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Technology Featured Global

DEPT launches 300-person team to optimise Web3 experiences

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Global digital agency DEPT has launched its 300-person team WEB3/DEPT to support the fastest-growing segment of its business.

The team will be helping the agency’s clients experiment with blockchain technology, build immersive experiences in the metaverse, and deliver multi-layer strategies for launching NFTs.

The team will also introduce a new Web3 Labs platform to help both clients and employees better understand web3 fundamentals, including the difference between crypto coins and crypto tech, why decentralised tech is here to stay, and primers on wallets, NFTs, DAOs, marketplaces, and stablecoins, amongst others.

According to Isabel Perry, vice president at WEB3/DEPT, the launch will redefine how companies interact with their customers through Web3 and the metaverse. 

“But it’s hard for CMOs and CIOs to figure out where to start. Over the last two years, we’ve helped so many brands to redefine the way they interact with their customers that we feel it’s time to combine all this expertise and knowledge under the WEB3/DEPT banner,” she added.

Dimi Albers, CEO at DEPT, also said, “We want to lead the charge and help our clients navigate these transformational technologies for the next decade.”

He also said that what sets the team apart from others is the combination of its strong intellectual property, track record of delivering more than 60 web3 projects, R&D plans across EMEA, the US and Asia Pacific, and its diverse mix of engineers, creatives and strategies who get the web3 vision. 

The new team follows the launch of DEPT’s ‘Creative Automation Practice’, which was targeted at helping brands supercharge their creative output through technology.

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Technology Featured Global

IAS enters partnership with Gadsme to optimise transparency on in-game ads performance

Singapore – Global leader in digital media quality Integral Ad Science (IAS) has announced its first-to-market partnership with in-game advertising platform Gadsme.

With the partnership, IAS will help verify Gadsme’s ad inventory globally. It will also provide marketers with third-party viewability and invalid traffic measurement (IVT) through the IAS Signal platform.

IAS’ solution will be enabling marketers to validate that impressions are fraud-free, verify that their campaigns reach real people, and equip them with important campaign insights. These media quality measurements are reported through the IAS Signal platform, including mobile and web browsing campaigns.

Tom Sharma, chief product officer of IAS, shared his excitement over the partnership that will further develop campaign measurability and performance in gaming environments.

“This partnership creates a new level of transparency for marketers and will ensure confidence that they are engaging real users and driving outcomes,” he added. 

Simon Spaull, chief revenue officer and co-founder at Gadsme, also commented, “This announcement further solidifies Gadsme as a transformative tech leader for the gaming ad industry specifically in 3D environments. Gadsme’s non-intrusive video, display, and audio ad formats enable publishers to monetize their games without interrupting a player’s experience.”

He also added that the solution is advantageous to global brands and helps advertisers reach their target audience in a safe and ideal environment. 

IAS has also previously partnered with in-game advertising platform Anzu to provide media measurement for in-game ads.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Omnicom Media Group’s Annalect announces key appointments in APAC

Singapore – Annalect, the data and analytics division of Omnicom Media Group, has announced three key APAC appointments, namely Ravikumar Shankar as chief data solutions officer, Nina Fedorczuk as chief enablement officer, and Kothandaram Venkatakrishnan as chief client officer.

Shankar was previously Annalect’s data and technology lead for APAC and has led the network’s data innovation capabilities by combining deep industry knowledge with cutting-edge marketing technology solutions. In his new role, Shankar will continue to play a vital role in shaping clients’ and agencies’ data and marketing technology vision in a continuously evolving privacy landscape.

Meanwhile, Fedorczuk has been a part of the OMG network for 15 years. Throughout her career with OMG, Nina has led the innovation enablement team across EMEA and APAC and played a key role in developing and fortifying OMG Insights and Innovation community in APAC. In the new role, she will be steering the operations and adoption of Omni, the group’s proprietary marketing operating system, to empower teams across the agency network to build first-class marketing solutions for clients.

Lastly, Venkatakrishnan brings nearly two decades of multinational experience in his new role, and was recently the managing director at Annalect in New York, responsible for transforming data and analytics operations for Nissan. Prior to joining OMG, he held global data and analytics leadership roles in Wunderman Thompson across the US and UK.

All three appointees will report directly to Paul Shepherd, chief investment officer and president of Annalect at OMG APAC.

Shepherd said, “As we help our clients navigate a challenging business landscape, data and analytics will be a key differentiator in driving growth, value and transformation for organisations across all industries. The appointments of Ravi, Nina and Kothand underscore our commitment to help our clients leverage data and analytics to make more informed and customer-centric business decisions. The trio’s extensive experiences, skillsets and comprehension of the field is an indispensable advantage for the agency, which translates to invaluable benefits for our clients.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Sea reportedly shutting several projects, downsizing staff 

Singapore – Tech conglomerate Sea, is reportedly shutting down several projects, as well as having staff number cuts, according to a report by Reuters.

Sources told Reuters that its gaming livestream business and its development arm Garena would be cut, as well as staff working at Booyah!, a gaming livestream and community app, would be let go and the app would no longer be updated.

In addition, Sea Labs, the tech conglomerate’s development arm, was shutting some of its biggest experimental projects and cutting staff, including blockchain and public cloud projects.

In a statement to Reuters, Sea said that they have made some changes to improve efficiency in their operations that impact a number of roles, as well as focusing on the long-term strength of their ecosystem.

Sea is the parent company of regional e-commerce giant Shopee.

Meanwhile, some of Garena’s popular developed games include League of Legends, Arena of Valor, Point Blank, FIFA Online 3, and Free Fire, which was banned in India, after government officials allege that data collected from Free Fire was sent back to servers in China.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

Don’t believe the hype–rethink brand experience

In today’s world, change is a constant. Transformation is happening all over, in every sector, at top speed. Yet established rules, myths and formulas remain and are held tight, especially around brand experience and customer journeys. With the pressure on to catch up and keep up, however, yesterday’s frictionless approaches shouldn’t just be challenged by those wanting to succeed but, where appropriate, ignored.

And for brands, this means rethinking experience and the role it plays in creating meaningful customer moments that build deeper loyalty. Let me explain.

What’s changing

With the journey towards digitisation and connectivity accelerated by rapid advances – made both by tech giants in terms of roll-out, and consumers in terms of behaviour – how we now live is now vastly different and constantly evolving.

More of us now live in cities than not, for example. And cities are transforming, developing, and expanding at amazing rates thanks to high-tech materials, sensor networks, and better data which are letting architects, designers, and planners work smarter and more precisely to make it all more environmentally sound, more fun, and more beautiful.

How we shop and buy is unrecognisable from just a few years ago. Technology has changed the everyday way we buy things: NFCs, contactless, predictive data, the list of innovations goes on. Being creative, and what this looks like, is also being contested with AI, and emerging technologies are constantly redefining what creativity looks like. 

Even the concept of identity is changing. But it’s not just male, female, gender neutral, or fluid – even self-identifying as non-human, like an avatar, is becoming more commonplace. And we all have different versions of our own identity according to context – for example, we could have a professional identity on LinkedIn but a social one on Kakao Talk or Instagram.

This reappraisal and redefining of gender and how self-identity is recognised is being driven by Gen Z and Gen Alpha. And with these two groups now numbering close to 2.5 billion, this is not something you can ignore.

What this means for brands

In the light of all this, it is inevitable that top-down traditional linear techniques, to establish or build brands, aren’t going to work as they used to. The reason’s simple: how people experience a brand is no longer a straight path. The gap between physical and digital is converging, with a hybrid present now upon us.

So modern brands now need to be created or refreshed in vastly different ways. Across channels and media, and from physical retail to the metaverse, consumers now face a continuous barrage of choices and noise, making a brand’s job of standing out even harder.

Yesterday’s rules that were once best-practice are fast becoming obsolete, pressuring the C-suite to re-align their organisational structures and cultures to new modern world realities. But companies also need brands that can scale, while at the same time be agile, fluid and stretch across marketing, product and employee cultures as consumers’ behaviours tear down silos.

The old ways that fell out of step, and recent developments are shaping new ways

When the world pivoted from analogue to digital, our industry became obsessed with speed. But in many recent cases, this obsession has been to the detriment of brands.

We’ve become obsessed with being frictionless and seamless, for example. This was important a few years ago as we digitally transformed our businesses, of course, but today, technology is more ubiquitous and equally distributed and this means speed isn’t the primary factor to make consumers love you anymore.

UX experts have become over-obsessed with the ‘cult of 3 clicks’, too, and have frantically pushed this – making it their agenda despite the changing behaviours we now experience. As a result, lots of brands have ended up narrow or ‘bland’.

Recent experience also provides important lessons for how brands’ approach must evolve from here. The global pandemic reformed how we see ourselves, for example.

COVID reminded us of the 300,000 years of DNA that make us human. And it taught us both that we want to be closer and more human than ever, and that a critical way to be so is through the storytelling and human interaction that has for so long underpinned human history. We are hard-wired as pattern thinkers to look and seek out meaning and connections.

3 ways to re-think brand experience

How, then, to re-think brand experience for a modern world? There are many different ways this can be done. Here are three:

First, make friction your friend.

Since the earliest days of digital, received wisdom has been that success depends on eliminating friction. But this demonstrates a misunderstanding of friction and how it can be valuable to humans – and is.

The rock brand Queen was told ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ being six minutes long wouldn’t work as a music single because traditional singles were three minutes long, so audiences wouldn’t listen. But, of course, the experts were wrong – that track is now the world’s most popular single track streamed. Why? Because of the power of its story. It played with emotions, senses, and challenged our everyday to be new, interesting and engaging. Its length – the friction – isn’t bad, it’s a tool to create narrative and emotion.

The lesson from this for brands is that building meaningful storytelling into a brand is an incredibly powerful tool to engage and to create relevancy in a world losing personality. Move beyond frictionless to use friction in a positive and meaningful way to help give your brand more meaning.

Second, don’t obsess about speed on your journey

Speed can be overrated. Obviously, it is important in some contexts. But generally, if someone is interested in your brand, speed is a long way down the list.

For brands, the journey is a powerful tool.

Think of a kid’s playground slide. Travelling from A to B on the ground is one experience, but travel the same distance by slide from top to bottom and your experience becomes more interesting – and fun. And, with the added post ripple effect of remembered enjoyment once the experience is over, you are more likely to want to share your experience with others or remember it after.

For brands, speed might be important for low-interest behaviours but, if you want to create a lasting bond that connects with people’s values, speed isn’t the driving factor.

Third, be more Kardashian, be more ‘composable’

In other words, be more open as a brand – let people be part of your brand and let them feel more part of your everyday interactions.

Consider atomic design. Just as all matter is made from atoms that combine to form molecules, which in turn make up more complex organisms, atomic design involves breaking a digital design down into its basic components and then working up from there to create a site or product.

This principle is relevant for how we should build brands as a brand today must be a living breathing ecosystem of parts. This means being flexible and adaptive – more ‘composable’.

Some of today’s most successful brands allow users to influence or personalise their interactions and connections with a brand. Even Apple, known for its rigid design system, has dropped its walled garden and now lets users personalise more in its new iOS.

Brands also need to cater for people’s increased desire to be more expressive – as demonstrated by the rise of social emojis, stickers and other ways to add personal touches to how they share or express themselves. Think of your brand as an invitation to join your values and purpose and provide your employees and your customers with a toolkit to help them join you.

Navigating the new brand experience world

Once, the establishment said the earth was flat. But early pioneers redrew the map and profited from their findings. In the same way, those that today challenge yesterday’s received brand marketing wisdom around experience and the customer journey – businesses that lead rather than simply follow – have much to gain as they steer their course in the new consumer world.

This article is written by Wayne Deakin, global principal for design at Wolff Olins.

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Technology Featured Global

DXP Sitecore launches new CMS offering, ‘Experience Manager Cloud’

California, USA – Digital experience management software, Sitecore, has launched its new CMS offering, ‘Experience Manager (XM) Cloud’, completely transitioning its core CMS solution including personalisation and the content authoring experience, to a modern cloud architecture.

Sitecore XM Cloud aims to help solve the globally recognised problem of powering instantaneous, global digital experiences in the cloud without sacrificing the customer experience. This latest product release will provide brands with unrivalled speed to market in the implementation of customer experiences, simplifying design and deployment, and eliminating upgrades, which dramatically decreases the cost of ownership. With XM Cloud, marketers can instantly create, manage, and deliver engaging omnichannel experiences with an industry-leading enterprise-ready CMS.

Moreover, Sitecore XM Cloud provides a comprehensive SaaS CMS for the Enterprise solution for brands by overcoming global scaling problems including variable traffic, supporting multi-brand architectures, and site security. 

Meanwhile, for business users, XM Cloud offers the ability to build pixel-perfect digital experiences via a WYSIWIG authoring experience that can access content anywhere as well as embedded testing & personalization, and integrated visitor analytics. For developers, XM Cloud can also be used with headless development techniques and will work with modern frontend frameworks and support all deployment scenarios.

Dave O’Flanagan, chief product officer at Sitecore, shared that consumer behaviour has changed rapidly over the past two years, and audiences have become very digitally savvy and have an expectation from brands to deliver highly personalised customer experiences.

“This puts marketers in the unenviable position of trying to meet this expectation, but with tools and solutions that don’t deliver, and in some cases hamstring, the needed agility to meet demand. Sitecore XM Cloud provides marketers with a truly end-to-end, SaaS-based solution that not only helps brands meet consumer expectations but also delivers a best-of-class omnichannel customer experience,” said O’Flanagan. 

Through Sitecore XM Cloud, the company’s entire digital experience platform can now be delivered through a modern cloud architecture, providing brands and marketers with continued innovation, elastic scaling, composability, on-the-fly engagement, and multi-channel content management, as well as simplicity for marketers, and agility for developers.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Telekom Malaysia launches cloud, digital services company Credence

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – National telco Telekom Malaysia has launched Credence, a cloud and digital services company, which will be focused on expanding the capabilities of enterprises and the public sector in their digital transformation journey.

Credence is led by Krish Datta, an experienced technology leader who joined TM in late 2021 to shape its new digital services arm. Leveraging TM’s established resources, infrastructure, and its strong links to enterprises and the public sector, Credence is positioned to accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation journey.

Speaking about the launch, Datta explained that Credence will provide capabilities from tech infrastructure to business insights, cloud advisory, IT landscape migration, SaaS, managed services as well as analytics and insights.

“Credence aims to deliver outstanding experiences for our customers. We are the only company that is able to offer our customers the full end-to-end solutions from infrastructure to insights (I2I). Our approach is to meet customers where they are, discover what their mission-critical goals are, and work with them according to their needs and priorities. We are also platform and technology-agnostic – putting us in a better position to offer solutions with a stronger customer bias vis-a-vis a vendor bias,” Datta stated.

As part of the launch, Credence announced key partnerships with VMware, AWS and Huawei, which enables them to offer a broad range of options to enterprises, customised to their individual growth needs.

Meanwhile, Imri Mokhtar, TM’s Group Chief Executive Officer said that with enterprises re-evaluating their capabilities and offerings to respond to today’s increasingly digital demands, TM is poised to become an astute digital solutions provider in addition to its established connectivity leadership position.

“TM will empower organisations in the private and public sector to transform with greater efficiency and flexibility while offering a superior return on investment. We recognise that now is an opportune time to leverage on our strengths, address market needs and launch a dedicated company – Credence – that is focused on technology and digital innovation,” Mokhtar said.

He added, “TM will offer a differentiated advantage in how we bring end-to-end digital solutions and services to customers through Credence. Leveraging both local and international technologies as well as expertise, Credence will provide greater and faster time-to-value by understanding local customer requirements and challenges.”

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Technology Featured Global

Audience Precision unveils tech platform to provide full media strategy guidance

Sydney, Australia – Media consultancy and technology business Audience Precision has unveiled its technology platform called ‘Precise360®’, which provides a full media strategy guidance system, enhances the entire marketing process, and improves agency efficiency, all of which can be applied globally. 

For Audience Precision clients, Precise360® will deliver quality improvement, greater audience connection and engagement, attention scores for video, faster campaign builds, integrated metric calculators, a global process, among others.

According to Haydon Bray, CEO at Audience Precision, the platform gives their clients more time to think and craft match-winning campaigns and their less experienced team members a genuine fast-track to their skills development.

“With so much media diversification, client budgets don’t stretch as far as they used to. Audiences are still there but you need to work harder, smarter, faster and with more agility to find them and genuinely engage. Precise360® allows us to eliminate the guesswork by weaponising insight, bringing qualified customers to the top of the sales funnel. We can instantly compare the effect of a TV program versus a radio session, a Facebook post or an OOH panel and everything in between,” Bray said.

The company has spent the past seven years building a suite of proprietary tools and refining the technology platform, including attention scores for video, with its inhouse team of technologists and data scientists, with a view to building a new model for the agency of the future to achieve faster and more successful business outcomes for brands, with qualified and future customers.

Bray added, “We have created something, from what we are aware, that multinational media agencies have been unable to do, anywhere in the world. I began this journey because I was frustrated by cumbersome and slow processes that have prevented agencies implementing the core marketing fundamentals for campaign development. I wanted to create something that removed menial tasks, had inbuilt quality control around marketing fundamentals, could operate from anywhere, and used the principles of focussed optimisation for a great user experience.”

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Technology Featured APAC

Location Media Xchange launches revenue management suite for OOH media owners

Singapore – Location Media Xchange (LMX), the supply-side technology arm of the Moving Walls Group, has announced the launch of a complete Revenue Management suite for Out of Home (OOH) media owners. The product revelation happened as the industry’s leading stakeholders converged at The World Out of Home Congress Toronto 2022. The company is offering a no-obligation 90-day trial for media owners to experience the platform.

OOH’s global renaissance has continued into 2022 after sharp drops during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several factors, including increased travel activity, and the growing interest in Programmatic Digital OOH advertising, contribute to this.

OOH media owners now handle multiple sales channels – direct brand relationships, agency-managed spends, programmatic or automated media buys, and even online campaign bookings. Allocating inventory in an efficient manner is critical because unlike digital publishers who own virtual space, OOH media owners own physical assets that consume fixed costs like electricity, internet fees, maintenance, and more.

The expansion of OOH buying methods also means that the inventory is now consumed in a variety of ways – loop based, event based, audience based, impression-based, and so on. Maintaining up to minute availability information, understanding utilisation, and prioritising sales channels is just not scalable if done manually.

According to Mandakini Negi, co-founder of Moving walls and global head of LMX, “It is difficult to improve what you cannot measure. OOH media today is bought and sold in several ways and media owners who have a handle on inventory utilisation and demand trends across all their media sites in real time will be able to make decisions that improve their revenues.’’

The LMX Revenue management suite solves this by providing an online platform that connects traditional, programmatic, and other forms of campaign booking information in one place. The platform seamlessly connects to native and third party applications like the content management system or the accounting system by the media owner.

Gautam Bhirani, MD of Eyetalk Media Ventures India, commented, “Our network of screens spans across multiple locations. Just as the content on these screens is managed centrally, we require a system to understand live availability, build proposals, and accept campaign requests in an automated manner. The LMX suite does all of this from one application.”

Meanwhile, Eddie Song, MD of Laguna De Bay Malaysia, says that Integrating DOOH screens into the programmatic ecosystem is just the first step. He adds that just like digital, they need to make sure their inventory is visible and accessible to multiple demand partners. LMX Connect provides its network with the ability to transact with omnichannel and specialist Demand Side Platforms locally and globally.

LMX already works with more than 200 media owners across the globe including Southeast Asian markets namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. The platform supports all kinds of media owners who use it to manage different parts of their business.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Elon Musk’s Starlink enters PH in landmark SEA expansion

Manila, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved the registration of Starlink – a low latency, broadband internet system of tech multi-billionaire Elon Musk. The approval means the Philipines will be the pioneering country in Southeast Asia to experience the service.

Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc. is registered as a Value-Added Service (VAS). The unit will facilitate its operations in the country bringing the low earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet technology into a nation fraught with unstable internet connections.

The LEO satellite technology is touted to serve up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 200 Mbps of internet speed even in remote areas. Starlink is a subsidiary of Musk’s aerospace transportation, manufacturer, and designer company -SpaceX. Starlink commands over 1,600 LEO satellites that provide satellite internet access to its customers.

NTC approved Starlink’s registration only after 30 minutes when the company submitted their application alongside the complete required documents. NTC said that the swift processing of the VAS provider registration was meant to expedite the service’s immediate roll-out.

Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC Commissioner, commented, “The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally.”

Meanwhile, Bien Marquez, counsel for SpaceX, shared, “We would like to thank the NTC for issuing Starlink’s VAS license 30 minutes after we submitted our application with complete requirements. This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our countrymen in unserved and underserved areas.”

Previously, Ramon Lopez, DTI secretary, said, “Their system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. This will further capacitate micro, small, and medium enterprises, facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech.”