They haven’t been around for long but social gaming has naturally found its way into our phones, our networks and our real lives. T-Mobile brought Angry Birds Live into life, literally, with a human scale version of the popular game. Here participants were able the fling the enraged feathered creature across Terrassa’s central square in Barcelona, gaining over 6 million YouTube views within the first three weeks of release. What does this tell us? Well, one shouldn’t underestimate the power of these feisty friends!
Rovio are now looking to make geo-location part of the game, using Magic Places to unlock additional levels, with enhanced features through Nokia’s NFC technology. Social gaming is of course, getting more social, forcing users to interact in real life, rather than hiding behind a screen. Jeffrey Jiang, Director at Touch Dimensions highlighted this in June ’10 CommunicAsia conference; ‘90% of gamers will be on their mobile in the future’, so what does this mean for advertising?
Augmented reality is continuously popping up and around social gaming, especially with the evolution of Third Eye from Viewdle. Third Eye uses facial recognition technology to decide whether you’re a vampire or slayer. Evidently, the game allows you to recruit your friends or warriors into your clan. Therefore is social gaming moving into the era of multiplayer applications, using real people and objects to complete virtual levels?
If social gaming and geo-location is going to be the next big thing, then what will happen to those that are considered as lazy players? Will your mobile phone automatically log you into a game without knowing? Could walking to and from work somehow introduce you into a world of location- based gaming, without your knowing? Maybe you will suddenly begin to receive tokens or rewards for completing tasks within a gaming world that you are not even aware of doing.
Could living your life actually become the game, bridging the gap between the virtual and physical world? Maybe even simple traditional tasks like watering your garden will translate over to watering your crops in Farmville or cooking a meal in your kitchen might serve the whole restaurant in CaféWorld? Hooking up social gaming apps to your oven and garden hose may seem a bit odd, but would it encourage career gamers to finally get their hands dirty? Who knows, maybe your spade will replace the next Wii 2 remote control console in the future, wouldn’t that be interesting!
NFC may not be a public buzzword as of yet, but major brands including Nokia, Barclay and McDonald’s have all jumped on the near field communication bandwagon, or what I like to call, the contactless technology express.
The list of things that you can do with radio frequency identifiers and near field communication is endless; boarding passes, mobile wallets, loyalty cards and public transport to name a few, explaining why companies like Oulu Smart Touch Project seem to be having endless fun, coming up with route tracking and weather prediction technology through NFC checkpoint.
Timo Arnall’s ‘Address Book Desk’ in 2005 blended RFID tags, post-it notes and phone technology to create a streamlined approach to calling friends. Although some may say that this was actually a bit pointless, including myself, this technology can be practical, even dare I say it, radical.
Newcastle University’s research facility created the ‘Ambient Kitchen’ where RFID tags were installed in product packaging, placing sensors on cupboards, kettles, sugar bowls, almost everywhere and anywhere, so that they could analyse what users were doing and project information into the room when necessary, including recipe advice and medication reminder. This was proven to be a massive success, although if one listened very careful, then you could actually hear the eco-system moaning under the weight of silicone, plastic and copper, to name a few.
NFC and RFID seems an ideal partner in customer service. I mean, check out ‘Health Buddy’ in 2008, an electronic personal trainer that monitored physical performance based upon calories burnt, time and effort or even Adidas recent in-store virtual shoe wall for further inspiration.
One thing is for sure, or at least to me, is that the rise of NFC and RFID will in evidently lead to the demise of USBs, credit cards, keys, cash, power sockets and most importantly, wires. Just imagine a world without wires; I shall leave it there for now.
Walking past a bus stop may never be the same, signs are increasingly becoming digital. GranataPet Snack Check interactive billboards in Germany dispensed dog food using foursquare check-ins and McDonalds recent Pick N Play digital signs in Sweden saw consumers playing ping pong on the boards using their mobiles. Players that last for 30 seconds are rewarded with a digital coupon for their favourite McDonald’s treat.
Whilst Immersive Labs who specialise in digital signs have already developed a viewer centric A.I. sign that can learn when it is best to play a certain advert, NEC has tested billboards in Germany and Japan with built-in cameras that can discern age and gender.
In my opinion, Immersive Labs technology is impressive, but it has yet to recognise the person as a whole. This includes the consideration of not just physical attributes, but mental, including what they like, dislike, prejudice, social awareness and environmental influence – this is key when creating truly bespoke campaigns for consumers.
The Centre for Future Studies believes that by next year Emotion Recognition Software (ERS) will be widely used within out-of-home media, yet will this also be adopted within the home as well? The software developed by Theo Gevers and Nicu Sebe in 2007 used 3D face mapping to work out which facial muscles were in use and determine the emotion. As a result, digital adverts will become more human, reacting to consumer reaction, consciously and subconsciously. Scary, aye?
Imagine if adverts started to target you by your nickname? What if they knew your deepest darkest desires? Could they evolve to know you better than you do? Just Imagine.
Ever wondered if Twitter could become the next resource of electricity? Well, maybe it’s just me, but after speaking to Gemma about the Mercedes-Benz campaign, it got me thinking. What if social media could bring families together, rather than breaking them apart?
Whether its texting, twittering, emailing or calling, actually talking to your siblings, parents, even grandparents will never be the same again. So, is this a source of untapped potential? Parents are finding it more and more difficult to engage with their children and a continuous escape goat seems to be technology. Yet, I ask you to consider it within a positive light, what if communication could in fact power your home?
I apologise in advance for the word that I am about to bring up, buts it’s important, honest. I mean the recession and money has to now go hand in hand with progress, whether this is technological, vocational, well-being, you can no longer escape it. Therefore, maybe your next meter reading will be of your Tweet count, rather than the amount of kJ you have consumed. Hence, can your family’s social networking presence contribute towards your overall gas and electricity bills? If so, is this morally right, wrong or maybe I am actually going into it a bit too deep and need to take a step back?
However, imagine the possibility, that’s what we do at ClustaLabs. So watch out NPower, Twitter looks set to become the next electricity supply company, but will it be free and will Twitter pay for it? Probably, just as long as you keep on tweeting.
Twitter, the micro-blogging site, the lazy man’s social media or the quick thinkers tool has now been converted into power? Yes, power! The Mercedes Benz tweet race consisted of four teams ‘fuelled’ by positive tweets and hash tags, racing across the USA towards the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in 2011 for the Superbowl. Celebrity coaches such as Pete Wentz, Serena Williams and the Rev Run of Run DMC helped launch the campaign. The engines of these Mercedes were responsive to tweets and more than 150,000 were posted over the course of the race.
TweetmyMac, TweetmyPC and TwitControl are just some of the basic programs available at the moment to use tweets as a remote control for computers and laptops. The options and controls are basic, however a downside is that you might find that your laptop suddenly has a mind of its own, in fact, it is actually being externally controlled by your friend who naturally thinks that they are funny.
But why stop there? If you could tell your computer what to do via a little tweet, then why not your thermostat, or your toaster, turn on your lights or turn off the boiler. The possibilities are endless. Power your entire household with a simple tweet. Home automation through social media could lift the stigma attached to hooking up your home. The benefits of being able to unlock your doors when you lose your keys or turn off the oven if you leave without checking are endless, free, simple and ensures that you do not feel guilty about placing a segway at the top of your shopping list.
Of course you can punch holes in the idea, with almost a quarter of adults just here in the UK reported to be obese by the NHS, hence maybe it would be better to spend time searching for those keys instead of only typing in a command, but that’s no fun. Then there is the anti social perception of social media, yet surely this combats this, enabling consumers to carry out daily activities faster, efficiently and engage with one another in new and exciting ways, so maybe Twitter is even more of an essential tool than previously thought.