Samsung’s touchscreen vending machine

A vending machine with added interactivity was released at the latest CES conference thanks to a joint venture between Coke & Samsung. 

Though the idea isn’t breath-takingly advanced, nor is the technology, the very existence of the development points to some growing trends within digital communications.

Added interactivity

Fairfax predicted that 2009 would be the year of the touch screen – with the rapid uptake of the iPhone multitouch hardware and growing number of in-store touch screen kiosks, digital interactions between shoppers and real life products is beginning to build momentum quickly.

Why is the added interactivity important? For consumers – more relevant information when they need it, for communicators – qualified consumers to focus their messaging. As more and more real-world objects gain digital identities, they’ll be able to be found/indexed/reviewed as with current virtual representations of the entities, the difference will be the added dimensions of space, location and time – having the real object in front of you where you are when you want it. Imagine typing “I’m thirsty” into a mobile location based social networking site like Shizzow & having the Coke/Samsung vending machine introducing itself, telling you it’s only a block away and that it will give you 20% off on of a Mother drink if you make it there in the next 20 minutes…

Collaboration

It’s also great to see collaboration between an FMCG and brown good company, a sign of the growing openness of data and business. Pioneers like Google & Ask have shown big-business that collaboration is extremely important and will become increasingly essential to company success. Look to see more companies become bed-fellows, creating win-win solutions leading to innovative outcomes – such as the Coke/Samsung vending machine.

New clouds on the horizon

No… I’m not talking about economic uncertainty, rather some new entries into the ever increasing universe of cloudware.

At Macworld, Apple announced that it would be taking Google Docs head on with its own release of iWork cloud, now in Beta. Unfortunately, the initial launch will not allow for any editing capabilities. 

Microsoft is also set to launch their version of cloudware.

With reports such as the recent one by Forrester of cloud email being significantly the cheapest option for companies and the raising concern of ROI in these economic times, cloudware proliferation will continue. It’s just a matter of time before they are incorporated as general practice by company executives. In the meantime it is up to the masses to educate companies on the significant benefits, including cost-savings that the services enable.

Another step towards semantic for Google

Google’s timeline tool, previously in experimental beta is now appearing in search queries.

The timeline tool ads further context to search queries allowing people to dig through results with more ease.

Add this to your social media tool kit

facebooWant to compare age, gender or geographic information of Facebook users for an upcoming presentation? AllFacebook, the unofficial Facebook blog has just realsed a handy widget that does it for you.

The story behind the fashion

track-and-trace1 Here’s a cool new idea that has the potential to create value on a few levels. MADE-BY, an Amsterdam company has launched a tool called Trace&Trace the follows where your garmet was made and by whom. This forces manufacturers to tell the truth with all their manufacturing and opens up some interesting potential for branding.

Keep up with the cloudware phenom in 2009

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The netbook. A new phenomena to accommodate our fast-paced, cloudware lifestyle. Easy to carry, Wi-Fi enabled and cheap these little buddies are perfect for accessing the net on the go. With continual innovation and penetration of cloudware we’ll see more and more tech manufacturers developing these handy tools which are already outselling the iPhone

Typically these have ranged from $300-$500 and are look like they’ve come out of a cereal packet, however with Apple set to launch their version  and Fujitsu’s newly launched LifeBook we’re already starting to get sleeker models on the market.

Bring it on. With each passing day I use less of my desktop and more cloudware. Previously the netbooks available have always struck me as shonky, however the Fujitsu has given me hope, but I’ll always hold out for Apple.

More amazing cloud-ware

Stanford University research students have recently released ZunaVision site which enables anyone to easily embed images and other motion graphics into video footage… for free!

Though the service is free, ZunaVision has already worked with some major brands such as Coke, ebay, IBM and Dove to monetize their service.

The technology allows anyone with a mediocre following on youtube to update clips with branded sponsorship, giving marketers another clever way to reach the long tail of the web audience.