Your Planet Sustainable?Your Tribe Harmonious?Your Life Vibrant?
Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Trend observations, analysis and future predictions since 2005

Mobile phone recognizes all kinds of things

This Accenture demonstration shows a mobile phone that recognizes newspapers, books, Chinese consumer goods, and even print plates (the green plates in your computer containing the chips). This because the image is sent to a central super computer which recognizes the images, and sends back the result. For the time being, phones won't have the power to do that, let alone the enormous database, but a central service can do this. In a next step we will call for the brand of the product in question, which immediately gives us more information, of course in a personal context as we are recognized as well. A company offering this kind of services, will be tomorrow's 'Google'.

Wii has you give presents to your friends

Through Nintendo's game console Wii, owners will soon be able to buy games and give these to their friends as presents. The moment the receiver logs in, the present becomes visible, and the download can start (dc, Dutch). We invite friends in virtual worlds. Now through a game, and individually, in the future we will invite friends at a certain moment, and pay for their experience. Like you are having a party, and the drinks are on the house. Gaming shows us what in the future will happen in every living room.

Bizner takes care of online banking AND bookkeeping

Dutch internet bank Bizner from now on also takes care of the bookkeeping for entrepreneurs. With this service, transactions in bookkeeping and bank account are (finally) exactly the same again. Now for entrepreneurs, including sole proprietorships, in the future for consumers. Innovation is all about adding value to the lives of people. For 2007 that means: help them find things, help them in administration, help them stay organized. Since the first cooperation between people we have been willing to have others do things for us, so that we ourselves can focus at those things we are good at. We keep delegating. This initiative of Bizner is totally in line with that.

EU starts anti-smoking campaign

The European Union starts a new, centrally organized campaign towards its citizens. Nicomarket, an anti-smoking campaign, should stimulate its citizens to stop smoking. In August the EU also organized a campaign, then about obesity (gu). Central communication stimulates bonding. By communicating as one, as the European Union, its citizens get a collective subject of conversation. A conversation that unites the citizens. Although the effect of this type of campaigns is questionable, they do contribute (a little bit) to the European unification and the feeling of oneness. It might also contribute to people feeling more 'European', and less 'German', 'Polish', or 'Portuguese'. And all these little bits later, in many decades, will contribute to a strong Europe, after which the process will continue on a world scale.

Etos uses character

Dutch drug store chain Etos uses a (fixed) character in its communications. The character can be seen on the internet, in the stores, and maybe in other media as well. It seems to be part of a campaign around the theme pain.

Brands more and more often use characters in their communications. Now in a campaign, in the future structurally. Now built around a theme, in the future in all communications. Now it is quite hidden, but in the future the brand agent will welcome you in Etos' virtual world, and will be able to answer most of your questions directly. This is a small step in that direction.

Robot making faces

Researchers have created a robot face that is able to imitate the tiniest details of the human face. It is a blank face, which can be completely adapted to the shapes of a real human face, scanned in 3D. It is also possible to project a real face on the robot, to include skin color and hair style. The result is a physical robot face looking quite real, see the video below (rn, fc).

We more and more imitate human life. In the end, robots will help us in our daily chores. They will be amongst us, like real people. And they will be involved with brands, like real people. It will take a while, but it is coming closer, one step at a time.

Is it my hand or a fake hand?

The rubber-hand-illusion is a phenomenon through which a test person gets the feeling a fake hand is part of his own body. In this experiment a visible fake-hand is moved in exactly the same way as the real hand, which is invisible. As a result, the test person considers the fake-hand to be his real hand. This phenomenon is declared by the ability of the brain to make connections between different kinds of sensory perceptions (i.e., visual, tactile, and proprioceptive), based on a personal internal representation of someone's own body in the brain. This is what the video shows. Meanwhile, additional research has been conducted.

HealthVault brings consumer and health supplier together

Through HealthVault consumers can maintain their medical records online, and get access to medical knowledge and health suppliers. Patients, people who are ill, can connect drivers like diabetes and pulse meters, and thus get better advise. HealthVault, an initiative of Microsoft, is very careful when it comes to privacy. The electronic health records that patients and their families can share with doctors is completely secured and decoded (em, Dutch). Thus health coaching brands come to life. Now as an initiative of a software company. In the future health coaching brands will especially employ people who 'breathe health'. This is a small step in that direction.

Job openings on video

Through VideoBoard companies now can promote their job openings in a video (dc, Dutch). Brands more and more communicate in images, in video. Now this is still directly derived from text (in many cases the job opening is literally read from paper - very boring), but in the future we will be able to get a good impression of the company we will be working at, of our future job, and of our future boss. And through an artificial employee who also appears on screen, we can directly ask the most simple questions. To talk to our boss we might have to wait for a little while. This is a small step in that direction.

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.

Database of stolen bicycles

In the Netherlands, there will be a database of stolen bicycles, to be consulted by consumers themselves (dc, Dutch). Every element in the physical world gets its own space in the virtual world. Every bicycle will get a worldwide unique number, like we will all have a worldwide personal number in the future, and like cars will have their own unique frame number. If we buy something, it will be registered in our name immediately. Has it been stolen, it is registered as 'stolen'. And if we sell it to somebody else, we will change the registration with a swipe of our mobile phones. Stealing thus becomes a little harder, and the world a little more beautiful. As a result however, brands will even have the registration of the fourth owner in their databases, and will have to be able to answer questions for years and years. The dialogue continues until the end of the product's life. This database access perfectly fits in that development.

Levi’s launches virtual world

Jeans brand Levi's launches Levi's World: its own virtual world (dc, Dutch). More and more often brands with a symbolic function (brands selling products we wear on our bodies) will start creating their own worlds. Worlds in which they invite consumers, who will bring their friends. After all, these are the types of brands they can appear in, which determine their identity, or which at least they like to identify with. This is an example of that development. This type of worlds will grow into complete games for which in the end we will pay. And will be more than willing to pay for.

San Diego County fires live on Google Maps

Interactive broadcasting company KPBS has placed all relevant information about the San Diego County fires on Google Maps. For example huidige fires, evacuation centers, and closed roads (dc, Dutch). All information from the physical world is made available in the virtual world. Consumers and brands will benefit from this, and adapt their plans (or have their plans adapted automatically) to the information they get.

Yahoo puts better fits on top

Yahoo from now on determines the position of an advertisement not solely by the highest bid, but also considers the 'quality' of the advertisement. This quality is mainly determined based on the click through ratio: the amount of other people having clicked through before (ab, Dutch). In the end the most important goal is to make a fitting offer to the individual. And 'advertisement' only becomes 'relevant' if the consumer says 'yes' instantly. Now we still look at the content of the page, the behavior of other people. In the future coaching brands will look at the individual's behavior, and the behavior of his or her trusted relations (friends, family, or colleagues). Coaching brands won't advertise (yell) any more: they will especially be good listeners. This step of Yahoo is an example in that direction.

Related trends

BMW keeps itself on track

BMW now has a car which determines its own optimal directions, and keeps them, as part of a training for drivers. This is based on satellites. We earlier saw a BMW parking itself, a BMW driving into a garage by itself , and a Volkswagen which moves by itself (fc, Dutch).

Cars have become so cool that we almost forgot the basis need it fulfills: to get from A to B. It is just a way to fulfill the need of the free human, the human eternally looking for freedom of movement, freedom to go wherever he wants, and independence. In the future we will only have to whisper to our mobility coaching brand, and we are taken from point A to point B. Through all means available at that moment. Our own car, a bike, a metro, airplane or bedjak: nothing is excluded. And in the (very) long run we will only have to sit down, while the mobility coaching brand takes us where we want to go. The development we see here seems to be revolutionary, but before the wheel will completely disappear from the car, it will be 2050.

Sermo opens website to suppliers

American online physicians community Sermo (30,000 members) opens up its website to suppliers. Pfizer is the first of several drug makers that will partner with Sermo to interact with the physicians who share insights on the site. Pfizer's collaboration will come in the form of 'HotSpots': a place for physicians to interact with the industry while no advertisements are allowed. Sermo is still determining a pricing model for the feature (cz). It gets harder for brands to gain entry to the world of consumers, of small companies, and of mediate companies. Brands who have access to the consumer, like this type of communities, therefore get more power. This type of brands determine the rules, on behalf of its members. Product suppliers, like Pfizer, take the role of transaction brands. They will completely focus on the product, and take on a service role. This is an example of that.

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