How We Interact With Our Devices is Changing
It’s well known that we use our mobile devices. A lot. By 2017, the number of smartphones and tablets will hit 5b (70% of total connected devices). That, i’m sure you agree, is also… a lot. So, the way we interact with our devices is an important part of the digital revolution.
New ways to interact unlock new opportunities. Here are some of the most important developing technologies that’ll affect us over the next 3 years.
Microelectromechanical Microphones… Obviously
Elliptic Labs have developed an ultrasonic system allows users to control their devices through gestures. Similar to the way we use gesture control with the Xbox One and PS4. Instead of using infrared, which hasn’t had the easiest of rides with consumers, it uses microelectromechanical microphones and transducers to emit and detect sound waves sent over the ultrasonic spectrum. Ultrasonic technology’s low-energy consumption and wider field of vision make it a perfect fit for mobile devices. (Watch earlydemo.)
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Davis are even developing an ultrasound chip affectionately called Chirp. About the size of your average paracetamol, it will be one of the many attempts to bring gesture control to your wearable devices. “There aren’t a whole lot of options of what you can do on a touch screen when it’s about the size of a quarter or so” Berkeley’s Richard Przybyla points out.
So what does this mean for human-device interaction?
Well, for a start I think the thought of a device-specific sign language is exciting. What I mean by this is perhaps we’ll soon develop a unique set of gestures that can control our personal devices. This coud have great implications for privacy and expand the possibilities for brand experiences.
Personally, I have no problems with the touchscreen interaction with my iPhone and the application of gesture control in this respect still has some convincing to do. However, for wearable devices it really could enhance the user experience and the user interfaces could be used more creatively instead of including tiny touch buttons.
Disney Touches Us In a Different Way
We all have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to Disney. Toy Story, The Jungle Book and now 3D tactile features for touch-screens?
Yup, the guys at Disney Research are using electro-vibration technology coupled with an in-house algorithm that allows users to feel the images displayed on screen. Their technology makes it possible to render tactile information over visual content that they say will lead to new applications in the form of tactile displays.
A detailed description of the tech can be found on their website but from a marketing point of view, it opens up a whole new world of ecommerce.
Imagine shopping for clothes, bags or anything where the texture or quality of the product may be critical to the purchasing consumer. By 3D rendering each product, we’ll be able to incorporate more of the benefits of shopping in person to the online experience.
Even more so, what about the applications for the disabled? The blind could use it for brail. Whatever the usecase may be, it’s exciting technology that will make the touch elements of touch-screens more benefit and relevant.
A Bid Farewell
Finally, what about the thought that the smart device as we know it today won’t even exist? or become completely irrelevant?
With the announcement of Googles Contact Lens technology enabling us to measure glucose levels with technology so small you could mistake it for glitter, how long is it before all of the technology in our devices becomes miniaturised and able to fit between the layers of a contact lens?
This final thought it more of a wild speculation but one firmly grounded in the realms of possibility.
Nanotechnology is developing at frightening rates. Graphene, the single carbon thick material, has several vital functionalities. The technology is coming, and faster than we all think.
The Biggest Change
Our beloved smartphones may become obsolete over the next 5-10 years and replaced with a plethora of these promising new technologies. However. one fact remains concrete.
These changes in technology will change how we behave, how we work and most importantly, how we evolve.
It’s up to us as marketers to understand that technology has incredible effects on how our customers consumer the messages we send, how people share these messages and in what forms they are best received.
This is true of whatever technology exists today. The lines between the CTO and the CMO, the developer and the marketer and the tech-savvy or the tech-laggard consumer are blurring.
It’s both exciting and terrifying.