21 May, 2013
Most tech start-ups nowadays focus on mobile space, which has been driven by the exponential growth of smart phones and tablets. The trend will continue, for sure, but the market has become hyper-competitive. It gets tougher and tougher to differentiate, not to mention monetize in mobile. It's time to consider new, less crowded areas that present the next waves of opportunities for digital business.
I believe the next revolution in digital experience will centre around a " shared experience" as opposed to the " personal experience" that has been addressed by smart phones and tablets. An example is an environment where people sit on a sofa and watch TV together. Other examples are digital signs or billboards, meeting rooms and classrooms. The marriage of a smarter " shared device" like a TV with mobile devices has the potential to create a richer shared experience.
The new shared experience will move beyond one-way to two-way communication. Walk around department stores and you'll see a lot of TV screens serving as digital signs, showing advertisements and interesting information - a one-way communication channel.
In the future, you will be able to talk back to those screens. You will be able to use your mobile phone or even body gestures to control them. You will be able to browse through goods you are interested in before you even enter the store. You will be able to see a map of a department store and search for where you want to go instead of wandering around looking for the info desk.
The new shared experience will provide a richer way to interact. With mobiles or tablets replacing remote controls, you can have a dynamic remote control that changes its form according to what you do on the shared screen. Imagine searching through a movie catalogue on your tablet then pushing a button to play that movie on your TV. Afterwards, you can use that same tablet as a joystick to play a game with your friend. In this way, your mobile device becomes an extension of your TV screen, making the interaction smooth and rich.
The new shared experience allows many people to interact with a shared screen at the same time. People will use their tablets or smart phones to play blackjack on TV together. In meeting rooms, colleagues will use their tablets to control what the projector displays, flipping through slides, writing comments, showing their contents the same way they do with a whiteboard. In the classroom, students will use tablets to answer questions posted on the classroom screen or play educational games moderated by the teacher, for example.
In terms of technology, you can use a plain old PC to plug into a monitor and write programs to do all this, if you don't mind its clunkiness. On the other end, there is a barebones Raspberry Pi if you are keen on hardware. In the middle ground, there is also a readymade device like the Penta cloud client that can be used as a building block for building solutions connected to the shared screen explained above. Whatever hardware you choose, the key is designing a rich and smooth " shared experience".
Let's move beyond the competitive mobile space and shape the future of shared experience together while the window of opportunity is still open!
Posted on The Nation