Quantitative research began with the first known survey done 24 years after the declaration of independence. It was the U.S. Census.
The first recorded straw polls were used by newspapers to see how the political winds were blowing.
The first recorded straw polls were used by newspapers to see how the political winds were blowing.
Florence Nightingale used sound data to measure the effectiveness of medical practices and developed graphical methods to dramatically display complex statistical information to a broad audience contributing to healthcare reform.
It became common for mass circulating magazines and for radio companies to maintain readers’ panels. And, the Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting (CAB) became the standard for nationwide ratings research.
Woman’s Home Companion launched a panel that reached a population of 1500.
Observational research began when CBS introduced the idea of pantry checks of their panelists to see which brands had appeared and disappeared.
The American Institute of Public Opinion was founded.
George Gallup added more rigor to survey methodology to advance political polling.
Literary Digest’s wealthy readers are polled and predict a landside for Alf Landon. Gallup’s poll with a much smaller but more scientific sample correctly calls it for Franklin Roosevelt.
Coase publishes The Nature of the Firm that establishes the concept that the size of a firm can be reduced as the cost of communication or transactions comes down. This becomes one of the keys to the fragmentation of the industry.
AAPOR (American Association of Public Opinion Research) is born.
Gallup got it wrong. He predicted that Thomas Dewey would win the presidential election. Harry Truman actually won. He didn’t realize the voters were more volatile than he thought and closed his polls two weeks before the election.
The bar code was developed by two graduate students at Drexel .
The Nielsen Audimeter was described in an ad as “…the graphic recording instrument installed in a radio receiver in a scientifically selected radio home. By recording every twist of the dial, every minute of the day or night, the Audimeter obtains precious radio data not available not available through any other means.”
The first commercially available computer is announced. The development of FORTRAN in 1954 accelerated the diffusion of the computer.
The early adopter concept was introduced by Katz and Lazarsfeld starting consideration of opinion leaders and influencers.
Osgood publishes The Measurement of Meaning that introduced the concept of semantic space. He showed that everyone evaluates their social environment in three dimensions – evaluation, power and activity.
Marketing Research Association (MRA) was founded.
Kennedy becomes the first presidential candidate to use political polling in his campaign hiring Louis Harris.
Interest in consumer behavior grew and focus on the environment faded. Motivational Research is pioneered by researchers who thought that the real source of consumer decisions lay in their hidden depths of their unconscious.
Motivational factors transformed into psychographic variables encompassing the fields of attitudes, opinions and interests. These variables were often grouped together into what became know as lifestyles.
Stuart Brand coined the phrase information wants to be free. He said, “On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”
The Domain Name System (DNS) is introduced for the Internet.
The first domain name is issued – symbolics.com.
The first search engine, Archie, is developed. This is the first generally available data mining tool for the Internet .
The World-Wide Web, developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, is released. This becomes the infrastructure needed for the information age. Like the railroad was to steam power, the road system was to cars and the distribution grid was to electric power, the World-Wide Web, accelerated the productivity of information systems and software.
Coase is awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy. Now with the information infrastructure in place, his 1937 idea can be implemented broadly leading to outsourcing, disintermediation or removal of middlemen, flattening of hierarchies and fragmentation.
The Council for Marketing & Opinion Research (CMOR) was formed. The first text message was sent via telephone.
The first online panel was used. The first blog was introduced. Everyone could now become content creators.
The diversified and multifaceted media environment permitted easy mobility across channels and content space producing an evasive or unmanageable consumer whose attention became a scarce resource. To market researchers, consumers began to appear as fragmented, nomadic individuals, moving around in a media saturated life world constantly looking for ways to constitute themselves as subjects.
RealAudio is introduced allowing the World-Wide Web to hear in near real time.
The first wiki was published. A wiki wiki was a fast bus in Hawaii. The term wiki was coined to name quick, collaborative web site development and publication systems.
Wal-Mart pioneered massive data mining to transform its supplier relationships. Wal-Mart captured point-of-sale transactions from over 2,900 stores in 6 countries and continuously transmitted this data to its massive 7.5 terabyte Teradata data warehouse. Wal-Mart allowed more than 3,500 suppliers, to access data on their products and perform data analyses. These suppliers used this data to identify customer buying patterns at the store display level. They used this information to manage local store inventory and identify new merchandising opportunities. Wal-Mart computers processed over 1 million complex data queries.
The Internet Archive, a free and open archive of images, video and software, is created. It also includes the Way Back Machine, an archive of web sites.
Modern instant messaging system is introduced.
The Virtual Room Videoconferencing System (VRVS), a Caltech-CERN project, was introduced.
The first RFID passports ("e-passports") were issued by Malaysia.
The Harris Poll Online predicts accurately 21 out of 22 elections for Governor and Senator.
The open source movement began. While this was originally designed for the development of an operating systems to compete with Microsoft, it rapidly spread to other software tools, and then later to open content creation.
The Interactive Marketing Research Organization (IMRO) was founded.
Brands began to be understood as virtual communities constructed in media space. The value of a brand became connected with the particular experience or emotion that was transmitted in the environment surrounding the product.
Living in a commercialized and surveiled environment entailed producing a double that enters into the circulation of the capitalist economy as raw material for information commodities. This virtual double, or multiple doubles, existed in the virtual world of cyber space.
The key scarce resources of the information economy are immaterial use values like ideas, design, content or innovations.
The Army intelligence unit, Able Danger, identified Mohamed Atta and three other conspirators one year before 9/11 using data mining.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) was introduced.
Low cost online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang come into existence reducing the barriers to online surveying.
The term social software came into use. The topic included the burgeoning list of software that supports interaction and collaboration. The impact of social software resulted in user content creation. Intelligence and insight began to move to group many of whom didn’t even know each other.
The first polling via text messaging was conducted.
Smart Mobs is published. This event accelerated the application of collaborative tools.
The first schizophrenic avatar becomes a inhabitant of Second Life.
The Mexican Attorney General's office implanted 18 of its staff members with a RFID chip to control access to a secure data room.
The Wisdom of Crowds is published opening the way for acceptance of group processes.
YouTube goes online making free distribution of user created videos possible.
Instant messaging in business becomes most rapidly accepted information application ever.
There were 32 million blogs in existence and a new blog was launched every second. Blogs become recognized as a rich well of spontaneous, unsolicited and unbiased public opinion and perception. It is learned that monitoring blogs can tap into timely, relevant insights about what people really think and how they are truly using products and services.
Hitachi developed an RFID chip measuring 0.15 x 0.15mm, and thinner than a sheet of paper. RFID chips used by Wal-Mart and others cost 5 cents each.
Predictive market techniques begin to be used to in place of surveys in a few applications.
Extreme Democracy was published. The event memorializes the uses of social software in politics. Information is gathered from willing participants.
Intelligent agents were use to model markets and transactions with statistical outcomes.
There were 80 million blogs at the end of the year. Also by the end of the year Wikipedia had almost 1.5 million English articles. 694 million people used the internet worldwide.
Second Life had 3 million registered users with peak usage of over 20,000 people concurrently. Real business is conducted in this virtual world (~ $20 million per month). GSD&M, an ad agency, opened Idea City in Second Life where they prototyped ad campaigns.
Skype adds web cams, document sharing features, recording and scheduled programming making web conferences available to anyone at no cost.
The Social Research Foundation officially launched the First Opinions Panel in Second Life. First Opinions was a consumer research panel formed in Second Life to provide Fortune 500 companies with resident insight and feedback on new products, services and policies. The panel was owned by SRF, but it was being exclusively licensed to and managed by MarketTools, a joint venture of P&G and General Mills.
The proliferation of social software tools begun in 2001 continued. These included content management tools, e-mail & mass mobilization tools, tools for polls & surveys, smart mobs & meetups, forums, weblogs & wikis, e-mailing systems & lists, syndication & RSS tools, surveillance tools such as Google, Technorati, Daypop, Feedster & Blogdex, social networking services & directories, and social network analysis tools. The speed of proliferation of these types of tools made it almost impossible to stay current. As their impact signaled a step function change in performance, the collection of tools became known as Web 2.0.
Research clients expected more knowledge and less data faster.
More than half of Internet users who are members of online communities feel as strongly about their virtual communities as they do about their real world communities.
Ning 2.0 is released. Social networks can now be created by anyone, and they have all the features of networks like FaceBook and MySpace.
TalkShoe is launched making Internet narrow/broad cast radio accessible to anyone with no barriers to entry.
MRA launches the Research Technology Consortium – a collaborative to increase innovation and it’s diffusion in the research profession.
The number of events per decade impacting the research profession is increasing.
We’ve looked at 218 years of history. How can we characterize the present?
It’s all about innovation. The present is complex. The future is uncertain.
Here’s a view of some of the events that may happen that will form the context for research over the next nine years.
Consumer electronic devices are all connectable to the Internet. The combination of survey research, qualitative studies, ethnographics and behavioral monitoring are expected in research (market insight). In addition, research includes foresight about the future.
We reach the point where over 90% of people lack trust in established institutions and authority figures and trust their peers as the best sources of information for consumer products.
90% of telephone calls are wireless. 95% of people are computer literate. Most advertising is personalized to the viewer.
Biometrics are used to identify people using the Internet.
Augmented reality with smartifacts readable by personal devices exist in most major urban centers. Both advertising and research are obtained in these augmented realities.
Research client demand segments into two areas. There is need for consultative, research led decision involvement fueled by creative business intelligence and a leveraging of available knowledge to bring foresight and insight. And, there is a demand for standardized routine tracking that is process oriented, global and updated continuously.
Purchasers of research routinely expect the integration of information and insight generated across multiple data sources. 50% of survey revenue is online.
All routine research functions can be performed through software available to anyone.
Electronic response is based on conversational inference. It becomes possible for even qualitative surveys to be done without a person.
Almost all research operations that can be infomated are outsourced or automated. The industry becomes globalized.
RFID tags replace most bar codes. It becomes possible to track both people and goods, and how they interact.
Paper money is replaced by smart cards providing additional tracking capabilities. Internet has ability to transmit 10 gigabytes per second. This is 2500 times the speed in 2007 (4 megabytes per second). A movie can be downloaded in 30 seconds.
An AI (artificial intelligent) entity becomes indistinguishable from a person over the Internet.
90% of survey revenue is online. 3D video conferencing is available.
The role of research is deeply embedded in most institutions. It is now recognized as one of the key elements to any successful endeavor, and plays a key role in decision making. However, the complexities of markets and the technological solutions to deal with those complexities, continue to expand.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Attribution to Paul Schumann, Glocal Vantage, Inc., www.glocalvantage.com.