The future of ...

Erwin van Lun predict the long term future and blogs about developments today gradually shaping that future. Also in Dutch

Apple shows YouTube videos

Apple will show YouTube videos on the new Apple TV, the digital appliance that makes a wireless connection between computer and TV (am). This way a new home entertainment coaching brand could evolve: a brand that entertains you while sitting on your sofa, interactive or not, with all possible content ever made in the whole world. Completeness is important in the development of these kinds of brands. YouTube videos thus should be in there too.

French newspaper L’Echos on e-paper

French newspaper L’Echos will soon be available on ePaper: electronic thin and rollable paper that has the same sharpness as print, and that doesn’t use any power once it is loaded. This ‘paper’ is integrated in the iLiad, a kind of pda that contains the ePaper (later it will be available separately), which thus can show the texts and images. Users can download an actualized version of the paper through a wifi-connection a couple of times a day. It is also possible to take notes on the paper, which then are stored in the iLiad (em, Dutch). Now newspapers are experimenting with e-paper in a PDA; in the future all brands will be accessible through these kinds of displays. This again is a new interface to the virtual world.

bol.com sells second-hand books

bol.com now also sells second-hand books. This shows that adding value to the lives of people is what it’s all about. If a consumer doesn’t value a new book more than a used book, brands offer a used item. All retail brands will start doing that. It started with cars, now we have books, what will be next… But even that is just the beginning. In the end brand manufacturers will keep in touch with every product through RFID chips, connected to the internet. The manufacturer won’t guarantee the product for years, but it will keep offering (automated) help for years and years. This is the evolution in which not just sender and receiver, but also products lose their anonymity.

Google lets you search in foreign languages

Google now lets you search in foreign languages. If you type ‘wine tasting in Bordeaux’, you can search through French web sites, and get the results back in English (gb). Brands start speaking the consumer’s language. They understand the language, the word choices, and place them in their context. Google is still in the lead, but all brands will be able to do this sooner or later.

FogScreen: ‘dry’ foggy displays

It is now possible to use water to make a dry (!) interactive 3D screen. In this FogScreen, a Finnish invention, movies, interactive games or people can be projected. The image is created by a PC, we can walk through the screen and it reacts at our fingers. As if sprinkles are falling from the sky, and we can catch them (fc). We make more and more screens for entering the virtual world. This kind of screens we will be able to show at all kinds of public locations. We determine what we see: where we are (virtually), who we see and what brands we interact with. This is a small step in that direction. Watch the video, especially the beginning and end:


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Top Gear Magazine gives free shares in Spyker

Top Gear Magazine is giving away free shares in sports car brand Spyker for every new yearly subscription this month. The expectation is not for these new subscribers to directly cause an explosion of the exchange rate, but a subscriber does become a co-owner of Spyker (sb, Dutch). The roles of customers and share holders become similar. Especially for brands for whom a long term relation is relevant, as in extreme is the case for coaching brands, ownership will be in consumers’ hands. For cars this will be less relevant, but this example shows that ownership of companies is no longer just reserved for third parties through stock exchange for example. People who feel involved with a brand will own it. 

Elave goes naked

British cosmetics brand Elave has made a video clip for her campaign nothing-to-hide in which she explains how her products work. As the production processes as well as the ingredients are completely in balance with nature, Elave has “nothing to hide”, and so all people in this clip are fully naked. Even the CEO of the company, 38-year old Joanna Gardiner, has a (minor) part in the clip. As a result of this, every visitor of the web site has to confirm to be older than 18 (mf, Dutch). When brands can’t reach consumers any more through mass communication media, they need to find ways to use consumers to spread the word. One way to get attention is to pass moral limits. This viral clearly succeeded in getting that attention.

Google makes mobile version of calendar

Google has created a mobile version of the Google Calendar, which has been optimized for the small mobile display (dc, Dutch). Brands are getting ready to be reached through every possible display: very tiny, a little bit bigger, PC size, TV size, or life-size holographic projection. All possible displays however enter one and the same world. The difference is in the size: it is like peeping through a keyhole, or open the door wide and walk right in. We see or experience virtual 3D brand worlds in which we are welcomed by the virtual brand agents. But first we need to make sure that the different displays link up to each other. This is a step in that direction.

Cheap gas realtime on the map

Through mobile application CheapGas  consumers now can get information on cheap gas while they are on the road, filtered by brand preferences. (cz). We connect everything. Product information used to be hard to get, now we get it presented personally and currently, wherever we are. Later our navigation system will take this into account: if you have to get gas, you better take route X or Y. In the end, mobility coaching brands will help you get from A to B, taking all possible circumstances into account: your personal circumstances, your financial circumstances, AND the situation for all possible forms of transport. This is a small step in that direction.

Star Wars fans edit film clips

Star Wars fans from now on can edit their beloved movies. Through Star Wars Mashup they can edit clips, share them with others in the Star Wars community, and publish them on their own web logs (cz). This way, people co-create the movies. At this time still after the movie has been edited professionally. Later we will be able to use the raw materials to create our own movie. And games of course. Step by step even interactive image experiences become co-creation projects. This is a small step in that direction.

Facebook gets users involved

Users of one of the biggest online social networks in the world: Facebook, from now on can develop applications for this social network, and share them with others. Facebook provides the tools that even an 8-year-old should be able to use (em, Dutch). Brands are experiencing a brand coming out: the border between employee and consumer fades, the brand manager becomes a facilitator, and the brand grows stronger than ever. This is a small step in that direction.

Brands will develop plays

BrandBase, a company that develops brand activation programs for big brands, developed a concept for theater company Alaska, in which the new performance ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’ through private sponsoring will be free for the public. Individuals and companies can buy a piece of scenery and place their logo on it. The logos will be visible for two months, the price varies between 100-500 euro. (mb). Although the presence of brands at the set generally will not be appreciated, I see great possibilities for brands in the future. Especially the theater world continuously finds new and creative solutions, especially the theater world is constantly looking for financial support and especially in the theater world there are many high-educated people with an extended social network. A perfect place for brands to be active.


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Joox: movies directly in the browser

Through Joox (not to be confused with big brother Joost) users can now directly see a good amount of movies (with or without subtitles), directly from the browser (mf, Dutch). With this, Joox lays the foundation to grow into a home entertainment coaching brand, a brand that entertains you while you sit on the sofa. Joox will have to work his way through some difficult processes, as at the moment the content probably is completely illegal. At least this shows us now how easy it will be in the future. In the end these types of brands will have all movies available (with or without subtitles), in all languages and at every display. This is a small step in that direction.

Loblaws puts reviews at the centre of stores

Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws puts reviews of its house brand products President’s Choice at the centre of its stores. Consumers can write reviews and give ratings at the website. These then are printed on posters, on staff T-shirts, and on the shelves. Loblaws calls this shelf talk: “Jason from Regina, Saskatchewan, says: ‘This is the best cookie I’ve ever tasted.’” (ms). Brands, even retail brands, unite more and more people. Now online through the web site, later we will be able to leave our spoken review in the store: “this is really yummy, only the top is not so handy.” And this will directly be added to our personal profile. If we are in a foreign country and we see a new product there, we can tell our own brand: “I want this in my home store.” And this can be done world wide. This way the customer is in the lead in every possible way. Which actually seems logical, as the consumer is the one who pays. This is a small step in that direction.

Interactive radio commercial

NS International has placed a short interactive commercial in the online Sky Radio broadcasting. Whoever listened to Sky Radio through the special Sky Radio Music player, saw an advertisement which lead to an action site after clicking. On air, a different commercial was played. NS International is the first to experiment with this new kind of advertising (em, Dutch). Radio also becomes interactive. Now in a special player, later in every spot we choose to listen to the radio. We will be able to (verbally) react to anything we hear, to get more information or to undertake action. By that time interrupting commercials will have disappeared, however we will fully start dialogues with brands. But only when we feel like it. This is a small step in that direction.

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