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AOL's Digital Prophet, Shingy, gives us his predictions for 2015

Allan Swann | May 8, 2015
David Shing, better known as Shingy, has been one of Australia's most outspoken exports - appointed AOL's digital prophet, he has been on the speaking circuit for the last few years spreading his particular view of the future of the IT marketplace - drawing criticism and praise in equal measure. ARN sat down to have a chat with him at CeBIT 2015 ahead of his keynote.

In the modern market, when you've been given that opportunity, you might as well build it to scale. When I talk about scale, it's the Asia-Pacific part of it. We're part of the most enormous opportunity as part of that rim! Instead of going across the Pacific, go up to China.

There are more Chinese people on the internet than there are Americans alive. It's also part of our culture now. I mean, look at me — I'm half Chinese!

Languages are a key opportunity here, and coding. Amazing it isn't taught in schools...

At AOL I want everybody to learn how to code as well. If you're going to be working in digital, it's okay to understand the presentation layer sure, but you need to know what goes on underneath, what makes it up.

Tell me about your role at AOL, are you still their 'digital prophet'? What are some of the key projects you're working on?

Yep that's still my job title. Look, a lot of what our work is about these days is contextualising. Taking all these ideas for brands, agencies and clients and distilling them down to their basics, in ways they can implement.

It's all about engagement — how we engage our consumers. It's about two-way communication. We are auditing brands to see what they should be doing, and that's really where I get to have a lot of play.

I like narrowcasting, and spending a lot of time with individual brands.

A lot of it is still physical, a lot of clients and their brands still like their glow in the dark, bright shiny objects. God bless them. So given that's the case, they want to know how to put their branding on it. A lot of it becomes sight, sound and motion — video really.

Look at your smartphone, it has the same aspect ratio as your cinema screen — that makes it the best video device around, because most of the time its the only screen in front of you. For years I've been talking about this being the first screen, not your television.

To be fair, I don't care what your first screen is — it's what you're facing at the time, and how you're being engaged with. It's not about TV commercials for brands anymore, it's about how long you can hold someone's attention — and that doesn't matter what you're selling.

People are constantly asking me, what ideas are going to take off? And I can say I honestly don't know. We need to follow what the consumers are doing.

The next big thing will probably be a lot of little things, and the thing that ties them all together cohesively. That could be the end result — sight sound and motion, it could be a standard language across the Internet of Things [IoT], single platforms that bring a lot of things together. To be honest, I still think that's going to be the phone, used in ways we haven't foreseen yet. Its a controlling device, not a phone anymore.


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