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Michael Nuciforo

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The Next 63 Million Seconds

Posted: 24/01/2012 13:19

I wanted to expand on some points that some of you may have heard me talk about at recent events. They are three trends that I can really see emerging as we become more interconnected, available and open. I expect them to have a big impact on the digital economy over the next two years, or just over 63 million seconds.

1. Digital Life Recording (DLR)
The need...
From the creation of the very first cave paintings, humans have had the inherent need to record their daily activities. We are sentimental creatures by nature and like to keep physical symbols to remind us of our most cherished moments. We feel pride when we put photos and degrees up around our office and are happy to share them because they are a reflection of us. DLR is the digital manifestation of our desire to record and share and it is about to become a whole lot more sophisticated.

The capability...
The emergence of social, location and mobile technology has combined to create the capability to record everything we do easily and in greater detail. I am sure you have seen one of the many You Tube 'everyday photo' videos. There is also the interesting story of Hasan Elahi (TED video) who has been digitally recording and publishing his every move for the past five years. The growth of cloud storage has meant that content can now be accessed anytime, anywhere and by anyone we want.

The future...
DLR will boom over the next two years and new products and services will emerge to facilitate it. With the ability to record everything, including our oldest memories, our capacity to remember is likely to reduce. Our subconscious will grow to rely on the digital records we keep. We will also keep less physical possessions. Instead we will start to digitally record their existence and then throw them out. As our ability to record data matures it will then be possible to recreate your favourite pair of jeans, or comfy sofa couch, if you ever want to bring them back to life.

2. Recommendation Fear
The need...
Can you remember the last time you went anywhere, or did anything, without doing some form of online research first? The accessibility and richness of the World Wide Web has left us scared to do anything before we research it. We spend hours looking for trusted content. We look to connect with people in the know. We follow certain blogs purely because of the author's ability to provide sound advice. We have now entered an age where we need to know what is likely to happen, before it happens.

The capability...
We are in the midst of moving from a reactive (consumer initiated), to proactive (business initiated) recommendations environment. CRM platforms and data warehouses are being built up to amalgamate and store data from multiple channels and devices. Complex algorithms and business logic is then being applied to provide real time recommendations to the end consumer. The use of this data is only going to become more valuable as it grows and is shared between organisations.

The future...
We will grow so accustomed to researching trips, recipes and movies that we will feel lost when we don't. Don't be surprised when you start hearing that your friends are going on 'no research' holidays to 'get back to basics'. The growth of DLR will mean that suggestions won't just be based on the here and now, but also on the past. Because you digitally recorded that you attended a Bruce Springsteen concert in 2009, you will automatically be notified when he announces a new tour in 2012.

3. Sixth Sense
The need...
As the digital and physical worlds collide, our reliance on being connected will grow. Our desire for more information means that everything we do will be augmented by data stored in the cloud. In essence we are developing an extension to our five senses, the sixth sense, or our digital sense. This sense will take away the guess work we sometimes employ when doing a task. In the same way that we would touch an object, we will start to use our sixth sense to provide additional data not physically available to us.

The capability...
The capability has existed for years but its full potential is now only being realised. The content exists already, and whilst it has its critics, it is generally discoverable. New apps allow you to take a photo of a product for price comparison. You can record a song to find out the artist. Sensors can keep you informed on the movements of people in your house. The next generation of these services will really expand our possibilities as they will be used to facilitate even more decisions. The proliferation of NFC, sensors and QR codes will only aid the immersion of physical and digital senses.

The future...
Your sixth sense will act as your central hub for information gathering. It will become your own individual data centre. Recommendation engines and sensors will be installed to assist with every facet of your life, from driving, to finding a parking spot, to getting to your seat at the football. All your appliances and devices will be connected into the system to aide with your decision making process. You will even be able to log into your mobile and check your current fridges electricity usage before buying a new one.

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