By Stephen Paton

In 2014 45-year-old Chris Dancy became known as the most connected man in the world.  At any given time between 300 and 700 systems captured real-time data about his life.  Covering himself in a variety of wearable technology such as Fitbit and the Pebble smartwatch to name a few, he weighed himself on an Aria Wi-Fi scale, used smartphone controlled Hue lighting at home and slept on a Beddit mattress cover to track his sleep. Even Dancy’s dogs were tracked via Tagg which logged their daily activities. Imagine the mountains of data such a connected person produces.

Sure, Chris Darcy is taking things to the extreme, but each and every one of us is becoming more connected and producing more data so it’s hard to deny that we are the most connected people of all time. Through services like Facebook and WeChat we are connected to our friends and family and LinkedIn and Twitter connect us across our professional lives while modern aircraft and telecommunications connect us across the world.

Yet it’s not just people. The rapidly growing ‘Internet of Things’ is connecting physical objects across the world to produce even more data. In fact the Eyeota Annual Index shows this year alone expenditure on customer data has increased 81% in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is being repeated across the world. A connected world – a world where data enhances all aspects of our lives, leaving a trail where others can learn. A world where machine learning is our best hope of connecting this data to insight. So what does this mean for us and our profession which arose and developed to fill the void in a world where data was scarce?

That is why we are calling on you to get connected. The answers and skills we need are within us and by coming together today we will ensure our place in this new world tomorrow.

Let’s connect ourselves across the APAC region

APAC – diverse, youthful, ready.  According to the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, “The Asia-Pacific region looms as being the strategic cockpit of the 21st century”  while our current Prime Minister calls on us to seize the opportunity for the rebooting of India, economic rebalancing in China, structural reform in Japan, and continued liberalisation of trade and investment across APAC brings. This is also true for all who live or work in the APAC region.

APAC – Full of excitement and opportunity for those that are ready. Through ESOMAR we connect to our profession. Across the diversity of the APAC region, the past to the present, the young to the experienced, client side researchers with supplier side researchers.   Let’s get together to learn and discover.

Let’s connect to our future

Of course change is always hard because we leave behind so much of what has defined us in the past, so much of what we know is right, so much that has helped us get to where we are today. The reality is the world changes so fast we have to discard the past to grab our future and in the APAC region it’s all about the future. So let’s embrace automation and get ready for Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, they’ll be here before you know it. But before that let’s bed down the technology of yesterday. Mobile research opens up new possibilities yet the first mobile phone call was made in 1973, the first smartphone developed in 1996 and the first iPhone almost 10 years ago. Why is it only now that most people are developing an understanding of the value of mobile first in research?

Let’s embrace agile research methods, look to continuously improve the technology and methods of today. Let’s find ways to harness the streams of data and social media that will open us up to understand people. Let’s get connected to map out a future.

Let’s connect to our people

Let’s improve the processes our respondent’s experience, use gamification to improve their experience, use implicit research techniques, Neuroscience and Behavioural Science to answer what they can’t tell us. Then let’s use storytelling and our understanding of people to drive insight into action. None of this is new and all of this is what our ultimate clients are crying out for today.

Finally let’s connect to what’s important to our ultimate client. Since 1837 my company AGL has constantly adapted to be the success it is today. Our vision is “to harness insights to enrich our customer’s lives”, our commitment to “customer centricity”.

The research profession’s offer to companies such as mine is clear. The directions we need to take to deliver are also clear and by connecting to ourselves we reconnect to our relevance and guarantee ourselves a bright future.

So for the 17th ESOMAR Asia Pacific conference the ESOMAR team and the programme committee are proud to bring together a programme that will help you connect.   I hope and know you will enjoy being connected.

なごう!Tsunagou! “Let’s Get Connected!”

After an initial day of workshops on 17 May, we structured ESOMAR APAC 2016 around seven key areas and two interactive sessions over two days:

On May 18

  • Connecting ideas to amplify the value of research
  • Valuable connections with data
  • Connecting storytelling with data (interactive capsule 1)
  • Get connected for a better world

On May 19

  • Connecting with the future
  • Connecting with the young and young at heart
  • Connecting insight with impact (interactive capsule 2)
  • Making the connection | from path to purchase
  • Connected! | the art and science of engagement

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear from clients like Anheuser-Busch InBev, BBC (Global News), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Colgate-Palmolive, Diageo, Google, HP, L’Oreal, My Choices Foundation, Nestlé, The Coca-Cola Company…

There are also a lot of talented people in our profession, many of whom you will get the chance to meet, see and hear at ESOMAR Asia Pacific 2016. See you there!

To register please visit

Stephen Paton, Programme Committee Chair & Manager Research & Insights, AGL Energy, Australia