Following last year’s success, Telstra is bringing some of the world’s best bloggers and digital thought leaders together today for the 2013 Australian Digital Summit. I am delighted to be bringing you live updates from the day, which will focus on ‘Making the most of the Digital Economy’ and feature talks from international guests Brian Solis, Robert Scoble and Shel Israe.

Follow my live updates below!

11.00 am

Our facilitator Monty Hamilton makes us laugh in his introduction by saying, “Here at Telstra we don’t believe in shutting your phones off – leave them on! But please, switch them to silent.”

11.05 am – The Age of Context

Shel Israel, talks with Robert Scoble about the five changing forces in digital today, including mobile, social, local, wearable tech and Big Data, that make up the Age of Context. What will we see as a result of these forces? Highly personalised products that will predict our needs  think of Google Glass displaying information according to your location and fitness applications that know if you were having a drink last night!

11.20 am – Pinpoint marketing

This contextual age will have significant impacts for business too, both small and large. Pinpoint marketing will increase advertising opportunities and, ultimately increase sales. So not only will Google Glass display information to the wearer according to their location, but also display advertising according to location.

11.30 am – Sensors and circuitry

Better technology means we will see a growth in sensors and circuitry in every day situations. Imagine walking past a carton of milk and having it engage with you  now that’s pinpoint marketing in action!

Where we will truly see the benefits of this technology is in the health space. In the future we may have sensors that we can swallow to monitor our health. A pill that tells me how bad those hot chips were? I’ll take ten!

Robert Scoble truly shocks me at this point by sharing that we now can analyse a war veteran reading a paragraph of text that can predict if they are feeling suicidal, with 70% accuracy. Amazing. Truly amazing.

11.45 am – New world privacy

But how do we manage privacy in the Age of Context? Technical skills are essential for this new landscape. We will change what we consider to be taboo in our lives to get the “free ice-cream.” It’s only weird if it doesn’t work. Like many things in life, the technology will provide great opportunity and also balancing issues. Trust and transparency will be the new currency.

Robert Scoble asks the audience if this freaks them out… nervous laughter ensues.

12.00 pm – Panel Q&A

Brian Solis, Tapan Bhat and Telstra’s Gerd Shenkle join Robert and Shel onstage for a panel discussion.

We start with a good question – does Australia have what it takes to be a world leader in the start-up space? Gerd Shenkle asks Robert Scoble if he would really invest in a little Australian start-up… and he says yes! Brian Solis sums it up nicely when he replies, “well why wouldn’t I?”

Despite this support, approximately 95 per cent of Australian start-ups currently don’t make it to one year, says an audience member (note: this is not a verified!). The panel debates whether this is because of the lack of mentor support. I see a new business opportunity – I’m looking at you, maru-D!

What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Determination and patience. A great start-up doesn’t happen overnight and everyone (everyone!) has their times of doubt. “I respect investors with patience and entrepreneurs who don’t,” says Shel Israel. Brian Solis compliments this by saying, “In entrepreneurship, it is darkest before the dawn.” Don’t forget, belief is what gets entrepreneurs through the dark times.

What are going to be the biggest barriers to the Age of Context and a world full of sensors? At first cost and regulation may hold things back, says Shel Israel, but then a tendency for security over innovation. We have to shift this fear before we truly realise the benefits of this technology. Eventually the cost will go down and creative disruption will be a business’ best friend. When companies create their own creative destruction, that’s when they survive. Compete against yourself to create something better, says Brian Solis.

How does the little guy benefit from their own data in the future? There will be a trade off, says Robert Scoble. We will share our data for convenience. Ultimately it is your data and you only share it as part of a value exchange, says Tapan Bhat.

What’s the best partnership you have seen between small start-ups and big companies? An audience member says there is beauty fostering between the two. Brian Solis agrees, saying that all the big companies are opening up in Silicon Valley to work closely with the local start-ups.

2.00 pm – The Future of Business with Brian Solis

Welcome Brian Solis to the stage to talk about WTF of Business, that is; What’s the Future of Business (his acronym, not mine!). He begins by talking about being intrapreneurial, which is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. Why is it important to be intrapreneurial? Because change starts with the individual. And change is what we need in a digital world.

2.20 pm – Digital transformation

78 per cent of executives and managers agree that achieving digital transformation will become critical to their organisations within two years. But Brian Solis insists that digital transformation is not social media. It is understanding how they interact with the screen. Technology is not the be all and end all. Rather, we should be asking, ‘How do we use technology to make something better than yesterday?’

2.30 pm – ‘Think like a start-up’

The answer lies in Digital Leadership, not the technology, says Brian. Think like a start-up: Empower change; Reward change; Recognise your people. As soon as someone feels like they have a part in making change, change will start to happen. But what does that mean?

Some tenets of Digital Leadership:

  • Understand the urgency
  • Share a vision on how technology can change the business
  • Define the roadmap
  • Create cross-enterprise leadership for adoption and integration
  • Align recognition and metrics to incentivise digital transformation

2.50 pm – Multi-screen world

We have to realise what is different to the connected customer. They are now on a journey; a journey that moves from PC, to mobile to the real world. Their journey is a ‘confluence of experience.’ This is what defines the customer experience, says Brian.

3.00 pm – Telstra Q&A

After a brilliant keynote from Brian, we turn inward to discuss Telstra’s digital journey. We welcome Gerd Schenkel, Mick Liubinskas, Tracey Grimson, Harry Lowes and Andy Solterbeck to a panel discussion facilitated by Brian Solis.

Mick Liubinskas starts discussion with maru-D, which is set to help Telstra take part in the development of the digital ecosystem in Australia. Is this is the digital mentorship some said was missing earlier?

Tracey Grimson, who has transitioned from rock bands to Telstra, says this is part of our own digital transformation. She can see that Telstra is undertaking culture change and digital is now at its heart. We may make mistakes, but Andy Solterbeck insists that we can learn from failure; the trick is that if you are going to fail, learn fast and move on.

There is a lot of talk about Agile that can be summed up with the following: go Agile or go home.

4.00 pm – Interaction in a digital world

On the home stretch now, with Tapan Bhat, Chief Product Officer at Lithium, taking the stage to talk about how we interact with customers in the digital world.

He opens with the fact that 50 per cent of Twitter users expect a a social response from brands within the hour. When they’re angry, this figure jumps up to 74 per cent. Facebook users expect a response within a day. When brands provide a timely response people are 38 per cent more likely to purchase a product, whether the experience is good or bad. Just as Brian said, the landscape sure has changed! What is different now? Interaction. Interaction is mandatory for business success now.

4.20 pm – Social interaction means loyalty

We can no longer take loyalty for granted, says Tapan Baht. As a business, it is important to continually prove your worth in the digital age, a theme that has run throughout the day. Businesses that are loyalty leaders will grow twice as fast. So what do we need to do according to Tapan? Ensure that your customer to be at the centre of everything you do. What is important online? The ability to listen, prioritise and respond. Treating people like human beings is key; only then can brands create loyalty.

4.50 pm – Australian Digital Scholarship finalists

To bring it back home we chat with the three start-ups who are in the running to win the Australian Digital Scholarship. The nominees are Lawpath, Accruto and Pixc. The winner of the scholarship wins the opportunity to spend time with all of today’s guest speakers and head over to the US to meet with some of the best in the digital world.

Our moderator, Phil Morle, opens up the discussion by saying, “Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” The winner will be announced tomorrow.

5.30 pm – That’s a wrap!

After a brilliant day of digital inspiration, we wrap. I’ve really enjoyed bringing you updates throughout the day and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with @Scobleizer, @BrianSolis, @ShelIsrael and @TapanBhat using #DigitalSummit.