I'm the Director os Social Media for Barkley, an integrated marketing agency based in Kansas City and the Chairmen of Social Media Club of Kansas City.

My passion has always revolved around the way people communicate & the technology they use to spread culture & ideas.  The last 10 years has only scratched the surface of what the social web has to offer to both people & business and as this infrastructure connects to wearable computing, big data & the internet of things, you can bet I'll be right in the eye of the storm.

Here you'll find my take on everything marketing, emerging & social media & agile marketing.  Please connect with me through whatever channel is your poison. 

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Sunday
Aug212011

What Will Google Fiber Mean for Kansas City? Part 2

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.

 

Reader Comments (2)

I'm really interested in what Google's T&S are going to be for this service. I'm afraid that they're going to be so focused on the residential side of things that it's going to limit what some of the businesses are able to pull off. I remember from the SMCKC meetup that they seem very engaged in what businesses are going to do with it, but at the same time they seem to be very conscious of making the residential side a priority.

Alternatively, traditional residential ISPs don't usually have any sort of service level agreements in place, whereas businesses will usually insist upon one. I'm sure google is in touch with all this, but I can't help but wonder what kind of SLA they can commit to with above-ground fiber (which I've been lead to believe is what Google is implementing).

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersm4k

Google's focus is on residential, you have that completely right. At the end of the day, Google feels that the success of this project begins & ends with how many households are hooked up to this fiber.
That is where Google's head is, but since this is an entire infrastructure that they're laying down, it shouldn't prohibit businesses from taking full advantage of the service too. However, you bring up a good point in what those offerings will look like, I don't even think Google knows yet.
I think that if we wait around for Google to tell us what to do with all of this, we're going to be in trouble. KC won't be the first city for long and we really need to use our time wisely. Those that can act the fastest, even if it's from residence will get the most out of this wave.
Thanks for the comment!

August 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterJoe Cox

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