What Happens When Our Products Start Talking Back?

Garrick Schmitt (Razorfish), Usman Haque (Pachube.com), Andrew Zolty (BREAKFAST), Shiv Singh (Pepsico, Inc.), Allison Mooney (MobileBehavior)
Social Media & Marketing
Location: Empire West
Average rating: ***..
(3.00, 6 ratings)

In this panel led by Garrick Schmitt of Razorfish, we’ll discuss Web 3.0 and “what happens when products start talking back.” Panelists could include Twitter, Breakfast NY, Pachube, Mono, Fed Ex and Guinness.

Not too long ago, unless you new how to write code, the primary way that we communicated with objects was decidedly one way – via the beep, a simple a signal for us to pay attention. AOL ingeniously took a step to humanize the beep in the ‘90s by alerting us to an incoming email with a chipper “You’ve Got Mail”. But since then we haven’t made much progress.

But, today’s advances in a host of technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID), near field communications (NFC), electronic product codes (EPC) and, most importantly, Twitter and its API, are enabling an array of smart interactions and connections between objects and people.

On Twitter, developers are adding intelligence to devices and inanimate objects in a surprisingly warm and human manner. We some of this with early experiments like BakerTweet, a system made by UK agency Poke that allows bakers to dynamically send out tweets to customers alerting them when a fresh batch of buns have emerged from the oven (watch video here) and Botanicalls which uses networked open source hardware and software to allow plants to communicate with people in human terms (e.g. “water me please”) by either using the telephone, text message or Twitter. Sometimes called “The Internet Of Things” or “Web 3.0”, the possibility of smarter interactions between people and objects is opening up whole new realms for advertisers and product developers alike.

But the most promising breakthroughs are still to come with young companies that are just now breaking new ground. One leader is Pachube a company that provides a web service that enables developers to both virtually and physically tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments. Another is Violet, which makes Mir:ror an RFID reader USB-attached mirror that enables any PC to react to the presence of an object.

Sooner than most might expect, marketers will be able to collect all sorts of information on the real-time usage of their products, from the travels of a can of Pepsi to the types of roads driven on by SUVs. It will be a vast, virtual treasure trove of data that will delight analysts and data visualization geeks alike. Making sense of it all won’t be easy, but the real challenge for marketers is what to do when the products we once just marketed actually start talking back.

Photo of Garrick Schmitt

Garrick Schmitt


In his role as Managing Director of Experiences and Platforms for the West region, Garrick helps Razorfish clients think about their brands differently, placing emphasis on creating great customer experiences that support business objectives. He will also continue to generate thought leadership, especially around the intersection of consumer behavior, marketing and technology.

Schmitt has been with Razorfish since 1999, and has helped many Fortune 500 firms apply user experience design and technology to build better brands. He frequently creates and oversees significant thought leadership including the publication of FEED: The Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report and contributing to the Advertising Age Digital Next blog. He also speaks at industry events including the 2010 SXSW Interactive Conference, where he led a panel on the future of mobile advertising, “Is App-vertising the Answer?”

Photo of Usman Haque

Usman Haque


Usman Haque is the founder of Pachube.com, a real-time data infrastructure for the Internet of Things used by tens of thousands of people around the world (acquired by LogMeIn Inc in 2011). Trained as an architect, he has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and dozens of mass-participation initiatives. His skills include the design and engineering of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. He received the 2008 Design of the Year Award (interactive) from the Design Museum, UK, a 2009 World Technology Award (art), a Wellcome Trust Sciart Award, a grant from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology, the Swiss Creation Prize, Belluard Bollwerk International, the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence prize and the Asia Digital Art Award Grand Prize.

Photo of Andrew Zolty

Andrew Zolty


Zolty is the Creative Director and a founder of New York based BREAKFAST – a new agency focused on helping the world better utilize digital in real-world environments. Their most recent creation was developing a bike with a brain in effort to raise money to benefit LIVESTRONG.

Prior to BREAKFAST, Zolty hailed from the world of traditional-digital marketing, and was last seen at Poke London where he made some holograms and a little toy called BakerTweet.

He likes cheese.

Photo of Shiv Singh

Shiv Singh

Pepsico, Inc.

Shiv is a recognized digital marketer who focuses on how brands are being forced to transform with the evolution of digital communications and social media. In September 2009, he was recognized by Ad Age as a Media Maven and was featured on the publication’s cover. He is also author of the book, “Social Media Marketing for Dummies.” While he spends most of his time as the Global Head of Digital for PepsiCo Beverages (across paid, owned and earned media), he is also available for select speaking engagements.

Shiv has been with PepsiCo since July 1st, 2010 where he is responsible for digital in its beverages business. Prior to that he worked at Razorfish for over eleven years (one of the largest interactive agencies in the world and part of Publicis Worldwide). Before that he ran a small web devleopment company based in Boston.

At Razorfish, he led digital strategy, user experience and social media teams in its Boston, New York, San Francisco and London offices. As the company’s VP & Global Social Media Lead, Shiv he helped the agency introduce its clients such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Microsoft, Citibank, Ford Motor Company, Mercedes Benz USA, Novartis and Victoria Secret to social influence marketing- or, how to incorporate social media and social technologies to support marketing and business objectives. He also had group wide responsiblities in the realm of social media. Most recently, he was instrumental in Razorfish’s role as incubation partner for Bundle, a financial social media start-up. At Razorfish, his role also included capability development, developing strategic partnerships, leading thought leadership efforts and encouraging experimentation with social media across the agency.

Allison Mooney


Allison Mooney is a media and marketing theorist specializing in mobile communications. She focuses on the intersection of emerging technology, cultural trends, and consumer behavior, generating marketing strategy and intelligence. Her reports and presentations have helped support the marketing, advertising, and product features of top global brands. She also works to raise the visibility of emerging mobile products and services, enabling them to connect earlier with agencies and advertisers and accelerate growth for what are often considered niche mobile trends and innovations.

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