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Your Future Is Now!

Erwin predicts, writes about the future & developments today.

TripIT gets email of travelling agencies

TripIT is a LinkedIn widget: an application on which you can show where you are in the world and show this on your profile. Of course you can do this manually, but TripIT has a simpler function:

E-mail everything -- flights from ba.com, hotels from Orbitz, car rental confirmations -- to this address and we'll condense it into one itinerary.


That's a lot easier.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We simply connect everything, but soon we’ll be releasing database records to organizations like TripIT. We give third parties the right to look at our traveling data. That’s the basis on which travel coaching brands can grow. When they know all about our trips, who best to advise us?

Related trends

Hyves lets you sort your friends

Dutch social network Hyves lets you sort your friends into groups. You can make a maximum of 7 groups, of which 'family' and 'business' are set. You can use these groups to send a message to part of your friends with one click, for example. Or place a 'WhoWhatWhere' which not all your friends are allowed to see. No one can see who's in which group. In future you'll also be able to use friends groups for other parts, such as photos.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The amount of friends is becoming less important as a status symbol; the amount of contact moments you have and the depth of them, how social you are, that’ll be a lot more important. Currently you have to sort your friends groups automatically, but later social coaching brands will start to give you advice: “Does Marijke, your colleague from work with whom you exchange only business notes, really see all this personal stuff?” That’s how social coaching brands will understand your private life ever better. This is a start.

Related trends

Touching gives confidence

A good handshake, a hug or, even better, a massage gives a feeling of trust. That's the result of neoscientific resaerch. Touch ensures that our brains give out oxytocin. In reverse, we subconsciously use the release of this substance to determined whether we trust someone or not. Further more oxytocin in turn releases a substance in the brain's reward center: dopamine. This creates a pleasant feeling around trustworthy people. The more touch, the stronger the feeling. This association is taken along in a next meeting with this person.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People remain people. However real we make the virtual world, however much robots will resemble humans, the people we trust the most will be the people we’ve had physical contact with, which we’ve touched. And the most we touch them (with intensive sex as zenith), the bigger the trust. In Pamper Planet, in the spiritual world of 2050 (after we’ve automated and robotised everything) touch, the we-feeling, will be central (again).

Related trends

Brain activity for different movies

Neuroscientific research shows that with sme movies the neocortex, the part of our brain that's responsible for perception and cognition lights up differently for different directors, content and style. Dependent on this the tested people show either very similar brain activity or different activity.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The nice thing is that insights like this lead to the creation of better content, but above all in the long term it’ll give us personalised content that continues to captivate us. Personalised to our brain activity. And that doesn’t even have to be measured from your brean, your facial expression might say enough. To turn down the volume. To shorten fragments. Or to ask activities. Making content will remain an art, but in time will go a lot further than movies and even games of today.

Brains are formed culturally

Researchers have shown that people from East Asian countries use their brains differently from people who've grown up in the US. In the American culture the individual is more central and it emphasis the independence of objects. But East Asian cultures see the context and connection more. The difference in culture is shown in people's brain activity in judging objects (lines and shapes). I imagine that people saw a few lines and a square: is this a chair? And that beside a table or without a table. It turns out that for East Asian people the frontal-parietal brain region (which is known to be active for concentration-tasking assignments) is more activated for judgements without context (so what they're not used to) then with contexts, though American are the exact opposite. You can conclude that if you perform more difficult tasks you need more concentration and the frontal-parietal brain region will be more active. Furthermore, it showed that with people who identified strongly with a specific culture the effect was stronger.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a future world such difference with be less common. Objects with or without a context, we’ll all do it increadibly easily. This because this type of insight won’t just lead to new toys, but also to a radically different way of raising children that’ll be shared across the globe. A way of raising children in which mothers (and fathers) will be supported 24 hours a day. Ccoaching brands that help you with raising your children. Which teach parents how to get the best out of their children. Something you can’t know yourself. After all you only raise a few children at the most and you do it with the information and intuition that you have. That doesn’t you don’t get the best out of your children, just that you give the best you can.

In future thiese things will fall together. But it’ll be a few decades before this is at full force and at least until 2050 before the first differences in brains are measurable.

Facebook allows third parties to ask questions

Facebook will let brands (call it advertisers for now) ask their 150 million members questions through polls. The first brands to do this are career site Careerbuilder and pizza delivery service Papa John's. People can't just see what the results were, but also what their friends voted.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands will start to use friends-of-friends networks. In time you’ll be able to indicate what you think of certain services and show it to your friends. Then you can indicate with Facebook what your favourite brands are. That’ll be the brands who can ask you questions, and with whom you want to share your details of yor friends, at least indicate who your friends are. And perhaps the brand will know your friend too and you’ll have a conversational topic. Those are the most important components of tribal thinking that’s taking shape. Asking questions, listening, imagining, asking on. Something very different from sending. But something that’ll eventually only strengthen brands.

Related trends

TV Blik gives signal when someone’s been on tv

TVblik, the Dutch portal for internet television has recently launched its personal files. In a personal file you can find the completely television oeuvre of the person in question. Take for instance the writer Susan Smit. Her profile appears and the media (DVDs and books) by her appear next to it. Of course you can order them directly from Dutch online mediaretailer bol.com (and through an affiliation program, TV Blik earns from this).

Then you can set an alarm clock for Susan andyou're given an email when a person has been in an episode together with a link to the episode. You'll never have to miss your favourite idols agian. A nice developmet, but thinking about this I see some privacy issues if anyone can be recognised anywhere. Read the scifi scenario.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

As soon as people appear in public they’ll be conscious of the fact that others can see them: on the street, in the bar or in the media, we can follow it exactly and automatically. When someone makes a photo of a street you happen to be on this photo (like every photo) will be on the internet per definition and your fans will be given an email immediately: ‘Erwin spotted!’ with the exact location and time. This turns every individual unknowningly into a paparazzi.

The result of this will be that automatic facial recognition on photos will be chained. Someone will always make a photo somewhere. You’re always allowed to share them and that makes everyone on this earth trackable. Wigs and glasses won’t help, posture, movements and vocabulary will also be taken into account for the recognition. From a judicial point of view you could solve this by forbidding publically showing photos. That’s pretty far-reaching. That would mean you wouldn’t be able to shoot tv programs on the street. There could be people in there who don’t want to be seen at all. That means a lot of steps back. Another option is to ask everyone on the photo/video for permission. You can’t do that either. There’ll always be someone who says no. What you could also do is automatically remove everyone who says they don’t want to be recognised. But if a lot of people do that a lot of empty pictures will be created and that’s not the intention either. And a last option is allowing public recognition service only for people who have given permission for this. The question is if this’ll work. There’ll probably be illegal software that trawls the web to spot specific people for yo. That’s not going to work either.

I think it can only lead to an extremely open society. In which anyone can see anything, in which we have no more secrets from one another and in which we’re very tolerant of the behaviour of others. A world culture with shared norms and values. And beside this society we also have the ‘underground’ (which by the by will be above ground): a secret world in which the making of recordings, sensing and electronics will be strictly forbidden. The only world in which you can break the norms. A world of which everyone knows you’re ‘in it’, ‘are in it’, afterall you’ve ‘disappeared’ from the surface of the world. And that’ll be fine. We’re all human after all. But food for scifi authors.

LCD display that recognises fingerprints

This LCD display of the Taiwanese AU Optronics reads fingerprints at the same time. The screen itself is 320x240 and has four optical sensors with each pixel which creates an internal camera with a resolution of 640x480.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Of course indentification is important, but the essence of this development is that screens will start to look back. In time, this’ll be built into every screen and we get very realistic 3D effects because our head is followed and furthermore we’ll get read eye contact with the people we talk to. And that’s why video-calling of today is still a ‘gadget’, a nice addition, but it doesn’t really add to communication. However, this is the basis for the definitive breakthrough of video-calling. From the computer, from the tvm from any screen.

Multi-media watch

LG has shown a prototype of the LD GD910 3G HDSPA phone. In layman's terms: a wrist phone watch with a touchscreen that shows multi-media and is constantly connected to the outside world. You can play movies, music, make video calls, send text messages, play games and even see the time. The watch also has speech recognition through a microphone or a bluetooth headset. The watch will appear on the European market this year.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

For an evening out, this watch will be enough in time. You can see what there is to do in the evening, see where your friends are, call them, order something in the pub and pay with it. You can check whether someone in the neighbourhood is open for a date. And finally you can call a cab with the press of a button. No mobile phone necessary anymore. A design-hit further and this’ll be the hit of 2010.

Related trends

Google has design favicon

Google has a new favicon, based on a contest held earlier.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands think better and vetter about brand visualisation in the virtual world that’s being created. At the moment 99.9% of the companies has just a miniature version of the logo as favicon. It results in all sorts of small frilly things because that logo will neer fit in such a small space. Google thought about it really well, with its community at that, and that’s how it should be.

Flying through Google Earth on your Balance Board

Google Earth engineer David Phillip Oster has made it possible to use your Nintendo Balance Board to fly through Google Earth. If you lean forward you go down, lean backwards you g up and you can go left and right.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’re making the (virtual) world around us as real as possible and let everything react. In real life too the outside world responds to us. When we walk past the street we see something different every time. In that way our environment responds to us. That mechanism is seen here too. Later or arm, hand and head movements will be taken into account too. What we say, how we look… And we’ll run into others. And the image will be 1000 times sharper. But this is already very nice.

Related trends

Looki indexes 50 vacation sites

Looki, a new Dutch travelling site, lets you look through all vacations of travelling agents you can actually book. The offer of the biggest travelling agencies in the Netherlands have been recorded in Looki. You'll find at least: Oad, TUI, Thomas Cook, Sundio, Jiba, Sudtours, GOGO and Pharosreizen. In total there are over 50 travelling agents recorded on Looki.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

During the creation of (travel) coaching brands, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and years afterwards, it’ll be about: completeness in the category. Put everything together first. Currently maybe the Dutch offer, but later it’ll be about all the offers around the world, and then worded in the language you speak. This is another step in that direction.

Monacome animates favicon

Monacome has animated its favicon (the little icon that appears next to the address in the browser, next to the name in tabs or in bookmarks when you mark something as a favourite). Rapidly, the colours switch. It can be seen easily by visiting the website. It draws attention immediately.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands are increasingly choosing moving images instead of static logos. In this example you can see (extremely well) how those movements attracts attention. Brands will discover a subtle middle way which will immediately shape the brand personality.

Related trends

OffBeatGuides: printed, personalised travelling guide

On Offbeatguides.com you can make a personalised, printed travelling guide, specifically for your upcoming vacation. You can, for example:

  • adapt the currency to your own (based on the course at the moment of departure)

  • the travelling date so that it only shows events happening while you're there

  • the destination, which adapts information on the climate to the location and the current weather predictions.

  • the hotel, which shows walking routes from the hotel, etc.

  • you can add and remove chapters

The travelling guide has your name printed on it. Nice to have, but especially nice to give.
You can order a hardcopy for $dollar or a PDF for $10.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Everything tailored, so information too. Currently on the most obvious means, but later we’ll have a thin piece of e-paper in our backpack that shows us information of the area we’re walkig in, appreciation for tourist attractions and ratings of friends by restaurants we pass. Written or audial through our ear piece as answer to the question we ask. Even easier.

Related trends

Playing with your brains

At the CES, toy producer Mattel has displayed a new game called Mindset, which you control solely with your brain. Players wear a headset that reads their brainwaves. Aim of the game is to concentrate enough to generate energy that powers a fan, which in turn lets a bal float at a specific height. Then you can pass several obstacles using the turn button. Mattel is releasing the toy on the US market later this year. It'll cost $80.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently this is a simple toy. Just like we had videotelephones in the 70s and toy robots in the 90s. Eventually it’ll take a while, but that technology will come to help us train our brain functions is crystal clear.

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