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How coronavirus is accelerating digital transformation, with Chief Marketing Technologist Steve Lok.

Posted on 03/31/2020
Steve Lok

As we adapt to this new moment, the digital transformation curve of our lives seems to get steeper everyday.

Former Global, Head of Marketing Technology at The Economist and one of the most respected MarTech Consultants of our times, Steve Lok has dedicated his 25+ years career to study, implement and bring leading-edge digital marketing and media concepts to life.

Today, he talks to us about how and when 5G and IoT will be part of our daily lives. Wondering how the world out there will look like when we are allowed to leave our remote working stations? Steve gives us a glimpse.


1. What does the term Internet of Things mean exactly? What are the benefits of it?

IOT and 5G are closely interlinked in how they will have an incredible effect on our relationship with the things around us. Today, we try to make the best out of the technology we have with IoT and 5G or current broadband and network capabilities.

Human beings have become very good at adapting the technology limitations we have, to the hardware and network limitations we ‘re currently under.

We’re very often thrilled by the Google Homes, Alexas, smart cars, and smart TVs that we have today especially when they respond to our voices for the first time ever.

However, we’re really just at the very start of what we can do. And what our devices can do for us too. Because that’s the key concept here – our devices – are about to get a life of their own.

5G isn’t just about the speed difference, which of course is important. It’s really about latency and reliability that are going to unlock ways of working in our world we can’t even imagine right now. Well, maybe we can imagine it as we have been doing in science fiction. Get ready!



2. In the events industry, we often see companies looking for the perfect opportunity to try and innovate before launching operations. So how do you see IoT and soon the implementation of 5G (1000x faster than 4G) affecting these experiences? 

Simply, the Internet of Things is just the wide descriptive term for all the “stuff” that we have in our lives right now. These things create and store data and use that in some way for our benefit.

To be honest, the term means something different today than what it’s going to mean really soon as technology makes the Internet of Things, the things of everyday.

The benefits right now are mostly in some ability to personalize our human experiences with the things around us. These things include TVs, our media players, our phones, our lights, and anything that has a sensor that can tell where we are, who we are and what we want to do.



3. Is there anything we need to be concerned about 5G, like security issues?

Of course it’s hard to say what we should be careful of with any new technology. Especially one that promises to bring the inanimate objects around us to life, so to speak.

There were probably people who thought that television was going to bring about the end of the world, or when 3G created the whole concept of mobile data or when 4G brought around the boom of apps and mobile ecosystem of streaming, but none of those things have been our doom, have they?

The things to watch out for with 5G are going to be the same things that we have to watch out for now but at an exponential rate: data privacy, consumer protection, reliance or overreliance on powered devices.

But for now I think it’s better to stay excited about the applications that can help people in society to thrive instead.


4. When will 5G be integrated into our daily lives, on our mobile phones and other physical devices?

We have been talking about expecting 5G to come overnight. We are doing it a disservice. It won’t land with a bang as much as it will at first quietly enhance a lot of the things that we already love and rely on today.

Streaming services, automated homes, smart cars, everything done on video and access to that are part of our everyday lives now. Just like video chat and streaming services having latency and quality issues already due to worldwide strain. We have learned to accept a lit of spinning wheels and waiting. We’ve been trained to do so.

But when we really think about it, most of these things don’t happen “live”. We’re just really used to waiting, or technology is really good at making us think that everything is live.

For example we can’t really do real telemedicine yet nor are we able to rely on technology sensors to tell us when people are sick. Considering what’s happening in the world today due to the pandemic, imagine how different it might be if the government could give people billions of sensors to put on themselves that would help monitor everybody’s health, so we would know who we needed to treat, and how to best treat them and when.

It could also allow providers like doctors and nurses who need to perform procedures on people, to do it safely. They’ll do it utilizing something like 5G and IOT in the form of remotely operated equipment in the hospital or clinic, and across the world.

Access and the concept of access itself will be completely different when you can really be there. Just think about how different it was when we were first trying to stream video online. That was only a few years ago!

Now, we have 4K and HDR, on every device while moving around the world, on the ground, in the air, in your house, in your pocket. When 5G comes around to change the way that we work and live, our expectations will change with them. And that’s exciting.


5. “We already have more connected devices than humans”. This has been affirmed by TechRepublic. Scary or exciting?

We already have more connected devices than human beings – and that’s exciting because it is scary. Humans are enticed and delighted by diving into what is scary, and demystifying it.

We are still at a point in history where we are part of the curve of catching up to our own dreams and imaginations. The only thing we should be really scared by now is a willful ignorance of the unknown, not the willingness to be brave enough to explore it.



Check these other resources to help you go through this moment:

Visit M Matters to check the newest projects Steve Lok is working at the moment. You can also find him on LinkedIn.


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