The future of ...

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

The White House blogs

Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media van The Oval Office, has started a blog on the White House's website. (Understandably) reactions aren't possible.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

All organizations, governmental organizations too, are experiencing a brand coming out, are becoming completely open and transparent. There’s no way back; all future governments will do this too. Eventually we’ll want to know exactly what civil servants are doing, and how long they’re taking and whether it’s really necessary. Pretty logical actually. After all, we pay them.

Icons with everything you see

The University of Ljubljana as developed a system which makes icons appear on objects you see in your environment. This through very clever pattern recognition.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’ll be able to ask spoken questions with everything we see. In any language. This is another step in that direction.

Robot makes use of surface tension

This 2 cm microrobot uses surface tension, just like small insects do. It's a hundred times more effective than propeller-driven vehicles.

Robot puts cup in the dish washer

This robot, the Armar of the Institute for Process Control and Robotics of the University of Karsruhe, puts cups in the dishwasher.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

It’s very impressive to see how robots can copy our behaviour. However, dishwashers are designed to be used by humans. As soon as we can robotize this process we’ll start to design dishwasher differently, will they get a wholly different look. Perhaps there will be an installation below the ground, outside or in the attic. Or will everything be ‘blown clean’ piece by piece and cleared away immediately. Anything is possible, as long as we don’t see any dirty dishes and there is always a clean cup available. Maybe a nice design contest for Miele?

Robot copies arm and hand movements

This robot, the Armar III of the University of Karlruhe, Germany, copies live arm and hand movements.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’ll go on until they’re just like humans.

WiFi connected thermostat

This thermostat by EcoBee has an especially high gadget-appeal. The colour touchscreen has an iPhone-like interface with which you can optimalise everything, but because the thermostat is connected to the internet through WiFi you can control everything from your computer (or wherever you are) using your personal web portal. If you've also linked up the energy meter, you get a very accurate image of the amount of energy you're using.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The next steps won’t be so difficult to come up with: the link to the alarm clock so that the thermostat turns itself on exactly so much earlier that your house will be warm exactly on time. Ideal for people with irregular hours. And the link to the navigational system (or your mobility coaching brand) so that the house will feel comfortably warm then too. And finally the link to the energy company, so that you can keep track of the costs. This is how comfort, saving costs and ease (when everything anticipates you; you won’t need to do anything again) go hand in hand. This kind of thermostat will eventually be found in every house.

Papaya: free mobile texting, msn, and gaming with friends

Papaya is a mobile application that magics your phone book into a social-communication tool. You import your phonebook into Papaya and you see your friends appear as soon as they register too. Then you can send free text messages through the existing Instant Messaging programs (Live Messenger, ICQ, QQ, etc), chat and play games. Furthermore you can choose your own avatar. Papaya is available in Java for 'normal' mobile phones, the iPhone and Android will soon follow.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

You take your friends list everywhere. Currently you have to copy it, but later you’ll indicate who you are, which social networks you’re on and your friends will appear automatically and you can call them with a press of a button, text them, IM them, play games, whatever. And when you meet a new friend you add them to your mobile and they’ll be available on another mobile or tv or wristwatch too. This’ll need a little more time, but not much longer.

iPhone as flute instrument

Ocarina is the first wind instrument for the iPhone. Ocarina monitors your breath, touch and movements which makes it even more versatile than a real instrument.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Media will respond to everything. How we blow, move, touch, but later on also how we feel, what facial expression we have, how warm we get. And everything will be taken aboard to make the dialogue as real as possible. In this case the dialogue between a person and the iPhone, but for that matter you play a single instrument together. That’ll be possible too.

Loyal customers by doing surveys

Just doing surveys regarding customer satisfaction is enough to get more loyal customers, reports Harvard Business Review. The research was conducted by the American scientists Dholakia and Morwitz.

Their research focused on 1000 customers of a financial aid instance and compared their purchasing behaviour to 1000 other customers who weren't asked about their satisfaction. Both groups were followed for a year and excluded from direct marketing activities. The result: customers who were asked for their opinion once (by phone) bought new products more quickly, walked away 50% of the time less and turned out to be more profitable than the unasked customers.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Just like in normal human relationships, it’s all about attention in the relationship between brands and humans. This kind of research proves that. Brands of the future are very good in giving (automated) attention. They’ll cherish their customers, lure them in and especially listen a lot. Listen a lot.

Giving makes you attractive

Altruism in humans is difficult to explain from the traditional theory in which the focus is on competition between humans for partners, space and food. Neuroscientific research now shows that altruistic behaviour makes you more attractive to the other sex.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the world of 2050 in which there is peace and prosperity for everyone, in a completely transparent world in which power is divided more or less equally and in which physical labour is done completely by robots, owning something no longer gives you status, but what you give to others does. That’s an important part of Pamper Planet. This research is the scientific building block for this trend.

Phone with 3D display

This phone, the Hitachi Wooo H001, has a stereoscopic IPS display which can show 3D images. It'll appear in Japan in April 2009.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Everything will become 3D. The content of the traditional producers won’t be at the top anymore, but internet content. That can ensure a fast and flexible break-through. Eventually every screen will become 3D, every screen will start to react to the position of our eyes so that it’ll seem like we’re looking through the telephone. This is a push in that direction.

New York opens interactive center

Google Maps and Google Earth are central in NYCGo, New York's new information center located on Seventh Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Street. The center offers tourists and locals information. Using giant interactive tables and wall panels, people can view the city in 2 or 3D. When they've found something they like they can send the information to their smartphone (Android, iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile) so that they can get there by walking, using public transport or driving.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands – cities too because they’re just brands in people’s heads – are forging brand experiences in the physical and virtual worlds into one harmonic whole. The dialogue continues constantly, wherever you are. This is a nice example of this.

Thermometer that charges in the sun

This thermometer, the RMR500 Eco Clima Control, of the Australian Oregon Scientific can work for three months in a row after charging in sunlight. Available in the spring for US$99.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’ll start to see more and more products that can take care of themselves: connect to networks on their own, power themselves, so that we can take it easy (not so much to save power, that’s not our motivation). This kind of devices (and then maybe not a thermometer) will conquer the third world, where there’s no lack of sunshine but of good electricity facilities, rapidly.

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?

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.

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