SEVERAL IDEAS PERCOLATED out of the Media 2020 event in the Croke Park Conference Centre today and I'm off to make some long bets on their viability in the year 2020. They concern the handheld screen, smart scans, local newspapers, internet appliances and social television. Based on the twitterstream that flowed during #med2020, I think I'll win several of these long bets.
#med2020 Long Bet #1. In the year 2020, most of my friends will use handheld screens as their first point of reference for need-to-know information. This is a self-fulfilling long bet because I can choose the friends in my 2020 survey but even if I'm still involved in third level education, I'd bet my colleagues will take their priority actions from their handheld screens. Forcing your to-do stream into a handheld window imposes some order on an increasing information burden. This trend is starting now with the compressing of information streams as small as 140 characters for Twitter helping to drive expression down to a few lines on a screen. Facebook's truncated newsfeeds normally fit inside a six-line limit on smartphone home pages. Google Reader and Feedly summaries trail off after a headline and two lines. It may take 10 years for people to learn how to express important things in subject headings that convey meaning but I think that by 2020, the information you need to drive a result will appear on your phone as an alert. It's already happening for me on two of the Android screens that I run on the Xperia X10.
#med2020 Long Bet #2. In the year 2020, my phone will be able to scan, parse and save idents that it sees on business cards. This capability will go way beyond the current apps that can handle text-to-contacts processing. My phone will also be able to correlate visual objects (e.g., "idents") on the business cards. These idents could be favorite icons, registered trademarks, archived taglines, and photorealistic images. The phone's camera will do all these things without having to launch a QR application, Google Googles or a macro imaging process. Registered marks will take on new importance and some people will formally protect distinct views of their faces.
#med2020 Long Bet #3. In the year 2020, sales teams at local papers will use rate cards that include charges for specific metadata used on the website, the augmented array, the newsfeed, and the premium bundle. Local papers won't go away as institutions because they remain the easiest way to place community advertisements, boot sale promotions, family notices, fixture information, events advisories, photobooth slideshows and service announcements.
#med2020 Long Bet #4. In the year 2020, internet appliances cost less than 28.8 modems did in 1996. Internet tablets will be on mobile operators' upgrade plans, meaning some power users will qualify to get them at no cost. Touchscreen alarm clocks with over-the-air wireless datastreams will cost less than a premium set of earbuds. In-car systems can be installed by qualified technicians. Ireland's extensive network of telecommunications masts will offer a near-seamless streaming experience to people using public transport or traveling on motorways. This long bet does not apply to persistently poor areas of data signal coverage in rural areas. Signage on those roads will indicate emergency road service is not available with the standard dashboard app fitted to new cars.
#med2020 Long Bet #5. In the year 2020, social television is programmed as part of the mix. Viewers have moved away from merely watching their TVs to watching with an online back channel. Ireland's national broadcaster discovered it could increase both viewership and its attractiveness to commercial sponsors by nurturing these self-organising back channels. It started with TV shows like PBS’s News Hour moving to YouTube and RTE commissioning content for the international version of the RTE Player. By 2020, social TV allows Facebook friends (and extended families on different continents) watch shows together, using rating and sharing elements akin to social giant YouTube.