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Tomorrow's Screens

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It’s Not About the Personal Device, It’s About the Personal Content


Thank you so very much for giving me an opportunity to get to know myself much better.” -- Dr. Solomon, “Minority Report,” 20th Century Fox (2002)

Do you know what’s wrong with the entertainment industry?

Someone, somewhere dreams up a contraption or scenario, some producer gets wind of it and turns it into something millions of people watch and BAM!! in a few years, it’s a seamless part of your life.

PCs, notebooks, portable phones, micro cameras, tablets, cloud computing/storage, intelligent interactive digital signage, you name it; they all went mainstream because of movies and TV. We came up with this epiphany after the DisplaySearch’s recent Display Technologies Conference and watching NCIS: LA and Hawaii Five-O.

Do you see how they have their text, images on tabletop and wall screens? In the flick of a pinky, the image flies from one screen to another, enlarges, gets replaced by other gotta’ have information … instantly.

At the same time, countless movies have been built around informational walls that recognized you, welcomed you, gave you your information before you even knew you wanted it.

As Lycon observed, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

Oh sure, they tattled on you; but nothing’s perfect.

The IBM PC that recently marked its 30th anniversary looks stone age next to our tablet system and smartphone. In another 30 years, even these marvels will join the ranks of memorabilia at the Computer Museum.

Computing Evolution – Computing power won’t disappear but it will continue to evolve; and today’s hugely popular tablets and smartphones are just waypoints along the road. In 30 years, you’ll wonder why you even carried them with you to get your information, news, data, and entertainment.

Fading Shape
The computer as we know it will be the first to go.

Why do you need a personal device when cloud computing, cloud storage and virtual computing are here or practically here?

The smart network is rapidly rising; and the global roll-out of IPv6, in its simplest terms, is an Internet layer protocol for providing end-to-end datagram transmission across multiple IP networks.

You’ll have your own phone number (ID) and the network will be smart enough to know where you are so your communications – written, video, audio - can be routed to the nearest enabled device – your car, TV, shopping cart display, fast food digital sign, watch, clock radio, you name it.

Right now, you’re probably thinking like John Anderton, “It's too fast. Slow it down.”

Intel estimates that over the next four years, there will be 2-3 billion Internet users (approaching half of the world population) and more than 15 billion connected devices.

With chip sizes shrinking and becoming increasingly complex, we’ll see a healthy mixture of general purpose and specialty processors that use less and less power to perform more and more tasks.

It probably shouldn’t be too hard for the chip folks to put the­ CPU, GPU, video, encryption, baseband and other operations in something so small it will work in anything, everything.

Increasingly, the devices are all connected over the wireless mesh networks to larger and larger “systems” that manage content traffic and store personal information as well as company and general information.

John Anderton and you will probably say, “My God, I forgot there were so many.”

Personalizing Information – Today, people want to control their own information gathering; and interactive display signage kiosks such as the one above are an important step in meeting the consumer’s wants/needs. The kiosks allow the consumer to ask questions tailored to their wants and needs and determine what the best product is for him/her. They eliminate the need for the traditional sales clerk and produce a more satisfied customer because he/she made the decision.

Semi-intelligent signage is already being used around the globe which enables consumers to view and learn more about products and determine which ones they want to purchase.

Some of the more advanced systems even show you wearing, using the product in virtual mode.

On-the-Go Displays – Subway display islands that enable customers to use their smartphone to make an instant purchase on-the-go and have the products delivered to their home are a logical first step. Consumers will go to a 3D interactive digital sign, make a selection, “try it on,” make the purchase and be on their way. It sure beats shopping with the wife.

Evolving Trials
A rudimentary alternative is being tested in South Korea by HomePlus, one of the country’s largest retailers. It lets you shop at display areas and use your smartphone to scan a barcode to place an order which is delivered to the home.

South Korea will have an estimated 20M plus smartphone users by the end of the year or about half of the 49 million population.

Delivery is $1-$4 which beats running from store to store, mall to mall.

You go about your business or life without missing a beat and wait for the delivery…yeah, we’re still trying to figure out a way for it to just arrive!

The next step (O.K., 2-3 steps) will be to view the product on digital signage anywhere in 3D, virtually try it on/work with it and purchase it using your personal ID (iris scan, thumbprint, facial recognition or …). Then, when you come in the sign will simply say, “Hello Mr. Yukkamoto and welcome back!”

Facial recognition won’t work?

In Britain, it’s estimated that every citizen is photographed 300 times a day.

Don’t get paranoid; but just check around your neighborhood, the office, the store, the street corner, your bathroom (you never know!)

Soon…there will be an app for that.

At the same time, screens are changing…rapidly.

3D Evolution – A lot of folks like to say the industry is trying too hard and people just don’t want 3D TV and a bunch of dumb glasses. In five years, you’ll wonder why people said 3D TV would never take off and won’t remember being entertained in 2D. Until then, sit back, live with it, enjoy it.

The TV industry is still struggling to convince people that 3D high-def television is here even though quality content is still woefully lacking. Then there’s the issue of the glasses.

Both of these are works in progress.

We Love Our Screens
But interactive, 3D screen technology will continue to improve, demand/sales will grow and slowly they’ll not only be in your family room but everywhere you go.

When it rolls out John Anderton will reassure us, “There's nothing wrong with this system it is...”

Touch Me – On almost every system you interact with, every device you handle today, you expect to simply tap the screen a few times and get the information you want. Watch a little kid come up to your notebook and watch them instinctively try to enlarge or shrink pictures with their fingers. Only your TV is a passive screen, but that too will change…significantly.

LCD displays will grow at a compound annual rate of 39 percent through 2014 and there are a number of “interesting” screen technologies to keep us entertained everywhere, all the time.

Soon, you won’t even think twice about walking past large interactive signs.

Screens Around Us – We’re already comfortable with and just expect digital signage to present information and images in a clean, crisp form. The use of static printed signs in stores, restaurants, entertainment/educational/worship facilities and businesses are rapidly being replaced with solutions that bring the information to life.

What sparked all this enthusiasm about new screen technologies and the changing face of computing?

Check out

Sure, all the things they show you are glass, but for crying out loud, there’s glass in their name.

The thing we noticed was there was computer power everywhere but none of the “computers” we’re used to interacting with today.

And it all looks/feels natural, logical.

Your information is available to you wherever you are, when you want it…heck, it will probably be telling you before you ask.

We’re just not sure who’s storing it all, managing it all for us.

As Dr. Henimen said, “I call it a gift, for them it was more like a big cosmic joke.”

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