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Digital Swarm June 2023: Wrap Up

We recently hosted our second Digital Swarm event of the year with Mondo, and to say we were happy with it would be an understatement. From our guest speakers to our lovely hosts at the Rewardsco building, to you, our guests. We’re extremely grateful for everything, and we’re excited about what we’re going to see come out of this edition of Swarm! Below we’re going to explore a few of the key elements of the event.

YouTube Shorts 101 w/Clare Eliziah Frost

The evening kicked off with an informative presentation on the widely popular and ever-growing YouTube Shorts. Clare, who is the Music Partner Technology Manager, joined us virtually and gave us some key insights into the growth of short-form video in today’s market.

Currently, YouTube Shorts get 50 billion daily views globally and have 1.5 billion active monthly users, per Clare’s presentation. What’s more, she expects that number to grow over this year.

It’s clear that for creators and businesses, YouTube Shorts and short-form content is here to stay.

Lessons from the Digital Ecosystem Journey w/Justine Grimmer

From her journey through film, digital, business, and then back to digital, Justine Grimmer shared an insightful and moving story with us. A story of business and digital merging to build South Africa.

Justine, who is the Head of Digital Operations & Ecosystem Orchestration at IQBusiness, gave us a peak into what it was like to start the COVID Business Rescue Assistance Programme (COBRA) one week into the very first hard lockdown, and starting the digital knowledge hub that is SAtion, and the lessons that her and her team learnt from their experiences thereafter.

“Think big, start small, and act fast.”

Coming into a shared value system can be tricky, which is why one of the most important lessons that Justine learnt in her time with COBRA and SAtion is that you need to have skin in the game for the right progress to be made.

Justine also spoke about digital ecosystems being a long-term game. Through COBRA and SAtion, she and her team formed a lot of connections and relationships. They formed a network, which is what an ecosystem is all about. It’s about connecting these various networks and working together to bring about something valuable and meaningful for people and the country.

“Collaboration is the new competition.”

Collaboration needs to exist for an ecosystem to thrive. We don’t need to do everything alone and in competition with one another. Everyone wins when businesses decide to collaborate to improve the lives of their audiences. This is what Justine calls “ecosystem thinking”, and what she believes will be the future of digital business transformation.

AR in Retail & Education w/Alistair Errington

This edition of Digital Swarm was fittingly concluded with an awe-inspiring presentation on the role of Augmented Reality in the retail and education spaces by Alistair Errington, Ad Dynamo’s Partner Director for Snapchat Africa.

“Augmented reality is the digital layer that enhances the world around you.”

In our quest to improve the lives of those around us using technology, AR has emerged as one of the foremost mediums doing just that. Alistair explained that while AR users used to be a niche market, that’s no longer the case. In fact, AR is predicted to be used by over 75% of the population by 2025.

Talking about the future of AR in retail and commerce, Alistair emphasised that AR puts people, not products, at the centre of the shopping experience. Any AR shopping experience is all about the person involved in it and making them the hero of that experience.

“Augmented reality is changing the way we see shopping.”

AR creates opportunities for shoppers to try products without leaving their homes, which has resulted in 80% of buyers feeling more confident when shopping with AR, and 66% of shoppers are less likely to return items when purchased using AR. This is powerful, especially considering the increase in sustainability this brings.

In education, Alistair showed us some of the incredible ways that AR is impacting the space by providing meaningful and valuable experiences to people. Imagine experiencing the Great Wall of China from your classroom, or learning CPR from a tutorial right in front of you through AR. This is the kind of role that augmented reality can play in our future.

“Digital must prompt physical.” 

The core message of anything at a Digital Swarm event always goes back to human connection and experience. What AR provides us with is a new way to experience the world and learn about the things in it. When digital informs and prompts us to take action in reality, everybody wins.

Overall, we were treated to a mix of hilarious and deeply moving iterations of AR in the world today, particularly in retail and education, with Alistair ultimately leaving us inspired and excited for what’s to come in this space. His parting gift was a video showcasing an amazing initiative by ABSA to give young unemployed Africans the opportunity to prepare for interviews by creating an AR interview experience.

June’s Digital Swarm was one for the books, and we’re so grateful to Clare, Justine, and Alistair for sharing their insights and casting an exciting vision for the future of digital. If you’d like to be a part of our next Swarm event on the 21st of September, you can join our Swarm database to receive all the updates you’ll need!


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