The future of ...

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

Huizenzoeker has them all

HuizenZoeker.nl, a new Dutch housing site, collects the offers from the various other housing sites (Funda, Huislijn, Dimo, Vbo, Era, Remax, Makelaarsland, LMV, Garantiemakelaars) and combines them into a complete overview. For more information on a house one is referred to the site where the house was found. If a house is available on multiple sites, the consumer can choose which site they want to look at then.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

At this time, the creation of coaching brands is still all about completeness in the category: give me a site which lists everything. Only those sites will survive, only those brands will survive. Then it’ll become an art to offer added value. That’s the basis on which home coaching brands can be created.

Kohls goes from virtual to real clothing

The American store chain Kohls, with 975 physical locations, launched a new line that's only for sale on Stardoll.com, a virtual meeting place for teenagers. Using Stardollars they can buy virtual clothes. In the first sixteen days the virtual shop attracted 2.2 million visitors and sold 1.8 million items. Goal is to familiarize kids with the clothes Kohl sells and seduce them to come into the physical store to buy clothes there.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Where the virtual world seems more and more really, eventually it’s all about clothing in the real world with it’s rich sensory experiences. By wearing our clothing virtually first people can give their uncertainty about their looks a place. If the environment approves the next step can be taking. Kolhs gets precisely how this works.

Facebook has 100 million users

Facebook now has over 100 million users.

Linkedin starts group discussions

Business social network LinkedIn has started to allow registered users to hold group discussions.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how a serious form of online conferences is formed: people already know each other and can also bring in people from their social network. In a next step this kind of discussion will integrate with live discussions/chats to give the feeling of being in a real workshop through speech and images. Still not all physical sessions will be replaced.

The ultimate will be real lectures and workshops of course, because this is the only way to be stimulated by all your senses. Furthermore, the social obligation to remain seated allows you to create a bond between people that will never be feasible in the virtual world. But such a session would have to be incredibly special and not a lecture in the traditional sense. It’s like with a vacation: the more you get the impression through impressive images that you’re in a specific location, the more you get the feeling ‘I want that too!’

LinkedIn, as career coaching brand in the making, helps people in their development and this step fits completely in this.

QR codes for safe food

Japan uses QR codes to deduce the origin of food products. This allows you to determine where food comes from and whether it comes from somewhere safe and healthy. By checking the QR codes with a suitable reader you're led to a website which tells you the product's story. From origin to the way of growing the food to the shelf it's on at the moment.

Robot uses rat’s brain to moves

A robot that can think using rat's brains has been developed at the University of Reading. The robot can avoid objects without the use of additional support from humans or technology. The brains aren't physically located in the robot, but are kept in a food-rich environment. They communicate with the robot using Bluetooth.


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Make 3D images of your own photos

With Photosynth users can now create their own 3D images. The principle is simple: you take a lot of pictures of, for example, a building. You walk around it and takes pictures from several angles. And you also make a lot of photos with a smaller detail. You can upload the photos, Photosynth analyses them and in a few minutes has made a 3D image that you can fly through.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People think in 3D. The virtual world will be completely 3D. And the conversion we’re making now is converting the temporarily captured 2D image of the reality we perceive (call it a photo) into a 3D image. Soon we won’t take pictures anymore, but will be registering things continuously, the ‘devices’ around us will do this. By combining them with the pictures of others we can go back in time in great detail.

What would happen when at a pop concert everyone’s running a camera and a microphone? You could relive the entire concert, relisten to every conversation from every possible angle (ignoring for a moment the possible consequences regarding privacy). That’s the nostalgic human to a tee.

What’s more you can manipulate this world and add people who weren’t there or replace people with others. This turns the past into a playground in which we can’t even recall what that past really looked like. And it won’t matter. As long as we’re happy.

LinkedIn on iPhone

Business social network LinkedIn now has a special application for the iPhone. With this users can write a status update immediately, look up contacts or send them a message.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how coaching brands continue to be shaped. Now we’re getting pC functions on the cell phone. Soon we’ll be able to call those people (no need for a phone number, just click). We can automatically record conversations and let speech interpretation report it. And later, much later, our conversations will be analyzed (automatically!) For example, if we hold a sales conversation we’ll receive tips on how to do better. Which emotions we failed to register and kept talking. This allows this type of brand to grow into a coach. But first they should be always with us. That feels right.

Looking for pictures with a picture

With TinEye, a new search engine, people can use a picture to look for similar ones. Useful if you're looking for a pretty version of something. After uploading a photo, TinEye gets to work. It can also help photographers track their work on the internet. It's still a beta-version, but on the site you can find a few cool examples.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The virtual world is connecting more and more effectively with the visual human, the human that thinks in images. Soon we’ll be able to point at something on the street and shout ‘I like that!’. A brand that’s supporting you will immediately start to think along with you, recognize the object you’re pointing at and retrieve information from the past and present about it. Perhaps it’ll even be able to buy it for you. Not just in western countries, but especially in countries where people have never learned to read this’ll be a big thing. This future keeps getting closer.

Emily, the brand agent of 2030

Emily is an artificial character that moves exactly like a human being. She is, after all, based on the video recording of a real person. And copied so precisely that you can't tell the difference. As such Emily displays all the emotions that a regular human being would also display.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The virtual world is becoming more and more real. With this technology we’ll be able to pretend to be someone else in a year or ten: we’ll be recorded, placed in a model and shown as someone else. Including the changing of our voice! This way granddad can come to life again. Scary!

Brand agents, artificial employees that represent brands, won’t start to look like this until around 2030. Only when we can present the dialogue on an adult, human level will we be able to accept that brand agents also look like humans (that’s why I’ve picked the name ‘mensmerk’ or, translated, ‘humanbrand’!) And the technology to listen is developing very slowly, but steadily. And that’s what I’m tracking nicely on this website. For now there’s plenty to look forward to!

Your reflection disappears

This screen acts like a normal mirror, until you stand in front of it a little longer. Then your reflection will slowly disappear.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The virtual world is more and more a 3D reflection of the real world. Sometimes even literally. We’ll see what we want to see. Currently as a joke, but soon we’ll look better in the mirror, to make us feel good, we’ll get dressing tips or someone could caress us virtually, a feeling that’ll really touch us. This scene is coming closer and closer.

Disney World in Google Earth

Disney World, the theme park in Florida, can be found on Google Earth in complete 3D vision. On this page there's a video and instructions.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

And so brand worlds are taking shape. Currently as a separate part of Google Earth, soon the website itself will be in 3D. Then we’ll be looking through the window of an airplane and we can go where we want. Afterwards we’ll be recognized, be able to meet our friends, rebuild the environment, make suggestions, and absolutely ultimately, visit the real park itself. This scene is coming ever closer.

NS tests stations with virtual world

The NS, the Dutch railway company has built a 3D station world on virtueelproefstation.nl. Here consumers can test the new Leiden trainstation, that'll be the pilot station for others in the Netherlands. The website can only be run properly under Internet Explorer. Furthermore the 3D model can be seen on Google Earth. This way choices that are expensive in the physical world can be tested more easily. The site is a part of the website mijnproefstation.nl where the NS shares a lot of information about surveys in new stations and where consumers can react. There are also, for example, contests for children that can share their vision. (This 3D information is found under the heading 'entertainment'.)


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Increasingly more brands build 3D worlds which they invite consumers to become a part of. For fun, to learn something, to contribute or combinations of these. Brands are experiencing a brand coming out and realize that the product doesn’t just become better when one involves consumers, but it also charges the brand emotionally. It’s a completely different way of viewing the reality as what we’re used to.

Photoframe links with online photo archive

This new photo frame by Kodak is connected to Flickr through a wireless home network. It automatically shows you the newest photos on your own photostream, of those of someone else if they register on your photos (and if they're public). You can also look up the news, weather and sports through the touch screen. Obviously you can also play videos. Other than that, the frame fronts can be replaced by something more suited to one's own interior.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Photo frames are slowly becoming completely screens connected to the virtual world that’s beginning to emerge. We’ve already got contact with the weather, sports and news brands. And that too is what brands will have to take into account, that they’ll be contacted from small threadbare touch-screens in one’s home. Beyond that it’s waiting for the next development in the photo-industry: that if we make a picture, it’ll be published online automatically (and also back-upped) and linked to other people who are taking a picture in the same spot at the same moment.

McDonald’s launches gameworld

On HappyMeal.com, the children's gaming site of McDonald's, McDonald's has made an announcement about a new version of this site (the HTML title is after all Happy Meal 3.0). In this world children can meet each other, chat, watch videos, dress up their avatar, above all play lots of games.

In a contest children can suggest a name for this world and then vote on it. At the moment they can choose between ScaddImon (a mixture of McDonalds letters), McD Zone, McDonaldLandia, McIsland, McWorld (of which the last is winning and the .nl domain name is still free too.) There's also a link to the physical McDonalds: who enters a code from a Happy Meal box or bag, or other products, can gain exclusive items.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how brands realize brand worlds’ that are furnished by consumers, their fans. Those brands are only made stronger by this.

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