Subscription Innovation

The best e-business models are those that require the least resources, the lowest investment and costs, the least risks and ultimately high demand, revenue and profit potential. As someone who has developed both digital and physical products and services, scoped and implemented the systems to sell and deliver them, and the strategies to market those products and services, I’ve become a strong advocate of subscription services. They are a sensible choice for both profitable and speedy innovation, for those with resources and know-how. There are a number of revenue models for different types of online subscriptions for businesses and entrepreneurs to explore. Intelligent models also look at strategic partnerships to diminish the burden on consumers and business customers juggling multiple subscription accounts, purchasing and login credentials. (Extract Top 5 Digital World Predictions 2021)

In the final edition of my annual ‘E-Business Predictions’ in 2018, I proposed ‘Subscription Services Joining Forces’, and advised streaming platforms to offer a single sign-on facility for customers among subscription service partnerships. In 2020, with the exponential growth in subscribers and content demand, the economic climate was highly favourable to media platforms providing video, music, media and TV on-demand toentertain and educate consumers, who were spending away from more costly purchases. Music streaming platforms such as Spotify (with 113-million subscribers and 248-million users in 79 markets), had new rivals such as Boomplay (with 44-million subscribers and 217-million active users), and promise to dominate the African market. It’s no secret that giants like Netflix, Disney and Amazon moved into and booked out significant studio space in the UK in 2019, where there are attractive tax incentives for British investment in production. Growth trends and consumption recorded to end of 2019 for online media were at a rate of around 25% across the board. I advised in my Top 5 Digital World Predictions 2020 that “Content quality, sales and delivery to consumers in an ever competing market, should be at the heart strategy for media organisations in 2020 and beyond. This significant growth may trigger further regulation around the globe from government and industry bodies.”

Whatever the digital business model, there are considerable opportunities for innovation which must be customer-centric and focus on value as well as efficiency and profitability.

About the Author

Deborah Collier has developed strategies for digital downloadable, streaming and subscription content for 20-years. These include e-books, membership subscriptions, music downloads and online courses. Her most recent success is the digital transformation of classroom education – the productization and monetization of valuable content into over 45-hours of online interactive audio, video, animation content within 7-months, and the delivery through a branded e-commerce enabled online platform at Digital Skills Authority.

Deborah is founder and president at the Digital Skills Authority, Group CEO of a media group and Executive Producer for three high-end TV / Film projects.


Winning Combination for Healthcare, Retail and Beyond – Internet-of-Things, 5G and Artificial Intelligence

‘Internet-of-Things’ (IoT), 5G and artificial intelligence will unite to revolutionize automation.  Industry anticipates that around 1-trillion IoT sensors will be placed globally by 2022. These will be employed in clothing and other apparel, household appliances and office, professional and personal devices, for example.  5G provides high-speed, while artificial intelligence (intelligent software programs) uses the data provided by the sensors to make informed and calculated decisions.  AI will decide what to do with data, such as providing scientific analysis to universities or manufacturers about ‘wear and tear’ and product demand, for example.  It can make intelligent buying decisions linked to e-commerce and throughout the supply chain to delivery.  One example is replenishing the contents of a fridge. Sensors in the fridge order to grocery retailers through e-commerce, based on learned buying behaviour, but with the ability to have human buyer intervention, as required.  In a professional setting, healthcare providers can reduce workload, improve efficiency, reduce costs and reduce errors, during the pandemic and beyond by employing these technologies together.  A pharmacy restocking medicines, hospitals and medical centres replenishing medical supplies are two functions I suggest would benefit from this winning technological combination.

Extract: Top 5 Digital World Predictions 2021

About the Author

Strategic & Futurist Leader Deborah Collier is also the founder and leader of the Digital Skills Authority. She was affectionately given the name ‘Half-Geek Half-Human’ by one of her peers in 2010 due to her passion for what technology can do for humanity.


How to Influence Ethical Change

The key to successfully influencing ethical change in an organisation, or indeed in the way a nation is led, is to get to the impact or pain to the organisation, nation or government. The approach should include a clearly thought out argument coupled with one or more constructive solutions. Working with, rather than against is usually the best first option.

One of the lessons I learned from working for a large global corporate many years ago, was that to drive change, particularly if that was costly, we’d have to build a case that action was required to prevent financial loss to the organisation. This particular story is about accessibility and the Internet. An organisation, which then had over 120,000 employees worldwide, an internal portal for those employees and multiple web sites, was not accessible to those with disabilities (for example those needing larger text). Like the others in the team (the geeks and the marketers), I raised the issue of ethics and reputation. I was told “We know, we’ve tried to make change, but the business will not do it, unless there is a legal reason”. I persevered and found the legislation online which applied significantly to larger organisations, but was rebuffed “Yes but no organisation has been sued” was the reply.  I didn’t give up and found a case won against the Olympic Games for a non-accessible web site. I cited the case to the Director of Risk, which initiated a worldwide accessibility project costing over £1-million to implement. The sad but practical lesson – Money, not ethics talks.

So what can we learn? The humanity case, the ethics case – these are all positive, but we need to get to the financial impact, which is often due to loss of reputation, and in particular loss of audience. When asked by Krishnan Guru-Murphy during an interview on Channel 4 News, about the social networks decision to remove accounts and content, the need for regulation of content and the tech and social media giants, I said, “If they are seen to be allowing such content that hurts others, then that’s not good for their reputation”.  I was referring to online harms such as disinformation, inciting violence and hate speech such as racism.

Loss of audience is also about changing humanity, educating and nurturing a culture of compassion and strong morals. Strategically and morally, if we focus on these areas, raise awareness about harms and risk to human life of bullying and fake news, we can then collectively and collaboratively enable both media and social networks to support positive journalistic and user-generated content.

As always, policies within organisations for ethical information and handling of user-generated content in their forums and on their platforms, should form part of content and information strategy, and consider legal, financial and reputation risks, as well as branding, audience and objectives.

Social networks are struggling and striving with the volume of harmful user-generated content on their platforms, with billions of items of content removed or flagged with a fact check. Algorithms and artificial intelligence combined with human intervention are constantly improving to take on this bold task, and while it appears that the social networks needed either a push or the support of it’s advertisers and governments, they are tackling the mammoth task head-on. The burden will ease alongside a cultural shift in what the general public views as acceptable and with society cultivating a positive atmosphere and dialogues both on and off-line.

Includes extract from Deborah’s February 2020 Linked article ‘How to Drive Change when Companies Won’t Respond to the Ethics Argument’.

About the Author

Futurist and Digital Philosopher, Deborah Collier is an influential figure who has worked in digital, business and marketing with a heavy footprint in the knowledge economy – education, media and publishing for 20-years. She has been heavily active on social media studying the impacts and interplay between digital, data, social networks and humanity, defining a concept she called the ‘Content Social Symbiosis’. A business and educational leader, she has written and talked about Conscious business as well as social media’s benefits and risks to humanity since 2009. She has woven ‘Digital Ethics‘ into both her role at the Digital Skills Authority and it’s management and leadership programs with a global ‘Digital Governance Framework’. She has also supported vital initiatives to combat online harms such as child grooming, as seen in NSPCC’s Wild West Web Campaign.

Of additional interest
Why are National Change Management Strategies are Vital Right Now?


Import Export Bureaucracy – High-Speed Systems Enhancements

As a Briton and proud European born in the early 70’s, I’ve enjoyed the multi-culturalism of being part of a very colourful European Union, both linguistically and culturally. There were no grey areas. Everything was clear, from travel, to laws and trade. Brexit was painful for many of us, as was the impact of the economic stability leading up to that time. I personally suffered an immediate impact on a B2B business I had launched. What we offered suddenly became a luxury, rather than a necessity. Indeed any company or individual attempting to procure even $5000 of business from a blue-chip organisation struggled. That impacted livelihoods, employment and also family relationships. Losses became emotional ones.

Yet here we are now. Brexit is done, and the impacts are appearing in evidence, yet to be weighed, with more hopeful negotiation to follow. The below extract focused on the immediate impact of imports and exports from my Top 5 World Predictions 2021 published in December, aims to offer some warning, but also solutions.

Brexit may have offered certainty with regards to trade tariffs, but it will, in the near term, cause an additional headache as a result of bureaucracy, for both importers and exporters to and from the EU, as well as outside. Import and export specialist software developers will need to upgrade their systems at stealth speed. Many had already completed some work in preparation for the final December 2020 result, but did not have 100% clarity. In the interim, we are informed by specialist software and solution providers with an objective of fully automated solutions, that the Brexit deal will put an addition burden of up to 10% more workload on importers and exporters with regards to declarations.  Hopefully, governments will provide the necessary support, as well as lenience with regards to any errors posed by the challenges. This may require further staff recruitment in customs and excise departments, as well as port and border officials, thus generating new jobs for those made unemployed by the pandemic.

About the Author

Strategic educational and business leader, Deborah Collier is founder of the Digital Skills Authority. During her earlier career she implemented e-commerce, developed and traded goods and services online, developed and advised on strategy for e-commerce business, and created and delivered management and leadership certifications in Internet retailing to well-known retailers and leading organisations around the globe.


Race for the Quantum Internet

In 2021, the race for the ‘Quantum Internet’ ignites. In 2020 NASA scientists had a major breakthrough in the transference of data known as ‘Long Distance Quantum Teleportation’.  According to reports, they managed to place data 27-miles away, without any flow of the data in between the start point and the destination.  The ‘Quantum Internet’ is now a future reality rather than a possibility. The future Internet will deliver not only instantaneity but an advanced cybersecurity called ‘Quantum Key Distribution’, without the need for encryption, and any hackers leaving a provable trace, making it secure far beyond the realms of today’s Internet and cybersecurity standards. 

For citizens, as well as organizations, it provides confidence, but also the opportunity to deliver multi-dimensional media including virtual world content in high-volumes to global audiences without interference or security hindrance. In short, while the Quantum Internet may take some years to arrive, the opportunities will be endless.

Extract: Digital World Predictions 2021

About the Author
Strategy leader and expert in digital, Deborah Collier is the founder of the Digital Skills Authority.


2021 Bridge of Hope

In my annual Top 5 Digital World Predictions for 2021, I wanted to provide both solutions and hope to readers, for those looking for opportunities, and those concerned about their future. In many circles in academia, government, some media and business, it is common knowledge that the Coronavirus threat is not expected to pass until 2022, unless there is a radical shift. During this tough year ahead while collectively we manage health, individual and global economies, my concern is employment generation, household incomes and the welfare of others during the crisis.

‘The Bridge of Hope’ must be carefully and strategically planned, with every opportunity to secure a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous future for all.  Coronavirus has forced a global reset, regardless of whether many businesses were in dire need of a relaunch – a reboot ensuing from unfavourable economic events since 2008. Whatever our actions, it is imperative that we address not only businesses, wealth and prosperity, but the employment and support of our fellow human-beings.  We will have some turmoil ahead, but ultimately the future can be bright.

Extract: Digital World Predictions 2021

About the Author
Deborah is a globally-renowned futurist, strategy expert and founder of the Digital Skills Authority.