Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Intelligent Communities Summit - Day Two

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Oct 07, 2009

Originally posted on Half an Hour, October 7, 2009.

Coverage from the Times & Transcript: Broadband economy open to everyone and New economy picks winners, losers.

For the Rahaf Harfoush notes, scroll down to about 2/3 of the way through.

Enhancing Innovation: A Mobile Wireless Revolution

Bernard Lord, former premier of New Brunswick, President and CEO
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

As I was reviewing the website for this summit, it was clear that this was a summit whose time has come. I support the objectives of gathering people together to brainstorm to improve the quality of life. I am very passionate about this topic. I believe that our best years are ahead of us. I am proud to call Moncton home.

I also accepted the invitation because these kinds of summits result in the create of new ideas.

(French) We need to look seriously about the problems we now face. (English) We have feelings of fear that the future may not be secure, and these feelings are real, and amplified by the recession. People have lost their savings, lost their jobs, young people can't enter the workforce.

We are living through an economic downturn and are faced with a series of challenges.
- economic challenge - kickstart the economy
- social challenge - make sure all citizens benefit from society
- fiscal challenge - more debt, more deficits
- environmental challenge - protecting our environment, staying away from either-or choices between environment and economy
- demographic challenge - we can see it coming, we can pinpoint to the day when the balance will tip

It once was said that living in Canada was like living the geographic lottery; you win just by being here. Being in Moncton is like winning with tag and the extra bonus. We were one of the last to enter the recession and we will be one of the first to get out. Education is up, life expectency is up, and this week we were told by the U.N. that we live in one of the best countries of the world. But with this luck comes the responsibility to make sure we continue to make this the best country of the world.

I believe we will end up in a renewed economy, where creativity will be key, where you can access the world at your fingertps.
- investing in people
- instrastructiure
- innovation
(slides are out of sync)

Wireless has become a catalyst and enabler of progress and change. Canada is a world leader in wireless communication, past and future. We are currently living through a wireless mobile revolution. It is increasing productivity, enhancing productivity, making communities safer. We have a choice, whether or not to embrace it.

The CWTA s the authority on wireless communications in Canada. It represents 150 wireless service providers. It champions the interests of 22 million Canadian who use wireless devices. It represents consumer interests.

Brudges, road and ports are important infrastructur, but Canada needs 21st century broadband infrastructure. It will be the backbone of any digital economy strategy. We've gone from 12 million cellphone subscribers to 22 million today, to 30 million in 2014. We know that wireless is moving deeper and deeper into the Canadian family.

30 percent of phones in Canada are smart phones; one smart[hpne uses 30 times more bandwidth than a normal cellphone. So people are using phones in ways we never imagined. 99 percent of Canadian households have access to some form of wireless services. In June 2009, 21 per cent of people used their cell phones to browse the web and access email. Nearly 1/2 of Canadians can't leave home without their mobile device.

What does this tell u? The wireless industry's investments in infrastructure and innovation have already resulted in change. And it tells us Canadians want more. We already enjoy next generation wireless services across the country. We were among the first in the world to enjoy large-scale 3G networks, and access is available to 90 percent of homes. Some Canadian networks work at 21 megs per second. And that's just now - the expectation is that it will grow to over 100 megs per second. And the networks are reliable - when the iPhone was launched in the U.S. it was plagued with problems, but in Canada it launched perfectly.

In fact, with the ongoing network buildout, Canada will have 4 or 5 3.5G netwlorks (HSPA), more than anywhere else in the world. Now it the time to step up and provide innovation for our communities.

Competition in the wireless industry has always been the driving force. But continued innovation requires continued investment. More than 6 billion dollars just last year. While other industries are asking for bailouts, this industry is pumping money into the networks. It's critical that the pace of investment continues to outpace the growth of network usage.

The government invested 220 million to help this growth, but other measures could be taken. We will need more spectrum. We want government to release more spectrum so we can build out networks, longer term licenses with certainty of renewal. Also, accelerated depreciation to create that incentive for carriers to build their networks.

The common goal is to ensure Canadians have the best access, while stimulating growth. The government can take direct measures to incent these investments.

Some of our own innovations, with out members:
- recycle my cell - a national program to promote recycling cell phones - for the ten closest places to drop it off - 3700 sites in Canada
- Canada's wireless industry introduced last month a new initiative for the 21st century consumer - Canadians deserve the best service - so we introduced a new code o conduct, a commitment to providing the highest standards of service
- two weeks ago, we brought mobile philanthropy to Canada by creating the mobile giving foundation, enabling donors to give small donations - $5 or $10 - using mobile technology
- we are working on two initiatives to increase safety. First of these is a mobile amber alert to locate missing children
- we are also working on enhances 9-1-1 services, to make it easier to ind people who need help
- we launched Zoompass to enable mobile payments - it's an interface with a contact manager - your cellphone will become your credit card or your debit card

I thought I'd end with a Top 10 list of facts

1. wireless coverage in Canada reaches 99 percent of the population
2. it covers more than 1.3 square
3. two dozen wireless providers
4. 22 million subscribers
5. 75 percent have at least one cellphone
6. there are more wireless numbers in Canada than wired numbers
7. 6 million calls to 9-1-1 from cellphones
8. $25 b investment, $9 b in the last year
9. Canadians send 100 million text messages a day
10. As early as 2010, Canada will have 4 3,5G wireless networks

We need to embrace the wireless revolution here in Canada and in Moncton.

Q. It's a very expensive deal to subscribe to a cell phone. It seems to me that here's some interest in these companies to come out and explain the cost of these investments.

A. I agree. That's part of my job. The investments are significant. $4 billion of the investment was just to buy spectrum. It's just a license. This industry is not seeking a handout. That adds some cost.

Look at how things evolved. My first cellphone was a big bagful. It was 50 cents a minute. There's a lot of competition. If you only what voice, that's very inexpensive. I find it's very reasonable for what we get. It requires a lot of investments. If you want it all it's a little bit more expensive. These are massive investments.

Q. What happened to that $4 billion?

A. You know how governments are. We know that this year the government has made decisions to support other industries. But there are investments that could b made in this industry. This is a growth industry. The government could do a lot to reduce the cost of this buildup. $4 billion could certainly do that. Wireless providers have lss than 2 percent of the spectrum, but we pay 50 percent of the fees.

Q. (French) There's a new generation of young families at the college. ...

A. I am content to see the young people. I am more optimistic and more confident in the young generation. Community Colleges have taken the right decision to educate the young people. There are many opportunities, many virtues. But i reiterate, Community College has a responsibility to listen to the young. Our parents, our grandparents, faced great challenges. Today we face choices, must choose priorities.

The second question is about the code of conduct. The objective is to provide better service. It gives certain rights to consumers. In the code of conduct you see a method for resolving complaints. It was not created by us, it's completely independent, created by CRTC. If you don't respect it, you have an obligation to respect it. The industry recognizes the necessity of it. It's important that consumers have an assurance of a certain level of service.

Q. (English) We pay extremely high cellular costs. Our average in the U.S. is $60, our average in Canada is $220. Is spectrum the only component?

A. Spectrum is one component, but not the only component. The other part of the challenge is that e wanted to provide service to 100 percent of Canadians, and the most reliable service. Our charges are among the lowest in the world. We have a huge area to serve. We get a very good deal in Canada.


Chatting with people from CapAcadie, French language news in Moncton. Here's their Twitter feed.

Economic Club of Canada Luncheon

Shawn Graham, Premier of New Brunswick

It's a pleasure to be able to spend time with the representatives from other cities arount the world. And this city is the place to hold this conference.

(French) The story of this city is remarkable. It had to reinvent itself. It built itself up again based on technology, and this year was named one of the top sever intelligent cities in the world.

(English) That's why this city has a thriving IT sector. And all the homes and businesses are connected with broadband. And employment has reached a record high of more than 75K this year. Moncton's population has increased 6.5 percent since 2001, the fastest in NB, the 10th fastest in Canada. Moncton will be the host of the worl junior track & field championships. Construction of the stadium is proceeding rapidly. It's going to be - it's going to be the biggest sporting ever held in Atlantic Canada, and it will be here in Moncton. And now it's time for a CFL game here.

For the same reasons I'm confident that Fredericton, our provincial capital, will experience similar growth. So it's with good reason that Fredericton joined Moncton on the list of the top 7 cities. More and more today we are using our own creativity. And in its IT sector, NB has more than 400 companies that employ more than 10K people. Most of them export their products around the world. All told, this industry contributes $1 billion to the NB economy.

(French) NB has proven to the entire world its crswtivity and determination. We have a solid base to start more work in cyber-education and cyber-government.

(English) We are also trying to connect both rural and urban residents with internet. 100 percent of our schools have broadband, and 90 percent of our homes. Broadbant is easily accessible into businesses. We are looking at broadband in all rural areas by 2010. We will be the first jurisdiction in North America where broadband is available to all residents in all areas. I hear you've put up your 50th tower.

Bell-Aliant is putting fibre into Moncton and Saint John. Moncton will have the fastest web in Canada. Here's the Glob and Mail article. here in Moncton, Bell-Aliant is now providing 60 percent of homes with fibre. The company plans to upgrade its systems in the future.

The extent of our accomplishment can be seen. Moncton's growth is the highest east of Ontario. We are adding $1.2 billion in infrastructure, and the largest tax cut in the history of this province. In 2009 Moncton's employment grew, while Canada's fell. Average earnings were up 40 percent more than the Canadian average. "Norweigan company piks cliudy Canada over sunny Australia."

NB's corporate tax rate has already dropped by one percentage rate, and even more will choose NB before 2012, when our rate, at 8 percent, will be the lowest in North America, half the rate of Nova Scotia's.

(French) Our plan to invest in technology, to reduce taxes, will be very important for business in NB.

(English) We are setting the stage for sustained growth in the province, toward attaining that goal of self sufficiency. I believe that the goal is one all NBers can realize. Today we are in a severe recession. But NB is leading he way through this recession, and you, the businesses of NB, are continuing to invest. And NB will play an even greater role on the international stage. let's spread the word collectively, NB is the place to be.

Rahaf Harfoush, New Media Strategist
Mrs. Harfoush was on the Obama campaign's social media team, author of 'Yes We Did'.

So how does a Canadian end up on the new media campain for Bacak Obama. I was working on 'Grown Up Video', my responsibility was the political chapter, and I was looking at how people were using social media to organize. Stories like Colombian students organizing, the Egyptian blogger who was arrested.

During this time the American election was ramping up, and I found the Obama team, Chris Kews (sp) and eventually got an interview, and then asked for a position with the new media team. So I was working on the team building Obama's social network as one of the many volunteers that were there. I called it "Barack University" - we had ex-Googlers with metrics, an ex-Facebook guy with social metrics.

Overarching themes:

- a lot of people say this is a win for technology, but that's misleading - it showcases the power of technology in an integrated media strategy

- what drove everything was that online organizing would have to drive offline organizing - it would have to ensure that you would go out of your house and vote, or knock on doors, or raise money

- finally, it's a story of consistent branding and design. The organizer was horrified to find it was the sate-level doing the branding. So they created an overall branding - colour scheme, the font, everything. He would even remove people from the stage if they were wearing the wrong shirt. And that brand represented Hope, Action and Change.

- and it was a campaign of iterations. They didn't try to do everything at once. One p[age. One blog. That eventually spread into other things. See what worked. Stop[ what didn't. Do it in small structured approaches.

This is also a story about innovation. This is a story of senior management so wanting to win the campaign that they made decisions that empowered people to be creative.

- fifty state strategy - don't just give up on states, give your opponents a run for their money everywhere. Howard Dean tried, but it didn't work. People were nervous. But David Pleth said, no, we can do this. Example, we campaigned in Arizons, McCain's home state, when we opened the office 1000 people showed up, forcing McCain to come back and campaign in his own home state.

- targeted the disaffected centre.

- we focused on small donations. Was funded by small donations from millions of people, one of the most innovative strategies of any campaign. McCain raised $360 million dollars, which was a record for them. Obama raised $750 million.

Example: after Palin's remarks about community organizers, Plouth sent an email saying "let's show her what community organizers can do," and raised $10 million almost overnight.

MyBo - the community I helped to manage and build. Everything was built to make me want to participate in the political campaign. 2 million profiles were created. 35,000 volumteer groups were created - part of my job was to read those. 400,000 blog posts. 200,000 offline events. Eg. there's a guy who had an event called 'Wes Wii Can' as a way to register voters.

Seven Lessons

1. Redefining engagement - we had 20 million YouTib views as compared to 2 million for McCain. Votors watched more than 1 billion minutes of campaign videos. This was a new way of being involved - you could tweet, blog,put up a sign on Facebook, etc. This helped people who had never been active to get involved. And it helped the campaign get to people where they are. This created new conversations.

Also, it gave us access to a voter, and also (if the voter supported us) the voter's entire social network. And we know, the most trusted source is a friend or relative. By putting up that thing on Facebook, you were vouching for him. And these sites, when used all together, created a customized content distribution network. One piece of information would get out to every little corner of the web - the same video appears everywhere.

It allowed us to control the conversation. This is important because near the end of the campaign all kinds of rumours were being spread - he was Muslim, he didn't father his children, etc - this allowed us to counter the message, and not rely on CNN to do it.

- be wary of arbitrary metrics - eg. "I can get you 5,000 people" - well, 5,000 people doing what?
- What really matters is the value-add - people who are talking about you, engaging with you
- Target high engagement users - this runs contrary to traditional advertisers, that focus on lowest common denominator - but if you target high-engagement people, they will start the activity that actually pulls other people in. Eg. 'Neighbour to Neighbour' high value exchange - you would make a call about the campaign, then report it in - not everybody would use this, but the people who were were making 200 calls every day

2. Converting low end users

- email - early in the campaign we sent 1 billion emails. You would b surprised to find how many people thought they were getting an email personally from Barack Obama. They would write back with personal messages. People were using email to engage, because it was very easy.
- we made sure every email was relevant by hyper-segmentation in three ways: 1. By location - each email contained events happening in the person's back yard; 2. by issues they felt were most important to them - they were more likely to read it, retain it, forward it, to share it; 3. their donation history - how much, how often, etc. - this was done simply out of respect - for many people $150 was a significant donation - it would be so disrespectful to send an email the very next day asking for more money - we wanted to make sure every donor knew that we knew and respected their donation
- 13 million email addresses collected
- the ask vs the nudge - we had high-commitment asks, that would take a lot of commitment - a nudge asked fo a very small task - make 1 call, donate $5, watch this 1 video. We nudged them in via these safe and rewarding actions in a way that made thm comfortable.

3. Facilitating existing behaviour

One of the easiest was the iPhone application. One of the tasks was to cll someone. Your list of contacts was reorganized in terms of battleground states. So your calls would be priorized. You're probably going to call anyways - we're just providing guidance to make sure your call has the highest impact. Or events you were going to anyways, you were helped. Or the green 'donate' button that dialed the number or you.

4. Incenting the right actions

How do you be sure you're rewarding people for the kind of tasks that are actually helping? The 'activity index' appeared on every MyBo page. Every activiy was given a point value. The points told you where you were.
- we assigned higher point values for offline activities
- this score took into account the recency, or the last time you did something - if you didn't do something recently our score would start to drop - some people would do anything to keep their '10' ranking, there's no way they would let it slide. The scores were public, it allowed people to compete with each other without being against each other. Also, the score gave them access to resources - be on a conference call with Obama, etc., helped us direct training (eg. special teleconference help for people who were calling a lot - if ou showed an aptitude for a certain activity we sought ou out and we rewarded you with training)

5. Personalizing the mission

This was an election that was quite emotional for a lot of people. Eg. a person wrote in, enraged, seeing Obama deplane with his hands in his pockets instead of holding on to the railing. He could fall! "I don't take the time to make ten phone calls every day just so you could be so careless with my investment."

Or - fundraising - you could set an amount of money, but there was also a space to explain why. Eg. a person who really believed that Obama was her best bet for a sone in Iraq to come home. It had people connect with each other over these objectives, and not just with us.

Eg. The MoBo event nar you. When this started it, it was only official events. People wrote in, they wanted to post their own events. Chris Hughes said, of course, this is your site. So wesaw a lot of creative ideas. Eg. a group from Yale, wanted to 'live the Obama brand' - dress in Obama gear, traveled around doing good works - within hours, there were similar events, from people who saw the idea. Then there was an umbrella group, who organized a day of community action. The 'Obama works' kids would create volunteers, donations, and it gave the campaign an authenticity we could notfake.

7. Embrace the unexpected

This is about control. You spend $50K on a video. In one night, a 14 year old kid takes your video, remixes it, and makes you look like an idiot.

But this is about being plugged in, knowing what people are saying, so you can handle it better.

Eg. 'Yes We Carve' - people carving hope into pumpkins. Had 'Hope', the Obama face, etc. "This pumpkin is on message" - they took our brand, added their own meaning to it, and didn't detract from the message. "I'm asking you to believe not in my ability to bring change to Washington, I'm asking to believe in yours." Or video, taking the words of Obama's concession speech in new Hampshire. Seen by 26 million people, won an Emmy. Imagine what would have happened if someone from our legal team had called saying, "take it down."

I want to finish with the incredible story with what happened November 4.

We were told the celebration at Grant Park was canceled. There were all kinds of problems with voting machines. The wait time to vote was 6 hours. Then the results are coming in - people finally relaxed when we got Ohio.

Everyone just rush downstairs, everyone went to Grant Park, and this is what I saw. The huge crowd. Sort of quiet. The whole crowd chanting 5-4-3-2-1 - Obama, the next president. People screaming, crying, dancing. Then he came out, and he gave this speech, and we're so close, and I though, "I swear he's looking at me."

there's always this new tool - bute remember, it's about building communities, it's about the issues they care about, it's about people tlking to people, people reaching out to people.

(A standing 'O' for Harfoush)

Q. Why are they so slow to use the tools to win the debates - eg. the health care debate - the way they won the election.

A. The election was run like a start-up. Decisions could be made instantly. When they took office, they found that the technology wasn't in place - there were suddenly constraints and conditions, legacy systems and processes. The health care debate - there was such a missed opportunity. What we are seeing is some of the ineffectiveness of some of these government systems that have been in place for decades.

Q. How do you control the nut jobs, the people not on brand or message, but just using that.

A. Obama set a tone of respect that peopl just adhered to. Eg. palin's family - he said, "we're not going to talk about this." It was clearly posted on MyBo. There were things you couldn't do - you could disagree on issues, but not be personal.

The example was clear. Eg. Obama steering clear of the Ludicrous video attacking Hillary. People are going to do what they do. But what's important is the official response, saying, "we're not going to be aligned with this," etc.

Q. You started by talking about how to use social media to align with corporate strategy. But what is it that gets in the way? What prevents most corporate strategies from aligning with business strategies.

A. A lot of businesses pawn it off on interns, etc. The CEO doesn't have to know the nuts and bolts, but he should know how using these tools will take the company.

Second, using too many tools at once. Figure out why you're in a space, who your audience is.

Third, quitting too early. People think it should work like magic. But it takes months to build an audience.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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