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!
It’s safe to say that paper isn’t the only thing coming out of a printer these days. Freedom of Creation design house have produced bags, furniture and jewellery while James Yoo from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University has talked of bio printing; printing skin directly onto burn victims. The list of materials that can be popped into a 3D printer is growing. Be Your Own Souvenir project from Blablablab in Barcelona took it to the next level in advertising, allowing people to print models of themselves using the Microsoft Kinect.
The 3D printed Bikini N12, created by Continuum Fashion in partnership with Shapeways, looks set to change the fashion world. It may be ready to wear, but it is not cheap at $450. Although one wouldn’t be the first person to put their hand up to wear what appears to be a piece of plastic chain mail, the material Nylon 12 is strong, flexible, waterproof and apparently it becomes even more comfortable when wet, so that’s there excuse.
Future 3D printing has the potential to reduce labour costs and waste, however its real potential lies in custom made clothing. Imagine being able to design your own clothes, no templates, drawing, dying or stitching involved, it’s just you and your printer. Spotted somewhere wearing an outfit you like, take a picture and the 3D printer will do the rest, maybe it will become the next Primark?
So what could this mean for the future of clothing brands? Will they cease to exist? Instead of wearing the Prada, will I be wearing Gemma? I might be getting a little carried away, but is it really that farfetched? Dress shirt makers Blank Label already allow their customers to do all the work for them, designing their own fabrics, styles, sizes etc and Threadless even has a community that submits and scores their own t-shirts, which they just take and place on sale. So is this good crowd-sourcing or just cunning laziness? Well, I can’t answer that but if Kate Moss starts to collaborate with consumers to create a range of TopShop 3D fashion, then I’ll have one.
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.
Facebook’s power and influence is far stretching and the business links it has made through banner advertisements, fan pages, Facebook Places Deals and Facebook Connect is impressive. Yet, the tool that has truly infiltrated the user’s psyche is the ‘Like’ button, but how long will it remain within the digital world? Will it creep into the physical?
Let’s start with the stamp made by UK based design studio Nation, a prototype that allows you to brand your papers with the Like Button. It’s definitely a novel idea, but what’s the point? It only works within the digital world because it enables users the chance to give direct feedback with minimal effort – the lazy boys answer to a conversation. Hence, when Brian Ciaccio released customised post-it ‘Like’ notes under ‘Like in Real Life’ it was without a question a real failure, raising only $80, so why are companies still trying? What makes the ‘Like’ button so special?
Well, not all companies have faced Brian Ciaccio’s fate; Diesel and Renault are the perfect example of this. Diesel’s latest campaign involves customers Facebook ‘Liking’ there products through QR codes, whilst Renault and Hyundai brought it to life with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips installed in pillars next to their cars at the annual Auto RAI event in Amsterdam 2011. Both worked wonders at drawing the crowd, but the crown has to go to Coca Cola Israel, whose digital village resulted in 54,000 Likes within a three day period.
So has ‘Like’ suddenly become one of the most overrated worlds in the English dictionary? Will it become the next nice? Are we suddenly going to be expected to ‘Like’ everything on the high street to receive offers and actually, what if we don’t like things? I mean check out Marmite, I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it, it’s ok, acceptable in my opinion, so will a third icon have to be invented for those who just don’t care?
Hence, if the ‘Like’ button is all about communication, then will people use it in future for brainstorming sessions, will it replace the dreaded ‘X’ in Britain’s Got Talent and could it be used for breaking up with partners? Harsh, but just in case, keep the ‘Like’ button in the digital world, for now at least.
Forget the man wearing the oversized Dominoes pizza box at the busy intersection, artificial intelligence technology will be the humanized advert of the future. After pondering the potential for interactive billboards, the route that advertising technology is on is looking mightily familiar, almost human.
What makes up a human, well a number of things, including opposable thumbs, feeling emotion, self-awareness and the ability to learn? ‘Strong A.I.’ can learn to simulate human thinking, recognise emotion, are self aware and thumbs are just unnecessary. Blade Runner hasn’t come to life just yet but the rise of the machines is on the horizon and they can show you the way to your nearest Dominoes.
Google have trained their search bots to understand and categorise humour, digital signs can recognise facial features, race, age, gender and recommend a bag to match your outfit. In the future they could discern emotion, and in turn react to the consumer’s mood. Let’s go one step further. Hooking up social media and your online purchase history to adverts would give the real insight into our minds that these virtual sales assistants need to make their pitch more personal.
NEC are confident in their A.I. signs released in Japan but Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt called facial recognition ‘creepy’. Privacy has been a core issue of controversy for advertising and social networking sites alike, but Amazon’s recommendations and Facebook’s adverts are both dipping into your personal information for marketing purposes and we’ve all grown accustom to it. I thought it would be amazing to have an advert refer to me by name and know what I’ve ‘Liked’ on Facebook but what if I joined the Twilight fan page ironically. Can strong A.I. understand sarcasm, would everyone be as overjoyed by a usually inanimate object talking to them? What if that billboard looked like a human, would that make the encounter anymore comfortable? Perhaps in time it will become the norm, we will grow accustomed to our digitised human advertisements.