Telefónica poised to ‘power’ internet of things and wearable ecosystem, says new global ad chief Daniel Rosen

Telefónica is helping to “power” the internet of things and wearable device ecosystem, according to the mobile network’s incoming global advertising chief Daniel Rosen.

Rosen, who will join the mobile operator from his role as global chief executive at WPP agency Joule in November, said wearable devices and the internet of things are areas of major interest for the business, which already operates a machine-to-machine division.

However, he added that consolidation is inevitable for the wearable tech space, adding that although developments in the area are “hugely exciting”, many of the devices that come out on the market won’t work.

“Wearable technology is a whole new category for people who make hardware, and who wouldn’t be excited about it. But while it remains a buzzword you will end up with a lot of products you don’t need – as you do with anything if you follow the hype chart – so there will be a lot of consolidation in the type of products.

“But there will be some clear winners and categories like health are already advanced. What Nike is doing, and now Apple – it’s going to be highly transformative.”

However, Rosen, who is on gardening leave until he starts his new role, stressed that there are still major issues with mobile measurement that remain barriers to investment.

“It’s a little bit depressing as I would probably have said this three years ago. There are tons of exciting things like beacons and all the other stuff, but if you ask what will shift the dial the most [in mobile] – it will be measurement.”

Yet he believes mobile programmatic ad trading could help crack metrics issues. “Of those that are shifting major budgets into mobile, a lot of it has come from programmatic or direct response budgets. Every campaign run in programmatically is more naturally measurable – so will end up driving measurement.”

He added that client spend on mobile is not what it should be considering the proliferation of devices and consumer engagement with mobile devices.

“Mobile remains a vastly under-invested channel. How that is unlocked at a higher level leads to education within brands – and in the market as a whole – as to how agencies can really create products and ad services that will bring consumers along with them, and make it an ad medium that brands want to get to. And we are getting closer to that,” he added.

“The marketing and advertising ecosystem has been bit guilty of trying to apply the same rules as digital on mobile – of course there are some similarities, but there are also some key differences and strengths.

“There have been great strides forward, but these should be more and faster. One of things that excites me at Telefónica is that I will be in a position to affect that more directly,” said Rosen.

Priorities for the coming year will focus on building more in-depth partnerships between publishers, agencies and brands, and the development of 'smart' products, according to Rosen.

Telefónica has recently taken major strides into the programmatic market, having poured investment into mobile-only ad exchange Axonix, spearheaded by Simon Birkenhead.

Rosen will also sit on the board of Axonix.

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