Digital Convergence

gpssat.pngThe future of tech? With RFID and privacy becoming a prevelant threat to our modern privacy orientated lives, where will our technology take us next. We have wifi, bluetooth, gps and a whole host of technolgy related items to encroach upon our digitally orientated lives. The modern mobile phone is 20 years old and has far exceeded what anyone ever thought it would become at it’s inception.

We live in a digitally conected world, the trouble is that our digital world is often fragmented. Differening protocols, and service providers, differing standards and a lack of co-operation between the major players in the tech world makes for a less than stella convergance model.

As with all things, they take time but imagine the future of our digitally connected lives.

Starbucks / GPS and a friend?

Back in University when studying for my Degree we were always talking about convergence this and digital mediums that, a lot of what we discussed and designed ended up on the floor or archived somewhere on a distant hard-drive, but now a few years on, many of these core technologies are beginning to make their way into our lives. Try this one for size:

Your wandering down the street, your mobile bleeps at you to inform you of an event – as it happens, your phone is hooked up with GPS / 3G / WiFi and is actively scanning an online database map for the locations of all of your friends – who also ‘conveniently’ have GPS enabled and have agreed to have their data publicly accessible.

‘Come and enjoy a free coffee with your friend, bring this message with you – Starbucks’

Your phone informs you via sms.

What has just happened

Simple, you walked within 200m of 1 of your friends GPS signal (well, on the global map, you were within 200m). The server picked this up and sent an SMS to both you and your friend – who until that point were completely unaware that you were in each other’s vicinity.

  • You both get to meet (which may or may not have happened anyway)
  • You get a free ‘sponsored’ coffee from starbucks
  • Starbucks (or whoever) get increased brand awareness and possibly the chance to upsell

All parties are happy as everyone seems to have got something for nothing. The two friends have received their free coffee and Starbucks have received 2 customers that otherwise might not have passed through their doors.

A simple demonstration but not beyond the realms of possibilities. Sure, there are the privacy issues and the tin-foil wearing hat crowd to consider, but a real use for a multitude of technologies and a use that actually offers so form of benefit to all parties involved.

Next time – the humble barcode….

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