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Posts in category 'Foresight'

18 May 2011

Seven technologies to disrupt the next decade

Next wave
What technologies will have the biggest impact on the next decade? New Scientist peers into the crystal ball and picks the ideas, concepts and gadgets that are set to shake things up.

Be nice to the telepresence robot
If you’re talking to a colleague on the other side of the world via their robotic representative, will it be rude to turn down its volume?

Stroll through data in the augmented city
City streets, buildings and even people are about to be painted with a vibrant array of virtual information and adverts.

Don’t invent, evolve
We are about to enter a new era of invention, thanks to software that can evolve designs we could never dream of.

Eat a printed dinner in your printed home
3D printers can fabricate objects of any shape – jewellery and machine parts for now, but printed buildings, food and even body organs could be on the way.

Jacking into your brain
Direct link between our brains and computers are set to challenge our notions of identity, culpability and the acceptable limits of human enhancement.

The crystal ball internet
Sentiments expressed in the torrent of blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates offer a powerful way to predict the future.

Digital wallets will empty faster
The ability to pay with a swipe of a cellphone will shorten queues in stores – and make it easy for us to spend much more.

8 May 2011

Augmented Reality and transitioning out of the legacy internet

Bruce pulpit
Tish Shute of Ugotrade interviews Bruce Sterling ahead of the Augmented Reality Event, where Bruce is a keynote speaker.

As Bruce Sterling points out, Augmented Reality is “truly a child of the twenty-teens, a genuine digital native,” and one visible indication that …the Internet really could look like a “legacy.”

“The Legacy Internet as an old-fashioned, dusty, desk-based place best left to archivists and librarians, while the action is out on the streets.”

Read interview (alternate link)

4 May 2011

Intel anthropologist offers ten visions for the future

Genevieve Bell
As a follow-up to the previous post, Intel’s user experience discourse is further elaborated on by Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow and the company’s Director of Interaction and Experience Research.

Bell’s main job is to look at what motivates people, and in turn understand how they think, so that ultimately Intel can work towards creating better products. If you’re wondering why that should be important to a company that makes processors rather than actual consumer devices like smartphones or tablets, don’t. Bell’s response is simple.

“If you can make an engineer understand why a processor needs to work without a fan, not because of a power need, but because of a social one, then you can make them create devices that fit into our lives better.”

Here are Bell’s ten predictions:
1. The Internet will get more feral
2. Next-gen interfaces will become old hat
3. We will still be social but the way we use the networks will change
4. We will “sledge” each other…
5. There will be stubborn artefacts
6. We will be bored together
7. We will have a lot of stuff
8. We will manage our connectivity, we will manage our disconnectivity
9. We have to maintain the network
10. We will develop new anxieties

Read article

19 February 2011

Book: Make It So

Rosenfeld Media
Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction
A book in progress by Nathan Shedroff & Chris Noessel
Publisher: Rosenfeld Media
Anticipated publication date: 2012

Science fiction has remained a pastime for designers, instead of a valuable source of insight and learning until now. Make It So, a book in progress by Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel, will be the first book to connect the inspiring “blue sky” designs of scifi with your own work in interaction design.

Interaction and interface designers can learn practical lessons from the interfaces in Science Fiction films and television. Though lacking rigorous engagement with users, production designers are nonetheless allowed to develop influential “blue-sky” examples that are inspiring, humorous, prophetic, useful, and can be incorporated into “real” work to make online, mobile, and ubiquitous interfaces more interesting and more successful. This book will share lessons and examples culled from imaginative interfaces free from traditional constraints. In addition, the authors will outline their process of investigation and describe a toolkit for others to make similar explorations into other domains.

Make It So will show how:
* SciFi interfaces allow us to see current issues from fresh perspectives, testing design techniques we don’t always expect but are, nonetheless, applicable to current work
* SciFi is a design tool like any other
* All design is already fiction (until it gets built)
* If it works for an audience, there’s something there that works for users
* Interaction designers can be inspired by a source they already love.

27 January 2011

The near future of the user interface

Amnesia
Two articles and one prototype provide diverging viewpoints on the near future of the user interface:

Microsoft plans a natural interface future full of gestures, touchscreens and haptics
An official Microsoft blog highlights MS’s plans about the future of how we’ll interact with computers. Apparently, writes Fast Company, it’s touchscreens and “natural user interfaces” (NUI) all the way. MS foresees NUI technology rapidly advancing from its current sensor-centric state to include “knowledge of what you’re trying to do (contextual awareness)” and “where you are and what is around you (environmental awareness).” By combining clever processing with Kinect-style sensors and touchscreens, MS imagines that its systems will become much more intuitive. The hope is that they become “almost invisible,” in fact, and not a barrier between you and what you want your PC to do. Add in haptic feedback, where your devices communicate back to you in non-visual ways to add to the quality of interactivity, and you’ve got some very powerful thinking here.

Amnesia: a magical interface for dragging files between mobile devices
A clever Microsoft Surface app makes iPads and Android phones behave like we wish they would: No different from real life files.

Mac daddy predicts all-knowing, all-seeing UI
In the future, you’ll use a speech-based interface to access all the world’s knowledge – including your own personal memories – stored in the cloud, according to a legendary engineer who was a member of the team that designed Apple’s original Macintosh user interface.

18 January 2011

Devices will allow for more heads-up mobility

Marko Ahtisaari
Marko Ahtisaari, senior vp and head of design strategy at Nokia, was interviewed on the [Nokia] Ideas Project site.

In the [short] interview, Ahtisaari states that true mobility means devices that users can operate and interact with on the go, at a glance and even one-handed; an alternative to the immersive attention many current smart phones now encourage.

The site also posts links to the Ahtisaari presentation at Le Web in Paris.

In a first video, we see Ahtisaari talking about his belief that we are in the very early phases of the smart phone, comparable to where the automobile was in the 1880s, which means we have yet to reach a dominant paradigm. Dominant smart phone designs, including the touchscreen OS, and multiple, personalizable home screens, and data systems, will be increasingly informed by collective intelligence, he says.

Then LeWeb creator Loic LeMeur interviews Marko Ahtisaari about the kinds of design innovation we can expect at Nokia in 2011 and future trends in the industry going forward.

20 December 2010

Vodafone foresight on the world in 2020

Future Agenda
Vodafone has launched its new futureagenda website that presents the results of a 12 month insight and foresight programme on the world in 2020.

The project, which was presented last week in Istanbul, Turkey (and only got covered, it seems, by the Turkish press), also includes a book and downloadable pdf (315 pages).

The Future Agenda programme brought together informed people from around the world to analyse the crucial themes of the next ten years. Fifty workshops in twenty-five locations took place and resulted in a unique view of the next ten years. The website reports on the key conclusions.

In the opening section, Vodafone details what it sees as the four macro-scale certainties for the next decade – the things that, unless there is an unexpected, massive and fundamental global shift, will most definitely occur and so are the certitudes upon which everything else is built. These certainties are 1) a continued imbalance in population growth, 2) more key resource constraints, 3) an accelerating eastward shift of economic power to Asia, and 4) pervasive global connectivity.

The second section explores some of the key insights gained into how the world and our lives will probably change over the next decade. These are the key changes that will occur in many different areas, some influenced by just one of the four certainties, others by two or more. These changes are detailed by providing both the signals from today that give evidence to support the direction of change and the future implications over the next ten years. They are grouped into six clusters – health, wealth, happiness, mobility, security and locality – which seem to encompass all the issues highlighted. Each change that is depicted in this section is variously linked to a number of others.

The Future Agenda team invited students of the the Innovation Design Engineering Department (IDE) of the Royal College of Arts to create some solutions to the challenges we face. IDE focuses on using cutting edge product design experimentation and systems thinking to tackle important real world issues with advanced technical design (and) within social parameters. Short videos show the results of this RCA project.

3 December 2010

The world in 2036

The Economist
To mark the 25th edition of “The World in”, The Economist’s annual collection of predictions for the year ahead, the newspaper asked some people to peer 25 years ahead.

Economy: Jim O’Neill
Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Food: Jamie Oliver
Chef, restaurateur and campaigner

Religion: Paul Saffo
Managing director, foresight, Discern Analytics, and visiting scholar at Stanford University
> Audio: Paul Saffo on why he thinks a new religion could emerge

Collaboration: Don Tapscott
Chairman of nGenera Insight and co-author (with Anthony Williams) of “Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World” (Portfolio Penguin)

Technology: John Battelle
Founder and CEO of Federated Media Publishing

Design: Paola Antonelli
Senior curator of architecture and design, New York Museum of Modern Art

Weather: Doug Smith
Head of decadal climate prediction research, the Met Office

Fragility: Nassim Taleb
Professor of risk engineering at New York University; author of “The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms” (Random House and Penguin, January 2011)
> Audio: Too fragile to survive

Friends: Mark Pincus [no link yet]
CEO, Zynga

Leadership: Vineet Nayar
CEO of HCL Technologies, and author of “Employees First, Customers Second” (Harvard Business Press)

Sports: Usain Bolt
World and Olympic champion sprinter

2 December 2010

Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth

Istanbul
The Megacities on the Move report says authorities must start planning their transport infrastructure now for a future when two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities.

The Forum for the Future report devotes a lot of attention to new types of user-centred mobility solutions, as reported by The Guardian:

“Moving away from car ownership, using real-time traffic information to help plan journeys and having more virtual meetings will be vital to prevent the megacities of the future from becoming dysfunctional and unpleasant places to live, according to a study by the environmental think tank Forum for the Future. [...]

One issue is to integrate different modes of transport: citizens will want to walk, cycle, access public transport, drive personal vehicles or a mixture of all modes in one journey. “Information technology is going to be incredibly important in all of this, in terms of better integrating and connecting physical modes of transport,” said [Ivana] Gazibara [, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report]. “But we’re also going to see lots more user-centred ICT [information and communication technology] so it makes it easier for us to access things virtually.”

Of particular interest too are the four scenarios for urban mobility in 2040, which paint vivid pictures of four possible worlds in 2040. Scenario animations bring each world to life, as they follow a day in the life of an ordinary woman, examining the mobility challenges and solutions in each world:

Planned-opolis
In a world of fossil fuels and expensive energy, the only solution is tightly planned and controlled urban transport.

Sprawl-ville
The city is dominated by fossil fuel-powered cars.The elite still gets around, but most urban dwellers face poor transport infrastructure.

Renew-abad
The world has turned to alternative energy and high-tech, clean, well-planned transport helps everyone get around.

Communi-city
The world has turned to alternative energy, and transport is highly personalised with a huge variety of transport modes competing for road space.

24 November 2010

Mobile user experience trends on the horizon

UX Magazine
Marek Pawlowski, the founder of MEX, explores in UX Magazine several future trends he expects to be of significance for UX practitioners as the balance of user expectations tilts ever further towards mobile scenarios.

Read article

23 November 2010

The Morrow Project and futurism at Intel

The Morrow Project
Intel’s Chief Futurist, Brian David Johnson, is a big advocate of using science fiction narratives as a jumping off point for a discussion between management and engineering about the future of Intel’s business, reports BoingBoing today (see also video).

Intel Germany’s Morrow Project (“Uber Morgen“) has commissioned four writers — Douglas Rushkoff, Ray Hammond, Scarlett Thomas and Markus Heitz — to produce science fictional pieces on the future that the company can use in its own planning. Intel has also released free ebooks and podcasts of the works in German and English.

“The Morrow-Project” is a unique literary project which shows the important effects that contemporary research will have on our future and the relevance that this research has for each of us. Research currently being conducted by Intel in the fields of photonics, robotics, telematics, dynamic physical rendering and intelligent sensors served as the basis to inspire four bestselling authors. The results are four short stories which paint amusing, thought-provoking and hopeful pictures of our future.

The stories
- All in one (podcast | pdf)
- Last Day of Work – by Douglas Rushkoff (podcast)
- The Mercy Dash – by Ray Hammond (podcast)
- The Drop – by Scarlett Thomas (podcast)
- The Blink of an Eye – by Markus Heitz (podcast)

8 November 2010

Magitti: The future of location apps from PARC?

Magitti
Bo Begole, principal scientist and manager of PARC‘s (formerly Xerox PARC) Ubiquitous Computing Area, showed Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb an app that brings the concept of ‘ubicomp’ to a commercial reality.

“Magitti is a next generation location-based mobile app, currently in commercial trials in Japan. It goes further than popular apps like Foursquare and Gowalla. As well as using GPS data to figure out where you are, Magitti computes a user’s preferences and context. It then makes recommendations of near-by places to go, based on that personal data. [...]

[It is] a mobile recommender service that recommends outdoor leisure activities to you based on your current time and location. More than that, it accounts for the user’s “digital situation as identified by messages they’ve been exchanging or documents they’ve been looking at.”

Begole explained that the app infers the user’s likely leisure activity and then helps partition the types of information they’d be interested in.”

Read article

Further background
- Blogpost by Begole where he discusses PARC’s work on contextual intelligence
- Case study on the role of ethnography in the Magitti development

15 October 2010

Device Design Day videos

Device Design Day
Kicker Studio organised on 20 August a Device Design Day in San Francisco, exploring the design of the next generation of products. Most videos are now online:

Stuart Karten: User-driven innovation [31:40]
Stuart Karten Design
The fast pace of technology development makes almost anything possible. The challenge that product developers face is implementing technologies in ways that meet customer needs and facilitate trust. In the hearing aid industry, technology allows hearing instruments to become smaller and smaller and opens up new possibilities for user interface. In taking Starkey’s hearing aids to the next level, Stuart Karten and his team at design and innovation consultancy SKD served as user advocates, making sure that Starkey’s advanced technology was developed into a family of products that meet the unique needs of 65- to 85-year-old end users. Karten will share the tools and strategies that SKD employed to maintain its focus on the end user throughout the product and interface development process.

Kim Goodwin: Convergent products, convergent process [37:57]
Author, Designing for the Digital Age
Interaction designers and industrial designers are kindred spirits in many ways, yet we tend to lean on somewhat different skills, biases, and design approaches. Many teams struggle with these differences, and the results of that struggle are visible in the telephones, remote controls, and even toaster ovens that drive us all a little bit crazy. So how do we get past atoms vs. pixels, while still benefiting from the different strengths of each discipline? No doubt there’s more than one answer, but the one that has worked for us is a convergent design process that incorporates both co-design and parallel design, but never sequential design in which one discipline drives the other. We’ll share that process—and the project management considerations that go with it—from both IxD and ID perspectives.

Dan Harden: Breaking through the noise [45:50]
Whipsaw
There are so many electronic devices, gadgets, and techy do-dads in this world, and quite frankly, most are junk. Every once in awhile one comes along and it’s different. It breaks through the noise. You dig it because it works flawlessly, it delivers real value, and it even has soul. Technology may enable it to BE, but design is what makes it sing. What are the factors that go into creating these kind of transcendent product experiences that resonate with soul? We will discuss this and share a few examples of how we interpret this illusive goal.

Mike Kuniavsky: Information as a material [34:03]
Author, Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design
We have passed the era of Peak MHz. The race in CPU development is now for smaller, cheaper, and less power-hungry processors. As the price of powerful CPUs approaches that of basic components, how information processing is used—and how to design with/for it—fundamentally changes. When information processing is this cheap, it becomes a material with which to design the world, like plastic, iron, and wood. This vision argues that most information processing in the near future will not be in some distant data center, but immediately present in our environment, distributed throughout the world, and embedded in things we don’t think of as computers (or even as “phones”).
In his talk Kuniavsky discusses what it means to treat information as a material, the properties of information as a design material, the possibilities created by information as a design material, and approaches for designing with information. Information as a material enables The Internet of Things, object-oriented hardware, smart materials, ubiquitous computing, and intelligent environments.

Julian Bleecker: Design fiction goes from props to prototypes [33:23]
Nokia / Near Future Laboratory
Prototypes are ways to test ideas—but where do those ideas come from? It may be that the path to better device design is best followed by creating props that help tell stories before prototypes designed to test technical feasibility. What I want to suggest in this talk is the way that design can use fiction—and fiction can use design—to help imagine how things can be designed just a little bit better.

Gretchen Anderson: Motivating healthy behaviors [21:49]
Punchcut
We’ve moved into an era where the gadgets we use affect our very being. Purpose-built medical devices are moving into the hands of consumers, and apps deliver healthcare over-the-air. This session looks at key concerns and best practices when designing medical devices and motivating healthy behaviors.

Jared Benson: One size does not fit all [20:57]
Punchcut
Are you inadvertently porting old UI paradigms to new contexts of use? Tomorrow’s devices need new affordances. I’ll share insights and considerations for designing distributed experiences across a range of converged devices.

Wendy Ju: Designing implicit interactions [24:31]
California College of Arts
Implicit interactions can interactive devices to help communicate cues and to provide feedback to make interactive devices easier, more effective and less infuriating. We’ll look at examples and design guidelines to help design good implicit interactions and avoid making inadvertent bad ones.

Ian Myles: More thought than you’d think
meep
How to go a little deeper on strategic design decisions with surprising results.

6 October 2010

Bruce Sterling interview by Rhys Hughes

Bruce Sterling
Last week, La Stampa newspaper of Turin, Italy published an interview with Bruce Sterling, conducted by Welsh writer and essayist Rhys Hughes.

The complete English version of the interview has now been posted on fortykey (which by the way has a very interesting collection of essays). An excerpt:

Rhys: The ‘Internet of Things’ is a truly startling concept. I seem to remember that you once described it as “inconceivable before the 21st Century”. I find the prospect of everything in the world being linked together as alarming rather than uplifting, a threat to liberty. Are my concerns naive?

Bruce: I would agree that the privacy risks are always the first issues to strike thoughtful people. As people become more engaged with the many startling possibilities of the Internet of Things, they understand that those first concerns are primitive. They are not wrong, just simplistic.
It’s like learning about the railroad, and immediately thinking that it means that foreign spies will come to your town on the railroad. That is true. Yes, foreign spies really are a threat to your liberty, and they will use railroads. But railroads are alarming for many good reasons other than mere foreign spies.
The worst concern about a railroad is this: if a rival town gets the railroad, and your town doesn’t get that railroad, then your town dies. You will live a dead town. Posed in the rhetorical terms of the Internet of Things, this would mean a frightening “Internet of Things Gap.” This would be something like yesterday’s famous “digital divide.” When no one has it, then it might be bad to have it. When others really have it and you don’t, that deprivation is terrifying, unjust, evil. This would crush all your intelligent and skeptical reservations because it would reframe the debate in a way you could not counter.
The Internet of Things is indeed startling. It is also dangerous. But that’s just theory. To to have no real Internet is worse. To have no Internet while others do have it can be lethal. The Regione of Piemonte understood that problem, and that’s why I am able to type this to you on some very nice state-supported broadband.

Read interview

1 October 2010

Data visualisation as an actionable tool in our lives

Inflation
This week I watched the excellent online documentary “Journalism in the Age of Data“, which is a video report on data visualisation as a storytelling medium that Geoff McGhee created during a 2009-2010 Knight Journalism fellowship. I first didn’t write on it in Putting People First, as I considered it a media story. But I changed my mind.

Apart from the fact that this video provides great inspiration for interaction designers and interface designers of all sorts, and not just those working in journalism, it also inspires a wider reflection.

With people rapidly moving to a world inundated with data capturing devices and the resulting data streams, our challenge as UX designers is to create tools that make sense of these data, and transform this data flood into useful and actionable informational experiences that help us better conduct our lives.

Smart phone applicatins seem to me an intermediate step. Yes, indeed, one can find apps for almost any need and they are sometimes quite useful. But we cannot conduct our lives with hundreds of apps: one for parking, one for driving, one for shopping, one for dining, etcetera.

What could be the future of actionable data visualisations in a multi-sensorial world?

30 September 2010

Manuel Castells: Mobile internet will outstrip ‘desktop’ use by 2014

Manuel Castells
By 2014, the number of mobile internet users will surpass the number of users browsing the internet via a desktop computer, says a former adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and member of technology panels on the United Nations.

Professor Manuel Castells told a conference on web science at the Royal Society this week that the internet is a “key technology of freedom” for those able to access it, predicting that the planet will achieve “quasi-universal coverage of internet access as my generation fades away”. In that time, he said, a “major disparity in the quality of connection around the world is a major issue of policy” for governments to tackle.

Read article (The Guardian)

(For more background on Castells, watch Time for Change, an excellent documentary by Bregtje van der Haak, produced and broadcast by Dutch television station VPRO.)

29 September 2010

Creating a patient-centered future for health care

Future healthcare
Minneapolis firm Worrell looked at the future of health care through the patient’s perspective. Fast Company’s Co.Design site reports.

“When it comes to designing new medical devices, most of the talk is about how easy products are for physicians to use, noted designer Kai Worrell at last week’s Body Computing conference at USC. There’s almost no conversation about the experience from the patients’ perspective, he said — a shift which could radically change the health care industry.

Worrell’s Minneapolis-based firm has spent the past few years talking with patients, visiting their homes, and getting to know the needs of these stakeholders as they’ve designed health care products. They decided that they could use those hundreds of hours of research to help more people, creating the video Design We Can All Live With to show the current problems and potential solutions.”

Read article (and make sure to watch the video!)

17 September 2010

Context-aware devices that become our natural extensions

Intel inside
Much coverage on the presentation by Justin Rattner (video), Intel’s CTO at the Intel Developer Forum, where he discussed a future with so-called context-aware computers and mobile devices. (Make sure to see the full video).

PC Magazine
Rattner describes the future of context-aware computing
The real question, Rattner said, is: Is the market ready for all of this context? Intel Fellow Genevieve Bell (who also led the Day Zero events) arrived onstage to explain that all users have “ambivalent and complex” relationships with technology, and that discovering what people truly love is the key to making context-aware computing work. The process involves conceptualizing and designing potential products, validating that in the real world, integrating the changes, and repeating the process until the users are satisfied. This will involve, Bell said, talking more to users, but also helping them understand that context and life are not different contexts—watching a baseball game, seeing a road sign, or using multiple devices in a living room are all examples of context that can help devices learn more about you and what you need. Bell said, “If we get context right—even a little bit right—it propels an entirely new set of experiences.”

Wired.com > Gadget Lab
How context-aware computing will make gadgets smarter
Small always-on handheld devices equipped with low-power sensors could signal a new class of “context-aware” gadgets that are more like personal companions. Such devices would anticipate your moods, be aware of your feelings and make suggestions based on them, says Intel.
Researchers have been working for more than two decades on making computers be more in tune with their users. That means computers would sense and react to the environment around them. Done right, such devices would be so in sync with their owners that the former will feel like a natural extension of the latter.

Computerworld
Intel: Future smartphones will be assistants, companions [alternate link]
Rattner said that as devices begin to understand the way their users live their lives, they will turn into personal assistants. Within five years, smartphones will be aware of the information on a user’s laptop, desktop and tablet systems, and they will use that knowledge to help guide them through their daily activities.

Fast Company
Coming soon: mind-reading cell phones
Eventually, Intel might actually produce truly psychic cell phones. Earlier this summer, we learned about Intel’s Human Brain Project–a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh that uses EEG, fMRI, and magnetoencephalography to figure out what a subject is thinking about based entirely on their neural activity pattern. The technology won’t be ready for at least a decade–and that’s just fine with us.

And there is much more

9 September 2010

Vodafone’s Future Agenda forum

Future Agenda
The Future Agenda, sponsored by Vodafone, is a not-for-profit, cross-discipline programme which aims “to unite the best minds from around the globe to address the greatest challenges of the next decade”.

“In doing so, it will map out the major issues, identify and discuss potential solutions, suggest the best ways forward and, we hope, as a consequence, provide a platform for collective innovation at a higher level than has been previously achieved.”

As the first global open foresight programme the Future Agenda began by identifying 16 of the most pressing issues to face society over the next 10 years, irrespective of location, industry or financial stability, and has invited experts in each area to publish an initial point of view for others to comment upon. The subjects and experts who have written the initial point of view include:

  • Authenticity – Diane Coyle, OBE, Enlightenment Economics, UK
  • Choice – Professor Jose Louis Nueno, Professor of Marketing, IESE, Barcelona, Spain
  • Cities – Professor Richard Burdett, Professor of Architecture & Urbanisation, LSE, UK
  • Connectivity – Jan Farjh, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Research, Sweden
  • Currency – Dr Rajiv Kumar, Chief Executive ICRIER, India
  • Data – DJ Collins, Head of Corporate Communications, Google Europe
  • Energy – Dr Leo Roodhart, President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, VP Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands
  • Food – Jim Kirkwood, Vice President R&D, Centre for Technology Creation, General Mills, USA
  • Health – Dr Jack Lord, CEO, Navigneics Inc, USA
  • Identity – Professor Mike Hardy, OBE, Director of British Council Intercultural Dialogue, UK
  • Migration – Professor Richard Black, Head of Global Science University of Surrey
  • Money – Dave Birch, Founder Digital Money Forum, UK
  • Transport – Mark Philips, Interior Design Manager at Jaguars Advanced Design Studio, UK
  • Waste – Professor Ian Williams, Director of School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK
  • Water – Professor Stewart Burn Stream Leaders of Infrastructure Technologies, CISRO, Australia
  • Work – Chris Meyer, Chief Executive of Monitor Networks, USA

The Future Agenda has also identified 20 insights which will have impact by 2020.

Global Connectivity
In 2010 the number of mobile subscribers reached 4bn. By 2020 there may well be as many as 50bn devices connected to each other. Everything that can benefit from a network connection will have one.

Less Choice
Fewer choices provide higher levels of satisfaction. We can see consumers making a trade‐off between variety and cost: Cost is winning and, as Asian consumers set the global trends, we will be focused on less variety not more.

Asian Euro
The introduction of a broad‐basket ACU (Asian Currency Unit) as the third global reserve currency will provide the world with the opportunity to balance economic influence and trade more appropriately.

Virtual Authenticity
Virtual identity and physical identity are not the same thing; they differ in ways that we are only beginning to take on board. By 2020 this difference will disappear.

Dense Cities
As urban migration increases globally, seen through the lens of efficiency, more densely populated cities such as Hong Kong and Manhattan are inherently more sustainable places to live than the spread-out alternatives found in the likes of Houston and Mexico City.

Open Access
Access to information is the great leveller. As we become more comfortable sharing our search histories and locations, more relevant information will be provided more quickly and the power of innovation will shift to the public.

Less Energy
The days of ‘easy energy’ are over. However, as CO2 capture yields no revenues without government support, global emissions will only be reduced by fundamental changes in behaviour – for us all to use less energy.

Feeding the World
We are in a world of paradox where a growing portion of the developed world is obese at the same time as 15% of the global population is facing hunger and malnutrition. Technology to improve food yield will be accelerated to balance supply and demand.

Food Markets
In the next decade, the world economics of food will change and food will change the economics of the world. Decisions on where and what to produce will be made on a global basis not by individual market or geography.

Global Pandemics
Between now and 2020 we are likely to see somewhere between 2 to 3 global pandemics. These will arise in areas that do not have the top tier of preventative or public health infrastructure and will rapidly spread to developed Western countries.

Chinese train travel
China is now the pacesetter for change in inter‐urban transport and is investing over $1 trillion in expanding its rail network to 120,000km by 2020 – the second largest public works program in history. China is rapidly reshaping its landscape around train services.

Slow Luxury
The luxury market buyers increasingly want ‘better not more’. They will move away from Bling Bling to have items that are visually more discreet and will increasingly want to position themselves as being more responsible.

Homogenous Identity
We are likely to move more quickly and more widely towards an integrated identity for work and social interaction. We will no longer compartmentalise our lives but the integrated ‘me’ and ‘you’ will be how we see each other and interact.

Digital Money
Money is the means of exchange that is most immediately subject to the pressure of rapid technological change. Digital money transfer via mobile phones will be the default by 2020.

Zero Waste
Global waste production is predicted to double over the next twenty years. Much of this will be due to increased urbanisation and emerging economic growth. A shift towards the zero waste society is a desperate global need that will accelerate in the next decade.

Water Wars
Today over 6.6bn people share the same volume of water that 1.6bn did a hundred years ago. As population and economies grow and diets change we need more of this scarce resource. This will be the decade that we fight wars over water not oil.

Flattening world
As income increases in India, China, Brazil, and elsewhere, growth in demand for skilled services will occur disproportionately in these emerging economies. Combined with more global networks, this will lead to income stagnation in “established” economies.

Commoditised Knowledge
Education will become increasingly industrialized ‐ broken into small, repeatable tasks and thus increasingly deskilled. As a consequence, the industrialization of information work is certain, and this will affect pretty much every business.

Global Tele-health
The drive towards personalized treatments will be matched by a greater focus on prevention. By delivering healthcare content to the individual’s handset, mobile technology can help to maintain wellness.

Urban Poverty
The nature of economic activity in cities seems to be leading to a greater degree of urban poverty as in-migration and the move to the knowledge society favours the educated and the nimble. This will widen the gap between the rich and poor.

3 September 2010

The future of screen technology

Alarm
TAT, a Swedish software technology and mobile interface design company, recently ran a two-week open innovation experiment, during which they collaborate with the web community to sketch out an idea for two weeks and then build a video of the concept that gets most contribution and attention – measured in votes, ideas, and comments.

They concentrated the open innovation on three areas: the future of driving, the future of communication, and the future of screen technology.

The latter – screen technology – became the winner of the initiative. After concept design and video production, which TAT conducted internally, the movie which aims to showcase user interfaces in 2014 is now ready and available online.

Watch video