Holden argued that we are half way through a ten-year period of social media revolution that is radically changing not just the world of communications, but also the very fabric of social interactions. "We are only half way through the social media era," he noted. "And things are going to get much more interesting in the second half."
Holden's session was all about the future, and he looked at where technology will be at by 2016 in three major areas: infrastructure (high speed broadband, 4G, cloud storage); interface (flexible screens, ultra HD, connected TV); and internet (social commerce, integrated vertical search, web socialisation).
More importantly, though, he examined what this technology will mean for society. Crucially, he said, everyone will own a smartphone, and an increasing number of social interactions will be made via mobile. "In Asia, a business must think of itself as mobile first, particularly now with smart phone search."
So how will this new future impact brands? "The socialisation of TV will mean great opportunities for brands," he said. "But it will also lead to grave threats such as the danger of social contagion. Brands will need teams working through the night to manage this in real time."
One of the key considerations for the future will be the power of the social networkers, or what Holden preferred to call 'independent media owners'. "These are all very important," he said. "They all link to each other and are all very influential. [By 2016] there will be powerful social networks, which will put massive pressure on marketers and agencies."