The future of ...

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

What happens if we can live forever?

The past few days I've attended a European futurist congress and met Aubrey de Grey, a very special man. I estimate his age at around forty, mumbles, has a long beard and if you talk to him he keeps working on his email on his Apple. A man who deserves attention. A man who claims, well-supported, that humans can live forever in the future. We can always get an accident, of course, but in principle we'll always be young. His argument is documented in his book Ending Age. Below some twists regarding the implications.

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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Of course this is perfect for futurists. A young body, but with the experiences of someone of 40, 140, 1040? What are you going to learn from your parents of 340 and 920? Will you be going to school at all? Will you be having children because it always postpones because it’s always possible? Or will you make families dozens of times throughout your life? For fun? What’s raising a child for twenty years in all of your life? What happens to 300-year-old friendships? What happens to the world population? The numbers will rise rapidly? Before you know it we’ll be over 100 billion. The world definitely won’t be able to take that. The enthusiastic reactions of the futurists were that the only solution lies in colonizing space. We have to. A very special scenario, but if we believe this man definitely not unrealistic. Not in 2010, maybe not in 2030, but around 2050, the time of the pamper planet, people up to the age of 50 can be restored to a young existence and live forever. Readers of this blog are warned: stay healthy and live forever or make a few health errors and belong to the last generation of mortals.

By the by, Aubrey is still looking for rich sponsors and will come to Leiden to speak at a biogerontology congress soon.

MarketingFacts starts paper magazine

MarketingFacts, a Dutch marketing community which I contribute to every now and again, is starting its own magazine. Where the online community reaches chiefly online marketers, MarketingFacts wants to use this magazine to service traditional marketers who'd like to know more about online marketing and new media. The magazine will be published bi-monthly and wants to offer deep going and high quality information regarding the trends and status in the most important sub-areas of online and digital marketing.

MarketingFacts Magazine is free for anyone who deals with (online) marketing. The run will be 10,000 copies. If you want to receive the magazine as well, you can sign up here.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Paper will be a static redux of what happens in dynamic communities. Whether that’s through a website, a PC, a Twitter-like application on a cell phone or the spoken word on the street, brands will pick up this ‘talk of the day’, combine it, distill it and return it. Paper is like a photo of a community in time: it was like that at that moment. Publishers who’ve started with paper will have to set up the process in reverse, and that’s a lot more difficult.

Furthermore this process fits with the brand coming out, in which communities, strong communities, communities that’ll be in 1 building even, call it companies, become open and transparent. MarketingFacts is lucky to be able to start on the other side.

Hinta compares products on iPhone

Hinta, a Dutch price comparison site, now compares products on the iPhone. With it consumers can ask for product and price information anytime and anywhere with the interface, user-friendliness and the speed that they're used to of the iPhone. Both prices and reviews are available. If desired you can also order the product immediately from the cheapest provider.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

More and more brands that answer our beck-and-call are being created. Brands like Hinta are always available to help us. Currently in text, soon in voice. Currently as general product comparer, but soon Hinta will specialize in a specific area and will start to collect our data. Only in this way can Hinta distinguish itself from other brand (read: product comparers). The development of the ‘coaching brands’ category is in full swing.

YouTube broadcasts old TV series

YouTube will begin to broadcast whole tv-series of the American CBS. It concerns series such as Beverly Hills 90210, Star Trek: The Original Series and The Young and the Restless. YouTube currently hopes to generate more advertisement income, because before, during and after the episodes there'll be advertisements. Its goal is to show more tvhits in the future. YouTube is already negotiating with other TV channels to make similar deals.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how home entertainment coaching brands are slowly shaped. They collect all content ever created, in any country, in any language, in any format, and will start to entertain us personally on the couch. For now behind the computer, but next year there’ll be innovations that will definitely turn the tv into a very personal medium, just like the computer is now. But then nice and easy sitting and getting entertained without complicated clicks. Just ‘surprise me!’. For now with advertisements, soon we’ll pay a very reasonable price, per minute. This predicted reality is coming ever closer.

Press release Vodafone filled with video

To announce the new Blackberry Storm, Vodafone has send a press release with several videos in it. Besides a commercial, there's also a testimonial of a user and an interview with the marketing officer.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The word ‘press release’ comes from the time of the printing press. That a press release nowadays is also sent to television broadcasting stations is the most normal thing in the world. Now we’re sending press released to everyone who wants to and in images on top of that. Soon the image will lead and other companies, coaching brands, will help you compose your personal video news to which you can react in images. Live, if you wish, with others. This is how whole discussions can be created in the virtual world, facilitated by brands. This is how the term ‘public relations’ regains its meaning of ‘relationships with the public’. This is a step in that direction.

Hyves lets you leave video messages

Visitors to Dutch social network Hyves can easily leave a video message on profiles of friends and others without having to upload anything. The visitor clicks 'record' and then 'send' so that the profile owner will receive the message immediately. To make this possible the user does need to place a special widget (gadget, a special piece of code).

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently as an extension by third parties, but soon this’ll be a standard function of social networks. Just like scribbles, e-mails and text messages, voice mail and video messages are part of maintaining relationships. And not just for asynchronous traffic (without direct contacts), but also for direct traffic such as calling, chatting, or camming. Then the link to other social networks will follow, just like phone networks are all connected, and only then can Hyves (and its social network competition) grow into a full social coaching brand.

Blaupunkt N700 shows street image with direction

TravelPilot 700 N700, the newly available navigational system by Blaupunkt shows the street as we see it through our front window and also shows the desired directions for where we're driving. Here a demovideo. The device has a camera at the back which in a manner of speaking is see-through, like looking through a windowpane, and then projects the arrows real-time onto the screen. With this the manufacturer has a world-scoop.

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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Ever more we’re putting a shell around the physical world to interpret it quickly. Currently in a separate system, soon with our front window, through special glasses to our contact lenses. Less and less weight to carry while we’re helped more and more efficiently. We can ask questions with anything we aim at and get answers. And walking a route alone will be as easy as someone walking with you holding your hand. This is again a great step in that direction.

Wiki for images

The Chinese Snappark lets consumers add pictures to other pictures. Someone can create a topic by using pictures and tags and others can then add pictures to it. It creates a kind of wiki with pictures.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People think in images. As soon as they see an image, associations are created in their heads and when it’s easy to gather the pictures, such a system is capable of fast growth. In a next step, this’ll be automatic. For example all pictures of German shepherds together, very concretely, or all images with vertical or horizontal lines, very abstract. In the last example, we might get five people in a row, a picture of bars or of five fingers. Applying that type of creativity can easily be left to computers. In a couple of steps afterwards humor will follow: playing with language, but then we’ll be thirty years further down the line.

Consumer videos to sell products

YouTube now allows the placement affiliate links. With these consumers are given the chance to praise products. In the example the game Spore with a video of The Sims, another game by EA. When it's sold, the consumer receives a percentage of the profit.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how consumers are given a new instrument to promote products. They can make videos to promote and sell products themselves. This is how brands are given a mechanism to facilitate Sales Men, a special type of people that’s naturally aimed at sales. Then brands will be able to find this kind of people and supply them with all sorts of information. It’ll enhance tribal thinking (the thinking in the behavior of individual people in groups) enormously.

Real estate agent Peek shows houses with QR codes

Peek & Pompe (Dutch), a Utrecht real estate agent, is the first agency in the Netherlands to place a quick response-code on a house. Special posters on the windows of the houses which are for sale have an extra large qr-code. Passersby who are interested can aim their cell phone and read the two-dimensional bar code. Then they'll automatically be transferred to the mobile website of Peek & Pompe. They won't have to enter a URL. The exploration will continue on the mobile website.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is a nice example of product-activation. It fits in the trans of the dialogue in which the subject of discussion returns, in which both parties (the brand and the consumer) recall which product they’re talking about. Currently with qr-codes, but later we’ll walk along the street, spot a house, hear in our earphone that it’s for sale and can enter directly into the virtual house, while we’re really standing still.

iPhone application for NS

Dutch IT-student Dennis Stevense has developed an iPhone application for the NS (Dutch national railway services) called Trein (Train; Dutch). You can see up-to-date times for your preferred stations, look at disturbances and track work and save the data of planned train journeys. You can download it in the Apple Store for €2,39. By now there are 95 reviews, all very positive. Furthermore the NS was also working on an iPhone application, but has still threatened judicial steps.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The evolution of brands isn’t always easy; sometimes it’s difficult when the consumer takes control, but it’s a very normal part of the process. In a next step, the NS will be encouraging people to write applications for the iPhone, cell phones, laptops, navigational systems, e-paper and all other media we can use in the train. The NS will open special forums where developers can share their thoughts with other developers and potential users on its sites. The NS will be able to think along about what other information could be used. For example, it’s be pretty useful if someone who uses the OV-chipknip – a card used to combine all fares for public transport – gets delays based on their expected behavior. Or that a geographical location is attached to data so that you know exactly how to walk when you need to take detour with a bus. This is how brands and consumers start to work together more and more. Brands are experiencing a brand coming out, and that’s not always easy.

iPhone fans collect rejected iPhone programs

iPhone Application Graveyard collects programs for the iPhone that Apple has rejected. It lists programs that were too much like the iPhone programs or applications the name of which could lead to brand intrusion, but it also lists non-ethical programs. For example, a program that shows a knife and reacts when you shake the iPhone.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brand-fans take matters in their own hands. In a next step, Apple will embrace these fans. It’ll show all submissions, including ‘rejected submissions’. Apple fans will get to vote and a lawyer will get to worry about brand rights. Apple fans will determine the ethical norms a brand maintains themselves and everyone will eventually get a personal top 10, based on user profile, your own explicit evaluations and what your friends thought of it. This development adds to that.

Selectivo shows store stock

Selectivo, a new Dutch comparison site, doesn't just give an overview of hybrid and online stores, but also of traditional and local retailers. Selectivo indicates the availability of every product. Is a product immediately for sale, the consumer can pick it up from a store or a pick up location that very day. The immediate availability of products and the possibility to select regional pick up location is unique in the branch.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Comparison sites are primeval forms of coaching brands: a new type of brand that will stand beside us. Soon we’ll walk along the street, see a nice briefcase, call our fashion coaching brand, the brand agent appears, we say ‘I really like that bag!’. Then you immediately get to see comparable bags on your cell phone, you can order immediately using your voice and you walk on just as easily. Complicated searches for something you already know you want will be in the past. This is a step in that direction.

Voebal21 gives people multiple roles (Soccer21; Dutch) claims to be the first soccer community which focuses on all 1 million amateur soccer players in the Netherlands. The site offers space for photos, videos, statistics and reports of all competitions from the 5500 different competitions. The site is partially a social network within which each soccer player can make their own profile and add friends. Site users can have multiple roles: player, team coach, club official or supporter. Each role has its own possibilities. There are also pages by team, club and competition. has all the information on clubs, competitions and matches on the website. The data comes from public sources.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the creation of sport coaching brands we see at the end of the first decade of this century that new brands especially collect information for us: put everything together. Brands that also know everything about us, and our friends, can optimize the social element of our sport. In a next step this type of brand will learn everything about our performances and or social role in groups (what is our social, informal role in the team). Based on that they can coach us with our qualities in mind. This is a step in that direction.

Kieskeurig has store profiles

Kieskeurig (Picky; Dutch)'s new site offers extended store profiles. With these Kieskeurig deepens its store assessments.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

It’s an example of how coaching brands in the making work. They don’t just ensure a complete offer (collect all available products), but also all the ways to get them. The next step will be: which product, which store suits me best, today, from where I currently am? Then brands like Kieskeurig will be even more valuable than they are today and we’ll slowly start to pay for their advice.

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