This was not a deliberate experiment. At least, not at first. A summer of funemployment, traveling the world and skating my way through endless Instagram opportunities had me wielding my iPhone at all times. Until one fateful day, I took a tumble off the old plank pusher and the revolutionary/very expensive piece of communications technology broke my fall. My iPhone was sacrificed to the skateboarding gods.
Sociology grad student Nathan Jurgenson recently spurred interesting debate with a post at The New Inquiry called “The IRL Fetish.” As the title suggests, Jurgenson approaches the verve with which people celebrate disconnecting, unplugging, and going offline. The romanticization of being offline – of trading MP3s for vinyl, email for letter writing, and wearing a weekend tech sabbatical as a badge of honor (and later tweeting about it) – has been a recurring topic as the tools for digital communication have accelerated and become more widespread. Read more
Near the end of Jason Reitman’s 2009 film Up In The Air, corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, achieves a nearly unprecedented status: ten million frequent flyer miles. To celebrate, the chief pilot of the airline joins him mid-flight and they share a toast. The chief, played by The Big Lebowski’s Sam Elliott, offers Ryan simple congratulations, “We value your loyalty.” But do they? Do they even know how to value it?
If you spend a day shopping, you’ll repeatedly hear the question, “Are you a member of our loyalty program?” Loyalty programs are expanding, which is not surprising given that today’s highly competitive marketplace has made having one a no-brainer. Most, even the most ill-conceived, tend to produce small, single-digit gains which, at scale can add up to hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, loyalty can mean different things to different people. To industry insiders, loyalty largely means how often consumers visit and how much they spend. But loyalty is also an emotional state, one that is earned (not bought), and based on real world experiences.
Some call it the Internet of Things, others call it Ambient Intelligence. I call it our increasingly connected future. As online and offline worlds collapse, innovation is happening at warp speed. All of a sudden, we have plants that tweet when they’re thirsty, door handles that can be opened with a text message, bracelets that tell you how well you slept and many things in between. What does this mean for society? What does this mean for people’s expectations about products and services?
It’s hard to predict the future, but we know the Web is no longer viewed through rectangular screens; it is now something that can be felt, touched, engaged with, and enjoyed via the interconnectedness of everyday objects. Here we share a few of our favorites.
Go ahead: engage with the the ambient network at your fingertips!
If you’re reading this, you know that digital technology has changed things. You know that in a single year, humans create more information than they have in all of history up to that point. You know that your customers are inundated with more information than their brains can handle.
And yet, you (or someone around you) thinks of the competition in a primarily direct way. Look at a tracking report. Which companies are included? Probably those companies that make exactly what you make, and go after exactly the same target.