A whistle-stop tour of emerging digital technologies reads like a novel by George Orwell or Phillip Dick (try them; they're great!). However, if we push aside the most indulgent and fear-inspiring predictions of new-science journalists, an exciting transition into an era of fundamentally mobile and social technologies can be discerned. Keeping on top of these developments is an important facet of Open Creative's business, of course, as it is also emerging that most businesses will have to re-think much of their operations onto social, interactive verticals. And that's what we do best; creating applications, programmes and online products which anticipate the way consumers want to interact with the companies they use. So the question always centres on how this changing this relationship between consumers and business is evolving -or, put another way, how best can we innovate interactive experiences on bith sides of this equation? A big part of this is realizing what technology of the near future holds for us:
"]One of the biggest developments of the last week was social network giants promoting the future of face-to-face online social media. Coming hard on the heels of Google+, Facebook's new partnership with Skype will allow up to ten people to chat at any one time (while the Facebook/Skype video chat feature facilitates just one-on-one video chatting). Looks like the next few years will inaugurate a time in which we all talk at screens instead of on phones, chatting with friends whist co-planning facebook events. Good luck telecoms companies!
Intel's announcement of the new Ultrabook computer chip offers further food for thought on the future of mobile computer technologies. Intels subtle changes to their chip technology which will essentially mean that handhelds, tablets and laptops become much thiner and compact than was previously possible (without loosing out on battery life or spec). The Telegraph reports that, 'Intel has unveiled a new generation of chips that it says will power ‘ultrabook’ laptops and offer significantly increased processing power and battery life. The development [...] will allow slimmer and more stylish laptops that also retain high levels of computing power. The company said it expects 40 per cent of laptops sold in 2012 to be ‘ultrabooks’.' At the same show as Intel's new chip was introduced, Asus uncovered the ‘Padfone’. The Padfone is a mobile that can also be ‘docked’ into a tablet to provide a larger screen. Phones, Tablets and TV seem to be moving towards systems with a single chip technology which can be 'docked' into each.
Context-aware applications are another new technology changing the way that we interact with businesses big and small. They provide improved user experiences by accumulating information about a person's interests, intentions, history, environment, activities, schedule, priorities, connections and preferences. In this way they can anticipate a customers needs and proactively serve up the most appropriate content, product or service. Mobile carriers, along with handset manufacturers, should provide expanded location services to include, among others, directory assistance, mapping, advertising, privacy controls and special offers! We should expect richer mobile commerce capabilities to emerge alongside new context-aware applications, expanding from native apps to the mobile browser as HTML5 starts to be deployed.
And by the early 2020's we are also expected to see the landscape of the internet hugely altered. A recent BBC report suggest that by the 20's the internet will be 'a thriving, low-cost network of billions of devices'. Similarly, Ed Lyell (an expert on the internet and education systems) sees the high publicity which internet eco-terrorism has achieved as 'the harbingers of this likely trend', whereby big business and governments will find it hard to defend against large-scale and coordinated internet movements. Some feel these kind of digital political movements will be tied to the effects of technology, rather than the technology itself, whilst others cite the possibility for widespread civil action around issues such as privacy: "The interesting question is whether these acts will be considered terrorism or civil disobedience" (Marc Rotenberg, The Electronic Privacy Information Center). Either way, a huge increase in access to handheld internet devices and programmes will definitely mean a greater engagement with 'live' political attacks and movements (on which many businesses and charities could well capitalise!).