Podcast: In the News on Data Analytics, YouTube, and Augmented Reality

In this first installment of In the News, AMT-Lab Podcast Producer and Technology and Innovative Content Manager discuss three trending stories in the field of arts and tech. This week’s discussion topics include the future of data analytics software, changes to YouTube’s ad behavior, and Apple’s augmented reality art.

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Alyssa: Hello, and welcome to our first episode of are in the new series with the arts management and Technology Lab. My name is Alyssa and I'm the Podcast Producer.

Grace: And my name is Grace, the Technology and Innovative Content Manager here at AMT Lab.

Alyssa: Each month we bring you through trending stories and discussions that have fields with topics such as CRM, artificial intelligence, marketing, social media, inclusion, fundraising, and much more. Our goal is to exchange ideas, bring awareness, and stay on top of the trend. In this episode, we talk about the future of data analytics software, recent important changes to YouTube's app behavior, and Apple’s augmented reality art.

Grace: So, Alyssa, I'm really excited that we're starting to get to do this today. This is a new series for AMT Lab here. Um, an In the News series, which was your idea, actually [Inaudible…] I think it was!

Alyssa: I think it was Brett’ idea! [laughter]

Grace: Either way, we're -, I'm really excited that this is going to hopefully be a thing for the Lab.

So, to start our weekly news with an update on data analytics and the field, Brian Carey and his article on the Motley Fool from September 9, I believe, stated that Salesforce has finished off their quarter with better than expected earnings. Um, this is seems to be due from their recent movement into the data analytics space with their acquisition of Tableau this June. For those who don't know, Tableau is a data visuali-, visualization software with features such as mapping functionality. Their seven-word mission is, “We help people see and understand data”.

In AMT Lab, we recently posted an article from Jana Fredericks titled, “Geographical Analysis of Nonprofit Data: A How-To Case Study”. In this article, she uses a combination of two databases to help her collect data on donors around the area, one of which is the US Census Bureau and the other Tableau. With these two combined, her results lead to a discovery of her organization’s current and previous donors, their geographical locations, and their current giving amount.

Alyssa: Therefore, with the world's leading CRM along a killer data analytics software, we're starting to see some pretty insane possibilities for data. And, as we look more towards the future, I think it would be pretty exciting to take this a step further and maybe only turn to one CRM for all of our data needs - meaning both data analytics and data management. But at the same time, maybe the future for this is still pretty far, especially if we're potentially take-, if we’re potentially talking about software development and privacy issues. Maybe the bigger need might be staff training so that they can quickly and easily find the exact data that they need.

Grace: So, thinking about this from a business perspective, if all CRM systems are also going to have the analytics, meaning you need admins but also a data team, what is the HR question here? I mean, we have our usual stuff, like your training, your equipment, understanding privacy, you know, the particular glaring issue here, you know, what might that be?

Alyssa: So, I think, in my opinion, along with that usual stuff, that's not only going to take a lot of time within your arts organization but also cost a decent amount of money, perhaps the biggest thing here is a potential clash in work culture. We have our nonprofit world, we have a certain way that we run our business and that might not necessarily be the same for those in a data management team. Um, so there's going to be a lot of training and a lot of discussions that need to take place so that both teams will understand what the goal and the mission is, and how to best work so that there won't be like any of that clash.

Grace: Right. Because the usual CRM systems that most arts organizations use seem to be Tessitura or ArtsVision, correct?

Alyssa: Mhmm. Those are the two most common.

Grace: So, with Salesforce moving into data analytics, this could be a really interesting thing to see. And maybe there's some competition coming up for some of the CRM systems that various arts organizations use, would do you say?

Alyssa: I think so, yeah. And the big thing is that Salesforce is a little more different than Tessitura and ArtsVision, for sure. But if they're going to be moving in that data analytics space, maybe there will be more chances of a crossover. Maybe there will be like more chances for not only those capabilities that we're looking forward to, but maybe there will be more cross understanding between for profit and nonprofit businesses as well.

Grace: That would be very interesting, very interesting indeed.

Alyssa: Alright, cool. So, to have endless possibilities for analytics and management sounds pretty ideal but after I read a Forbes article posted this June by Louis Columbus that mentioned that Salesforce now has over 19% of the CRM market, I've also started to ask myself if maybe a CRM could get too big or have too many capabilities. It would be convenient to just stop at one place and accomplish everything you need, rather than use multiple software's or multiple plugins, but at the same time, each organization is different and has different needs. So, they might prefer the current software market that they have right now. What do you think Grace?

Grace: I think it's going to be interesting to see how arts organizations respond to Salesforce’s acquisition. As most of our listeners know, if you use Salesforce, it's a plugin-based system, so you kind of can customize based off of what they have to offer. But what's going to be interesting is if Salesforce now how both the data analytics and the data management piece, that's a really killer system that could be really helpful and mean that you are only using one. Now whether that becomes too complicated, or too large to handle, I think only time will tell.

Alyssa: I agree. Alright, cool. We look forward to the future and we'll see what it will bring.

Grace: Wonderful. So, for our second topic earlier this month, it was reported by Cade Metz of the New York Times that Google has agreed to pay a settlement of $170 million dollars for their violations of COPPA, or the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. This is because YouTube was recently found to have been collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent, and then went on to use this information to make money from targeted ads. $136 million will be going to the Federal Trade Commission, while the other $34 million will go to New York State. This $136 million is the largest that the Federal Trade Commission has received in a COPPA case since it was enacted in 1998, beating a previous record of $5.7 million paid earlier just this year by the owner of the video sharing app Tick Tock.

So, my question then is, has YouTube made any recent changes to their platform in response to this decision?

Alyssa: So, I can actually answer this because I have had this happen to me when I tried to upload a video to my own YouTube the other day. One of the biggest changes is that whenever a content creator uploads a video, a pop-up from YouTube appears to ask the creator if their content is directed towards children or not. This is a question that YouTube will require all content creators to answer, and depending on the creator’s response, YouTube will then change the data and ad behavior in the video accordingly, so that it no longer collects personal information from any of the viewers. In other words, if your video falls under the children's category, there will be no comments on your video, no notifications, and no personalized ads allowed.

Grace: So, what happens if let's say, your video is for kids, but our content creator says that it's not. What could be the potential issues with that?

Alyssa: Well, according to Sarah Perez of TechCrunch, if content creators answer this question incorrectly, then YouTube may enforce civil penalties or remove their content from the platform altogether for that dishonest answer. In addition, there will be machine learning software implemented that will do a sweep of videos on YouTube that may fall under the category such as kids’ toys, games, etc. If the software finds this in a video, it will automatically label it as kids’ content.

Grace: That's really intriguing considering that videos are often used by arts managers and arts organizations specifically to draw in audiences. And I'm thinking here specifically, of maybe, let's say, museums that are doing videos to try and draw in kids for educational purposes or to, you know, engage them in upcoming exhibits that they may be having, programs that they have as well. So, I'm wondering, you know, is this something that you think arts educators, arts managers, maybe need to watch out for, depending on what kind of unintended consequences videos could have if they're tagged incorrectly?

Alyssa: Well, just watching out for the COPPA law in general is something to keep in mind. But unfortunately, if you want to use your video statistics to see if you're indeed reaching your intended audience, that may no longer be possible because if your video is labeled as kids content, then YouTube is going to automatically assume that a child is watching, regardless of the actual age of the viewer. So, your video may not be able to track who exactly your audience is or whether you're reaching them or not. And if you happen to make kids videos, and you happen to make a profit from those videos based on ad revenue, then you might suddenly take a massive financial hit as well.

In addition, if you create an ad for kids that maybe broadcasts on YouTube, it may be only broadcast in videos based on the videos content rather than its user data. So, you'll potentially lose ad views and revenue too that way.

Grace: Could this affect videos that currently are already on YouTube's platform? So, thinking of the case, I know that you said that you were uploading a video itself and were asked, but do you think it will affect videos that are currently already in existence? Or is YouTube already potentially doing something about that?

Alyssa: I believe they fully are. Regardless of whether videos are still currently being uploaded right now or whether they are already there, they still will fall under that COPPA law therefore, that that machine learning software may pick it out and label it for you. No, I 100% believe that they're keeping an eye on all the videos regardless of whether it's uploaded now or whether it will be uploaded in the future.

Grace: Interesting. Thank you.

Alyssa: Alright, so according to contributor Irena Ivanova, CBS News, attorney generals in 48 states are launching antitrust investigations against Google for potential monopolistic behavior. This investigation will focus mainly on details on Google's advertising market and its current dominance in the industry. So, this is something that arts marketers may also want to keep an eye on, for the story, as investigations could lead to even more potential changes in institutionally paid Google ads.

Grace: To end our episode on a slightly more artistic note, we’re taking a look at a recent article discussing art made with AR, or augmented reality. It's no surprise that companies, organizations, and the arts are adapting the technology in art spaces and experimenting with it. In fact, the article that we're discussing today from Peter Rubin on Wired, titled “Apple Puts the AR in Art (and in transparent sky being)”, mentioned this very exact trend.

Alyssa: The cities of San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, and London featured six different AR art walking tours around select locations of the city. Each walk last about two hours, and it's available at six at the 500 Apple stores around the globe. The Wired article confirms that all six artists are in each city, but each experience is so different because of each city's natural layout.

Grace: Alyssa, would you mind explaining for our listeners how the tour portion works? What is it about Apple's AR art that’s so different from other exhibits that may be similar?

Alyssa: Oh, absolutely. So, part of the success of the art includes Apple employees acting as tour guides for each group to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This includes the employees guiding each audience member around the tour correctly and to each specific spot so that the AR art may be triggered effectively.

Grace: So, if I - let's say I was participating in an AR art tour, do I need an Apple de-, an Apple device to participate in the tour? Or can I bring whatever kind of technology I want?

Alyssa: Well, you actually don't need to participate in the tour and have any sort of gear because Apple devices are automatically provided to enjoy the experience. This includes headphones as well. You can bring your own air pods if you have that option, but in case you need them Apple will provide those headphones for you as well. So, in that way, plus the fact that the tour is free, it's a lot more inclusive, but unfortunately, it's still limited to the six cities so not everybody gets to experience the tour.

Grace: So, the article states that this is a pretty ambitious choice to move AR art out into these public spaces and have it all work correctly. It seems to have attracted attention too, since it's no longer possible to book reservations for any of the art walks. So, we have a new smoothly running software and it's gathering enough audience attention, but the question is, do you think this will be enough to inspire a new and permanent interest for art?

Alyssa: You know, it might just be enough, it really depends on each audience member. Um, but what might be a more effective way of creating that permanent interest is to maybe create a follow up on the experience or a recommendation for where they see more visual art. What do you think?

Grace: I'm curious, it… Part of the point for many organizations implementing these kinds of exhibits seems should be more from the focus of increasing audience engagement, whether that means a current audience or drawing in new audience members. So, I'm wondering whether or not this is really a viable solution. Based on how this particular experience is set up, it appears to be very ephemeral, something you pointed out as well. And without an incentive to maintain a relationship of some kind with the art that's a part of the experience, or the art found in the cities, I just wonder whether the momentum that's potentially gained runs the risk of dying and whether or not that ephemeral quality is something that arts managers, or artists, or even audience members are going to be attracted to? I know that ephemerality for a lot of different things is very, very attractive to a lot of different audience members, but when you're talking about new bringing in new people, I just I wonder if it's something that needs to be expanded, considering that we've already seen that these tours are booked completely through the end of the year, potentially. So, I'm just wondering whether or not this is something that can be expanded or if other arts organizations can use this model effectively.

Alyssa: You know, there's an interesting example that I found, that might bring up the point that, you know, like, part of that experience depends on the quality of, of the art as well. So, for example, in 2017, Snapchat had attempted a similar experience in Central Park [New York City] with Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog Art. And unfortunately, TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper described this experience as “mediocre, crashy, and lame”. So, you know, it's one thing to have your AR art to be engaging and interesting, maybe even interactable, but perhaps the most basic prerequisites to AR art’s success, and maybe Apple is accomplishing this within their own AR art, maybe that prerequisite is inspiring that emotional response. The most significant difference that I pick out between these two experiences, is that Snapchat’s AR art simply included statue art, while AR’s art experiences give gives you a poem or tells you a story. Can you think of any other sorts of requirements that there might be for AR art that an arts manager should be aware of?

Grace: I think one of the most important things, and many arts managers probably would say something similar, is that it needs to run as smoothly as possible. With interruptions or, you know, if there's technologi-, technologies, excuse me, that doesn't work properly, or if an audience member is having trouble using the art, that disrupts the experience. And I think that is something that's very, very important. It needs to run smoothly so that whatever kind of experience, whether it's an emotional one, or a visual one - I mean you can go on and on with what kinds these are - that has to remain solid. And if it doesn't, then you run the risk of people losing interest before you've even begun. So that's one thing that I think would be really important. I’d be interesting [inaudible] interested to hear maybe what some of our listeners think about how these kinds of experiences could be, you know, potentially used effectively.

Alyssa: Oh, absolutely. I would be interested to hear that response as well. Like, personally, there's been a few times where I've tried out some of this new technology, including your experiences, but I lost interest because I couldn't get it to work. So maybe there are several other viewers out there that had that same experience.

Alright, so [inaudible] unfortunately reservations can indeed no longer be booked on Apple com for any of these viewers. But if you're near an Apple store, and would like to learn more about using AR, you can still go to a store to check out a Nick Cave installation called Amass, which is available at all Apple locations. In addition, you can sign up for free a AR lab at select Apple stores to learn a little bit more about AR coding and creation. And these reservations can also be booked on Apple com. Although as a disclaimer, we're not sponsored or endorsed in any way by Apple. [multiple voices, laughter]

Grace: There's also I believe, on YouTube, there's quite a plethora of videos that one can go see our view, just to learn a bit more about AR art, as well as just AR in general. So, if you're interested, and there's not an Apple store near you, YouTube is always a good alternative.

Alyssa: Yeah, we're just telling you where to … where to, where to see everything.

Grace: So, Alyssa, just to close us out, what is upcoming for the AMT Lab podcasts?

Alyssa: Alright, cool. So, we have two articles that are coming up within the entertainment industry management realm. We have Sony Part Two coming out, which is the second half of an industry and competitive analysis completed by Carnegie Mellon's Master of Entertainment Industry Management students and there is a PSP research article coming out as well for gender and ethnic diversity and video games. In addition, we have another podcast coming out in a couple of weeks and that will feature myself and Lydia [Chief Editor of Research at AMT Lab] talking about art and technology in educational spaces.

Grace: Wonderful, well thank you so much for joining me this afternoon for our wonderful start of the in the news and I look forward to our next one.

Alyssa: Oh, absolutely. Thank you for joining me as well.


Thanks for listening to the Arts Management and Technology Lab podcast series. You can read more the intersection between the Arts and Technology at www.amt-lab.org, or you can listen to more interviews and discussions and our podcast series on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or Stitcher. Thank you for joining us.

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