The future of ...

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

KPN chatbot forwards calls

The Chatbot of KPN InternetPlusBellen‘s Helpdesk forwards calls to a real person if she doesn’t know what to do with a question. The chat then continues like normal, only in a different window (cb). Chatbots will get better in understanding and answering consumers’ questions. After that they will combine their knowledge with profiles, and chat bots (call them brand agents, call them virtual employees) will approach consumers pro-actively (if we allow them of course). And if we then have a really hard question, we will be forwarded to a specialist. Every brand will in the end be built in such a dialogue, and no longer in a monologue (how can I reach the consumer?). This is the hidden development here.

China launches plan against children and women trade

China has the plan to minimalize the trade in, and physical and psychological violence against, women and children between 2008 and 2012. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) leads the operation in which local regions will also start their own organizations (cg). Very slowly elements like human rights, environment and education are getting more important for the whole Chinese population. It will lead to more wealth, and to the disappearance of bad jobs from China. To still keep up the production, for low prices, the country will dramatically automize and robotize, and outsource another part of the work to Africa. This way the Chinese population, 1.3 billion inhabitants, can develop itself as the strongest nation in the world.

Leffe lets you experience it

Leffe, a Belgian beer brand, lets you experience it. You're taken into the cellars can admire various aspects of Leffe. The Master Taster can also show you how to store this beer, how to pour it an how to drink it. And this in English, French and Dutch. In a next step we see people apparently speaking all languages. Not because a special kind of human has been found, but because technology allows humans to speak in this manner. Then Leffe can spread its rituals globally. And in the step after that the brand agent, or another brand representatives, can teach us how to perform these rituals ourselves by correcting us. This is how symbolic brands create a brand culture in worlds which have ample space for this. This is nice, but really just a beginning.

Computers read thoughts

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that brains of different persons register certain objects in the same way. By measuring how a first set of people register certain objects after observing them, they then can measure what objects are observed by a second set of people. This way it is possible to read thoughts (nm). Read more below.


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Holidot lines up all hotels

At Holidot.com all hotels, bed and breakfasts and holiday homes in Europe are lined up in 7 European languages. With this, it is the biggest, and also the first independent site making all hotel and holiday addresses visible. Travelers can publish their travel reports, which are shown uncensored, and users have the possibility to bookmark favorites, and share them. Accommodation owners (hotels, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, camp sites, etc) can open their own mini website at Holidot.com for free (mb, Dutch). Thus another travel coaching brand comes to life. In first instance the most important phenomenon will be completeness in the domain, but in a next step it will be most important for us to really have the holidays of our lifetime, every year anew. The relationships with the consumer soon will be the most distinctive factor, but in order to get a relationship, brands will have to know what is out there in the market. We are building that knowledge right now.

Virtufit teaches fitness from a distance

Through Virtufit athletes can follow instructions at home for 2 euros per lesson (via ld, Dutch). Working out at home is the future in some way. First the screens will get much bigger, we will get light and wind effects, and a brand agent will react to your movements on behalf of the sports program, and then motivate you to do better. Better than last time you did it: you will get your own last performance projected, or even your friends. Earlier or later the virtual world will get the best out of the physical human being. This however is only a very small start.

Start your car with the iPhone

Someone managed to exploit the iPhone to open his car, operate the windows, and even start the car (mc, Dutch). This shows how soon all screens will give access to one virtual world, which otherwise is directly connected to the physical world. That means you can do everything through every screen. Like starting your car, uploading music, and even (in the long run) have it drive itself. It is all just a matter of time.

iGoogle now on mobile phone

Google’s personal homepage, iGoogle, now is also available on mobile phones (dc, Dutch). All brands soon will be found on all possible screens, and they will adapt to size, interactive possibilities, and mobility. Those will soon be the new parameters for media (instead of radio, TV or internet).

Wesabe controls your bank transactions

Via Wesabe consumers can manage their money. They can upload their bank transactions, set goals, and control their financial path (dc, Dutch). Thus financial coaching brands evolve. They control the consumer’s household expenses, and advise you in choosing investments, savings, pensions, loans, and mortgages. A good advice however starts at total financial insights, and this is what Wesabe starts at.

Yahoo integrates Del.icio.us

Search engine Yahoo integrates social bookmarks from Del.icio.us in its search results. The result is that not only search results are shown, but also how many people have bookmarked the specific page (tc). Thus questions are being handled in a more personal context. Soon we will see what pages our friends bookmarked, what products they bought, who they talked to, and what they thought about it. Over the years to come, this development will gain in speed. This is only the beginning.

TV’s always connected to the internet

Panasonic from now on produces its TV’s under brand name ‘VIERA’. The plasma top line (the VIERA Z850), which will be on the market soon, as a default has an internet connection. YouTube and Picassa will directly be revealed (av, Dutch). And thus every screen evolves to be a window to the virtual world. Home entertainment coaching brands to be, like Joost, will take advantage of this, and serve the watcher his or her own personal entertainment every night. So the couch potato can just sit at the couch, zap from one program to the other, and be sure to see what friends, colleagues and acquaintances have seen too. This will come in 2008, and have a massive breakthrough after that. It also marks the beginning of the end of TV programming we now know at analogue as well as digital channels.

Facial coding: what our facial expression show

Kim Wanten is a Dutch expert in the area of facial coding: what do our facial expressions say? She's written an extensive article (Dutch) of which a (long) summary follows.

Facial Coding originates with Charles Darwin who discovered in 1872 that facial expressions are natural and comparable to those of orangutans. He concluded that we, long before we could communicate verbally, communicated using facial expressions. After that it took until the middle of the 60s before Paul Ekman took up where Darwin left off. Ekman discovered that facial expressions are universal and uniform.


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Fietsersbond helps planning bike routes

The Dutch Fietsersbond (cyclists’ organization) makes it possible to plan routes through its bike route planner (ld, Dutch). In sports, in transport, in entertainment: brands will support us in all kinds of ways. We don’t have to think ourselves any more, we only have to be. With brands as our coaches.

EU wants integration of music market

European commissioner Viviane Reding (Information & Media) has plans for a European music market, although national copyright laws are in her way. Licenses for copyright, which have to be taken care of separately in every country now, could cover several countries, or even the whole European Union (dc, Dutch). In the past local copyright was introduced, like countries borders were a couple of years before that. The world however isn’t divided in countries: we have done that ourselves at some point. To protect us from evil from outside. As this threat is fading, borders slowly fade too (the process of denationalizing), and we have to start thinking of copyright on a worldwide level. Let’s start with Europe. This will prove to be hard enough…

Skype on Sony Playstation

Telephone service Skype will soon be available on Sony Playstation, Sony’s game console (dc, Dutch). Brands will be available at all media, including radio, TV, or a screen mounted to a shopping cart. Now it involves calling, but soon we will be able to just call the brands by name. Calling out ‘Shell’. ‘Nike’, or ‘L’Oreal’ will then be enough to start the dialogue. Skype is the first on this kind of screen.

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