Friday, October 07, 2016

The Future Is Almost Here

It is almost too easy to imagine a progressive evolution of technologies for public relations.

The evolution from noticeboard to Facebook was all too simple. From newsletter to Blog or community gossip to Twitter, the evolution of communications used by the PR professional has change slowly if dramatically and has been reasonably manageable.

But this rate of change and range of technologies that are about to influence the practice of PR is about to have a massive impact on practitioners.

This is an introductory lecture touching on a revolution in PR practice. It examines communication.

I shall explore other areas of practice in this series of lectures.

The communication and content security, audited relationships and associated relationship and reputation changes and much more are now part of PR in a shape never before explored. Such developments now affect capabilities through applications of communication technologies, big data, blockchain,  the Internet of Things and relationships and more.

These are now part of the PR scene. They are the engines of PR practice. They are the elements of PR practice we all need to understand and deploy such capabilities for our clients large and small (even small clients can have big data).

They are part of the syllabus to be learned and the activities being part of good good practice that the PR associations need to observe.

We can expect a lot of practitioners to be caught out through ignorance of these developments but that is no worse than discovering that reputation busting tweets can rampage all over the world. Frightening!

So now it is time to look at some examples. We will begin with Ink on our fingers, or “who writes the press release?

What a failiure

Walking the dogs this morning, my wife and I have a greed that I can go back to work.
I will start with more Blog posts because what I have to offer is controversial.
It will be a demonstration of what I think is key for big organisations.
Meantime, I shall start with some elements of automated PR.

Fun stuff


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Retirement - or something like it

This is a very hard post to write.

I have to withdraw from PR and most of my other activities.

It will  be hard to do.

For 18 months I have suffered from severe depression followed by Nocturnal Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.

The pills make me very tired ... albeit the side effects are fun.

The work on Automated Public Relations has been sporadic and I hope, one day, to return to this area of research and to teaching, which I enjoy.

Meanwhile, listening to the racing results formulaic announcement of the winners of horse races is an interesting activity.

The racing authorities have to provide accurate and timely results (it's a PR job) and from it gambling practitioners pay out winnings and journalists develop stories ready to publish. This is the data used by betting offices world-wide. It is the sort of information that automated editorial can use instead of the journalist and PR practitioner. It can be used for automated payments and many other applications.  If the data is late or inaccurate, the effect is dramatic and has a ripple effect.

In the past one might have had time to correct an error. No more. The computers are faster that people.

This has has a huge impact on PR. The need to be ethical in the delivery of such data is critical. The information has to be timely and precise. If not, the value of PR is as nothing.

The same could be said of many other, if not most PR activities. This affects wealth in many directions.

PR has to be timely, precise and ethical.

The role of PR organisations such as CIPR has changed. Now, it has a policing role and to become a member may be a much harder in the future.

I shall, of course, watch, even if it is from the sidelines.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Google makes its Cloud Services Safe

They Say:

In October, we sent you a message following the invalidation of the US-EU Safe Harbor framework to let you know that we were working on alternatives to enable Google Cloud Platform customers to meet EU data privacy requirements.
We are pleased to share that Google Cloud Platform (GCP) now offers Model Contract Clauses (MCCs), which will help customers who operate within the EU meet the requirements of the European Union’s Data Protection Directive. Starting today, you can review and accept our updated Data Processing and Security Terms and Model Contract Clauses in the Cloud console. Detailed instructions on how to take this action can be found here:
Please consult your legal team on any applicable additional requirements for your jurisdiction. 
In connection with offering MCCs, we have also updated our Cloud Platform Terms of ServiceData Processing and Security Terms, and Service Specific Terms. For your convenience, you can review a summary of the main changes to the Cloud Platform Terms of ServiceData Processing and Security Terms, and Service Specific Terms, as well as the prior version of the former two documents linked out from the current terms, for the next 30 days. 
We appreciate you placing your trust in us, as there is nothing more important to us than your trust, privacy and security.
The Google Cloud Platform team
© 2015 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

Monday, October 19, 2015

Internet of Everything Public Relations


Padma Warrior is the CTO and Chief Strategist of Cisco, she is brilliant and visionary and one of the most important technology leaders of this decade.

Recently, she quoted a Cisco study placing the value of IoE as a $19 trillion opportunity for her company. It struck me that the PR industry should be investing some of its thinking time to the future into IoE too.

IoE will affect all aspects of business and, like all other sectors,  the PR profession has to find out the key things it will need to consider in this transition.

This paper examines The Internet of everything from a PR perspective and identifies where, in the short term, it will offer significant advantages to the PR sector.

We will discover that, with a new and developing set of professional skills and tools, practitioners will find new opportunities and the downside of underemployment will be avoided as a result.

We will also note that without developing such skills, there will be an opportunity for a significant deleterious effect.

What is the Internet of Everything?

IoE expands on the concept of the “Internet of Things” because it connects physical devices and everything else by getting them all on the network. It moves beyond being a buzzword and technology trend by connecting devices to one another and the Internet and offers higher computing power. This connection goes beyond basic Machine to Machine (M2M) communications, and it is the interconnection of devices that leads to automation and advanced “smart” applications.


IoE works to connect more things onto the network, stretching out the edges of the network and expanding the roster of what can be connected. IoE has a major play in all industries, from retail to telecommunications to banking and Public Relations.

There is a view that IoE will also include intangibles such as values, cultures and art and artistic interpretation. Also, it will encompass descriptions of features and benefits of products and services implied by the words and actions of the client and her many cultural constituencies.
By 2018, 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines (even Larry Dignan could not pick many holes in this Gartner predictions).

Technologies with the ability to proactively assemble and deliver information through automated composition engines are fostering a movement from human-to-machine-generated business content. Data-based and analytical information is already being turned into natural language writing using these emerging tools (AP-Dow is an example).

Such automation should be a feature of Public Relations development. Should they want to, PR consultancies can offer these services now.

Business content, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases, articles and white papers, are all candidates for automated writing tools.

These outputs can include code to make it even more attractive to IoT devices.

For the past 100 years or so financial reporting has been paper based. Only in the last 25-30 years have reports been created electronically in a word processor and then printed or saved to an electronic format such as PDF or HTML.

But the information contained in PDF and HTML is not easily scraped by computers. Digital financial reporting, by contrast, makes much of this information readable by computers, vastly expanding the potential for automating creation, distribution and analysis of financial reports.

Such help from machines can reduce the time and, therefore, the costs of creating and consuming financial report information and improve its quality.

With machine readability of financial reports, computers can read the reported financial information, "understand" it, and help make sure mathematical computations are correct and intact throughout the report. They can compare reported information to mandated disclosure rules and make sure the report's creator complied with them. This is somewhat similar to how manually created disclosure checklists are used as memory joggers.

There are many benefits:

Reported information can be easily reconfigured, reformatted and otherwise repurposed without rekeying to suit the specific needs of an analyst or regulator.
Ambiguity is reduced because for a computer to make use of the information, that information cannot be ambiguous. This makes the information easy for a computer to understand also makes it easier for humans to communicate more effectively.

Processes can be reliably automated because computers can reliably move information through the workflow. Linking digital financial information together based on the meaning of the information can be much more reliable than trying to link physical locations within spreadsheets, which commonly change.

The software can easily adapt itself to specific reporting scenarios and user preferences because it understands the information it is working with.

No "magic" is involved here. Instead, digital financial reporting relies on well-understood IT practices, agreement on standard technical syntaxes and careful and clear articulation of already agreed-upon financial reporting rules in a form that computers can effectively understand.

Progress towards IoE will also mean that a salesperson's mobile will also provide details travel, meetings, and conversations. Such data will be matched to travel, phone conversations, perhaps even mood measurements and, of course, sales closures. 

Sooner or later, there will be robots that train your children and help them with their homework. That "might seem a little strange to us, but is it really stranger than being trained by a purple dinosaur named Barney?" said Daryl Plummer, a Gartner analyst.

Why should PR be involved?

In short - money.

If PR is at the centre of much of this development, it stands to make a lot of money through implementation and use.

Also, much of this evolution will disenfranchise the practitioner.  Part of what is on offer will make practitioners redundant.

Much of PR that is not automated will be very mundane.

Being part of the new forms of PR will be very interesting, if not exciting!

When will it happen?

You can get an impression of the range of sensors already available from Intel ( I like the ADIS16448 Accelerometer which I could put on my Ski's to prove I was jumping more than 5 metres.

Imagine the world in which everything is connected and packed with sensors.

50+ billion connected devices, loaded with a dozen or more sensors, will create a trillion-sensor ecosystem.

These devices will create what one might call a state of neo-perfect knowledge, where we'll be able to know what we want, where we want, when we want.

Combined with the power of data mining and machine learning, the value that you can create and the capabilities you will have as an individual and as a business will be extraordinary.

Over the next few months I will return to this theme but it gives a tiny insight into what happens on the way to PR Automation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Digital Changes People and Habits

There are indicators of behavioural change showing a need for attention to the significance of online, including mobile, effects on people.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), and data consultants Springboard reported high street footfall was down -2.8% in June 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Shopping centres also suffered, seeing a decline of -2.4% year-on-year.

Out-of-town retail parks fared reasonably well, Retail Bulletin reported. They are attracting more "click and collect" shoppers and reported a +2.8% rise in footfall, the 18th successive month in which the sector's footfall has increased.

Meanwhile 'click and deliver' services are booming.

Modern creatives must embody a "new way of looking at the world" that involves fusing data and the latest tech with big ideas according to Lynn Power and Eric Weisberg, of JWT New York. "Today requires a new breed of thinkers - a new way of looking at the world," Power said.

New cultures are emerging.

For example in managing an election campaign it is possible to identify the users 'n shakers in the campiagn and thier relationships with other opinion formers online. Below is a view of tweets for candidate in the CIPR presidential election 2015.

This kind of information changes the way campaigns are run and the way people engage in the election process.

Jaime Settle analysis of over 100 million Facebook updates in the US, discovered that 1.3 per cent more users in battleground states posted status updates about politics, and that this increased their likelihood of voting by nearly 40 per cent reports the London School of Economics.

For those working with technology in museums the catch-all “digital” has largely replaced “online” and even “web” as a description of what they do. From wearables to virtual reality, a plethora of new technology is emerging that challenges the primacy of the screen at the heart of digital experiences. At this year’s annual Museums Computer Group conference, Museums Beyond the Web, th agenda asked "what comes after the web for museums?"

The use of apps is a new PR dimention with examples ready to inspire the practitioner in the most obvious places. Apps change the way PR people behave and a lot of them can influence the way organisations operate as well. They also empower others who would, for example, want to spy on the paper that is still part of the professional's desk.  Withe CamScanner, your phone or tablet is your scanner. Take photos of documents and edit, store and sync them on-the-go!

The many apps are reported across the online media but come with a health warning. You do need to ensure that they do what they say on the tin and they don't steal too much infornation about you or your clients.

Dick Penny, director of Watershed, a cross-artform venue and producer based in Bristol, says: “technology allows people to choose between a more traditional, passive experience and a more active, participatory interaction … it’s amazing how regimented we have become in our cultural habits. Take theatre for example: you buy your ticket, have a drink, find your seat, sit, the lights go down, you know it’s time to be silent. Companies such as [immersive theatre pioneers] Punchdrunk and Watershed have turned those conceits on their head. Rather than devaluing the traditional approach, it just shows there is another way of doing it.”

Often written off as passing fads for teenagers, social media now have billions of users – not only with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Instagram and MySpace in the West, but with hugely popular sites like Tencent Weibo, Vkontakt and Orkut in the rest of the world, says Ciarán Mc Mahon. From the point of view of peer-reviewed psychological research, what do we know about what makes these websites popular, he asks and to a large extent answers.

Which brings us neatly to some other research: Eight in ten Brits get more exasperated online than in real life and experts reveal social skills can be hindered by social media.

Have you ever sent a tweet in anger? So many Britons have admitted to social media "road rage" that some experts are now classing it as a syndrome. BT have done some reserach and finds out that this behavioural change is significant and part of what we want to know in this new environment.

Research into the effects of the Internet on social involvement and psychological well-being is now being published. Greater use of the Internet is associated with declines in participants communication with family members in the household, declines in the size of their social circle, and increases in their depression and loneliness. These findings have implications for PR, research, for public policy, and for the design of technology.

This post was created to provide evidence across many aspects of modern relationship evolution to show just how far PR practice has to re-adjust in the new world.

There is a good case for much more detailed and structured research.