5G.

EXAMPLE 2: The increased speed of file sharing will also play a big factor in doctors’ ability to analyze larger files more quickly. Today, sending MRI scans and other massive files takes time. 5G will allow this to happen in real time. It will also provide the ability to have mobile imaging stations, eliminating certain aspects of patient transportation. The ability to transmit data quickly will also aid in the execution and adoption of remote robotic surgery. By being able to transmit the execution of the surgery in real time, the accuracy of the surgery will be improved.

EXAMPLE 3: One other key area that 5G will play a major role in is the use of cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is the practice of using psychotherapy to treat the mind and body rather than traditional medication. Being able to deliver more lifelike experiences through virtual or augmented reality could help the world of cognitive therapy take a big step forward.

EXAMPLE 4: Related to advertising, 5G will allow the switch from written to video content strategy. Consumers often prefer to engage with video content, so this switch could improve campaign outcomes overall.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this 5G technology that people should think more deeply about?

With the increased bandwidth and speeds, the amount of ways people will be tracked will increase exponentially. Additionally, advertising with transform to deliver real time custom messaging based off of a person’s interests customized to them. It will definitely take some getting used to seeing immersive creative ads targeted and customized just for you.

Some have raised the question that 5G might widen the digital divide and leave poor people or marginalized people behind. From your perspective, what can be done to address and correct this concern?

I actually believe the opposite. As 5G becomes more commonplace and implemented in lower cost devices it will open up much more opportunities for lower income people. For example, if someone is in a lower income, much more rural area, the speed and bandwidth of 5G once the networks are rolled out wider, will help to facilitate things such a telehealth with specialists they normally would not be able to get to. Access to streaming services for audio and video would also be opened up.

Excellent. We are nearly done. Let’s zoom out a bit and ask a more general question. Based on your experience and success, what are the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career in the telecommunication advertising industry? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Never stop learning or wanting to learn which again, is how I got to be in the position I am in.
  2. Do not be complacent and wait for things to happen — you need to identify and seize opportunities.
  3. Stay on your feet and be adaptable to a rapidly changing landscape. As I stated before, this past year has upended everything and no one would have predicted this rapid change. You need to be able to identify trends and changes and adapt on the fly.
  4. You have to be personable and someone people want to talk to. I have seen countless people in the industry that are ridiculously brilliant but if you put them in a room with clients or have them present it’s like watching paint dry. You need to show enthusiasm and be someone clients want to be around. What often seems like a casual conversation can spark innovation.
  5. Never think you are the smartest person in the room. If you are or think that, there is a big problem. Some of the best ideas come from people the further from projects who are not buried in it every day. Listen to all ideas.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 😊

One of the questions you asked before was around the digital divide and leaving marginalized people behind. With the amount of rapid change and waste in the tech area, it would be great if we were taking all of the devices that are usually cast off to landfills, repurposing them and then distributing them to lower income areas to allow people to bridge this digital divide. For example, telehealth became the norm during the pandemic but if someone from a lower income family doesn’t have the technology to take advantage of it, then what good is it to them. 5G or not, having a device to use to be able to take advantages of these new offerings especially in the health space could be literally lifesaving.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Part of my job role is that I am ambassador for CMI Media Group innovation via regular POVs, whitepapers and onstage presence at major industry events. I’d suggest that anyone interested in following my work checks out CMI Media Group’s social media as my thought leadership and conference updates are shared regularly. Our Twitter handle is @CMIMediaGroup.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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