Tag Archives: future

‘Divergence’ – the computing around us – my mobile 2020 predictions

I just finished reading Mobile Trends 2020 from M-Trends and it’s great to see what some of the leaders in the industry are thinking about for the next decade.  This is the presentation:

I’ve been offering some predictions in the talks I’ve been giving lately – like the one I did at XMedia Lab Sydney and Over The Air 2009 (click to see my post/slides on this).  Broadly they could be summed up in the final slide which had the message: “Your mobile was just the FIRST connected device.”  I introduced this by making more specific predictions that:

– Mobile will take centre stage (in our computing lives)

– Everything becomes connected (even our clothes.  Yes, I want an umbrella that wirelessly knows when it’s going to rain and beeps at me as I leave my flat, reminding me to take it with me.)

– Everything becomes filtered by location (and this drastically changes our relationship to content and its meaning)

– Mass participation and creativity will grow (because more and more of the unconnected will become connected).

So, broadly I was glad to see that alot of the experts in the industry were talking along the same lines.  Really encouraged, actually, even if their predictions were generally alot more informed and nuanced than mine.

What struck me though, is that there isn’t really a name for the trend that’s being widely predicted about what I’d call ‘the computing that happens around us.’  Broadly, I’d say this is a combination of: wearable/embedded/environmental technology, ubiquitous connectivity, context awareness and pervasive screens.

Depending on who you talk to, ‘convergence’ has happened or is about to happen.  iPhones and Android handsets are here, Netbooks are taking off and there’s that persistant rumour about the Apple Tablet and firm plans for other tablet devices (newspaper killers?!).  Sooner or later, I think we’ll all end up with a ‘smart’ converged device that will connect into the ‘computing around us’ that I described above.

So, I’d like to propose that at good name for this trend of smaller computing points on/in our bodies that connect to other computing points/screens in our environment be ‘divergence.’  Why?  Because what fundamentally underlies it is a move from us each having one personal computer that we interact with to a world where we interact with many computers simultaneously and sometimes unknowingly, even if much of this computing is/will be consumed through our converged devices (which will remain important!).

I’d like to propose that at good name for this trend of smaller computing points on/in our bodies that connect to other computing points/screens in our environment be ‘divergence.’

Broadcaster have had to (or are) shifting from a one-to-many model to a one-to-one model with their content.  Soon, I think we will move from a one-to-one (or a few) model for our user-to-pc access to a one-to-many model for our pc/mobile access.  We’ll have devices that are ‘ours’, devices that ‘know’ (recognise) us and devices that are ‘unknown’ but that we still share information and data with (often in a passive sense) – the level of trust and permission we permit these diverged devices to have will depend on which of these categories they fall into.

Please, let me know what you think.

Over The Air – The Future is Mobile presentation

I spoke at Over The Air 2009 recently and have just uploaded my slides to share with the attendees and thought I’d share them with my readers too, in case you want to get a better view of what the BBC is up to on mobile and also, some of my personal predictions for what might happen in the mobile space.

Two highlights I wanted to pull out were my mini-analysis on what makes a good mobile app, which I’ve boiled down to:

Makes your life easier

Uses unique hardware capabilities on the device

Makes a better media experience on your device

Makes it FUN (aka GAMES)

Full details are in the slides and if you want to know more (since the talk isn’t on there), just get in touch.

The other part I wanted to highlight were my personal predictions around things that I think will unfold in the mobile space.  They are:

Mobile take centre stage as the first computing device you turn to

Everything becomes connected – clothing, toys, etc

Everything filtered via location

Mass participation and creativity will grow

Again, there’s more in the presentation but if you want to talk about any of these, or find out more, just get in touch.

I also gave a longer version of the talk at Ad-Tech London – part of London Digital Week.  If you want to see the extended version (with more details and examples of good stuff in the industry), dive in here:

Customers or Shareholders? – Sir Michael Lyons talks about the BBC

There’s alot of talk going on at the moment about the future of the TV licence fee that funds the BBC (where I work – so yes, it pays my wages).  There was a debate about freezing it in the House of Commons today.  BBC Director General Mark Thompson was recently interviewed about it in The Observer, too.

More interesting, to me though, is the speech that the chairman of the BBC Trust (the BBC’s regulator) gave last night where he likened the public to shareholders (who want influence) in the BBC rather than customers (who just choose whether or not to buy something).  You can read the full text of his speech here.

The good news, in my opinion, is that seems to see our audience members the same way as I do – funders who should be allowed to voice their opinions – very directly – to the BBC about what we should and shouldn’t be doing and making.  This isn’t to say they should CONTROL what we do – but they should certainly have a strong voice and an ability to communicate with us.

What I’d have liked to have heard though, is how this could happen.  I felt the commitments he made were all good – but could have gone further.  The proposals all felt like they came out of a very linear world; where the audience can’t inform (again – not control) what’s going on.  We’re now in a world where audiences can and do expect to have a level of control with their media – and this is a growing expectation.  I’d love to see a world where the BBC pioneers a new way of maintaining its editorial quality and impact – and where it still surprises and delights its audiences – but where we give them a much stronger voice (using the direct channels digital media allows us) in what we do.

I posted a rough proposal for how I imagined this could happen a few months ago.  I wonder if Sir Michael’s read it.  I doubt it but would love to know what he thinks.