man presenting at TED 2015

More Phones Than People

WE Communications Blog: CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin

— Melissa Waggener Zorkin 

Technology is everywhere and is the enabling driver of innovation in nearly every industry. There are now more cell phones in use by people than the actual number of people on the planet according to David Rothkopf.

Here at TED2015 in Vancouver BC, I have the honor of joining some of the world’s most brilliant minds in technology, entertainment and design. In the first sessions alone, I was reminded just how quickly science-fiction is losing the fiction label: from faster 3D printing with potential to create customized medical implants on demand or adding a sixth sense through wearable (or even embedded) technology. From autonomous cars to the debate about if and when machines will surpass human intelligence. And as the afternoon session brought into clear focus, the very real possibility of establishing a human colony on Mars.  While this may sound far-fetched, the hall chatter validated that many TEDsters would line up to go to Mars. And I recall a conversation I had with Esther Dyson at the Social Innovation Summit where she told me she really wanted to go to Mars too.

Technology is driving a similar, if slightly less theatrical, change in the communications industry. Social, mobile and digital have disrupted our industry – and if you have something to say it is incredibly easy to get your voice heard. Integrated communications is now a necessity and it’s critical to offer a full set of solutions for our clients to reach their key audiences, and to measure the impact in real time.

Yet at the end of the day - one filled with global innovation and transformative technologies – the final session was focused on personal stories. It had that feeling of gathering around a campfire as a few incredible people shared their intimate biographies. It was a reminder that such impactful technology advances ultimately accrue to the strengthening of the most powerful platform tool we have – the stories we tell.