Categories
design future nuggets technology video clip

Hardware becoming software – dimple

Is hardware becoming like software? What is that even? We often hear about hardware becoming more and more like software, meaning open source (-ish), hackable and customisable. Then, of course, focusing too much on hardware might be wrong. Either way.

This thing dimple is quite interesting as it lives somewhere in-between software and hardware and kind of transcends those boundaries. Keeping hardware intact, yet still customising it. By way of software. Hmmm. Something like that.

(if the annoying “support us now” box is in the middle of the screen, hover and click x. But do support.)

Categories
design future internet technology ways of use

The internet of things – industrial internet

The incredibly smart people of BERG hacked a washer and proves a great deal of areas where connectivity help. I mean, the “find repair people” part alone is worth a lot. Some time, after 2 years of really not thinking about it. Postponing rinse takes care of the “shit, sorry I can’t because I’m doing the washing” problem. There are probably not many products that do not benefit from connectivity.

I talked aobut this and that (which is what interesets me most) with a very technically oriented ex-colleague who shared a conversation with interaction designers of a more visual background and nature, and how that hinders the thinking around connected products. “What’s a couch gonna say to me?”. Nada, but tracking the use of it provides input to material choices and manufacturing (something that today is a part of the manufacturing process, but pehaps could be combined and outsourced to “natural use situations”) as well as feedback to healthcare industries benefiting from understanding our couch-potato-behavior.

Cloudwash: the connected washing machine from BERG on Vimeo.

Categories
design digital internet technology ways of use

the reporter app – illuminating the unmeasurable

Anything that aims to do that, is interesting. The reporter app from Nicholas Fetron and Drew Breunig.

reporter app by Fetron and Drew

“Reporter can illuminate aspects of your life that might be otherwise unmeasurable.”
Reporter-app

Categories
future internet technology video clip what is around us

ICAs framtida vision en underskattning av tekniken

ICA delar i en film med sig hur de ser framtiden. En framtid de, antar jag, gärna ser och bidrar till. En otroligt krävande, påträngande och underskattande om du frågar mig.

När dina ägg är slut ska du inte bara tala om detta för en liten manick, utan följa upp denna upplysning med en beställning på nya. Kanske även antalet. Det funkar ju, men det är ungefär som de där människorna (ni vet vilka) som talar om att de ska maila, drar iväg mailet, för att 2 minuter senare dyka upp (fysiskt eller i SMS) och tala om att de har mailat. De utnyttjar liksom inte styrkan i tekniken (jo, jag talar om mail som teknik). Predictive technology ska ju ta handlar om just detta, exempelvis google now.

Inköpslistan som skapas av alla dessa krävande inmatningar i ett system (som under de första åren inte kommer vara optimalt utan en orsak till extrem frustration fattar man ju), pushas sedan ut till en stackars familjemedlem (eller slav, det förtäljer inte historien). Snacka om oväsentligt, påträngande strunt. Stackare.

Ska framtiden verkligen behöva vara så krävande?

Nä, så här kommer det inte se ut. Varför? För det första för att det är inte bra, och för det andra för att vi redan har teknik som gör detta på ett bättre sätt.

Egg minder by GE and Quirky
GE har, tillsammans med Quirky, som sysslar med produktutveckling (ofta en “framåtlutad teknisk inställning”) med crowdsourcing som metod, tagit fram en lösning på äggproblemet. Nja, kanske inte ett jätteproblem, men det är ju på detta sättet vi hittar rätt framtida applikationsområden och utföranden – på lite quirky vis… Egg minder hjälper dig ha koll på hur många ägg du har i kylen, samt hur gamla de är. Nästa steg är uppenbart – beställ när antal = x. Du bestämmer så klart, men behöver inte bry dig mer. Inget swipe. Inget inmatande. För varför liksom?

iBeacon är lite på tapeten för tillfället. Det står klart för de flesta att Apple sedan iPhone 4 meckat in iBeacon-teknik i alla lurar. Det är ungefär som jämfört med Bluetooth (det är faktiskt Bluetooth 4.0) vad en full och ansvarslös dörrvakt är jämfört med en nykter – “nej, nej lägg ner ditt leg, jag kommer ihåg dig det är lugnt välkommen in”. Alltså ta tag i en kundvagn och du är registrerad. Lägg ner ditt chip (som du ändå glömde i bilen).

Det är inte framtidens teknik, utan pågående teknikutveckling. Den blir bättre och bättre på vad den är där för; att hjälpa oss. Och i ICAs kontexten handlar detta mycket om att försvinna. Inte att aktivt interagera med oss. Interaktionsdesign och tjänsteutveckling (som den här) kommer, tro det eller ej, handla mindre om att swipa, klicka, peka och dra. Teknik kommer att försvinna, och då gör den ofta ett bra jobb.

Categories
business transformation creativity digital internet media organizational technology

#himc – a cheap first step towards changing a bit

For a very long time, Hyper Island have been using the #himc tag, which stands for hyper island master class, to share think pieces, concrete advice, brain food and absolute must-reads.

Many organisations need help and advice on how to make better (business) sense of emerging technologies and possibilities – and more importantly subsequent behaviours and implications for business and brand strategy – and I, personally, do a lot of work in that area (both as occasional hyper island collaborator, but primarily under the funny you should ask flag).

In all honesty, just by following the #himc tag (which cost nothing but a few minutes of attention), as they live by the sharing is caring rule of thumb, any company looking to better navigate an increasingly complex reality would benefit greatly. It doesn’t have to take much, but what is a required first step, is to start letting new perspectives, inspiration, opinions and realities through that filter called business as usual.


Categories
brand business business transformation digital organizational planning strategy technology

business transformation before digital transformation

MITSloan presented some results from a survey about the need for digital transformation (companies face an imperative: adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence as the study states). Results include an interesting, but not so strange, paradox:

  • 78% say achieving digital transformation will become critical to their organisations within the next two years
  • Only 38% of respondents said that digital transformation was a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda

I think this circles the most pressing issue and bottleneck; the interchangable use of digital transformation and business transformation.

Looking at digital technology (in whatever shape or form) from the level you stand, will not help you transform the business. Albert Einstein said that “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. If you are expecting business transformation, you need to work on where that transformation might be going before you look at digital technology. Multiple answers will do too, scenario planning and future creation are exercises in plurality, but you simply cannot view things like you used to.

Despite growing acknowledgment of the need for digital transformation, most companies struggle to get clear business benefits from new digital technologies. They lack both the management temperament and relevant experience to know how to effectively drive transformation through technology.

Brand therapy in order to aim business transformation

So It’s backwards. Technology won’t give you the new future and reveal possible business benefits, it helps reach it and to an extent anticipate it. Companies need to revisit their entire reason for being, the meaning of them in peoples’ lives. Turn it inside out, because whatever you are now was created in a reality which is no longer. You need to go to brand therapy. Looking at yourself through the same old eyes simply cannot reflect a transformed image. You need a new level of self consciousness which means you have to have the guts (and realise the scope of a transformational process like this) to question old truths. You have to be prepared to redefine what you do (the business) as opposed to how you do things (the tools).

MITSloan survey, barriers to digital transformation

What I say is missing from this is the lack of a clear purpose and new self consciousness. The pieces that help give change a clear direction, reason and fundamental meaning.

Categories
creativity technology video clip

artistry and technology

Many years ago I found myself at the swedish head quarter for ABB in Västerås. ABB, founded back in 1883, is one of the leading makers of advanced robots, amongst other things, focusing on process productivity and the reduction of negative environmental impacts (energy saving etc).

You are greeted by an army of robots, most of them in typical ABB orange, exhibited like pieces of art in glass cases where they showcase advanced operations and exact movements. They are used in the auto industry for example, but play a key role in many other industries where automated processes are needed. The over-all feeling you get is exactly that; heavy industry, factories, big facilities and more than one Terminator flash back.

But art, artists and artistry really make the perfect partnership when it comes to humanising technology and/or showcasing technological capabilities. Add an artist and an idea, and you don’t loose any of the functional capabilities of this robot, but you gain a great deal of emotions. Knowing how much that matters in business (no, humans), it’s easy to see something like this being successful at a trade show.

http://youtu.be/zy2FfMp_tSQ

Artist Alex Kiessling with ABB robot, via post at creative applications

Another (successful at that) example is of course Volvo Trucks and ballerina.

http://youtu.be/1zXwOoeGzys

And on the humanizing robots note, here’s what happens when you attribute human characteristics to machines (anthropomorphism).

“but those little bastards can develop a personality, and they save so many lives.”

Categories
design technology what is around us

what music looks like

Beautiful thing from Yuri Suzuki – what music looks like. I’d like to see this as an application that plays the music of your surrounding. Imagine temperature, light temperature, how tall the trees are, what color of building facades your surrounded by, weather etc. You see where you are, and can be recorded as a painting or photo with artists interpretation included, but sound is different.

Looks Like Music – Mudam 2013 from Yuri Suzuki on Vimeo.

Picked up at Creative Applications

Categories
digital internet just a reflection media technology

annotations as visible but passive moderator

Comments and commenting on the internet is great, but a nagging issue at the same time. It’s the missing aspect to journalism, seen as it’s societal glue, voice and protector (the good journalism, that is).

The experiment over at Quartz is interesting. Reframing reader input/feedback, ever so slightly, as annotation. Annotations referring to specifics within a text (written text, but this can be applied to any text such as audio, video or any container or format).

Comments and discussions often derail because there’s a delay in one or many comments – from people who get off topic or express out of bounds ideas (bounds being decided both by the editors’ AND the readers’ norms). Before you know it it’s to late to nudge it back.

Reframing comments as annotations keeps discussions, individual comments, much closer to the intentional piece commented on. Feels like there’s something in that. Sort of local hyperlinks, making the comment and commented very visible and chained together.

Keeping it close to subject is important in discussions. Live discussions are often kept on topic by some moderator.If discussions wander off, it’s dealt with quickly and guided back to topic. Impossible in other situations (even video based discussions are hard, due to both technical noise but not seldom a feeling of “they’re so distant so I’ll go on, the risk isn’t huge”), but it feels like annotations is one that might work well for recorded texts.

Categories
digital internet technology what is around us

The invisible impacts of paying a premium price or not

Amazon in Rugeley for the Financial Times Magazine

Photograph by Ben Roberts
From Portrait of Amazon Fullfilment Center, in FastCo Design

When I pay a bit extra for organically grown tomatoes, I know why. When I pay a bit extra for a pair of Nudie jeans, It feels right. When I buy a pair of Crockett and Jones, in 2 years I’m reminded of why.

Many premium prices are strategically and purposefully explained and charged with answers to questions of “why” and “for what”. Quite simply premium brands. The tomatoes are better for me, that feels comforting. The jeans say something about me, which I feel I need for some reason I probably can’t explain very well.

“When you buy something from an independent retailer, you might pay more than Amazon, but that extra bit is an investment,” Roberts explains. “When you pay it, you’re investing in the quality of not only your own life but the life of the community around you.”

– Ben Roberts

But premium prices (can) also do something for others. All businesses impact greater society and hence our purchase decisions. This portrait of an Amazon Fullfilment Center so vividly shows the backside, if you will, of everything that I love with Amazon.

It would feel so much better knowing that only robots were hurt, while paying the lovely low prices, enjoying the frictionless delivery and follow-up of the many books that I buy.

I admit that I feel a bit better when I’m reminded every month of the village and child that I support. But the thing is, of course, that we support (or not) individuals, communities and society in every purchase decision but it’s all invisible.

In a world of increasingly quick and rich feedback loops, personal data, interconnected systems, transparency and information accessibility – I’m waiting for better ways of reminding me of the invisible back-end of the products I buy. In context. Not by way of bi-yearly reports on worker conditions in developing countries and/or what’s happening to our farmers seen as we’ve never payed less, proportionately, for food than today.

I want a friggin connected dashboard on the tomato cans I buy. How’s the farm doing?