For Publishers, Imagination Trumps Tech 

For media brands trying to predict what technology to turn to next, we offer some sage advice from a digital innovations expert.

John Peeters, an expert in digital innovation, has some blunt and specific advice for publishers looking to understand what’s next in technology.

“They should not look to technology,” Peeters said in an interview with FIPP at a recent event. The director of business development for augmented retail agency Holition continued, “They should use their imagination, because technology is boring and it will limit them.”

That’s right, technology in and of itself is boring, and adjusting a publishing model to a specific technology will serve only to hold you back in terms of creativity.

Peeters also believes the discussion among publishers of whether to invest in virtual reality or augmented reality will soon be a moot point.

“It will be a merger of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, whatever that may be,” Peeters explains.

He is impressed with recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), and hopes that the media industry is paying attention to that, but only as a tool to further their own ideas. We already see how AI is having an impact on image curation. And the debate continues to rage around algorithms and their ability to replace (or not) human editors.

“There are people out there who use their imagination,” he explains. “So I hope there are people in the publishing business and the wider media business who use their imagination and who use AI to come up with something new and revolutionary. Think about the unthinkable. And if that makes sense somehow, then try to build it. And not, ‘Hey, this is a piece of tech what can we do with it?’”

I think it’s salient advice as publishers regroup and evaluate the lessons learned in the digital disruption. And again, we hear the common refrain that innovation, supported by technology (rather than technology that forces innovation) is the future for savvy brands.  To do otherwise is to chase a future that doesn’t exist.