The future of ...

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

iFashion: have your avatar try your clothes

iFashion is a virtual fashion store from the Shinsegae chain. At the iFashion site you can create your own avatar with your precise measures, have it try on your clothes online, and order them tailor-made. And not just that: the precise measures of your avatar can be stored on a personal card you can use as a standard for ordering clothes, for example through your mobile phone or through the computer (mf, Dutch). And thus the fashion retail branch is also taking new steps. Now you still have to measure yourself, later there will be all kinds of businesses in shopping streets who, on a commercial basis, will take your measurements and give you color and style advice. They will get a percentage over the clothes you buy, or you just pay a price for the service. Fashion coaching brands, iFashion might develop to be one, will help you anywhere in the world with new fashion advice, based on your earlier purchases, your personal profile, what you are going to do, where you are, what budget you have, and, very important, what your friends think of it. This is a big step in that direction.

Robots with human-like muscles

This robot has human-like muscles (fe). This in the end will lead to robots looking like humans, who take over all kinds of chores from us. Think of folding laundry, painting the house, cleaning the bathroom, putting away the groceries, and bringing coffee. Think thirty years ahead and we’ll see a completely different world. A world in which brands come to life. Not just in virtual worlds, not just through brand agents, virtual personalities, but also through their robot colleagues. Maybe ‘synthesized world’ will be a better phrase then.

Olllo helps you flirt on the spot

Through Olllo people now can flirt on the spot. Through the website you make your own profile, and give your input as to what the person you are looking for should be like. There are matches for gender, age, length, fashion style, party type, and music taste. The moment you feel like contacting somebody in your neighborhood, you activate Olllo by sending a code to Olllo. If there are matches in your neighborhood (until max. 3 km), you receive a short profile. Through Ollo you can then send your match a text message, or get a more extended profile. Your mobile number is kept secret, only your nickname is visible. If you have activated Ollo, you regularly receive text messages with matches in your neighborhood. After 8 hours the service is disconnected automatically (mb, Dutch).

Thus a new function of social coaching brands slowly comes to life. Now through a text message, later through an extended (online) profile, so you can see who someone’s friends are, and how he (or she) treats them. You can see what other people think of this person, and - even better - see what your (friends of) friends think of him or her. Social coaching brands in the future will facilitate making and maintaining personal contacts. The development of this function is a small step in that direction. Maybe Olllo will grow into a social coaching brand. Time will tell.

Smart interactive hologram

This Interactive 360 Degree Light Field Display is capable of producing 3D images which can be viewed by multiple users. At a different location, a physical man is copied and projected in 3D (fc, Dutch). Thus the physical world gets a place in the virtual world. Later we will stand in our living room, we are copied there, and then we are 3D and interactively projected in someone’s room in Sydney. ‘Later’... it will take at least a couple of years but step by step it goes this direction.

Simplify Media: listen to each other’s music

Through Simplify Media users can share and play each other’s music play lists. With some extra software users can download and install, they can add friends, check their play lists and directly play them in iTunes. At the moment it is only available for iTunes, but the versions for WinAmp and Windows Media Player are on their way (mf, Dutch). Thus music coaching brands develop more and more. Now we can see the play lists, in the future we will also see the appreciation, we can review music we don’t even have on our own PC, and we will automatically see what music our friends, family or colleagues liked. New music will be discovered quickly this way. A young band through play lists can conquer the whole world in a couple of days after making their music available online. This is a small step in that direction.

Belvilla reads to you

Belvilla is the first company in the travel branch to test an online ‘reading aloud’ function for visitors at the website. By clicking ‘Lees Mij’ (Read Me), a friendly female voice reads to you everything about the holiday villa you are looking at. In the test phase, only the descriptions of the holiday villas can be heard. Plans are to have the ‘read aloud’ function for all web content in the near future (cc, Dutch). Thus the spoken dialogue comes to life. Now the voice also plainly reads all impossible codes (“the 4 and 6 person villas BE-8421-01, type A/ BE-8421-02, type B/ BE-8421-07, type A comfort/ BE-8421-08, type B comfort, listen here), in the future the language will be completely tuned to us. Now still at the PC. In the future we will sit in the car and ask: “Hey Bella, I would like to go to France for a week. Is there something free from October 1st onwards?” And then you will hear some choices, you can select with your voice (“that one sounds good! Do you have something bigger too?”), and you can watch your selection at home on TV. Step by step it goes that direction.

The nostalgic man

As I announced earlier, I am working on a new website and a new book. The site will go live shortly, and I am writing the last content for the section called ‘trends’. In this I describe a couple of typical human motives, like the free man, the involved man, and the visual man. I wrote about these before in my book. For the new article ‘the nostalgic man’ I made a first draft. I like it myself. Maybe you have more examples of products helping the nostalgic man now, earlier, or in the future. Let’s see!


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Design your own universe

Galaxiki is a gigantic universe in which you can create and maintain your own galaxy. You can design and make everything yourself. Did you want your own star, then here is your chance (pl, Dutch). We talk about virtual worlds a lot, but in fact we talk about completely imitate everything there is. And that doesn’t end at the earth’s atmosphere. We can see the virtual universe as the collective of virtual worlds. Virtual game worlds, virtual enjoyment worlds, and virtual brand worlds. Some of these worlds are clearly connected, some of these are incredibly far away from each other. And every now and then, some virtual planets for a moment come together to have an exchange of energy. We might call that a campaign in the normal world.

Google has branded search animation

People who search in complicated databases at Google, see a branded search animation. Brands extend their visual identity more and more. With logo animations, with logo illustrations and also with this type of animated graphical devices. This animation is typical for Google. In a next step this type of animations will start to show personalities. The two o’s of Google for example could move around each other to show patience, irritation or relaxation. Google is ahead in using new visual characteristics. A lot more examples of other brands are to follow.

Center Parcs has consumers design park in game

Vacation parks Center Parcs have consumers design their own park in a game. In this park they or others can play simple games around activities offered by Center Parcs in ‘real life’, like water skiing and golfing. The challenge for the park manager is to make the park as popular as possible, for example by inviting friends, or by stimulating visitors to come back regularly (ab, Dutch). Brands mirror the physical world to the virtual world. Now through simple games, later people will be able to design real life parks, while the present parks are templates offered in advance by Center Parcs. Based on the experiences in this virtual world, Center Parcs earlier or later will change their physical parks too. This is a small step in that direction.

Skype shows heart beat: am I still alive?


Online telephone service Skype has been down for two weeks and extensively wrote about this at its special web log heartbeat (mf). Brands are communicating real time, more directly. More and more often we will have services from a distance, available 24/7, 365 days a year. Service we blindly count on. Whether it is our TV (video) provider (our home entertainment coaching brand), our contact provider (our social coaching brand), our telecoms provider, or our travel assistant (our mobility coaching brand): it just has to be there, always and everywhere. As soon as something stops working, we want to know what is going on into great detail. Not that everybody will read everything in detail, but who wants to, can do it. This way brands become more open, transparent, and accessible. This is a great example of things going in that direction.

Train face muscles through computer game

Nintendo in Japan introduces the game ‘Face Training’, a game through which the player trains her face muscles. The player sees expressions on one screen of the console, and has to imitate those in the camera, of which you get to see the result at the second screen. Through imitating the expressions on the computer screen, the player trains her face muscles (dc, Dutch). Thus we get a trainer on a distance more often. Not just for our cognitive skills, but also for physical skills. For correct pronunciation of a foreign language for example (also through muscles), or to become more relaxed by controlling our breathing, or recognizing, expressing or controlling our emotions. Things we now still need a personal trainer for, will in the future partly be automized and thus become more affordable and accessible for everyone. Worldwide. This is a small step in that direction.

Mobile Search recognizes spoken requests

Windows Mobile Live Search is working on a system in which the search engine will also accept spoken search requests (mc, Dutch). In the future we will summon our brands by calling out their names (call Postbank! call Albert! call Audi!), then the brand agent appears, who recognizes us and continues the spoken dialogue with us. This future scenario comes a small step closer every day.

Paying through voice

VoicePay introduces a system which makes it possible for brands to recognize consumers by their voices, and have them make transactions. According to VoicePay the system is safe, as it is based on a biometric signal which is very hard to forge. The software analyzes 117 parameters of an individual voice, and builds a personal voice profile based on those parameters. The system can analyze the voice of a customer, irrespective of what the person says, background noises, or temporary voice problems like hoarseness (tc, Dutch). Brands will massively start using these kinds of techniques. They will know directly who they are dealing with, what question is being asked, in what context they have to consider this question, and then be better able to answer the question. The introduction of this product again gets us a step closer to that.

BanenInBeeld shows vacancies through videos

New Dutch vacancy website Baneninbeeld.nl completely consists of filmed job advertisements. The films are made professionally (tm, Dutch). Brands start to communicate more visually. This fits with human nature: this is what humans are designed for. Over thousands of years we have bit by bit learned to use the written word. Now video is possible, so humans follow their natural motives: thinking in images. There are many more video examples to follow.

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