Microsoft’s Vision for the Future

Microsoft have released a new video suggesting they seek to reposition themselves over the next decade. I think they are on to something:

Their vision for the future is evidently very ambitious, but I believe that if anyone can pull this off, it’s them.

Microsoft’s approach has always been to create user experiences that are improved through exclusive use of Microsoft products. Sure, it’s got them in a  lot of trouble in the past, but it’s their corporate power and knowledge of how technologies (especially theirs) can work together that will best service the user through Ubiquitous Computing and Augmented Reality.

What’s especially interesting to me is that they really seem to have thought past their next release, Surface. It’s great to see something of their overall strategy. Something Apple, Google & Yahoo! are far less forthcoming with.

We are soon to have a Surface installed in the lobby at work. Really looking forward to it, but I’m concerned it’ll be too prescriptive in what it can be  used for. If Surface and any of the featured technologies in the above video suffer the marketing / usability failures of Vista it’ll be years more until these tools become a reality, at the hands of their competitors.

Will feedback on Surface once I’ve had a hands-on.

Introducing… Ubiquity

Very exciting semantic technology for Firefox, that susses out what you are trying to do, and does it for you!

The below video, though highly stylised, is a great indication of our next steps towards Web 3.0, and onwards towards ubiquitous computing in the academic sense, that of interrelating processor-equipped devices/clothing/pens/kitchens etc that share and translate information to improve or simplify our lives.

We’ll need years of research to teach your jacket to stream your favourite album when it notices you’ve been sad lately, but Mozilla have at least made small steps towards mind/machine connectedness by removing a few of those quirks from the internet’s core product – email.

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn’t Fucking Work

This piece from The Onion brutally destroys both Sony, and the wider electronics industry for their shameless plugging of products they ‘think’ we all want. Of course, what we all really need is convergence between existing products, rather than entirely new products that defy comprehension. That aside, check out the video:


Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn’t Fucking Work

Mobile Advertising Gets Clever

QR Code for WAP Address
QR Code for WAP Address

The premise of online media is that it is fully accountable, a feature  that I’m sure contributes to Digital’s continued growth during the recession.
It means I can track from impression to conversion across hundreds of thousands of users.
It means I can optimise towards my best performing sites to maximise ROI.
It means any number of other benefits, which I’ll come to in a later post (heh).

For a couple of years, Mobile has been nought but a testing ground for advertisers, a place to paddle around in experimental waters, usually as a way to get the most out of any remaining budget.
It was impossible to gain true visibility over the results, because the infrastructure was constantly in flux, as the big players fought for their technologies to take precidence.

Now the Mobile space is beginning to settle down, everything is changing…

Our new mobile ad campaign will be the first in the world to run through a third party adserver. In partnership with Nokia and Eyeblaster, my agency have planned and are about to execute the first wholly trackable mobile campaign.  This means the same visibility and efficiencies can be ported to a new medium, from the better established digital cousin of Online.
This breakthrough may very well mean Mobile is a first addition to a plan, rather than a final one.

Yamake


Yamake Shortfilm from Yamake on Vimeo.

Tonight I’m going to a press event for the launch of Yamake, the first user-generated social game for Mobile.

Created by Gameware Development (Cambridge), and published through N-Gage by Nokia, the game allows users to share content with others based on a simple gaming mechanic.

A full review will appear once I’ve got a copy, but in the meantime check out this promo video.

Introducing… DVB-H

Problem:
9% of UK mobile subscribers accessed video on their mobile last month, but just 0.8% accessed Broadcast TV on their mobile. Although the demand exists, broadcasters can’t create an audience for Mobile TV due to technology constraints.

Solution:
DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) enabled devices have an inbuilt chip (top right) that picks up TV signals. They use the same frequency as Freeview, so images are immediate and crystal clear, effectively offering consumers a portable Digital TV.

Market Readiness:
DVB-H is a key feature of Nokia’s new N96 and N92 (bottom left), and we can expect more DVB-H enabled devices in 2009.
Uptake will be slow however, since operators will initially charge users to access the service.
Deals already in place see users spending £2/day to access their partners’ video content, so there is no incentive for operators to promote the service.

Potential for Advertisers:

Mobile TV is no threat to the dominance of ‘at home viewing’ (3.5hrs avg. usage/day) but the behaviours are very different.
The ‘Mobile Audience’ will watch most during travel times: 0800-0930 and 1630-1800, so broadcasters should schedule programming to meet viewer demands.
I predict this will result in mobile-specific variants of existing channels, where popular programs are scheduled during travel times. Advertisers should therefore consider mobile specific creative, tapping into the users’ on-the-move psyche with a firm call to action such as “go in-store now!”

Introducing… The Pico-Projector

mobileinnovation1Problem:
Mobile multimedia capabilities are increasing in uptake and potential, but the small form-factor we so desire in our handsets are beginning to inhibit a rich user experience.
The typical mobile screen size is 320×240.

Solution:
If your mobile has a pico-projector, it will be able to emit high-res imagery onto any suitable surface, up to 50″ in width.
This unlocks the full immersive power of your mobile web browser, 3D games engine, DivX movie player or video conferencing.

Market Readiness:
Pico-projectors are already on sale as stand-alone units, though are yet to be implemented in mobiles, PMPs or laptops.
The first of these hardware mashups will be on sale in the East by the end of this year, but it’ll likely be another 18 months before they reach Western shores.

Potential:
Aside from the new opportunities for deeper engagement with content and software on the mobile platform, the largest socio-cultural change will occur once people begin to share their mobile experience.
Picture regular consumers using the real world as a medium for virtual interaction.
Location-aware video advertising anyone?