This post is partially a response to Rouli Nir of Games Alfresco who wrote five predictions for 2010 in Augmented Reality. My site isn’t Augmented Reality specific, so I’ve posted three separate lists of five predictions each.
The first list has five predictions for Augmented Reality in 2010, the second has five predictions for the Internet in 2010, and because we’re at the beginning of a new decade, I’ve made five decade-long predictions.
Augmented Reality - 2010 Predictions
1. OOH advertisers will finally wake up and notice mobile in general, and mobile augmented reality specifically, is marching into their sandbox. Free Advice: Companies working on a mobile AR marketing strategy would do good to get advice from OOH and DOOH marketers. Smart agencies and media management firms will begin to coordinate mobile and OOH strategies and some will even formalize this within their management structure.
2. Mixed-reality AR will spur a renewed interest in 3D virtual worlds, which will experience a revival.
3. Marker based Augmented Reality will not prove to be the savior of print publications. The novelty will die quickly (but marker based AR will be huge in OOH). However, tablet devices will come to the rescue of what we know of as “print.” (In a few more years time time actual paper publications will become the domain of Art periodicals and some high-end fashion magazines as they are frequently produced in much higher resolution [as high as 1200 dpi] than news-weeklies and other mainstream publications [300 dpi]. This will not occur in 2010, but will take a few more years to play out).
4. Before the year is out, a translucent AR tablet device will be available on the consumer market. The concept as shown at left is of the Red Dot Award winning design of Mac Funamizu. With transparent OLED perfected by multiple vendors and begging for a consumer application, I expect to see this form factor show up on the market quite soon.
5. Someone will introduce a pair of AR glasses in the under $500 price range. The performance will be disappointing and they will look silly. But they will be loved by hardcore geeks willing to go gargoyle. Their awkwardness in public places will make the “talking to himself” guy with the bluetooth earpiece seem positively normal. However, their oddity will stir enough commotion to put them on the mass-culture radar inspiring at least one joke from a late night host. They will be a modest financial success and will encourage others to enter the field. It will take another year, as the technology matures, for Apple to enter the market. Like the Apple/Harman Kardon speaker system, and the Apple/Nike iPod Sports Kit, Apple will bring in a high profile partner from the designer eyewear market (candidates include Calvin Klein, Ray Ban, etc.).
Internet - 2010 Predictions
1. In broadcast, media is expensive, and though production and creative development costs are high, they’re still cheap compared to media expenditures. Comparatively, online display media is dirt cheap. The shift in money allocation should be (modestly… at first) out of broadcast media and into digital production/creative (more sophisticated websites and higher quality online video content). This already happens — my anecdotal observation is that digital production and creative development spending is currently underreported. What I’ve observed for years in this business is that when money is needed for production of a digital project that was not budgeted for, clients will regularly pilfer from the largest pie — their broadcast media dollars — because ~$80k here and ~$20k there is hardly missed from a ~$20M+ pie. So my prediction is that marketers will begin to formalize this cannibalization of their broadcast media budgets and this shift will begin to be more accurately reflected in the numbers reported.
2. Apple will enter the search business.
3. MySpace will reemerge as much as a quasi-digital-music-label as a social media network, organizing all its bands’ tracks into a single searchable database with relational recommendations, and become a more serious player in the downloadable digital music business.
4. At the close of 2010 we will still not have an open-standard portable user profile across the major social media platforms. But Facebook Connect will begin to emerge as a default proprietary standard. By 2011/12 Congress will hold hearings on the issue of personal data portability and/or the DOJ will look into whether Facebook merits an investigation for anticompetitive behavior.
5. As content grows, and the demands on our time combined with the failure of search technology to meet our needs, content curation “filters” will emerge as a new form of “search” business model, particularly in niche search categories. Some will be people-driven, some will be algorithm-driven, the best will be a hybrid. This could emerge as a “feature” or “tool” in social media platforms like Facebook.
Predictions for the decade ahead.
Because we’re at the close of not just a year, but a decade, I decided to throw in another five focusing on society impacting technological change in the coming decade. Making predictions about the future can be hazardous, and more so the further out one looks. I’m wagering that the safest way to make such predictions about the future, short of inventing it yourself, is to extrapolate from existing trends and place some bets on which ones will win out. That is what I’ve employed as methodology. Though they are all outside the realm of my expertise, I have confidence in these predictions primarily because, in some capacity, they all already exist.
1. An amputee athlete that would have previously been a competitor in the paralympics will win Gold in the regular Olympics. Their medal will be contested by other “unenhanced” athletes and cause a crisis of identity of what it means to be “authentically human.” This will become a mass culture meme. There will be a headline grabbing story of a child self-amputating their own arm or leg out of envy for the cool bionic prosthetics. There will be copycats.
2. Upright bi-ped robots will walk among us. There will be a high-profile lawsuit resulting from a death from a malfunctioning robot, without malicious intent (or any sentient intent at all) — will the owner or the manufacturer be held liable, and in what capacity — That will open the legal can-of-worms over the future possibility of a robot deliberately taking a life. Our legal system will be in knots over artificial intelligence, and several generations behind the technology.
3. Late in the decade, video contact lenses will finally be out of the lab and available to consumers (video built into regular eye-frames will, by this point, already be considered a common feature.).
4. By decade’s end, at least 50% of cars on U.S. roads will be electric. Many of the same companies at the helm of the petroleum industry will diversify into other forms of alternative energy production — solar, wind, etc. — but they will no longer be referred to as “alternative” as they will simply be mainstream. You may be recharging your electric car at an Exxon/Mobil station powered by solar.
5. Desalination will grow to become a huge global industry.
So there you have it. Please feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments.