Tablets are poised to change everything about how we consume media. The living room experience is now distributed across devices ranging from laptops to smartphones to gaming consoles. TV now has to share our attention with email, text messages, and even other video content.
Devices like the iPad and the Nexus 7 are making TV personal, actionable, and merging broadcast media with search. My guest post on WPP’s Dose of Digital outlines how the “second screens” we all use will change the way TV is watched and how marketers communicate with audiences.
CES is just under way and Sony and Samsung have already announced plug-and-play solutions to update your television. These updates expand the functionality of your otherwise passive television experience to include on-demand content pulled from the web as well as apps.
Sony’s solution comes on the form of a second generation Google TV. Both Logitech and Sony have attempted early releases of Google’s “lean-back” project previously, but with a new interface atop the Google Android underpinnings, this new product is looking like a mature offering for a wide audience.
Samsung has also announced a set-top solution with the inTouch. inTouch, also Android based, offers non-internet enabled televisions applications to access popular web content like YouTube and a shallow pool of widget-like apps with content from Google. Adding additional functionality to the inTouch is an HD camera that provide Skype access. A device like this would be ideal for the family hoping to extend the utility of the family television as an information and tele-communications center.
Why start talking about this now? The living room is changing and these devices are at the heart of that change. People are already using their smart phones, tablets, and laptops to participate in social media and interact with others while watching popular television and sports events. The connected television will allow viewers to change from passive engagement with shows and online personalities to truly interactive content and material that is truly relevant to the viewer.
VISA is planning the roll-out of this new offering as the beginning of a larger E-Wallet offering that will modernize credit transactions for the public. Having the solution based in a MicroSD form factor should allow it to be widespread on a wide variety of mobile devices. A more focused release is rumored with participation by Apple for it’s yet-to-be confirmed iPhone 5 release.
In addition to be able to leave your plastic at home, VISA’s new offering presents additional security options with real-time confirmation for transactions, direct-association with asset management software and real-time billing, balance and credit-line information.
The current iteration of the credit card is due for an overhaul for the security of card holders, the management of what has become and almost completely virtual commerce model and the ability for financial institutions to track customer behavior for safety and improved protection.
The release of the iPad and its settling into the market point to a distinction between the devices and software we use to “consume” media and create it. The digital workstation is long overdue for an overhaul and Microsoft Research is developing a solution. In recent demonstrations, Microsoft is leveraging their Surface technology to create a naturally manipulated user interface to draw, write, cut, copy and paste digital data. The demonstration presented shows how you can marry user input devices, in this case a pen, with touch to treat the screen as if it is a true “art-board”.
Surface, as demonstrated here, goes beyond previous generations of tablet and touch interfaces like those currently offered from Wacom and Adesso. Although these input devices make use of naturalistic behavior, they offer a limited surface area for manipulation and lack the utility of multi-touch demonstrated on the Surface technology. Both Microsoft and Apple have incorporated mutli-touch into their native operating systems, the keyboard and mouse software is still the primary paradigm for operation. This is partially due to software developers not yet taking advantage of the new native APIs available in the operating systems, but also a lack of clear indication as to how users will use these technologies. The introduction and evolution of “consumption” dedicated devices like the iPad may yield an answer.
Having used Wacom tablets for year and recently being able to spend time with the Surface, both offer an add a freedom beyond the mouse. Both pressure sensitivity and a natural movement allows fast and quick almost gesture-like actions. This is a benefit and attraction because of the nature of my work in design. I’m unsure how much wide-market appeal it will have or if, beyond page-turning and “flicking”, it can offer with today’s content structure. The iPad, the publishing industry and how developers begin to use this technology will help shape the next generation of user interface. I believe that this is why so many people are excited about the iPad and what it brings to the marketplace.
Interface design like the one presented by Microsoft Surface is creating a completely new arena for content creation and will also influence the aesthetics of design to come. Both print and new media designers may completely change their approach with the freedom presented by these new tools. It may seem strange, but there is an entire generation of designers who may not know what it is like to sit at a drafting table or balance a bottle of India Ink in their hands while burning the midnight oil.
Thanks to John Nosta for the Microsoft Research clip inspiring this post.
Roger Black has an excellent post on the Society for News Design Blog. The dialogue is an overview, but there was one point that I think was missed: From the perspective of Art Direction, it is becoming increasingly important that Content Creators and Designers construct their presentation is such a way that it translates, with its impact, across multiple platforms and media. This post (and the snd website) is an excellent example. The post, a standards based layout, features a full transcript.
Chris Cullmann is a Creative Director and Online Strategist. He works for Ogilvy CommonHealth Interactive Marketing, a digital agency dedicated to healthcare marketing. His professional and personal portfolio includes interactive websites, viral and social media, and online education applications. His portfolio and observations about the design and marketing industry can be found at www.cullmanndesign.com
The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect those of my employer or those who I am professionally connected.