With hypes like “Mobile First” and Responsive web you can get the idea that it is a matter of screen size. But a mobile phone is not a small computer, it is something far different – and if realizing this you might find that there is some great potential right in front of you, for you to build better services for your customers, and to build brand.

http://designshack.net/articles/css/mobilefirst/

http://thesiteslinger.com/blog/responsive-design-why-youre-doing-it-wrong/

A mobile phone is so much more different from a computer than only being smaller, with a smaller screen and smaller buttons. In difference to a computer a mobile phone stays with its user almost at all times, in social situations and when dining alone, in good times and in bad times, in all kinds of thrilling, interesting, exciting and dull environments. A mobile phone is a device that easily can be picked up in the middle of a conversation for a party to check something that might help the conversation to continue, to become more interesting, to deepen. A mobile phone is a device that easily can be shared, in order to together understand the details of a map view, or look at someone’s photos. A mobile phone can buzz silently in the pocket. It can be something you pick up in a situation when you want to pass the time or show that you want to be left alone, or to show that you are totally fine with being just that, alone with your phone before a busy conference.

But also a mobile phone holds other technologies than a computer that can be used and make sense and aid its user and even his/her friends in all these thrilling, interesting, exciting and dull environments and situations. Technologies that most companies today do not consider how they potentially can benefit, change and develop their business. There are today a range of innovative Apps that make use of the gyro, the vibration actuator and the camera to track things like movement and sleep patters, pulse, and even blood pressure and a whole range of other things. But a problem with these Apps is that they are not developed, designed and built together with practitioners, such as nurses and doctors. Therefore, these practitioners cannot trust the data collected and produced by these Apps if a user for example wants to show this data when visiting the doctor. Also practitioners like doctors do not today have a work schedule that fit with looking at App data, as it not yet has been a decision coming from their superior to make use of these kinds of technical possibilities and develop these kinds of Apps internally in the health care system.

Moreover, this is not just about a difference between computers and mobile phones. It is about there being a difference between all kinds of screens and devices being used in different settings and scenarios where technology can aid people differently from in another setting and set up.

A screen used in the car, such as the navigation system, is for example not only for the driver to use. Of course we should develop easy to grasp interfaces for the driver when he or she is the user, but it can also be that the screen in the car scenario is turned around and read by the front seat passenger who most likely is another capable driver (though not driving right now) that in this instance have better abilities to read more complicated and detailed information that could help them both in the situation they are in. Not always is it best to shape data in a form that it can be read while driving. Perhaps navigation systems should be possible to rotate and have two modes!? http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2441952

And iPad games or any game for that reason that is used in cars can be shaped to make use of all the exciting data that is in the car to be found, like how the car is driven, how it accelerates, where in the world it is, what other cars that are nearby and what other people that are travelling in those other cars and what they are doing and much much more. This kind of data is what we used when creating three car games aimed at making it more fun for some young children to sit still and as they should and then potentially more safe when in a driving car. One game make use of the forces anything in a driving car is exposed to and invert those forces in a game set up to have the children instead of leaning with the curves, out of their child seat, fight them to gain points by sitting more upright and still. Another game play with how the car gets emotional from how it is driven and has the children mimic these emotions by making use of their small but highly expressive face muscles. This game plays with how children playing this game come to realize how the system is more capable of tracking their expressions if they hold their head upright and still right in front of the camera in use. A third game play with sensations of suspense and has children look out for shadows the car is driving though in which there are ghosts to be found and potentially caught. http://www.mobilelifecentre.org/sites/default/files/Gaming%20to%20Sit%20Safe.pdf

In the world of IoT (http://ayond.se/blogs/internet-of-things-without-people-is-internet-of-nothing/) being asked by various companies where to start and in what direction to head, making better and more interesting use of all the technologies that already are here right in front of us is such ready to hand opportunity. Can we for instance make use of accelerometer data to allow for mobile rehabilitation programs formed by our physiotherapist!? Or can we be allowed to prepare ATM activities on our mobiles and later just execute them via the NFC technology!? Or can we use motor data in the car to judge how environmentally friendly or secure a person is driving and then let that shape his/her tax and insurance costs!?

We can see how for instance Volvo build brand by being first and unique in this new world of IoT (http://www.volvocars.com/intl/sales-services/sales/volvo-on-call/Pages/default.aspx). Not all companies have the budget for this. But if still wanting to be more unique and build better mobile services for your customers, and to build brand, my recommendation would definitely be to consider this range of opportunities your customers already carry with them. What could these technologies potentially bring, targeted to your business and customer needs!?

Business Modelling, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Trends,
There is right now an enormous buzz around the concept of Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, or M2M that some less human centric like to call it. No matter what it′s called, businesses of all kind should have a plan for how to keep up, or they will stay behind. This, as connected things already are all around.

The concept of IoT stems from the now aging dream of a ubiquitous society that we had already 10-15 years ago where all devices around would be connected and talking to one another. In this vision the car would drive itself to the petrol station when so needed, the umbrella would remind its owner to bring it if the forecast so indicated, the refrigerator would order new milk when so needed, and so forth. This is not where we are today, and many are those who therefore seem to think that we still are waiting for this concept of IoT to arrive. This, while it already here! It is already a reality we are living. It just doesn’t look like what we dreamt of when dreaming of a ubiquitous society. Instead it is here in the form of actuators, sensors, small and grand networks, Internet in some, and in some not, but Internet somewhere. And all this, in a mesh with people! People that do things, share things, brag about things, show off, lie, exaggerate, share their joy, and sometimes also build their own technology, connections and data streams.

But why did the dream of a ubiquitous society then not happen in the way that we predicted!? One obvious reason is the smart phone, a personal, connected device that most of us at all times these days carry with us. A device by which we can connect to things that also are connected. No longer do we need to struggle with Bluetooth, RFID and other short-range technologies in the way we thought when first planning for the ubicomp vision. Also the fridge and other things do no longer need to be equipped with a screen or an interface of its own, as we with the smart phone, in a way, carry this interface with us.

But also, and more importantly, the old dream of a ubiquitous society was not a dream we in the end wanted. And furthermore, we are as people not as rational as we were thought to be in the early ubicomp vision. We do not always want things in the same way as we previously have wanted them. And even if a system was to buy the milk for us the way we most days want it to be done, the day we want it differently we will be sickly annoyed with that system. Some of us might remember the paper clip in the office system. That clip was in fact most times perfectly correct in what it suggested for us, still we hated it! We hated it for the few times it got things wrong, and we thought it was stupid even if it was in fact pretty smart.

We have since the ubicomp vision started to live technology in whole new ways, not all of us, but many. Technology is also for some of us heading away from being just a tool we use to get to information. Some of us are these days building our own technology by the means of Arduino boards, raspberry pies, little hardware and software toolkits and more, for us technology is also a material for design, like many other more traditional materials we work with.

This all creates a messy landscape of technology, data, services and people. A landscape somewhat scary in how no one really seem to be on top of the overall picture and the life style this all might create for us:

“The combination of technology in the home, city, car, on your body, in your mobile, social media and everywhere, all thriving on various data streams allows for such an amazing plethora of interactions. But what happens when all of that is seamlessly integrated with a middle-class lifestyle? What kind of life will that be?”, Kristina Höök, Professor in Interaction Design at KTH.

But at the same time, it is a triggering landscape from the opportunities it allows for in terms of design, new technology and services. Services that might help us live more sustainable, healthy, easy, and not the least, fun and interesting lives.

It is right now, as always, the question of doing the right thing. But right now most important for businesses of all kind is to do anything at all. At ayond we see though that taking the right human centric decision in this evolving time can be the most competitive decision most businesses ever have taken. Simplicity, innovation, trust and transparency will for sure be competitive factors in the years to come.

Business Modelling, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Mobile, Trends,
Imagine making a 3D model using only a depth camera and your browser, a process so quick that in moments your fully-textured 3D printable model loads on your web browser.

3D printers give you the promise to print amazing objects and unlock your creative potential. But to make 3D prints you have to first make a 3D model – and creating 3D prints from complex 3D models can quickly turn into a tricky process of complicated computer programs, tedious iterations and lots of melted plastic in the trash.

With technology from our partner Volumental a 3D model can be created using only a depth camera and your browser, a process so quick that in moments your fully-textured 3D printable model loads on your web browser. The water-tight, closed model is then downloaded to your computer or sent off to an online printing service, ready to print. The dream of a replicator is therefore realized.

Volumental’s 3D Scan-to-Print web app will finally make this to a reality as they creating the world’s first browser-based 3D printable model creator. “If you have the skills to watch a movie on Netflix, you have the skills to create amazing 3D models to print”, they say.
Their technology is the world’s first that allows users to create usable, shareable 3D models of your living room sofa, grandfather, or a kitchen appliance all without leaving your browser window. We wish Volumental all luck and actually we are already preworking with the technology for some of our client.
See how it actually work below.

Emerging technologies, Gamification, Innovation, Interaction Design, Trends,
Some may think this is crazy, but we think it′s a fun step to combine social media with physical stores.

When visitors to the company’s Facebook page click on the like button for a particular item of clothing, it will be displayed in real time on the garment hanger in the store. In this way, the store employees quickly find out which designs are popular. Doubtful customers get confirmation if it is a “yes” or “no purchase” buy for others who looked at the garment. Likewise, in future, you may be able to post comments about a particular article of clothing.

See also the film that describes the fashion retailer C & A in Brazil working with Fashion Likes

 

E-commerce, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Interaction Design, Marketing, Mobile, Social Media, Trends,
Coming back from a very interesting seminar here in Hong Kong with the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) I once again appreciate how fun it is to be part of so much change on so many levels at the same time. I’ll try to explain.

ACCA is an organization promoting more and better cloud services for everyone (at least in Asia). Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented speed and with such growth, new challenges comes along. Today, an elementary school student might have all his schoolwork stored on services like Google Docs, Dropbox etc, a CIO is likely to face management and employees demanding systems and devices at work which are equally advanced and user-friendly as the ones they have at home and a government who wants to facilitate growth will have to invest and handle environmental issues in connection with the infrastructure needed for cloud computing.

In addition, both users and providers will be affected by new kinds of legal issues. Apart from finding out which legislation is applicable in different countries it can be equally difficult to determine where the data is actually stored – since it is unfortunately not in an actual cloud, but rather connected to one or several jurisdictions.

As usual, China is the big player on the scene doing its own show. I got the chance to speak to ACCAs Executive Director Per Dahlberg after his speech and according to him the Chinese government invests heavily in infrastructure. It has, however, so far not given any clear answers with respect to on what level it will control the information that will be stored and transferred. So far, Chinese users have been directed to use controlled (thereby allowed) Chinese versions of international services, like Weibo instead of Twitter, and this will probably continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

To measure progress, and hopefully spark a bit of competition between governments, ACCA has for the second year put together its Cloud Readiness Index, in which factors ranging from information privacy to green policies are assessed in 14 countries. Top nation both 2011 and 2012 is Japan which gets the highest ranking on four out of ten criteria. The Index can be used to determine which countries that are best suited for the specific customer’s needs. Singapore, for instance, ranks fourth in total but with a very low score on data privacy, only slightly ahead of China.

Appropriately the event finished off with discussions on the future. Will we one day have thin clients with processing power in the cloud, or will we hook up our smartphones to different services and the screen at home and work? How can a CIO know when to move what data into the cloud and who will be trusted with even core parts of a company’s computing needs? Those questions and many more left me with a feeling that there will be a strong need for me and my colleagues at ayond for a while ahead.

Business Modelling, Emerging technologies,
We will see much more of different embedded services e.g. in different types of widgets. These will perform specific functions - not just “banner like” links - but more advanced services, that can be included in web, mobile or social context.

Widget mania
With this technology you can out-source part of your web/mobile/social pages to other companies.
Case example: Kundo is a digital community for companies and their customers. Their platform helps customers utilize the commitment and knowledge of the customer’s customers for streamlining customer service and to gather important opinions and suggestions from users.

Wisdom of the crowd
If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to use and embrace customers’ and users’ view on you services. Open up your systems and do not fear criticism. Start using combinations of social media and IRL and use “gamifications” techniques to attract users to participate in sharing and commenting.
Case example: the Silicon Valley pizza restaurant where customer’s twitter comments on the food and the restaurant is shown on a big screen in the restaurant.

The new intranet
One question that needs to be answered during 2012 is; “What things does staff want on their mobile devices?” The “Intranet in your pocket” trend will be enhanced by an increasing number Windows mobile smart phones enabling the access to corporate/enterprise systems that today are Microsoft-based. New types of functions in Intranets will appear that will be based on knowledge management and sharing through chat and interactive use like Facebook “liking” and commenting.
Case example: companies that used a secret Facebook group as intranet to share both cooperate information/documents and enable chat/gossip between employees.

Cloud gets real, sack the IT-department
Technology choices get more and more uninteresting, cloud based services put focus on service deliverance rather than technology. Why keep an internal IT-department – perhaps you should instead employ a data scientist?
The over-sized, centralized IT department of 2001 is a relic that will never come back. IT departments need to prepare for the decentralized IT reality of the future in which companies are going to have smaller IT departments and focus their IT resources on software, the cloud and mobile devices.
Case example: Brian Hardee, CIO at Oxford Industries, reduced his already small IT department from 35 to 14 persons to be able to direct IT development in new directions.

Social Commerce
The e-commerce will move into social media. Recommendations from friends are considered to more than twice as reliable as anonymous recommendations. E-commerce is both about marketing and helping customers in finding and liking your products as well as about actual web-shops in Facebook.
The venture capitalists’ interest in companies within the eco-system for e-commerce and social commerce clearly shows that the money guys see big opportunities here.
Case: Lacoste’s very successful Christmas shop on Facebook

E-commerce, Emerging technologies, Innovation, Mobile, Social Media, Trends,