This video shows how our apparent creativity strongly depends on the surroundings in which we produce something (fc). It shows we are connected to one another. And it becomes clear that the human body and mind don’t stop at our skin. We are all connected and our creations are consequences of that connectivity. This special, six-minute video again shows us that. It might surprise us now, but what if we really start recognizing and using these capacities? Creativity will take off to great heights. A point of focus for this century!
In this video Celine Dion sings a duet with a holographic Elvis Presley. It looks stunningly real (mf, Dutch). We make the virtual world more and more real, and layer it over the physical world. This way we travel in time and space, and experience whatever we want (as long as we pay for it). However, we only have one life. The right choices for the right experiences in the right order, that will be the biggest challenge. Coaching brands will help us here.
British fashion brand French Connection has a social network A New Movement (mb, Dutch). It is a simple network in which people can upload pictures, add a mask, and add connections with friends. It is an almost complete virtual world. There is hardly any room for text. Symbolic brands build worlds in which they invite people and in which people want to bring their friends. Only symbolic brands can do this because they are a part of people’s identities. Like every world, the world of the brand needs to be exciting. A New Movement therefore will continuously be moving. This is only the beginning.
Lots of advertisers are partnering with Joost, the video distribution platform which is set up grand and globally. Among them are Coca-Cola, HP, Intel, Nike, Garnier Fructis, Kraft, Microsoft, Motorola, Nestlé, Hugo Boss, Sony, United Airlines, Visa, Opel , IBM, L’Oréal Paris, Nokia, Virgin, Vodafone (source: joost). It looks like these brands will first start advertising (unwanted disturbance of the consumer’s video-experience), but I expect the cooperation to develop differently. These brands, especially those brands with a symbolic function, will produce not 30-seconds content, but 30-minute or even 30-hour content. We will love to watch this content when it suits us. It will transport us to the world of the brand and load it in a way never before possible. These partnerships form the first steps in that direction.
Internet provider XS4All shows the status of its help desk on the website. Under the button ‘contact’ is no phone number, but the text ‘phone queue’. A meter continuously shows the busyness, while the accompanying text says: ‘It is very busy’, or ‘It is getting busier.’ Only here you will see the phone number, so that anyone who wants to call will first see how busy it is before he or she indeed starts calling. Besides XS4All offers the opportunity to send a text message for free actual information on the phone queue. If it is very busy, the caller will receive another text message when it is quiet again. This way brands start real time dialogues. Later we will be able to see the average queue for a real person, of have our oral question be answered by an artificial brand agent. In the long term, that brand agent will be our primary point of contact. If our virtual XS4All assistant, Xaviera for example, doesn’t know the answer, she suggests: ‘Well, I can’t answer this question. I will connect you to a colleague. At the moment everyone is busy. It will take about five minutes. Shall I have somebody call you back?’ It all seems very normal but this is a regular dialogue that brands need to learn to (automatically) master. And that takes time.
YouTube now also contains fragments of Uitzending Gemist (Missed Episode). It's undoubtedly an experiment because it only contains four fragments. Yet this will spread rapidly. YouTube is developing itself as a home entertainment coaching brand and like with any coaching brand it's all about completeness. Home entertainment coaching brands will soon have contact with the consumer, so also on the television, and transaction brands such as producers will look for maximum distribution. This is a step in that direction.
Philips has applied for a patent for a furry display. The display comprises areas of furry fabric. Through activation by the user, the surface of furry fabrics is electrostatically charged. The furs repel from the surface and each other vertically (like when your hair gets static). If the fur has a different color than the surface beneath it, the color of the pixel will change. When these new types of pixels are put together in a square, a completely new display emerges, which feels very soft (ns). This way we get more and more displays for interfaces with the virtual world. Pillows, sheets, hats, gloves: everything becomes interactive and connected. And through media like these we will communicate with brands. What brands will feel softest?
Hostbasket, the Hosting Solution Provider from Gent (Belgium), introduces Kim: the virtual assistant who can help clients with questions about or advice on hosting packages. It all works through natural language (selfservice company, Dutch). Brands more and more start dialogues with individual consumers. More and more of these dialogues are computerized, to be able to offer 24-hours-a-day service, and to reduce costs. Complex questions are still answered by real people. The consumer however is helped by the computer in most cases, and only rarely gets to speak to a live person. That person then is a real specialist. This is a small step in that direction.
Dutch newcomer Lootzy is a vertical search engine for jobs. Lootzy however doesn’t search job sites: it searches companies’ web pages. A company which has a job opening puts the job description at its own web site (this so happens anyway) and Lootzy puts it in its index (am, Dutch). This way, Lootzy will soon be on its way to completeness. Especially if through standardization of specific web pages (like a vacancy page) Lootzy will be able to gather very specific details of the jobs (full time or part time, exact location, what kind of organization, etc.). Offering the complete supply, Lootzy can then develop into a career coaching brand and have itself represented by a coaching brand agent. You can already see its face.
Through a paid account at Club Penguin kids can fearlessly game, chat and watch. There is a lot of attention for the safety of kids. Parents are updated by email about their kids’ activities. (dc, Dutch) This way the (virtual) experience economy steadily takes shape. We will get high quality content and will pay a lot of money for that. With $5.95 per month this is a good example that it’s really going in that direction.
Albert Heijn (AH), the biggest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, introduces a new service for its customers. When customers visit the new site of ordering service Albert.nl (a joint service by AH, Etos drugstores, and Gall&Gall beverages), they can immediately see the purchases they have previously made at Albert Heijn. A customer types in the loyalty card number, and a list of previously purchased products appears. With one click of the mouse these products can be ordered again, or advice can be obtained on other products. This is a very good way for retailers to recognize their customers in the physical world (the store) as well as the virtual world (the website). The advice we get in the virtual world is based on our shopping in the physical world. And the other way around: in the future we will walk into the AH shop, and through our mobile phone, the shopping cart or another display get advice about products we ordered at Albert.nl. The brand dialogue continues where the conversation between consumer and brand stopped the last time. This is a very strong indication that it is really going in that direction.
Through webkoop.nl consumers get various one-day sales listed on one website (http://www.dutchcowboys.nl/online/10020/fromfeed” title=“dc”>dc, Dutch). This way all information is integrated and linked together. Today we get all one-day sales in one list, later they will be integrated in big virtual shops which contain ALL products and services in a specific branch. It will be the playing field of coaching brands. Including today’s bargains, but also tomorrow’s. We will shop hassle free (in the virtual world). We can even choose if we want to get our stuff at different shops, or get it all at the same one. If we want to get everything delivered at the same time, or in different batches. We will determine how we get it. And the easier it is made for us, the more added value is offered, the more we will pay. This is a small step in that direction.
Joost, the biggest and fastest growing video distribution platform which is still in beta, has reached agreements with independent film and television producers All33Media International, Alliance Atlantis, September Films and Wall to Wall, and also with the independent distributors IndieFlix and Shorts International (bm, Dutch). As up and coming home entertainment coaching brand Joost’s focus is on being complete. That’s why the company earlier signed contracts with the biggest producers from the US. In the end, Joost will contain all content that has ever been made, in all languages, no matter how old. Then Joost will help us select the right supply, or even better: “just give me something.” This is a small step in that direction.
For the first time in history, China’s export in the second half of 2006 outnumbered USA’s. Over the whole year the US were still in the lead, according to publications from the World Trade Organization WTO. Chinese export went up 27 percent last year. As a result the Chinese will probably pass the United States this year. Germany will still be the biggest exporter in the world, however China will probably outnumber this country’s export as early as next year (ld, dutch). The world’s relations will slowly re-establish. In the virtual economy which steadily develops it is all about people and less about raw materials or good local geographical circumstances. In the end (around 2050) the top 5 will be China, India, the USA, Indonesia and Brazil. The Netherlands will drop to the 59th position (in contrast to the current very comfortable sixth position). This news clearly points in that direction. Is it a bad prospect, or should the Netherlands fully focus on European collaboration?
Through snap.com website owners have been able to show an automated preview from the website that will be shown after clicking (on this site we have been using it for a couple of months). This is now replaced by Snap Shots™, with which much more specific information can be shown. Try this: Information about Einstein for example (through Wikipedia), information about a specific fund like Google at the stock exchange (through Yahoo), a video clip about the very innovative Adidas Store in Paris and the like for movies (IMDB), audio (*.mp3) and products (Amazon.com) (snap). This way, the virtual world slowly takes shape. Currently the author still has to program a hyper link, in the near future we can point to what we want and get more information on command. We point our fingers and ask an oral question: What kind of bird is that? Who was Martin Luther King? Where can I order those boots? Our surroundings (read: coaching brands) will answer all those questions. This is a small step in that direction.