The evolution of media, marketing and brands!

All developments in long term context.

Systems connects heart rate, blood pressure and skin response to PC

Microsoft has filed a patent based on sensors that automatically monitor a user’s need for automated or non-automated assistance. These sensors can detect at least one of heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement, facial movements, facial expressions, and blood pressure. (gw)

Brands get more and more possibilities to measure everything on the consumer. Not as big-brother, but to feed technology’s empathetic capacity, to feed the brands’ empathetic ability. This patent helps in achieving that.

H&M’s virtual fitting room

H&M introduces: a virtual fitting room. In this room you can put together an avatar in underwear, including shape, weight, and age. If the BMI (Body Mass Index) is not right (too low for a human body), this is corrected automatically. The avatar then can be dressed. You can not order the clothes yet (vl).

In a next step the clothes (of course) can be ordered, and it won’t stop there. Then the next step is getting advice. For example on what fits our shape, not just by style but also by color. After that, we will be able to take this virtual adviser to the shop, who then appears in the mirrors. While we are shopping, we can directly see what it looks like when we put it on, and we get advice. In the long run, we will trust this virtual adviser more than a real sales person in the shop.

But it still doesn’t stop here: later our weight will be connected to our bath room scale, we take our avatar to other stores, and we will get advice on how to combine new clothes with the clothes we already have in our wardrobes. To then get advice on cleaning and maintenance of these clothes. But this will take a couple of years.

And earlier or later, even the maintenance will be taken care of for us. Then we just have to toss our clothes in a corner, and after a certain amount of time we will find it in our wardrobe. Robots fold our laundry and put it away. To then have the right outfit ready for us in the morning, exactly right for the activities of the day. Exactly like mom used to do that when we were kids. We still have the possibility to choose ourselves, but we just don’t feel like it. There are so many other things we want to do. This is material for pamper planet, material for 2050.

Chatbots.org in soft launch

Today I have started to here and there promote Chatbots.org, where you can find an overview of chat bots on the web and in Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger). In my old website the chatbot page was a popular page, but it didn’t fit in the concept of Erwinvanlun.com. When I launched Erwinvanlun.com I kept the chat bot page, only separate from the site. And now I had it restyled. What is nice about this website is that the content is maintained by the chat bot suppliers themselves. This is actually pretty logical, as it is in their interest too to show the size and the growth of the market. For me, it is part of my mission: help marketers add value to the lives of consumers. And if you want to add value, you have to first start listening. We are slowly discovering the art of listening, and Chatbots.org illustrates this development.

Radio 538 logo animated

Dutch radio channel Radio 538’s logo has been animated. In a so-called Ident the two Radio 538 balls bounce and then stop. Brands more and more often have their logos animated. To draw extra attention, and especially to add personality. Traditional brands are used to using a fixed logo, and don’t ‘dare’ to touch it. Media brands know they can add associations to the brand when using animations. This field will keep developing over the years to come. In the end all logos will animate, and react at interaction. Only in very specific situations it will still be fixed. On a cardboard box for example, or at an invoice. It then will be a derivative of the animated logo, like the black-and-white logo often is a derivative of the full-color one.

Funda New House Plan goes beyond real estate

Dutch housing site Funda’s New House Plan goes beyond just buying real estate. Financing, remodeling, moving, and aspects like the interior are discussed as well (following mf). Starting at the primary comparison of houses, Funda now is also offering other products in cooperation with partners. The consumer however doesn’t want to be bound to one supplier: he or she wants to have a choice. In a next phase Funda will also compare mortgages, title companies, movers, contractors, and energy suppliers. That will be the moment the consumer starts paying for these services. As a subscriber, per advice, or by paying commission. Information about the rates will have to be shown openly. Broadening the supply is a small step in that direction.

Essent’s Heleen shows emotions

Heleen is Dutch energy company Essent‘s new virtual employee. Heleen gets her answers from a central database, guaranteeing that Essent as well as her customers get their information from the same source. Heleen also shows emotions: for example if she can’t answer a question, a disappointed Heleen appears on your screen. If she gets a ‘naughty’ question, she appears lightly shocked (cb). This way dialogues through brand agents further develop. Now still through a photo session with a real person, in the future with an animated person who can have all kinds of emotions. Now still through typed text, in the future spoken through every possible display. This is another step forward.

Meeting with Ramana

I recently had a meeting with Dutch magician Ramana, or Wouter Bijdendijk. Ramana acquired international fame by his levitation act in front of the White House, and before that in the Netherlands through appearances on TV with Jensen and Paul de Leeuw. Hij also did a levitation act for insurance company RVS. In a very surprising conversation, lasting for many hours, I was able to sharpen my thoughts about the future. Below are my notes.

I had no idea what to expect from this meeting. Did Ramana possess powers that most people have too, but just are not able to use (any more)? Is it all just one big illusion? How does Ramana handle critique? How does he see the future? What kind of person will he be? And maybe there would be a way we could cooperate. We met at Pacific Parc, close to the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.


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Weather radar at Google Earth

The popular Dutch weather radar site Buienradar has launched some innovations, among which showing clouds and storms six times as detailed, for mobile phones, on Google Maps , and even in Google Earth(mf, Dutch).

We imitate the physical world completely 3D and realtime in the virtual world. Service brands, like buienradar, also contribute to that. Out of ‘practicality’ we eliminate any insecurity out of our lives. So that we know exactly what time the rain starts, when the sun breaks through, or if it will be freezing. Future generations won’t even leave the house without this information, afraid of insecure situations. Just like we as westerners are very scared to walk through the jungle by ourselves. Let alone having to navigate by the sun and the moon. We keep moving further away from nature (although we do move closer in a different way, which is not in this scope however). This practical development adds to that trend.

Google integrates profiles

Google integrates consumer profiles it earlier made for Google’s social network Orkut, Google’s weblog environment Blogger and Google Groups. YouTube will follow undoubtedly. With their profile, consumers can also place a picture. Then, based on this one profile, they can use all services under the same name. If someone publishes something public, the pseudonym is published instead of the real name (dc, Dutch).

Brands will recognize people, irrespective of product groups. A centrally operated CRM system with a central vision about consumer contact is necessary. New companies, based on IT, can easily make these kinds of changes. For existing companies, this is a little bit harder. In the end all brands will directly recognize us, and connect us to other people. Under our own name, or if we want under a pseudonym. Google takes the lead in this.

Paiq matches bases on neural networks

New Dutch dating site Paiq matches people with artificial neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence trying to imitate the way human brains work. People who register first have to enter personal characteristics and a picture. Paiq then matches people based on intelligent rules, which in their turn our based on psychological insights. At the first contact the picture is made very vague, so that the dating partner can’t see it sharp. Only after the users have been talking to each other for a longer time, they can see who they are dealing with (via em, Dutch).

The brand Paiq thus becomes a little smarter every day. In fact this brand evolves to be a smart friend, who understands who you are, thinks along, your coach. Someone who can introduce you to other people. A valuable brand. Thus new technology is used to make a brand, and Paiq can grow to be a coaching brand. And this is only the beginning.

3D world with a Nintendo Wii

Johnny Chung Lee shows the near future of 3D television and games. With a smart adaption of his Nintendo Wii, he turns a regular television into a 3D display. The video is very interesting, but the real results are shown at the end. There Johnny looks at a television screen showing a soccer stadium, and gets a really different view if he looks from a different angle: the images moves with him, like he is watching through a window (pe).

Thus the 3D world really takes shape. Later we will also be able to watch TV this way, or walk through a virtual world like Second Life. In a next step we won’t have to wear special glasses anymore. Our heads then will automatically be recognized and if we say something, that evokes a reaction too. This is how the virtual world takes shape, and this is what brands will have to get ready for.

Binck bank sends videos to bloggers

Binck bank sends 8 Mb videos to bloggers, as well as links to videos in a campaign sent via YouTube (I received them myself). Brands discover mavens: people who want to know everything in a certain area. They provide them with the right information, in the right way, at the right time. We used to get press releases of sites going live two days later. That doesn’t make sense: you can’t write about it or link to it. Online journalists are happy with pictures, videos, and live websites. In the end we want to have real-time image communications, as that is most suitable for humans. The campaign by the way wasn’t relevant enough for Mensmerk.nl, but it does deserve a posting because of the way it was done.

Vakantieoordeel offers independent advice

New Dutch holiday website Vakantieoordeel.nl searches all big national and international holiday review websites, and publishes all information in one spot. Vakantieoordeel claims to be independent because it is not owned by a tour operator. Besides, bad reviews are not removed. To have a review removed, suppliers will just have to do better (dc, Dutch). Coaching brands, a type of brands in development, have a couple of shared characteristics, among which completeness in the field they are serving, openness, and independence. Only this type of brands in the future will have access to the consumer. Transaction brands, tied to locations, a certain type of service or packages, will have to make sure they offer top service. The development of travel coaching brands has taken off, and this is an example of it.

LiveContacts has you share your location

Through LiveContacts you can see on the map (on your mobile phone) where your friends are. It works with a small program on their mobile phones that passes on their location. It works through place determination through mobile network masts (dc). The next thing we will share is our location. First based on GPS and then based on Galileo, so we can even determine the location within a building. Once we permit other brands to see this location too, working, family life or a night out will get a whole new dimension. And the expression ‘people close to you’ will get a whole new meaning.

MijnSportWereld unites active athletes

Mijnsportwereld.nl is a new Dutch network site for active athletes. Apart from central and user-generated sport news like game reports, pictures and videos. it is possible to follow leagues and (in the long run) even start a new league. Besides, members can make their own profile, chat, and apart from friends also add team members and club members. After that, tools will follow for team management, schedules for the bar, and washing the uniforms (mf, Dutch). Thus sport coaching brands slowly develop. First by taking care of many practical issues, but later this type of brands will become our ultimate personal coach by guiding us to top achievements on an individual level. This is only the beginning.

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Contact: Erwin van Lun, +31 621 567 657 (GMT +1), print‍@‍mensmerk‍.‍nl