Target’s Brad Lucas shares takeaways from SXSW

March 14, 2014 - Article reads in
Brad Lucas at SXSW

Where else but South by Southwest Interactive can you Skype with astronauts and catch keynotes from the world’s most famous astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, fugitive Edward Snowden (live via Internet-feed from Russia), former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation?

A group of Target leaders and recruiters attended the annual tech-and-culture mash-up in Austin, Texas, earlier this week. Brad Lucas, Target’s new director of mobile, was there. Brad’s team is charged with keeping Target at the cutting edge of mobile. He shared these takeaways from SXSW:

Key themes and trends
To me the biggest themes were big data, analytics and mobile technologies—specifically wearable computing. It all revolves around the ability to collect massive amounts of data, which is allowing developers to make very targeted products for consumers. The ability to access and analyze all of this data leads to more innovation and advancement, which in turn spawns another set of innovations.

Technology for health and wellness
So with big data and analytics you now have very, very specific data about a user’s needs, and you can develop a product that is fixated on those needs from day one. Right now there’s significant focus on the health and fitness areas, with devices like Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike Fuelband, and also with genetic engineering and development. I think what we’re seeing is a fundamental shift: While the medical industry’s primary focus is helping people after they have issues, now technology can reverse that course and help people diagnose and treat issues before they have a problem.

What it means for Target
One of the macro themes here is context. What wearable devices are doing is providing the ability to collect contextually relevant and personalized data. What we’re doing at Target is looking at how our guests are using mobile devices in different contexts. We’re getting hyper-focused on making the experience contextually relevant for the guest when they’re at home, when they’re on the go or when they’re in store. We’re trying to understand behaviors better so we can take the friction out of the experiences and drive more value for our guests. There’s a huge opportunity for Target and we’re just scratching the surface. We’re excited to learn more.

Brad’s team and other Target tech and digital teams are hiring. Interested in being part of a team that uses technology to innovate every day? Explore career opportunities at Target.

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