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Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Product activation

With product activation consumer and brand will recall what product they’re talking about. We just have to point at it (‘this is what I mean!’) and the brand will know enough to enter the dialogue with you. That is the trend that’s developing.
Before the industrialization a few centuries ago it was the most normal thing in the world for the producer to know the consumer personally. Not any more. The product has become completely anonymous and communication was given the form of ‘broadcasting information regarding the product’. Because of all the developments in the media this old connection is being reestablished. But then automated, there’s no going back, or ‘back to the past’, but progress with characteristics of the past.

Very practically we can distinguish the following forms in increasing complexity:

  • looking up the manual of a bought product at the brand’s website
  • a smart extension in the URL behind a brand:
  • shotcodes: all sorts of forms of visual barcodes that can be recognized by snapping a cell phone picture and then calling a website
  • RFID: small built in chips that can be read from a distance (for example with a cell phone) and then trigger a website
  • connected products: with these the products are simply always connected to the manufacturer who gives 24/7 support as a result. A lot of desktop software already knows this principle, but later it’ll also go for physical products
  • image recognition: the brand will immediately recognize the product from a streaming video, for example from the user’s cell phone

This step-by-step development shows how the trend will be shaped in time. Later the brand will recognize products in the dialogue, which means that the brand recognizes the user and the product at the same time and places both in a context: ‘my car vibrates’ is then more than enough for, for example, Volvo to tackle the problem of a known car owner.


Latest observations for Product activation

Latest observations for Product activation (in Dutch)