The future of ...

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

Publisher Sanoma personalizes samples

Publisher Sanoma has started a test in its Dutch magazines Libelle and Viva, in which readers can order samples and have them sent home by sending a text message. Usually samples of shampoo for instance are glued on a magazine, so every reader will get the sample. In this test the reader will take the initiative, and with that the publisher will be able to gather pithy profile information. (em, Dutch). Brands are sending their messages more and more targeted, and wait for their target to answer. Samples used to be sent to everyone (like mass communication), now they are sent to people who take the initiative themselves, and later brands will know exactly what people they have to provide with samples. Maybe not only the people who will personally benefit from the product, but also the people who play an important role in word-of-mouth advertising. Those people then don’t just get a sample: they will get the whole bottle sent to them, in a special box and with a handwritten letter. This is a small step in that direction.

Google remembers where you were

Google now remembers, besides your last search queries, also what web sites you have visited: the web history. Google uses this information to personalize search results (dc, Dutch). Brands are getting more personal and resume the dialogue where it stopped the last time. Google is pioneering in this. You will be able to ask Google where you have been. First online, and later also in the physical world. Computers are very good in remembering, whereas people tend to forget things every now and then. We like to leave remembering to technology. In the future we will find it normal for brands to remember every brand-consumer interaction, and share that knowledge with us. This is a small step in that direction.

Humanoid one step closer again

Hiroshi Ishiguro from the Japanese Intelligent Robotics Lab has designed a robot which down to the tiniest of details resembles himself. The skin tone, the hair color and length, the glasses. Even inside the robot all kinds of technologies are used to make it look as human as possible. It contains 50 sensors and motors, it can see through its ‘eyes’, talk through its internal speaker and shrug or scowl if prodded and poked. Even the breathing is imitated. At first, you may feel strange about the android,” said Dr Ishiguro. “However, once you are drawn into a conversation, you will forget every difference and feel totally comfortable to speak with it and look it in the eyes.” (dm). We imitate humans down to the tiniest of details. We have a natural motive to build things that looks just like ourselves. It started with drawings, later with dolls and chat bots. And it doesn’t stop. With these kinds of robots we will be able to do whatever we want. Cheer in a football stadium (after buying a ticket), use him as a servant, or - of course - as a sex toy. Brands will use him (and her) for service in cinemas, to load and unload the shopping, or to make a just opened restaurant look crowded. This way the movie WestWorld from 1973 slowly becomes reality, and we massively dive into the experience economy. We will have to wait for this a couple more years though. Until then we just keep on building tomorrow’s brands.

Dutch finds your discount

Through Dutch website Dutch consumers can find daily lists of all discounted products for that day. This way we slowly get insight in prices. All prices in the physical as well as the virtual world will be available everywhere. Wherever we go in a street, whatever we will be, we will always be able to find a place to get what we want for less. Worldwide. As a result, prices will be more or less equal in the future. In the long term it will even be “whatever you want to pay for it”. Then we will get special prices for special clients again. Even the purchase price for the retailer could change afterwards if a loyal client of the brand wanted to buy a brand product. The client then could get this product at a reduced price or maybe even for free. It might be an ardent tester who has written lots of positive reviews about this brand. The brand then obviously wants to give this customer a special deal. This way ‘price’ gets a totally different meaning. This is a small step in that direction.

Barbie now has her own virtual world

Children can now stroll in Barbie Girls, a world in which they can design their own characters, decorate their own rooms, and try on clothes. In the cinema they can see Mattel commercials with which they can earn b-bkucks, points to be used for furniture in their rooms, accessories, outfits and more. Other Mattel products have special codes which reveal even more content. Shortly there will be a “doll-inspired handheld portable device”, making a direct connection with the content and activities at, like adopting a virtual pet (mt). This way, the virtual world slowly comes to life. We connect everything to each other. In the future, if we change our physical Barbie into a different dress, we will see that even our Barbie avatar has changed. And the dirty dress will, complete with stains, hang in the virtual wardrobe. We will be able to design a new Barbie, make a holographic projection of it in our own house or somebody else’s house, and have it manufactured should we wish to do so.

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