Tag Archives: PC

Review of 2015 predictions

Time to look back on the 2015 predictions from 12 months ago…. how many of those crystal ball predictions came true?

1. Self-service: Next generation self-service offerings

When was the last time you telephoned a call centre? I can’t remember.

According to a report from Dimension Data, “Social media is already the first choice for Gen Y (globally).Continue reading Review of 2015 predictions

Digital Media predictions in 2015

Each year I forecast some predictions in the Digital Media/ Internet world, and at the end of the year I score those predictions to see whether they came true or not.

1. Self-service: Next generation self-service offerings

Expect to see more companies offering portals for customers to service themselves.

For instance, think of the last time you bought an airline ticket – you probably bought the ticket through a website and checked in online or through your smartphone.

This will become more commonplace. I can’t remember the last time I put coins in a parking meter – I use my smartphone to pay for parking instead.

Through 2014 we’ll see coins used less, and you’ll be calling help desks less because you’ll be buying and servicing your needs online instead. Continue reading Digital Media predictions in 2015

Why Apple and the fashion clothing industry are so similar


I met someone recently who works in the fashion industry and I was surprised that she manufactures her clothes in the UK, in London.

The rationale was both the quality, although she said that with enough training there are other cheaper countries which could eventually match the UK quality; and the time to market. She said that there are other fashion companies moving to the UK because it’s difficult to justify garments sitting on a container ship for several weeks on their way from Asia to the UK.

The same is happening in the technology industry. Apple has announced it will begin manufacturing Macs in the US. One reason for this is the publicity of job creation. Another reason for this is to speed up the time to market – something that Tim Cook has spent his career doing in supply chain management.

I recently bought a new Dell laptop. We placed the order during the first week of January and a couple of days later we heard that the laptop won’t be shipping until February 11th. 

This week I was told that shipment won’t be before February 28th. 

It is hardly surprising then, that Apple’s hardware financial results are simply outstanding at the moment, and that Dell is having trouble. You can’t increase revenues if your products are unavailable for purchase. 

This is one of the key reasons Apple is so successful – a consumer can walk into a shop or buy online, and have the product instantly. The consumer can then take out their credit card and start buying apps straight away.

Apples are fashionable devices. That’s another reason the company is so successful – as soon as the new [version of] iPhone, iPad or iPod comes out, people want to buy them. Apple then offers the [fashion] buzz and purchase immediacy. 

So then, it’s no surprise how the world of fashion clothing and technology are aligning.

Photo courtesy of Digital Cat on Flickr

Steve Ballmer showcasing Kinect

One of my favourite pieces of technology is Kinect. Until you’ve used it, it’s difficult to believe that this level of technology exists, let alone for under $200.

My preferred BBC iPlayer device is the XBox – it’s voice controlled, easily the nicest menu structure to use, and has HD – but most importantly, it works on my TV and I still don’t like watching long formats on my laptop or desktop.

Windows 8 has been released, and I’m suspicious of it’s heavy reliance on touch screens. My monitors at work and home are already dirty enough, and I try not to touch the screens already.

If I had to swipe a web page with my fingers after eating a sandwich and bag of crisps, it would be revolting!

I don’t know how I originally missed this video of Steve Ballmer and the Kinect team demonstrating features which are already live, but it gives some further insight into the future of entertainment, whether it’s video games or television or work devices – the term PC doesn’t seem correct in this context.

Why the single mobile device isn’t possible

A true story (all the stories I tell on this blog are true – it’s just this makes the story more dramatic) – I was standing in the kitchen washing the dishes last night whilst watching the television.

I find this to be the second most therapeutic place in the World – the first is in the shower (for more information about why we seem to think clearer in certain positions but never at our place of work, read Future Minds.

Anyway, back to washing the dishes, and I saw the new Sony Xperia Play advert shown below.

This got me thinking the same thing as the R&D guys and girls in every handset company in the World – what is the perfect handset/ mobile/ slate device? By perfect, I mean “what device will take over from all the other devices we own?” I remember conversations in the late 1990s when I worked at the Finnish Telco Sonera (for accuracy, I worked at a subsidary called SmartTrust – now part of G&D, however these conversations took place with the parent company) where we discussed more than 100% penetration of handsets in the World (i.e. more active handsets than people).

Why would people want more than one handset? Because you’d have a super smart/ fashionable one in the evening, an email device with QWERTY keyboard during the day, a sporty/ waterproof one on weekends and so on.

I remember hearing that the market research teams at Nokia (despite the recent bad news I’d recommend anyone with any technology interest to visit their amazing corporate headquearters in Finland) kept hearing that their users wanted tiny phones and massive screens; they wanted as few keys as possible and full QWERTY layouts; they wanted the simple, original, ‘flat’ Nokia menu and a gazillion functions on the phone. The users wanted the impossible – mutually exclusive functions.

After I’d finished the washing up (we have a large family and had guests that evening – these things take a while), I sat down and caught up on some recorded TV – Secrets of the Superbrands: Fashion when the penny dropped.

We won’t be able to have a single device because of the following factors:

  1. Fashion – too many of us want the latest new shiny (or distressed as I learned on the Secrets programme) thing, for the sake of having the latest new thing.
  2. Best of breed. I use the toaster because it makes the least mess; I use the microwave because it makes hot chocolate quickly and without getting a saucepan dirty; I use the oven to roast chicken because I imagine it’s going to taste nicer than the small microwave/oven (and I’m worried all future hot chocolates will taste a little chicken-ey).
  3. We want change. I like love Dairy Milk. But every so often I’ll have a Flake, or a Twirl or a Wispa. Think of your favourite yet balanced meal – why don’t you have it every night?

And for these reasons I don’t think the single device to take over our wallet, mobile phone, laptop and paper pad is ever going to come along.

Amazing technology in the living room


Last weekend we bought an Xbox Kinect at home. I have a personality trait whereby I get really excited about technology only for it to rapidly degrade after a few days. So I decided not to write this review any sooner for fear of it being written with a bit too much passion and not enough objectivity.

A week after plugging in the Kinect controller, I can report that’s it’s still AMAZING. The technology still feels futuristic. Picking up an iPhone with it’s two year old pinching and stretch controls feels ancient. Using a mouse or a keyboard feels archaic.

Gesturing is the way forward.

The kids (ranging from 4 to 9 years old) love it and find it intuitive. Adults find it intuitive, although I’ve yet to see an adult that doesn’t sit (or for that matter, stand) with their jaws open finding it difficult to appreciate that the television is responding to body movements.

Many reviewers compare the Kinect to the Wii, because they are the two consoles where players need to be active or stand up to play most games. The comparison is ridiculous. The graphics and playability on the Xbox Kinect games are as polished, clear and fast as the rest of the Xbox titles compared to the Wii which feels like it’s still using the graphics chips from an 1980s Atari console.

However the part that most of our visitors like the most about the Kinect is being able to control the main Xbox menu, by sweeping icons to the left and right and selecting them on the screen just like in Minority Report.

To select a menu, the user puts your left arm at 45 degrees down becomes second nature in much the same way as a right mouse click on a PC felt odd a decade ago but is now automatic.

If a different user stands up Kinect will recognise them if they have a profile on the box using face recognition.

Microsoft have got the Kinect completely right. Installing it on my old Xbox (the original white one) was painfree. I’ve never opened a manual for it. The kids got it. Adults get it. Gestures are the way of the future.

I also bought a new family PC for the home as well after the last one died. For a while, we considered getting a Dell with a touch screen for two reasons. One is that it looks nice without complex wires, and the second is that its a large touch screen. However I’ve never seen the point of a touch screen on a PC – why do you want to press the X to close a window and get a fingerprint on the screen when it’s quicker and cleaner to press Alt+F4 (and you still think the 45 degree arm salute is unobvious?!) or move and then press the mouse.

I don’t get PCs with touch screens, but if you could gesture with your hand to quickly close a window, or click your fingers to open a favourite application, that is the future.

The Kinect is an amazing piece of technology, and the fact it costs about £150 and sits in your living room is testament to consumer power forcing companies to create such viable mass consumer devices. I just can’t wait until I’m controlling everything in the house with gestures.