The future of ...

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

Category: News

News coaching brands keep you personally informed. Through text, audio, and video. In the car, through you mobile phone, or at home. And you can ask for even more news. Just call your News coaching agent: ‘Nadia, do you have news?’ Nadia appears on any possible display close to you. And if you still want to know more, for example ‘Where is Nepal?’, Nadia will give you the answer. You can also tell Nadia news. She will keep you up-to-date.

Summly Uses Complex Algorithms to Summarize the Web

Summly Launch from Summly on Vimeo.

Nick D’Aloisio, a 16-year-old iOS developer based in London, England, is the mastermind behind this amazing iPhone app. Summly thrives on a high end algorithm. The Summly algorithm accomplishes this using a number of machine learning techniques and “genetic” algorithms — a search heuristic that mimics evolution.

D’Aloisio says that Summly works best with well-formulated articles that conform to a consistent structure. This lets the algorithm learn what’s important — and where to find that important information — more easily. Tech articles and news articles tend to marry well with Summly’s algorithm, as does the consistently organized content from the New York Times and the BBC. The app doesn’t do quite as well with narrative text written in the third person, but D’Aloisio says that there are no areas that are seriously troublesome to his algorithm.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Computer try to understand in much more details what we find important and this is a step in this direction. This will immediately be followed by connecting it to social media: what do our friends, our family, our colleagues find important? People want to know about the news before they hear it from others. That’s where news coaching brands tap into.

TED introduces smart commenting system

TED, the knowledge platform famous for its public talks, launched a new commenting system. Here are the main enhancements:

  • it will be possible to reply to individual comments, thereby creating threaded conversations.
  • commenters who have uploaded pictures will have these displayed
  • it will be possible to vote on comments
  • people whose comments receive up-votes will earn "TEDCred" points.

Anyone who gets 100+ points will be awarded a special "TEDCred" label by their name.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands constantly find new ways to engage consumers. In the old days via PR, magazines and newspaper. Since the late nineties through the web. Since a few years it’s possible to react on postings. Now they’ve started to sophisticate
reaction mechanisms. And soon people awarded with a TEDCred label will be invited to give a talk themselves. That’s an algoritm that find talent, to explore opportunities with your audiences, within consumers, within members. It’s a typical examply of the brand coming out.

mCast news on phone

Using Mcast.fm (Dutch) you can listen to internet audio in the train, car or on your bicycle through your regular (mobile) phone. This allows you to listen to programs that interest you. For example to background information for the financial crisis, technology or the environment in the world. By calling +31 (0)30 711 5670 or +32 (0)808 0159 the user is dropped right into the news. By pressing 6 the item can be skipped and the next one will start. You can go back 30 seconds with 1, pause with 2 and go back to the beginning with 4.

Anyone who registers on the site will immediately receive a text message with the request to save the number on the cell phone. Then you can make a playlist based on your area of interest (so not on loose items) on the website. Downloading and synchronizing podcasts or audio files is, as such, unneeded.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how news coaching brands are slowly brought to live. Soon we’ll make a car phone call to ‘Momi’. Momi appears and greets us, we ask ‘is there any news?’ and Momi begins. Based on our reaction (whether we say ‘d’oh’ or ‘continue’ or ‘tell me more’) we get the news on our profile, but above all our profile will become ever sharper. This is how Momi can become our new buddy: the brand that keeps us up-to-date. And if Momi also has a nice image to go with it, we can say ‘save that for when I get home’ where the dialogue will happily continue through, for example, the television. This is a clear step in that direction.

New York Times personalises through LinkedIn contacts

Readers of the American newspaper the New York Times will get a special frame on the technology and business pages. In this frame they'll be offered a special selection based on their LinkedIn profile. (LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals.) Members that are active in the energy sector will for instance receive relevant news from the energy market. Besides that it is also possible to share the news from the New York Times with LinkedIn contacts or to start a discussion with people from the user's personal network.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People are more involved with the world in which they live, extremely involved in the lives of their family and friends, involves with their neighborhood, involved with their town, slightly less involved with their state and even less with country’s and world politics. Of the first they want to know everything, of the last just the headlines and between those a bridge. By personalizing the news the NY Times is a step closer to this. After this all sources will get their turn, different opinions will get their turn, or we can even create our own news. Then a newspaper (call it an example of ‘the media’) will no longer determine what the news is, but the people. The NY Times facilitates that and this is a good step in that direction.

Nu.nl puts the news on the map

Dutch news site Nu.nl puts the news on the map (Dutch). You can also look at police notices (crime map) and traffic jams. With an extra timeline you can move through time too.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how we map the physical world in real time more and more often. If we later add our own behavior (how we move across this earth, where we’ve been) we can see what news happened where. A question such as “where are all those fire engines headed?” will in future never be left unanswered. That’s the next step. That’s how the news coaching brand will keep you up to date.

Reuters recognises people in video images

Reuters Labs, the laboratory of the news agency Reuters, automatically recognises people in video with advanced pattern recognition software. If you search for George Bush(you get a choice of two people with the same name), George Clooneyof George Harrison you are very quickly presented with a list of the videos in which those people appear (via dc, Dutch).

Sounds advanced, but soon we’ll be able to walk down the street, point our camera at our surroundings and use face recognition (and other characteristics such as the ‘walk’) to see who is walking past us. We won’t need to tag any more photos or videos because it will be done automatically. The online identity and the real identity will meld completely. It will have an enormous impact on society. For example, in maintaining public order or restricting access to offices. But you could never again walk straight past a friend who you hadn’t seen for 30 years. Your social coaching brand will know exactly who it is.

BBC personalized homepage

British broadcaster BBC personalizes the homepage for the national and international editions. You can choose categories, colors, and the number of items per category. No commercials are shown (mf, Dutch). Thus brands more and more start to provide consumers the information the way they want it. Now by actively make changes, soon BBC will look at what we watch, what colors we like, what reaction we give, and then automatically will adapt the content selection, the colors and the dynamics. This is a small step in that direction. And in the long run the information becomes so personal and relevant, that we are more than willing to pay for it.

Every webcam live

Via Yahoo Live every webcam now can be seen live at the internet (dc, Dutch). Thus another sort of live-TV evolves. Now through the webcam. Soon we will make live television productions which people can tune in to. And in the long run, they will pay for this. In the short term these initiatives will keep growing rapidly, we will get access to cameras in mobile phones (or is this already possible?) and we will also be able to get live views at the mobile phone. Especially the live reporting of news then gets a totally new dimension.

MSN Reporter requires login

If you want to write a reaction on news site MSN Reporter, from now on you have to first create an account, or log in through an existing Live/hotmail account (dc, Dutch). At first sight, it looks like a user unfriendly step, but it will improve the quality of the service, and with that the satisfaction of the users. As people who react can now be identified, comment spam can be avoided more easily, and also people who purposely write very negative or very positive don’t get much chance any more: they will be traced down quickly. Also, an individual can only vote once. Through that, a poll evolves toward market research: it becomes more and more representative (although lots of steps have to be taken to make it statistically relevant). Furthermore, MSN Reporter can build visitors profiles by looking at the reactions of an individual, and with those start developing dialogues necessary to become a news coaching brand.

Your personal New York Times

New York Times with MyTimes make it possible not only to personalize the New York Times, but even to add external sources. Thus news coaching brands further develop. Now we personalize content. Later New York Times look over our shoulder to see what we find interesting. First, they will look at how long you watch a web page, based on the time between clicks, later they will use eye-tracking (are you really looking at the content, or are you distracted by a banner or a phone call, or are you not at your computer any more), and even later NY Times will ‘read’ the emotions off your face. Brands will get better and better in selecting text, audio or video content we are interested in. This however goes step by step.

eKudos starts social network

News site eKudos now offers the possibility to register a network of contacts who share your interest in news. This way, you quickly and easily keep each other informed of news that absolutely deserves attention (dc, Dutch). Brands more and more use personal relationships to be able to serve you on a more personal basis. At the moment many brands start their own services to maintain your social network, later they will connect to social coaching brands, or their archetypes from 2007: social networks. The result is that in the end we will have one central spot for maintaining our contacts, and we will select brands which may use our contact list. This development is a side step which in the end will work out fine.

Original press releases in Google News

Google News now provides access to original press releases of press agencies. Among them are American press agency Associated Press (AP), French Agence France-Presse (AFP), British Press Association (PA), and Canadian Press (CP)(dc, Dutch). Now it is limited to a handful of countries, but this will lead to direct consumer access to all press releases that have ever been made. Thus the quality of web log postings will increase, as they can easily cite the original piece, and link to it. And the amount of postings will increase too. In the end news coaching brands will help us, based on our personal preferences, to make a selection of all news items available in text, audio, or video. Google News is a news coaching brand in development.

French newspaper L’Echos on e-paper

French newspaper L’Echos will soon be available on ePaper: electronic thin and rollable paper that has the same sharpness as print, and that doesn’t use any power once it is loaded. This ‘paper’ is integrated in the iLiad, a kind of pda that contains the ePaper (later it will be available separately), which thus can show the texts and images. Users can download an actualized version of the paper through a wifi-connection a couple of times a day. It is also possible to take notes on the paper, which then are stored in the iLiad (em, Dutch). Now newspapers are experimenting with e-paper in a PDA; in the future all brands will be accessible through these kinds of displays. This again is a new interface to the virtual world.

New York Times publishes articles

The New York Times has published its enormous article archives. All pages with good titles, descriptions and a perfect internal linking structure. Brands are becoming more and more open. It's no longer about information (something which is more and more often easily available to everyone); there is no more lack of information and with that the economical value of information has disappeared. It's more and more often about the selection of information (and products, services, experiences) tailored to the individual. That's the field of coaching brands. In this way the New York Times can grow into a news coaching brand.

Dag, the first day

Dag is a new news brand in the Netherlands. The media consider it the fourth free newspaper in the Netherlands, however the organization rightly announced it as a cross-medium news brand. And it has the ambition to grow into a news coaching brand, a brand that stands next to you and follows the changes in society with you. And if you see something yourself, Dag happily listens to you. In the navigation they have a tag ‘participate’, you can rate every item, and give your reaction on everything. Later we will be able to ask Dag in a spoken dialogue (in the car, in the shower, or at the railway station in Cape Town): “Is there any news?” Then we will get, in text, image or sound (whichever we prefer), the latest news since the last time we asked that question. This is a small step in that direction.

 
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