David Shing on IoE, wearables and the case for net neutrality.
Even as American telecom company Verizon put up $4.4 billion to buy AOL, the American media company’s trends-forcaster or Digital Prophet, was in India for a two-day visit.
44-year-old David Shing, or Shingy as he is popularly known, says India is a land of massive opportunity for digital growth. The Australian’s appearance – long, artfully-arranged black hair, large glasses and black nail paint – helps him stand out. So does his business card. As AOL’s officially designated Digital Prophet, he travels the world to distill digital trends which brands and agencies can benefit from.
With over 200 million smartphone users, India is set to overtake the US as the second-largest market in the world. But with internet penetration across devices at 15% of the entire population, the sky’s the limit.
Shingy says India is in a unique position, because unlike the US and Europe, it has leapfrogged from the television screen to the mobile one. He says, “India doesn’t need to copy from other environments. Learn from others, but to reframe what you want to invent for the future – and that is the biggest opportunity that you guys have,” he says.
Commenting on India’s recent campaign for net neutrality, Shingy strongly voiced his support in favour of it. “Openess and ubiquitous access to the internet is the only way forward. Facebook’s Internet.org seems to be an attempt at a closed system which may not work in the long run.”
On a prophetic note, he picks wearables and internet of everything (IoE) as the digital trends that will drive the ecosystem.