Tag Archives: Trends

Audio, Haptics and other changes in the way we interact with technology

6 Mar

SXSW kicks off on the 9th and I’m looking forward to seeing what particular hits, misses and hypes come up.

But beyond the usual “marketing tech” I think the most interesting areas at the moment are around the way we physically interact with technology and media.

Two of the most innovative areas are Audio and Haptic technologies.

Audio

Audio in interaction design terms has been a long neglected area that is now exploding in terms of possibility and the potential for mainstream exploitation and adoption. The poster-child is obviously Siri on the iPhone 4s or Iris on Android but Ford has been employing Microsoft Sync—which also uses voice control extensively—in its cars for a few years, even in lower cost vehicles aimed at younger drivers. However, it is the use of Audio based interactions in the real or entertainment worlds where the interesting applications apply.

Sonic Notify is an interesting example. It uses Audio detection to deliver tailored and synched media content to people in a store, in front of a TV or at a concert. The media is actually transferred over audio via “the communication of data in the ultra high-frequency inaudible range between any speaker and microphone. The [Sonic Notify] decoding algorithm enables a common process for extracting data from audio using any microphone on any smartphone or tablet.”

If you can cope with the intense American spokes-model-weirdo below there’s an interesting demo:

Media can effectively “piggy back” on TV soundtracks, store PA systems, or radio ads and offer a richer experience without people having to use their own data allowances.

Similar Audio driven interactions are found in the eBay Application which synchs content and goods displayed with the TV programme people are watching – more Retail TV than Social TV or IntoNow.

Haptics

Haptic technology is all about touch. It is incredibly personal and all about giving natural instantly understandable feedback to people. It is when technology starts to make a physical connection with people. It has been described as “doing for the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision”.

We’re starting to see more high end implementations such Surgical Robots but the idea is leaking into more and more concept products such as the Seabird phone.

Or even concept haptic speakers.

sourdine_arnaud_lapierre_yatzer_2

Or potentially something (anything) that could save the Blackberry smart-ish-phone.

But ultimately Haptics is more than waving your hands or body in the air (Kinect) or trying to use a holographic projection or wall mounted Tablet (like Samsung’s CES Innovation award-winning Smart Window) which rapidly leads to a heavy, tired sensation, or “Gorilla Arm” as Human Computer Interface designers call it.

It is about creating a dynamic tactile medium which should be able to tangibly represent almost anything. That might be through a descendent of deformable materials (Shape Memory-alloy or Electroactive Polymers) or a descendent of haptic holography.

It is the Tangible User Interface and will play a big role in the future of mobile devices or even flexible eReader Paper.

So far, so Sci-fi, but could Haptic technology make the mainstream sooner than we think? If there’s anyone who can the technology into real people’s hands – not just those of early adopters – it’s the people at Apple.

The invite to the iPad 3 (or iPad HD?) launch hints that “We have something you really have to see. And touch” and people are taking this to be a trial for possible use of haptics.

If so it could be “a technology from Senseg, a Finnish startup which has developed a system called E-Sense which appears to give texture to a touchscreen. By using “tixels” generated by electric fields from elements embedded around the screen, it can make areas of the screen feel rough, ridged or rounded – and change those just as the screen pixels can change.” Guardian.

We’ll see soon. It could be hype.

It could be a red herring.

it could be a disappointment like the iPhone 5.

Hopefully it won’t be as under-whelming and over-priced as iAds. 😉

Trends for 2012 (and 2011)

13 Jan

JWT Intelligence in New York have put together their Annual Trend presentation – JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2012

 

There’s lots of nice examples and from my own perspective I believe 2012 is all about the multi-screen strategy – with multi-screen UX & content strategies optimised by data analytics directly linked to business metrics.

This increasing focus on analytics and earned/owned media will mean that the capability of analysing large data sets will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.

But then what do I know? Anyway, while clearing out my folders I found the note below which was my list of predictions for 2011. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow some of them up with examples over the next few weeks. The future ones for the next 5 years are a bit miserable though…

5 Questions related to the digital consumer experience for 2011

  1. “How can we move beyond reacting quickly and actually anticipate people’s needs in advance?”
  2. “What happens when mobile is someone’s only experience of the web?”
  3. “What happens when language is no longer a barrier and influences are global?”
  4. 
“How can we grab people’s attention when there is so much out there vying for it?”
  5. 
“How will people respond as more and more of their information and actions are public?”


Technology Themes for 2011

  • Real-time tracking, business transparency and flexibility
  • 
LTE, Streaming Home networks & personalised, on-demand content
  • Voice recognition, privacy groups and collaboration
  • Sensors & Internet of Things
Personalisation and predictive assistance
  • 
Multi-touch, portability and work/personal blending
  • 
Cloud-based entertainment subscriptions
  • 
Virtual Telepresence
  • Tangible User Interface
  • Geolocation, Game-mechanics, Digital to real social
  • Gaming and SocialTV intersection
  • Personal relationships, Cloud-computing and Single customer view
  • 
Automatic multi-tasking and background activity


Possible wider cultural trends & influences for the next 5 years

  • The admission (and panic) that we hit peak oil in mid-00’s
  • 
4th wave of global financial crisis (2nd wave 2011/12, 3rd 2016)
  • 
Power and food prices rocket (200% increase in consumer electricity and gas costs by 2015)
  • 
A marked increase in societal polarisation in western economies as the middle-class dissipates and states fragment.
  • China secures (financially & militarily) its ownership of natural and economic resources abroad
  • 
First wave of massive Malthusian positive checks

Privacy as a luxury good for 2011

17 Dec

From DeleteMe to Path, it looks like a renewed desire for privacy and a retreat to smaller social networks where you actually “know” your friends are together shaping up to be a key trend for 2011.

Dana Boyd’s thoughts on this area are leading the way but in the meantime some businesses are already dipping their toes in the water.

It’s just a shame that Path, the first great hyped service in this area, turns out to be so…well…spammy…

Anyway while we’re crystal ball gazing, my money is on Facebook moving into online dating in 2011 using the social graph to do away with those questionnaires & offer really compatible matches. Maybe even a little purchase of OkCupid?

10 trends for 2011 in 2.15mins

1 Dec

A little video intro to the JWTIntelligence 2011 Trends report…

ECommerce, Social commerce and multichannel innovations

15 Jul

A presentation looking at a decade (& more) of eCommerce growth, the fragmentation of user journeys into a multi-channel experience and the new world and innovations of Social Commerce.

iPhones and the App Economy – what, how and why?

11 Mar app_economy

In the spirit of sharing here’s a collection of stats and approaches we’ve been working with for clients.

Real-time in Romania

11 Mar

Just got back from snowy Bucharest in Romania where I was lucky enough to present at one of Orange’s Meet-up Events.

I have to thank Anca, her colleagues at Orange Romania (and it was good to see Vanessa again who flew over!) and the audience for making me feel really welcome plus the bloggers who have been really nice afterwards.

The presentation was the Real-time part of my 2010 Trends piece with a few extras and updates thrown in so if you want a few more diagrams about real-time customer service via Twitter and some more up-to-date graphs and examples you can find it below. The bad shirt can be found in a shop in London.

And I even got a Penguin for the team back in London.

2010 Digital Trends, Ideas and Technologies (Part 1)

5 Jan 2010_trends

Here is Part 1 (of 2, maybe 2 and a half) of our 2010 Digital Trends, Ideas and Technologies presentation that I finished off over Christmas. It’s based around 4 Themes, which are each broken into 2 areas of focus/exploration:

It is in Beta (or that’s my excuse for a couple of gaps) and draws on a lot of ideas from some interesting people who make the strategy and digital creative world a good place . I’ll be posting the full list of sources here but in the meantime any feedback, ideas or input is gratefully accepted.

————————

Update: The presentation has now been voted onto the homepage and then chosen as a Top Presentation of the Day of Slideshare.net and picked for the homepage of noteandpoint.com. Thank you very much.

Social Media monitoring and the spectrum of online relationships

1 Oct Fig. 1

I got talking to the COI the other day about online PR, Word of Mouth and Social Media and the conversation turned to the problems of ROI and monitoring.

I’ve sat in too many Social Media presentations that promise a bit about ROI at the end but instead of a practical approach just mention “the power of conversations”, list a few free tools and then mention one of the larger monitoring services.

Unfortunately despite people intuitively knowing that the social and consumer-centric business approach is the future for marketing and communications, this won’t convince a CFO or the global board. They like models and numbers.

So off the back of this I took an earlier post based on some of Mike Arauz’s thinking and started to try and categorise the numerous, different monitoring techniques out there to make comparing like with like more possible.

Anyway here goes…

An approach to Social Media Monitoring and measurement based on the spectrum of online relationships

Increasingly the value of an idea is not in its initial direct exposure, blog mention or spot/insertion in a publication, but in the value or social currency it provides to the audience. This social oxygen value enables the idea to spread socially.

Social Media campaigns are uniquely measurable but not all measures are equal and indicate true effectiveness. Different social media actions or online conversations have different values and influences upon consumer behaviour.

Multiple metrics, from number of followers and fans, to positive or negative sentiment, to reposts and influencer mentions, can be difficult to distinguish from one another. In effect we can become trapped in a state of analysis paralysis where there is too much social media data and too little understanding.

An agreed industry standard is needed but, until a consensus arises, we have developed a structure to categorise the value of different monitoring tools/metrics and start building an measurement and tracking model.

Fig. 1

fig. 1 – Spectrum of Online Relationships

By classifying social media conversations into three categories – Exposure, Engagement, Collaboration – based on the Spectrum of Online Relationships that underpin them (fig 1), we can group their associated metrics and monitoring approaches (fig 2). Then by examining the overall performance of the activity in each category we can begin to establish the effectiveness and conversion rate of social media campaigns and ongoing activity.

The idea is to simplify all the different effectiveness measures out there so comparisons/trends can be made and then these can then used alongside true Social ROI calculations.

Fig. 2 - Social Media ROI Metrics and Measurement Techniques

fig. 2 - Social Media Monitoring, Metrics and measurement tools by category

Categorising social media activity this way means it is possible to take a holistic approach and use aggregates of the different monitoring techniques – and metrics that will vary according to the nature of every campaign and its platform type – to compare the performance between each category and hence work out the relative success of the social media activity. The ultimate goal of this approach is to be able to compare the effectiveness of different social media campaigns when comparing like with like is often difficult.

Using this structure means that the results of the Exposure, Engagement and Collaboration categories can be compared to identify performance and trends.

I’ve arrange an example of this way of thinking as an equation (which is sure to attract the wrath of Anna O’Brien who rightly points out the falseness of the different social media “ROI metrics” and silly equations out there) but it is not meant to be a magic bullet or mathematically sound – it is a visual way of structuring thinking about the principles at play.

For example, one measure of a social media campaign’s momentum – Social Media Traction – would be to compare the ratio of Engagement performance to Exposure performance (Fig 3) where a +1 would indicate success and social media momentum as people moved from being merely exposed to a campaign to becoming more engaged.

Any measure/inputs of Exposure or Engagement (or even Collaboration) would differ for each campaign and organisation – as I said earlier the idea is to simplify the different effectiveness measures and monitoring techniques so comparisons can be made and trends identified.

fig. 3 – A way of thinking about a campaign’s traction by comparing performance in the Exposure and Engagement categories

fig. 3 – A way of thinking about a campaign’s traction by comparing performance in the Exposure and Engagement categories

Equally using this approach to define Social Media Conversion and Advocacy would require a focus on activity and metrics within the Collaboration category. Indeed, the ratio between Engagement performance and Collaboration performance could be seen as being an indicator of people moving from discovering, sharing and “playing” with content to acting upon it – whether making it their own passion or hopefully even changing purchasing behaviour.

Ultimately this proposed approach to Social Media monitoring/measurement will need to be linked back to ROI. Can we prove whether good results in either category – or a good Social Media Traction or  Social Media Conversion and Advocacy score – can relate to a lower Cost per Acquisition or an increase sales?

This will require someone much better at maths than me but I believe that some agreed structure and model is vital to proving the long term value of social media and the real web to the board and CFO.

Augmented reality future of mobile search and other AR applications

15 Jun future_search2_petitinvention

future_search2_petitinvention

Back in summer 2008 I wrote a whitepaper for some of our clients about Cloud and Crowd based creativity and the need to break digital out into the real world away from screens and desks. Back then I included an image by the excellent Petit Invention as a concept vision for the future of mobile search.

Technology moves quickly and a couple of months later there was already a working prototype in the form of Wikitude AR Travel Guide. Using the Android OS on the G1 phone…

“users may hold the phone’s camera against a spectacular mountain range and see the names and heights displayed as overlay mapped with the mountains in the camera. Users may look out of an airplane window to see what is down there. Users may walk through a city like Seville, Spain, holding the phone’s camera against a building and Wikitude tells what it is.”

The application shows that augmented reality can go beyond the initial wow factor (and the peering around the back of an A4 print-out pointed at your webcam while trying to see something on your screen) and the Second Life comparisons.

275

IBM’s Seer Android Beta produced to support it sponsorship of the Wimbledon tennis tournament also shows a commercial application going beyond “marketing fluff”. Using it, visitors can find facilities on ground (locating the nearest restrooms), but more impressively, they can “point the phone at a tennis court, find out the court number and also who’s playing and more crucially, who’s winning”.

Once AR comes to the iPhone properly in an easily accessible form then I think we’ll see a whole new level of usage. The 3G S’s compass combined with Google Latitude and Wikipedia overlays would definitely add up to a powerful and socially changing experience.

Priority Mail’s AR Box Simulator also points at a future for an entertaining application usage but in the meantime here is a collection of 10 augmented reality campaigns that are much more in the fun and novelty area.