In my first part of this series on Google Fiber in KC, I spoke about the big picture and decide that the subject was too big to fit into one blog.
I'm going to use these next few parts to draw a little more focus to how I see Google Fiber effecting parts of my life and other's lives in the city. This week, I'm going to focus on how gigabit speeds could effect marketing agencies in town.
I work as an Interactive Strategist for a 25 person agency in KC called Muller Bressler & Brown. When the plan was announced,we all were called in for a pow-wow with the owners to discuss what Google Fiber would mean for the agency (I expect there were a lot of these going on at the time). The short and long answer is opportunity, but the size of that slice of pie will depend on an agency's ability to adapt and invest in what's coming.
Google will be laying down their first gigabit infrastructure in KC. The technology that will run on these 8 lane super highways of data hasn't really been developed yet, especially for at home use. As Google flips the switch, the first businesses to take advantage of the grid will be those that will be building the technology that sits on top of the gigabit infrastructure.
App development that uses these speeds will be one of the avenues. We're going to learn what cloud computing means fairly quickly, as applications that needed the processor power of a home PC become useable with less and less hardware. (Examples would be data crunching, video editing, or anything that traditionally would eat up processor power)
My guess is that these companies that will be coming in will be 2 to 3 man businesses with a couple developers and a designer. The agencies that can become a hybrid of a startup tech incubator and a full service marketing agency will come out ahead as these businesses will not have the cash flow that most agencies are used to making from their clients. The agency that can take risk and work for a percentage of ownership of these startups instead of cash will see success.
The agency that plays in this game will also need to be as quick & agile as the companies that are building these products and that could be a challenge from watching how agencies have struggled to adapt in the last few years.
When digital first started building momentum in traditional agencies, a strategy that seemed to work well for them was creating another business that could work outside of the slow moving inner workings of the agency. The new small shop could act that way and take on the entrepreneurial spirit needed to make something new. I'm just saying that this may be the right time to bring this strategy out from the playbook.
You could do that or just wait for a small company to do it on their own and buy it at it's highest value down the road, but where is the fun in that?
As for the opportunities that are further out, if you want to see the industries that will be effected first, just look out for those that are pushing lots of data. Medical, Insurance, Education and Entertainment to name a few. Since these industries are so large and require a lot of specialization, the agencies that already play in these worlds will have the best opportunities to earn more business by working with their current clients to shake out what gigabit speeds would mean to them.
Agencies that already have this business specialization can attract new biz from being there first and sharing that knowledge. Thought leadership can be tough to businesses that bill time, but it should be a top tier priority. When new biz begins to look around the interwebs for those that can get clients to the next level, you want them to run into your content.
What do you think this means for KC agencies?
Tune back in for Part 3, I'll go over what Google Fiber means for our SMCKC community.