The Wonder Of Digital

17/03/2017 08:29 GMT | Updated 14/03/2018 09:12 GMT
denizbayram via Getty Images

I've always loved media. It says all the wrong things about me, but big media breakthroughs, driven by technology have been some of the most vivid and exciting moments I can remember.


So imagine the day my neighbours first got Sky and invited me in to watch Premier League football at their house. To put it in context, I was living in a world with just five TV channels. Then the day I unboxed my first digital radio and was able to listen to Ricky Gervais every Saturday on Xfm and Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 - in crystal clear quality. I could hardly contain my excitement when in 2005, I got IPTV (TV delivered via the phone line) with Homechoice, the most incredible service that sadly never scaled. I think it came too soon. 


Yet there were three even more monumental media moments that stand out for me. The day I got an internet connection, the day I got my first 3G connection, and most significantly, the day in 2007 when I held my first iPhone in my hands. On those three days, the genie came out of the lamp. 


Obviously, the internet has changed a lot more than just my life, it's amplified everything we do and made many more things possible. We can learn a new skill at our own pace - I tiled my bathroom wall and learned to play the guitar thanks to the internet. We can get feedback on how many steps we take and how well we sleep. We can even get a helping hand when we need it - I can turn off my heating when I'm not going to be home for a few hours and ask Alexa (god bless her) to turn up the music when I'm busy cooking. 


Which brings me to my three wonders of digital. Digital makes me smarter as I learn new stuff and meet new people wherever they live. It makes me healthier not just in the physical sense but financially I'm more aware and in control of my outgoings. And it makes my life richer with so many new experiences I've yet to even try. Not only that, the richness is inherent in the fact media is two-way now - I participate, I create, I get feedback, instead of being a passive watcher, reader or listener.


To me, digital is the eighth Wonder of the World. The internet has changed so much for me and I'm not alone. Most of the country, and increasingly, the world is being inspired and enabled by it. Increasing digital skills within the national curriculum and focusing on Virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are way up on the Government's agenda. The only danger for brands is to be left pondering for too long whether digital is an opportunity or a threat for their business, the way they operate, the way the way they sell and the way they market. The reality is it's both. If you don't move with digital then the chances are, your business won't survive, but don't fear it, be excited because the world of wonder that digital opens to you is limitless.

Jon is speaking at Advertising Week Europe on Thursday 23 March, 11am, The Guardian Stage.