by Ritesh Patel, global head of digital at Chandler Chicco Companies
I’ve been doing this digital thing for some time now. I’ve been part of and witnessed many changes in our digital world. However, I have never seen such a swift pace of change and digital adoption of late. It’s stunning how quickly things spread and how fast things scale and get adopted.
Look at the gathering known as South by South West, or SXSW this year. A record number of people attended with the largest turnout of startups. SXSW has now become the place for the next new startup to make it. Last year was all about location based services, with Foursquare being the favorite, this year was the year of Ambient Social with companies like Highlight, and Glancee creating a buzz.
I never imagined that people would be lining up to buy that new iPhone or iPad, overnight in some cases. The speed of adoption of a new Apple product and the global reach of the company has been interesting to watch. They have created massive new markets and completely changed our view of technology and our habits and expectations.
And now we have the social networking phenomena? Five years ago people never shared any private information with anyone unless they were their closest friends. It was unthinkable to go up to a total stranger and tell them what you had for lunch or broadcast to them what you are doing during your day. However, millions of people, and in the case of Facebook, 850 million of you, do it as a matter of habit and don’t think about it. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube have forever changed how we live, work and share our lives with our friends and colleagues.
In the healthcare industry, a highly-regulated, predictable and conservative environment, this change is unnerving and potentially harmful.
Do you remember in 2009/2010 how our industry was struggling to figure out what do to about social networks and their impact on our business? Many thought the answer would appear magically after the infamous FDA hearings were over in November of 2009. Alas it was not to be. So while we have mostly understood what can and cannot be done on social networks, a lot of people are erring to “cannot”… but the change goes on.
In 2011, we saw a maturation of understanding of social media within many major pharmaceutical companies. Even with this understanding, engagement was nonexistent.
As we continued to try to keep up, we completely underestimated the growth of mobile and in particular the impact that new thing called the iPad would have on our business. I suspect that e-detailing laptop/tablet that corporate IT issues to the sales rep days are numbered. The pace of adoption of the iPad and iPhone both by us and also by HCPs and patients is forcing us to rethink our business. A recent study suggests that by 2014, access via a mobile device will finally outpace access via a desktop PC.
So what’s in store for 2012? I predict it will be more of the same. Ambient Social will be the buzz word of the year. Frictionless sharing is another phenomenon that Facebook will force upon us. Video will become very big and finally, with the advent of the Electronic Health Record, Big Data will become part of our daily vernacular.
How does one keep up with all this?
Well, we thought we would do our part and help by creating a one-day forum called Pioneers in Digital Health. We thought we would bring together folks who are doing incredible things in digital marketing and communications that we could learn from and hopefully stay informed and potentially stay ahead of the curve a bit.
Try to attend if you can. I promise it will be a day well spent.