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Verizon: No, no, we're a big tech company

Commentary: In a new campaign touting "Humanability," Verizon wants you to think of the company as something far more than a wireless provider.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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The phone thing is just a minor part of the business now.

Verizon/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Forget the battles with AT&T and T-Mobile.

That's just so much small-fry nonsense.

Verizon now wants you to think of it in the same breath as, you know, the likes of Google or Apple.

To help you make this Evel Knievel-like mental leap, the company is launching a new campaign touting how Verizon is now joining the ranks of companies that are, oh, making the world a better place.

Entitled "Humanability," the campaign wants to show you how Verizon is "partnering with visionaries from just about every industry you can imagine, using technology and data to turn innovative ideas into reality."

And you thought it was merely the cell phone provider with the best network

Diego Scotti, Verizon's marketing chief, told The Wall Street Journal the new campaign represents "our transition from being seen as a wireless carrier to really putting us squarely in the center, and [as] a leader, as a technology brand. We're expanding from wireless to smart cities, the Internet of Things, telematics and now also the media and ad business."

Nothing says "big tech brand" like entering the ad business.

In the first ads to be released, airing first during NBC's "Sunday Night Football," Verizon touts how it's "reinventing health care" with the use of robots, as well as talking up its 5G network

Another ad describes how Verizon is pioneering intelligent asphalt that it says lets traffic flow more efficiently and in a manner more beneficial to the environment.

A third ad asks (and answers) the question: "How can a sensor the size of a nickel help stop food poisoning?" 

Here, the idea is to use the sensor to track exactly what's happening with foods such as fish and vegetables, or even vaccines, from the moment they're sent to the moment they arrive at the vendor.

At the heart of all this is, of course, money.

The wireless business isn't quite the moneymaker it used to be, so Verizon wants to make wireless a smaller part of its offering. 

This entails needing to alter its image accordingly and expanding its range to far more businesses. 

Some might wonder how the newly acquired attitude of public-spiritedness will sit with Verizon occasionally tossing spittle at its wireless competitors -- as has been the case in the past.

Still, these ads are deftly executed because they don't offer gimmicks, instead feeling much more like documentaries.

Verizon will surely be happy if you see these stories and are surprised. 

Your next step is to be impressed, but that might take a little longer.

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