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Industry Insight

Are You Ready for Atomic Memory in the Hands of Big Brother when You're Texting and Walking?

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: July 28, 2016

Atomic scale memory is on its way. It's been demonstrated in a lab, but this sounds like another revolution in memory is on its way. The technology stores 500x what the best disk drives hold today. A PCWorld article states “In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp.” Read about it and consider how powerful and versatile this makes the smartphone of 2026. 

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With that in mind, Valassis has launched a new service that loads a coupon on your phone’s or tablet’s mobile wallet, in response to audio overheard from a TV, video or radio ad that is being played over speakers. We used to remember Valassis as a big newspaper insert printer. Now it seems they're developing products from Orwell's 1984. This service seems creepy enough to be part of the plotline solving a TV murder mystery. It's a reminder that the immediacy of data collection makes for more effective marketing communications. That phone has GPS capabilities, and, if a potential customer is using something like FourSquare or many other apps, retailers will know when that exact client is in proximity of their retail location. When the old real estate saw “location, location, location” was uttered, they had no clue how technology could give it this meaning.

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In related news, a city in Germany has installed in-sidewalk traffic lights for people who are walking and texting at the same time.

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eMarketer has a free report that offers insights into the digital ad spending of US retailers. It's worth a look.

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Barron's market data calendar recently has this sentence in a summary of a data release: “This report is mixed and embodies what are increasingly mixed signals across employment indicators in general.” This seems to apply to every report of new data we've been seeing. Next week is a big one for economic data releases, and we're bound to encounter lots of conflicting data. There's nothing worse than conflicting data in the spin of competing presidential campaigns. Keep a long term perspective, and don't get caught up in the volatile day-to-day background noise.

Big multiyear GDP revision releases on Friday, July 29. We'll have the details and what they mean next week.

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.


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