What’s gonna be big in 2010?
Convergence has always been a big story – it’s a nirvana like ‘the paperless office’ which has never quite happened, but keeps everyone thinking.
The world of TV, film, games, internet and mobile… there really is a fertile ground now for interplay. It was great to see Oil Productions’ project for Channel 4 and Wellcome Trust, Routes, win an award at the BIMAs. It’s also interesting to see the platforms expand – Playfish, Miniclip, King.com… and games like Eve Online start to pick up again as Massively Multiplayer Online Games really go massive.
Whatever happened to Second Life? It hasn’t made the cross-over from online tool to mobile-internet-digital constant like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Maybe it was too complex. Maybe its time came too early. Maybe it hyped things up, but didn’t have the follow-through?
The noughties internet tools are all massively simple, fast and converged – where Second Life was complex, slow and over-rated. Learn the lessons. Like widgets on the iPhone app… just a feature or two – a quick stab or a prolonged study of simple raw data. More of these in 2010.
Will they be faddish? Will they stick? An experienced gamer tells me that it’s an 8 week cycle for people to get into a game, do it to death, then move on. I suppose, like a swarm of locusts, they don’t always get to the grassy green patch at the same time, so the grazing with each game takes some time to work through the system.
Club Penguin, anyone? I really don’t get it. Prediction: radical remodelling of that particular Disney expensive asset. But, Playfish and Miniclip will go from strength to strength (and multiple million valuations already!)
2. Alternative currencies
One fascinating explosion alongside online identity is the need for micro-payments. Or, the potential for online trading between participants on a platform? Much of this can happen outside the normal currencies that are national constructs
3. 3D web
Like the paperless office, there are other old ‘chestnuts’ that have come of age… oft talked about, but always the bandwidth has been too slow. The 3-dimensional web is one such environment that’s been heralded as a nav tool. Way back in 1998, Barclays sponsored a shopping mall that replicated the highstreet stores on a website. The 3d folk are still talking up how they can interpret reality and help us model and map it.
I’m a fan moreso of the London Underground Map. It doesn’t follow reality – but it’s a master of information design. It helps you navigate your travel plan without following the topographic reality.
Same, for me, goes for the 3D web. I don’t want to replicate the Tyneside river bank. I want a tool that is swift to travel, interesting to travel… but mostly I want to get at the data.
I’ve been converted to 3D by my kids on Wii. They travel Ben10’s lairs and levels without a map. Why can’t I find interesting data by browsing this kind of environment.
My wish for Christmas? Online 3D user manuals… how to fix my Toyota? How to fill the windscreen wash? Give me a wiki about antifreeze. I have always loved B2B applications. And, I love a self-help, self-service approach to complex data. I think 3D renders of parts, DIY projects, bus maps… with all the relevant data attached… that’s heaven.
4. Widgetty tools
Mailchimp, eventbrite, tweetdeck… we don’t want complex programmes any more. We want to get in. Do the job. Get out again. Move on. And, if it conforms to this model, we aren’t worried about paying our share.
App Store… that’s the Top of the Pops for the 2010s.
5. More mobile
I recently had my iPhone repaired and went back to a Nokia with no address book, email or web access. I couldn’t even hook up photos of my kid nativity play! Nokia makes phone handsets, not mobile PDA devices. I was bereft of my fully functioning all-connected life.
Mobile devices are like crack. Addictive. More than that – they are essential to modern life and live/work efficiency. Mobile devices are like air. And, with that hold over us, inventors are going to make ever-more-useful interventions with tools that help make that life richer, more thrilling and busier.
Widgetty mobile thingies. Bigger.
If online shopping is big, what is the future of shops? A struggle. Or, is it? I love Re:, it’s a massive shop behind a petrol station in my local village. The founders are big hitters with PR – they get everywhere in the homewares sections of the nationals and the interiors mags. They even featured in Sunday Times Style supplement with their house in the woods this week. I’m loving this – and it’s edited by my new best friend Alex Proud’s wife!
7. Richard Florida theory
Florida made a mint by talking up Cluster Theory for the future of regeneration. He got hired by all the councils in the english speaking world and probably a bunch of Euro’s too. Except, clusters are tough to build as unique selling points if every small city in every corner of the world wants one too… how can everyone be a world leader in biotech, renewable energy and digital? They can’t. And, many cities with under 500,000 inhabitants just ain’t going to compete with the pulling power of the SuperCities. They don’t get to critical mass, tipping point la-la. But, do they stagnate?
If the facts present themselves, then switch your theory. Richard Florida has looked at this. The mobile, web2.0 world means that we are connected wherever we are. So, it’s about the social network – or the social capital that can be created by ‘nodes’ on the network. You don’t need a world-beating cluster… but if you have some world-beating iconic professionals in your village, town, city… then, there’s a hook.
For Tyneside celebs, read Cheryl Cole, Alan Shearer, Ant & Dec, Sting… Geordieland punches above its weight. In business, less corporately so. But, despite this, there are hooks to hang on… there are some pretty impressive folk dotted and spotted about – and the ‘village vibe’ is of such manageable scale that all these guys meet, cross-pollinate and fertilise. In a way that’s more enriching than in mono-culture London. Which is just too busy for folk to kick back, cook dinner and share a bottle of wine with the neighbours. Florida’s latest book talks all about place. http://creativeclass.com/whos_your_city/excerpt/