While most tech innovations tend to revolve around making things smaller, such as wearable tech, quantum computers, and virtual reality Stephen Allen, Lightvert’s Media Director looks at how will technology shape the macro, changing the environment outside our homes and away from personal devices.
Lightvert is the company that invented ECHO, an outdoor advertising technology that uses the ‘persistence of vision’ effect to create hyperscale augmented reality adverts up to 200m tall.
Here is an illustration of how their technology works:
At Lightvert, we are interested in the big ideas that will permanently alter our landscape and our behaviours outside of the home. They all have the potential to enhance our lives, but also are open to misuse. Here are my top picks for world-changing emerging technologies:
Li-Fi is the next giant leap in connectivity, bringing speed and stability that’s unfathomable by today’s standards. With Li-Fi, all light sources can effectively become routers, so that anyone in direct line of sight will be able to connect to the source. By manipulating light, Li-Fi will be able to reveal the movements and location of a user with pinpoint accuracy, which opens up a whole host of possibilities for tracking people or personalising the information they receive in some way.
The Internet of Things
You probably remember the scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise has his irises scanned then purchases are recommended to him based on his personal data. Perhaps surprisingly, that future is actually here now. BlueBroadcaster is a company that allows advertisers to create connected adverts in premises and at point-of-sale, making use of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies to predict your buying preferences. This tech might potentially lead to virtual personal shoppers in every store.
Another quantum leap in advertising will take place when artificial intelligence comes of age. Ads currently need a human planner to analyse the available data and decide on the best place to display your ad, which is slow and cumbersome. Now imagine if an intelligent algorithm could think like a human, and was capable of reacting to events in real time, perhaps changing an advert if the weather changes. This sort of intelligent, organic thinking is already here, with companies such as Linkett building solutions to adapt campaigns in real time.
We’re all acutely aware of how social media sites and search engines are capable of measuring public sentiment, often predicting events like Brexit and the Trump presidency when official pollsters get it wrong. Major broadcasters are starting to measure the sentiment of their viewers by analysing their social feeds, and are adapting their editorial standpoint as a result. Maybe one day, the echo chamber will follow us into the streets, only showing us the ads and editorial angles we want to see, putting us in a bubble that restricts our world view.
Augmented Reality that works without a device
I’m biased, of course, but I see a future where AR does away with the device, working instead with our natural biology or the geometry of the landscape. Our own ECHO display provides remote viewing of an augmented reality advert without the need of glasses, a tablet or phone, which means content providers have more control over what the viewer sees. In a world where users can opt out of online advertising, this type of brand awareness is becoming increasingly important.
The outside world is becoming more personalised, and for the most part this means greater efficiency and more personal choice. However, there is a dystopian side to this where our worldviews could become restricted, as they have become online. It’s up to our business leaders to make sure technology is still used to expand minds, and not just restrict them.
ABOUT STEPHEN ALLEN