You’ll want to read this: Alice through the Looking Glass (Corning Glass, that is)

In the near distant future, all of the surfaces in your house are made of high-tech glass. Instead of following a recipe on your tablet, your glass countertops now become the display. Does this make your spine tingle? Does it feel uber-tech, light years away? Like something only Steve Jobs or Captain Kirk would have access to? Nope, it’s coming to your doorstep.

Let’s paint a picture of an average Joe (or Joanne)’s day… It’s dinnertime. While trying to make the meal, the recipe on your tablet is too small to see and the stand you have propped it up on keeps falling over. Your hands are caked in food and the phone rings. Your son sits across the counter from you, nagging you about needing help with homework. Everyone and everything around you demands your attention. Imagine an innovation that could help you manage all of those tasks.

When the phone rings, your counter lights up and with one touch of your food-caked knuckle you’re talking to your great aunt Gladys (or the CEO of a major tech firm). Meanwhile, your kid is interacting through the countertop display with his tutor.

This near distant future could be possible with Corning’s technology. Corning’s is now researching ways to improve the glass, and apply it to all types of environments. Each glass display is powered by tablets encased in lightweight, durable glass, which –in this future time- are almost as commonplace as smartphones are today. Each tablet is tailored to its owner, organizing, managing and displaying everything in his or her life.

If we take this vision even further, now imagine the same technology that helped make dinnertime prep simpler, and apply it in hospitals, classrooms, cars and offices. The possibilities are limitless. If we step into a future hospital we will see wall-to-wall, touch-sensitive displays, capturing critical information for the current procedure taking place. The hospital rooms are covered with non-porous, easy to clean glass, making it an ideal product for sterile environments. Patient charts can be easily accessed from sleek, well-organized tablets.

Cars will also be equipped with glass displays. Now, music and essential driving information can be transported from a person’s individual tablet or smart phone, to the dashboard display. In addition to the dashboard, windows and a car’s sunroof will be made of automotive electrochromic glass, offering many possibilities.

Not only will classrooms have wall-to-wall displays, they will also be equipped with desk displays, and activity tables, making learning tangible and interactive. Imagine an office equipped with this same glass. Office meetings can now be interactive and plans can be changed right in front of you on large-scale displays.

Our future with glass is going to change the way we think, create, and organize our lives, and Corning’s is stepping up to the plate to make it happen. What do you think is possible with this futuristic technology? To see the glass in action, watch these three videos made by Corning. In A Day Made Of Glass 2: Unpacked, the narrator describes the technology used and explains what is possible today.

A Day Made of Glass

A Day Made of Glass 2

A Day made of Glass 2: Unpacked

Until next time,

Kelli Richards, CEO of The All Access Group, LLC

An Overview of How Google Glass Works… A Curse or a Blessing?

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 7.49.40 AM I loved Tim Bajaran’s piece on G-Glass – Mine simply expands on some basic facts, adding value for all of us who aren’t following the very Iron-Man creation of this latest Google Project.  We’re losing Google Reader, but gaining hardware. Does anyone else see Apple’s “product” model being adopted here? 

Yes, Alice, we’ve definitely fallen into the looking glass. Google’s most recent project, Google Glass, will delve far into the realm of science fiction, bringing Tony Stark, Iron Man-esque technology to the masses. The Google Glass project delivers a wearable computer system in the form of glasses, offering hands free messaging, photography, and video recording.  Straight out of 007, this offers the ability to share everything you see, live, in real time: directions, reminders, the web – all seen through the lens, right in front of your face.

The glasses have a display in the top right corner of the frame, making endless information available at all times, and will reportedly connect with either your Android or iPhone implementing WiFi, 3g, and 4g coverage. These revolutionary specs won’t just be a piece of spectacular hardware; Google is negotiating with Warby Parker, a company which specializes in the sales of trendy glasses, in an attempt to bring infinite data while still looking fashionable.

The best part of Google’s Project Glass is that Google is currently allowing civilians, not developers, the opportunity to influence product development. Google declared, “We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass.” Applications are being accepted through the use of Google+ and Twitter, through the hashtag #ifihadglass.

While this idea of unlimited data being available even more easily than at your fingertips is revolutionary, it raises more than a few questions regarding privacy. The ability to record everything right in front of you, in real time, is a daunting thought, covering everything from being photographed at a cafe, to making videos in airports. Beyond the questionable “Glass etiquette” that will certainly develop over time, the prospect that Google and the government will be able to access users’ data is shattering.

If the Glass Project brings information right in front of your face, allowing you to communicate, to access the internet, contacts, etc., and share what you are seeing live, what will stop others from accessing your private information? Although a few decades late, Orwell’s 1984 has definitely caught up with us.

The issues that may arise from the mass production of Google Glass are met with equally impressive, revolutionary concepts around social networking and sharing. Glass would be the apex of social sharing, allowing people to be in constant contact, literally letting individuals step into other’s shoes, to view the world from a different point of view. You could be standing in New York’s Time Square and share and trade that experience with someone around the world, exploring the streets of Venice or Sydney, Australia. Such universal sharing would truly redefine the human experience.

At its best, this would also effect topics as broad as human rights and poverty – but the cost remains to be seen. Only time will tell if the Google Glass Project will be the vessel connecting mankind, Pandora’s box, or something in the middle.

Something Special About Apple and iOS

The special needs community is rarely the target demographic for the tech industry. Many of the wonderful new gizmos and gadgets that come out simply aren’t designed for them. There are an increasing number of companies that are developing products and technology to make computers and mobile devices more accessible for the special needs community, however – and one of those companies happens to be Apple, Inc.

Apple’s VoiceOver technology was introduced with OSX 10.5 – better known as “Tiger.” It’s an accessibility feature that allows blind or visually impaired Apple users to interact with a computer through sound. A user can use the trackpad or keyboard to scroll through the applications on the docked menu at the bottom of the screen. It can literally read the user any text that’s displayed on the screen and allows users to edit text where applicable.

VoiceOver is also available on iOS devices such as the iPad. Visually impaired users have been incredibly receptive and appreciative of this, especially considering the fact that it’s a feature many other tablets and readers lack. As more and more publishing companies, universities, and corporations look to switch to readers and tablets in the future, accessibility features for the visually impaired certainly help Apple market its products as the superior choice amongst the competition.

Another feature that benefits the members of the special needs community is a new feature in iOS 6 called Guided Access. Guided Access allows parents and educators to “lock” onto an app so that children can’t accidentally exit out of it by pressing the home button. While this may seem like a very basic feature, it’s incredibly useful for children with Autism or learning disabilities who may become distracted or lose focus on tasks. There are a number of educational apps available in the App Store but it’s often hard for learning disabled students to stay focused on them long enough to actually benefit. With Guided Access, the task of keeping a child focused has gotten a little easier for teachers and parents.

While full accessibility is an on-going battle as technology continues to evolve, Apple is certainly taking steps in the right direction. Many other companies in Silicon Valley are taking their lead and continuing to improve accessibility features for different technologies and we hope to see this trend continue.

My own time at Apple saw many of these technologies discussed and drawn out on desks and white boards under the tireless leadership and direction of my colleague Dr. Alan Brightman, who was Director of Apple’s WW Disability Solutions for 12 years; and is now a VP at Yahoo focusing on Global Accessibilty. To see these things come to life and create impact all around the world is simply astounding (then and now).

Kelli Richards,
CEO of the All Access Group, LLC


The New Myspace: All or Nothing

Ah MySpace, the website that brought social networking and social media into the homes of the masses. Once the king of the internet, valued at $12 billion and becoming the most visited website in the world, it has since been dethroned and fallen from grace. Or has it? It was recently purchased by Specific Media and Justin Timberlake in June 2011 for $35 million with hopes of breathing new life into the company. But will they be able to reclaim the throne in a much more crowded kingdom? The answer to that remains to be seen but based on the preview it looks like something worth getting excited about.

The obvious issue is that there are already enough, if not too many, social networks for the average user. Between Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube, Google+ and the many others, the internet has become inundated with social media. Billed as a way to connect artists and fans, the MySpace team at Specific media has taken a smart approach by letting users integrate their Facebook and Twitter accounts rather than having to create a new one. With celebrities and artists already connecting with fans via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram perhaps integration and consolidating is something we need more of.

Seamless integration and creative design are two big things the new MySpace has going for it. Based on the preview video posted by Justin Timberlake, the website does look gorgeous and functional; 2 issues which plagued it in the past. Perhaps the biggest thing it has going for it is the music feature, which is something it actually always did exceptionally well.

Once a great way for big names and local bands alike to post songs, event info, pictures, etc, it will now let users create and share playlists, listen to whole albums, discover new music based on recommendations, and more. A cool feature for the artists is an analytics page which provides demographic breakdowns of their audiences by age, gender, region, etc. MySpace currently boasts one of the largest music catalogues on the internet, albeit from mostly unknown artists, at 42 million songs. If they can get some big artists and labels on board or even integrate with other services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, or Rhapsody then it could very well come back to life.

There’s still a lot that is up in the air for the new MySpace but if it can find a way to get over the hump, play nicely with the other social networks, and deliver great content then I think it will be a success. If it can’t create a pleasant, clutter-free, and unique experience for the user then it may be time to just let it die out.

Kelli Richards, President and CEO
The All Access Group, LLC

The Next Big Thing: Apple WWDC

It’s no surprise to see Apple race on, barely missing a beat since Steve’s passing – leading global innovation as it has this new millennium.

In just a few hours the next Apple WWDC (WorldWide Developers Conference) will take place. A stage that has announced true global game changers, like the iPhone and the iPad.

In the end, right now it’s still about the App store.  With 600,000 downloadable games, magazines and productivity tools, Apple is the application leader.  But the others are not far behind. As quoted in Bloomberg earlier today, “The success of Apple’s App Store has helped create an economy for downloading mobile applications that will reach $58 billion in sales in 2014.”

Surely, Apple will continue App dominance – and its track record of suspense and big announcements at WWDC. Will we see the next iPhone? News on OS X Mountain Lion? A new social platform? The next “Big Thing” that none of us have even contemplated yet?  It’s hard not to wonder where Apple goes from here, without Steve Jobs at the helm… but we’ll find out in just a few short hours.

This is a question I ask over and over in my upcoming eBook on Apple, The Magic and Moxie of Apple – An Insider’s View.

“… So where does Apple – a company that started out as two guys making and selling circuit boards out of their garage, which transformed into one of the biggest international technology companies in the world – go from here? Following the loss of Steve Jobs, that question seems challenging to answer. As we know all too well, Apple has seen itself rise and fall from grace before and reinvent itself more than once, and the company is counting on the fact that it’s cemented its place at the top so profoundly that nothing will stop it from continuing to grow. Continually releasing new products (and upgrading the old) may do this, but fundamentally, what direction does it take next? The iPhone, iPad, and iPod have already seen several generations of upgrades. What groundbreaking innovations will propel Apple in the same way that the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad did? The answer to that question isn’t what new product will they come out with, but rather who will be dream it up without Steve? … ”


Like many of you, I’m eagerly awaiting iOS 6 and Mountain Lion – which brings some of the most popular features found on other Apple products to the Mac, such as GameCenter, notes, etc. A personal favorite is that Mountain Lion will send messages to anyone on an Apple product – so you’ll be able to begin a message on your Mac and pick it back up on your iPhone or iPad later on. We’ll see today what else Apple has in store for us – the world of believers, creators and brand advocates.

And although the race continues without Steve Jobs to lead the pack – only his company to carry on the dream – it will not be easy to watch WWDC without him taking the stage.

Kelli Richards, President and CEO
The All Access Group, LLC
PS: If you’d like to pre-order a copy of my book, The Magic and Moxie of Apple – An Insider’s View,” please go to


Digital Reincarnation at it’s Best: Live From Daryl’s House

Today’s world is fickle, and one of my favorite examples of digital avenues bringing new audiences to the best performers of our time is definitely Live From Daryl’s House, started by Daryl Hall in late 2007.  This is music discovery at its best, with Hall taking a simple idea and turning it into web gold. Hall recently said of the show, “I had this idea of playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet.”  What could be easier, right? Certainly the response has been huge.

The show has become almost iconic, with applause coming in from a long list of leading names in the industry, including Rolling Stone, SPIN, Daily Variety, CNN, BBC, Yahoo! Music and influential (and hyper-critical) blogger Bob Lefsetz.  This is exactly what veteran artists need to be creating in order to reinvent in the digital age and gain new audiences (and influence) through vibrant collaborations with both established leaders in music and new performers.

Daryl Hall has had a rich and varied career, working with virtually all of the great musicians of modern popular music, as well as entering into new relationships with the best of the latest generation of artists. So far, episodes have featured superstars like Smokey Robinson, Rob Thomas (of Matchbox 20), Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek (The Doors’), Train, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, and soul legends The Blind Boys of Alabama – as well as with newcomers such as Nikki Jean, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Canadian techno-rockers Chromeo, Bay Area singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, and highly touted tunesmith Diane Birch.

He’s also featured my own close personal friend, Todd Rundgren, several times, most recently at Rundgren’s home in Kauai, Hawaii, where they performed a rousing 7-song set, including an amazing cover of the Delfonics’ 1970 hit, “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time.”

Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren have known one another since their early days inPhiladelphia, and the gig inHawaiiincluded an old-fashioned traditional Luau Show, burying a pig in the dirt, serving up some poi, hula dancers and a special performance with local musicians of “Bang on the Drum.” Said Rundgren, “It’s always great when friends come all the way out here to visit, but it’s even better when they come to play.”

Hall’s latest collaboration has been with up-and-coming artist Allen Stone, a virtual look-alike for Daryl himself (in both image and musical philosophy).  In fact, that collaboration went so well that Stone is now touring and working with Hall and Oates.

Hall has had an illustrious career, with six #1 singles with collaborator John Oates, including “Rich Girl” (also #1 R&B), “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (also #1 R&B), “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” from their six consecutive multi-platinum albums—’76’s Bigger Than Both of Us, ’80’sVoices, ’81’s Private Eyes, ‘82’s H2O, ‘83’s Rock N Soul, Part I and ‘84’s Big Bam Boom. The era would also produce an additional 5 Top 10 singles, “Sara Smile,” “One on One,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Method of Modern Love.”

Live from Daryl’s House is being shown weekly in over 80% of U.S. homes in the nation’s top 200 media markets, as well as all of the top 10, including New York, L.A., Chicago, Dallas and Houston. The show also recently won the 2010 WEBBY Award in the Variety Category.

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Has the Economic Downturn Ended Mobile Advertising Before it Began?

Is Mobile Advertising Over Before it Began? One or Two Standouts Still in the Game

Unlike social media marketing, social advertising seems to be taking a big hit from the never-ending recession we find ourselves in as a nation.  I say this because it seems that the newest golden egg in advertising, Mobile, had hit a new low before it ever reached any kind of high. And if you look deeper, what it’s really indicative of is click based marketing overall.  It’s been interesting to watch mobile marketing come to life.  I worked in this space with Virgin Mobile several years ago; and at that point it was more of an evangelism exercise trying to educate major brands and media companies about what this was all about. Now it’s an evangelism to get them to stay the course and build an audience.

How does this all play out in the new digital age, if audiences and ROI aren’t born overnight? With 56% of Fortune 500 marketers dissatisfied with or simply not using click-based mobile advertising, it’s possible that only a few strong companies will be able to ride the wave, approach smaller marketing businesses, provide a good service at the right price, and hang in there until the economy turns.

One of the few standouts who seem to be weathering the storm and getting it right is Augme Technologies. Augme has created what they call the “AD LIFE™ Ad Network” to help marketers engage with their best consumers. Basically, by using sophisticated targeting options, Augme reaches 100+ million unique visitors (and 9+ billion impressions) each month. It’s the targeting that makes this unique and successful, with options that range from region to behavior to platform and device, as well as a huge array of demographic combinations.

If you follow the old-adage that the best customer is one you already have, then the mobile marketing industry should first be able to count on repeat business from established clients before creating a trajectory of higher profits.  In this case, it doesn’t look like that will happen, not at the present time anyway. But having an example of a company that’s navigating these new waters successfully does give some hope.

With Smartphones taking over the mobile industry at a phenomenal rate, the mobile advertising world should look like a wide open field of opportunity, but right now, the numbers just don’t support this.  A recent survey showed that although 93% of marketers would move further into mobile ad spending – 43% of that group cites a low return on investment as a block to continuing with the platform.

Another statistic worth mentioning is that the most effective mobile ad campaigns were email based, where consumers had signed up and chosen to participate. Just a note, this is something that social media marketers have known for over a decade. 

“Signup ads are native to mobile advertising,” said Zephrin Lasker, CEO and co-founder, Pontiflex, one of the largest players in the mobile ad field. “People have a new sense of control and meaningful experiences with brands.”


In the end, this forum also demands a new level of creativity, collaboration and UE, user experience.  If Angry Birds can become a phrase and experience that 78% of mobile phone users know and have participated with, then Angry Birds who drink Dr. Pepper makes perfect sense.


For more information on Social Media Marketing, especially in how it affects the Music Industry, grab a copy of my new eBook: “Taking the Crowd to the Cloud – Social Media for the Music Industry.”

The music industry has turned into a very complicated space, and marketing was NEVER easy to begin with.  Written by industry insider, Kelli Richards, “Taking the Crowd to the Cloud – Social Media for the Music Industry raises the bar and demystifies social media marketing, helping musicians, agents and anyone in our industry to THRIVE – it empowers and transforms the marketing mindset.  Featuring TEN top social networks for musicians, this eBook maximizes your social media to build (and keep) your audience. It holds the key to eMail Marketing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and several hot secrets in Social Media. (It even covers how to port your MySpace contents to Facebook Music.) For $37 this is easily the million dollar choice.


Apple – Building a Brand, Leaving a Legacy

There’s this thing in life that most of us have experienced. It’s a sort of metaphysical passing of one’s self. Those moments when you pass a place you know and can almost see your younger self (or maybe your older self), standing right there in a different time. For me, Cupertino has always held those doorways and windows. Like most of the kids who grew up in Cupertino, I used to make extra money picking apricots in the orchards.

Obviously, fruit has remained a big theme for Cupertino. Of course, I’m speaking tongue in cheek – as most of the world knows, Steve Jobs built Apple’s headquarters here (it’s his hometown too; one of many things we share in common). So, once lush with orchards and wineries, Cupertino is now one of the geek capitals of the world. I say that with pride and humor, because I am definitely one of them, standing on the thin line between artistry and technology. In fact, I worked at Apple for many years, and I’m proud to say that I launched the focus on music and led strategic Music and Entertainment initiatives during my 10 years there.

So I am one of the truly lucky ones, with strong roots both in the Cupertino of old – and the Cupertino of now. The roots of now, the Apple tree, are firmly incontrovertibly implanted in Steve Jobs. As stock prices have shown, Jobs is absolutely the trunk of Apple and inseparable from where investors put the worth of the company.

And here’s the real crux of what I want to say in this piece: Seeing Steve Jobs battle through the fight of his life to restore Apple to greatness – a graceful, courageous and obviously successful battle – doesn’t hold a candle to seeing him fight for his life now. But what he’s creating, despite (or because of) that illness is mind blowing. Naysayers can address the iCloud any way they want, but what we all know is that it’s pretty damned likely to be successful. Apple is ending the war on clouds and lockers and legitimizing what the consumer wants, whether the music industry agrees or not.

It is the new digital age, and like it or not we’re not going to stop access. We’re not even going to control access. Steve Jobs has literally put all his apples into one basket in agreement. Why does it matter? It matters because, like Bob Lefsetz said recently, Apple is EASY. The huge base of consumers out there trust that if they get an iPad or iPod or iTunes … whatever, it will work. Apple has not only galvanized a brand, but it has built a huge, vocal community of brand advocates. No amount of advertising money could have busted the iPad out of the gate the way the users themselves did.

The second part of a brand is always fulfilling the promise you set forth (this is straight from branding queen Libby Gill’s rulebook). And, quite simply, Apple delivers on their promise day in and day out. They listen to their constituency and they build a better mousetrap, make better stuff, and address issues like the cloud – maybe a little later than the creative disruptors, but without a doubt, they’re putting their weight (and their money) where their mouth is.

Which brings me to the issue of legacy: Apple is a big deal – not just to the world, that’s obvious – but here, in Cupertino (my hometown). Legacy is a lot like a brand, in its truest form, it delivers on a promise made. The new Steve Jobs’ Cupertino Apple Campus Mothership is absolutely part of that promise. One day after the WWDC conference, Jobs put forth his new campus proposal to the Cupertino City Counsel, ripe with more than apples. Steve Jobs has designated acres and acres of his campus for apricot orchards – honoring the tradition of the Valley; that’s roots. And it’s deeper than I can convey.

I could go on and on about Apple’s commitment to its future and to the ever growing employee base (I was part of that once, and I retain a strong, golden thread to those people and the work they do), but the commitment from Steve Jobs is bigger than even that. I think I should come clean here and say that obviously I admire Steve Jobs. I don’t agree with him all the time, obviously – or with Apple for that matter. But I’ve seen him renovate more than a company or a product line. I’ve seen him refresh the people around him. I’ve watched him galvanize thousands of employees to get laser focused on success and build something meaningful. I’ve witnessed the grace, elegance, and simplicity with which the products have sparked a revolutionary embrace among consumers. I’ve watched his address at Stanford’s graduation a dozen times and brought that message into my own life – which brings me back to that metaphysical doorway I mentioned earlier. To that glimpse of one’s self coming and going.

You see, we’re all creating a legacy all the time. We are ALL in the process of going, like it or not.
A brand, well that’s for now. But a legacy… what we build that will outlast us, that’s huge. There are 3,700 trees in what will be the new Apple campus as of today. According to initial specs, Apple hopes to have 6,000 trees when the mothership is built. In fact, Steve Jobs hired experts from Stanford to consult on indigenous trees to make this come to “fruition” (sorry, I couldn’t resist). To me, no matter what my life has become – working with industry leaders and entrepreneurs, innovators and influencers, celebrities and musicians, I often look through one of those doorways and see myself picking fuzzy apricots from the tress here in Cupertino. I remember where I come from and, like Steve Jobs, that my legacy has to be bigger than my brand.

And just my humble opinion, whatever those trees are, whatever fruit they bear, in my book they’re all Apple trees.