Beyond Mobile Revised TOC
[NOTE: We’ve been working on Beyond Mobile: Life after Smartphones for nearly six months now. As we knew, going into this projects, the topics of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Digital Genies, Autonomous Cars and Robots are moving targets and will remain so long after our book is published. But enough has happened that we decided to adjust course. What follows is a significantly revised Table of Contents. A significant change is that we have shifted our target reader from general audiences to business decision makers. This changes a good deal.
Unlike the TOC that shows you chapter pages, this is an extended TOC that includes summaries of each chapter. As self-publishers, this become the roadmap for the book we are writing and a declaration of what will be included for the sponsors we need to attract as self publishers.
We are big believers in crowd wisdom and we publish it here to get feedback from online friends and followers. Is this a book you would read? Might you recommend it to friends? Did you find a fact that we need to double check? Do you know a company or a technology, that we should cover? Do you know a company who would like to associate their brands with tis book?
Please let us know here or by contacting me on Messenger at ShelIsrael or at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Introduction: Faster and Faster
There are three components to each of our books: Tech, business and people. They are driving a perpetual change loop, one that keeps unfolding faster and faster.
Every now and then the three get out of balance and this is one of those times: Tech is ahead of both people and business. People—particularly digital natives are ahead of most businesses—except perhaps ones they are spearheading.
And businesses? They are scrambling to catch up with changes being caused by mobile, social, data, IoT and location-technologies, the forces we described in our 2013 book Age of Context.
Those five forces have moved at great speed in a short time. They are now providing the underpinnings for four enormously important—and rapidly emerging– technology categories:
- Mixed Reality [MR], which encompasses Virtual Reality [VR] and Augmented Reality [AR].
- Digital Genies, a term we have coined to describe devices and software that use Artificial Intelligence [AI] to make life easier.
- Autonomous Cars. They are the best example we know of technologies that may be ready for humans before humans are ready for them.
- It may be some time before they are changing your baby’s diaper, but they may soon be taking away jobs closer to you than is comfortable.
As far as people falling behind, we emphasize that this is because—as has always been true—younger people are remaining more current than older people. This includes two generations of young adults, the Millennials and those who are younger: Demographers call them Gen Z. We have named them Minecrafters.
As each of these product groups perform more and more functions over the next ten years, we will find ourselves use smartphones, less of the time by accomplishing what we do with our current devices in new and better ways.
There won’t be any paradyme moment when we just stop using our phones for new headsets or personal robots, but a continuous shaving of the minutes we use on phones. It will happen in much the way our desktop computers receded when smartphones came into our lives a decade ago.
We intend to give you a general view of the technology coming down the pike, and how and where it will be adopted so that you can understand and develop winning strategies early, when it matters most.
We are not going to tell you how to use products, or the incredible complexities and years of trial and error that goes into creating intelligent, products that are so very easy to use. Instead, we are going to focus on why you will want to use them for personal and business advantages.
Part One: Game Changers
[This section reports on new technologies and trends and the social issues that surround them].
Ch1 What Zuck Saw
This chapter starts with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion drawing ridicule from investors and alleged tech gurus. Then we flash forward just two years to Mark Zuckerberg standing on the stage at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in April 2016.
Behind him is a huge screen, showing what appears to be a pair of rather ordinary eye glasses: except the ones he is showing, contain both VR and AR capabilities.
No one understood what he saw in 2014, most observer of this technology now see exactly what he saw then and sees coming in the next ten years.
The device he envisions will do everything today’s cellphone does, only more easily, using gestures and voice that sensors will see and understand, letting you purchase a product that you look at on screen, or call someone just by telling the device to do so.
There will be no tapping, reading or watching on screens, which will be reduced to tiny lenses embedded in the glass. They will produce images eight times richer and will appear larger than the highest end home TV allow today and the images will be three dimensional enhance by surround sound.
Zuckerberg described these new glasses as the most social of all tech platforms: When you want to talk with someone that person will appear to be right there with you. In fact you can shake hands or hug and feel that person’s presence despite the virtual state.
We explain the many advantages to both people and businesses, that these enhanced reality devices will provide.
We talk briefly about certain freaky factors including a dramatic increase in user data generated and increased loss of privacy. We predict that while many older people will be reluctant to adopt, younger people will be eager to do so.
While competition and innovation will drive price down, thus reducing today’s Digital Divide, these conflicting attitudes will create a new separation—a cultural chasm.
Ch2 Culture Chasms
We compare and contrast today with the 1960s, another period of cultural polarization. We observe that many of the issues of 50 years ago have re-emerged and are fomenting a rift between young and old.
The rebels of the 1960s had aspired to bring about a peaceful world that was at harmony with the environment, a world of tolerance between people of different cultures, a time when the wealthiest of nations would help to develop the least wealthy.
Of course it didn’t quite turn out that way. But, the rebels of that era, did plant a few seeds that have germinated such as the Internet, the smartphone and social media. These have become the tools of a new wave of social revolution, where the tools of change have moved online rather than into the streets—for the most part.
Today, we see a sense of urgency to resolve social and environmental problems that were recognized in the 60s but remain unresolved today.
Additionally, we report on how technology has become a super-agent for cultural as well. For example: EDM [Electronic Dance Music]. Aging Boomers, who made older generations cringe with their electric guitars and amplifiers, may now cringe because music is now being created by computers rather than people and instruments.
The chapter points out that people under 35 also have different tastes in technology. While most Boomers will probably love Facebook and hate Snapchat, younger cultures will embrace Snapchat, where they are less likely to encounter aunts and uncles while they talk about personal matters with peers.
Any business wishing to endure longer than the next ten years, needs to understand these new generations and how and why they are different.
The best way to accomplish that is to watch them play.
Ch3 The Ways They Play
We suggest that the best way to understand the near-term future is to watch the way children play, and project ten or twenty years out from there.
We illustrate by looking at Millennials and there ubiquitous attachment to smartphones. We look at Snapchat, which is becoming their social network of choice. We look in depth at two Snapchat attributes: (1) it’s advanced abilities to market to people based on their locations, and (2) Their effective use of low-end augmented reality content to enhance experience with quirky but memorable effects as barfing rainbows and popping eyes.
Second, we look at Minecrafters, who we define as children born after the year 2000 who represent a majority of the 100 million players of this innovative social game that teaches kids how to code, hack, solve large problems by parsing out little chunks to members of a group.
In 2016, Minecraft started to introduce VR versions. These say a good deal about the future of this generation. While Millennials grew up using smartphones, to play, communicate and solve problems, we predict Millennials will be doing it in VR. When they grow up, they will favor stores, brands and employers who will allow them to accomplish things using VR rather than those old fashioned mobile devices.
We conclude that to understand the emerging Minecrafters it will be important to understand VR.
Ch4 The Play’s the Thing
This chapter briefly explains VR, and describes e innovations to games, theater and theme parks that have already occurred or will occur in the next three years.
It describes how VR technology is spilling over from games into education and training, health and design, but notes a significant limitation: It immerses users in worlds that black out reality and surround them. Using VR while walking or driving will make one a candidate for a Darwin Award.
Ch5 Mixing Reality
Facebook is not alone by any means in seeing one device that we wear that will do what our phones do only better. This chapter provides a brief survey of other major players including Hololens, Meta, and ODG and look at two “giant shadows” in the form of Apple and Magic Leap.
We explain the enormous significance to overlaying visual data—including VR—into headsets and report that virtually all the VR and AR makers predict this convergence into MR as did Zuckerberg in our earlier section.
As users enjoy MR to enhance whatever they look at, the technology watches them right back, constantly collecting data.
These devices will allow you to type with your eyes and have what used to be phone conversations with holographic people who appear to be sitting and walking with you as you talk, as Zuckerberg had implied.
We argue that of all the new technologies, AR is the most sustainable and significant. It will interact with autonomous cars, robots and digital genies as well as sensor enabled objects that comprise the IoT.
Ch6 Digital Genies
We describe a group of personal technologies that use Artificial Intelligence [AI] to help people perform increasing varieties of tasks from music listening, to ordering milk, or starting up their cars on a while finishing up their last cup of coffee while a device reads a personalized selection of news to them.
Today’s Digital Genies include Amazon Echo and Google Now. In the next few years, new AI systems will go as far beyond these platforms as those platforms have gone beyond Siri. These include Facebook M, which is expected to perform hundreds–perhaps thousands–of tasks instead of a limited few, and most important so far: Viv.ai, which the company says is “The Global Brain.”
It is, in fact, an open networked platform that will remember the answer to every question it gets asked, making it potentially smarter and far more accessible than IBM’s Watson, considered today’s smartest machine. While, Watson specializes in winning quiz shows and chess games, Viv will allow anyone to access whatever data they wish and has enormous implications for both individuals and business.
Ch7 Long Road to Autonomy
This is another area where a great deal has already been said and written. We believe that the era of universal use of fully autonomous cars remains further out than just ten years. The barriers will have more to do with human and legislative acceptance rather than technological readiness. We will talk about how autonomous cars will save an estimated 1.2 million lives annually and will have favorable environmental impact.
But our core effort will be to portray how autonomous vehicles will first drive around private areas such as golf courses and senior residential communities. That will be followed by city cars and ride services and short-haul deliveries, which in turn, will lead to long-haul trucking and then, finally to privately owned self-driving vehicles.
We will talk about Millennials and Minecrafters who are likely to be urban dwellers who have no desire to own cars. We’ll talk about how Ford plans to move from the manufacturing cars for private ownership into transportation services, where autonomous cars will be leased by the hour day or year.
Additionally, we will examine the modern auto as another connected device just like the phone, AR headset, or digital genie and explain how they will all talk with each other, exchanging data on location, drivers, the car itself and other data relevant to destination and location.
Ch8 Robots On the Line
We write that of these five technologies the dream of a robot that will change your baby’s diapers is the most distant from becoming reality. We point to the recent failures of Boston Dynamics, resulting in Google putting the division up for sale as evidence.
Still, we report, there is a lot happening in situations where it is risky or impossible for humans to go, such as diffusing explosives. There is a robot that can crawl through debris caused by earthquakes or terrorists. They can hear and sense humans who may be alive, but cannot call out. Underwater robots are being used to zap predators at the Great Barrier Reef. Caterpillar is partnering with a robotic vehicle maker named TORC to make construction bulldozers for use in hazardous areas.
Robots are beginning to lower costs and increase productivity where repetitive work is involved such as food handling. We’ll talk about a robotic farm that produces 30,000 heads of lettuce daily at a fraction of the cost of farm labor which has become scarce as migrant worker policies change.
Until now, tech has produced more—and better– jobs than it has eliminated. Experts say this may no longer be the case, and the mismatch between those who will lose jobs and those who will gain them may broaden the cultural chasm.
While the former assembly line worker needed to operate machinery, the modern worker will need to be able to write code. How will we resolve these issues? We have a few ideas that some may consider impractical. We will argue that they will be better for the overall economy and maintaining bridges over cultural gaps.
Part 2 Business Changers
[This section will look at actual business use cases in several very large niches and predicts other likely apps in the near future.]
Ch9 Augmenting Retail
This chapter will explain the authors’ vision for AR changing most retail experiences over the next decade, starting in 2017, long before most people have tried on their first-ever AR or VR headsets. We will spotlight Google Project Tango which will introduce a form of AR that will work on at least two new mobile phones being developed by Lenovo and Intel. Tango phones will allow users to measure anything and see how variations of it would look in the home or office.
Further we will examine the increasingly competitive area of virtual cosmetics where Sephora and L’Oreal have both made significant efforts and innovations including virtual fragrances that leave a purer sense of what a perfume will smell like than yesterday’s counter-top atomizer.
Both the Boston Red Sox and SF Giants have installed VR stations where fans can view the game from the perspective of each player or the umpire making a tough call.
VR is being used by museums and street tour directors, so that visitors can see what Westminster Abby or a T-Rex looked like centuries or millennia ago.
Even Levi’s is using new technology in stores to monitor new kinds of shopping analytics (it uses RFID tags in all of its clothes to do that), and also add new features for customers who, today, are using mobile phones, and tomorrow, will be using AR glasses.
Ch10 Virtualizing the Enterprise
When technology comes along, the enterprise is often slow to adapt. This time we find that the enterprise is aggressively moving forward. Essentially, they see MR devices as improved ways of engaging with stakeholders and as improved ways of ensuring safety and training for inexperienced workers.
When we visited Meta, the company said that over 100 enterprise customers had signed up to try their new AR headset even before their new Meta 2 actually existed.
Meta is not alone.
In April 2016, Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s CMO, confessed, “We totally underestimated the commercial interest” in the company’s new Hololens. The companies that have surprised the Redmond giant with offers include Lowe’s, Case Western Reserve University, NASA, Saab and Volvo to name a few.
Skanska, a global project development and construction organization, and Studio 216, a digital production agency, announced plans for the “world’s first holographic real estate leasing center” in downtown Seattle.
We’ll also talk about how both Caterpillar and John Deere are using robot vehicles to reduce risk in dangerous construction areas, while they, and Volkswagen, are using AR to improve machine inspections. Volkswagen issues AR glasses as standard equipment on the assembly line. We found VR being used for training at several companies and remote controls for delicate repairs ranging from NASA guiding astronauts on space stations and energy companies teaching oil rig workers how to deal with crises while remaining safely in classrooms.
It is early in the game, but there is already a good deal happening.
Ch11 To Our Health
We found a great deal about VR, AR and other new technologies being used to effectively treat and perhaps even cure serious ailments such as Autism to Alzheimer’s. We’ll also talk about brain and optic nerve implants to restore some movement to quadraplegics and partially restore vision in blind people. Even without such impalnts brainwaves are being used to help patients move prosthetic limbs the way other people mover their arms and legs.
We’ll spotlight Mindmaze, a Swiss-based company that has raised over $100 million and has a billion-dollar valuation. The company started with an interesting demo of their AR/VR NeuroGoggles which allows users to use concentration to cause virtual flames to ignite on their fingers, in a cool gamelike fashion. In fact, neural practitioners will use the device to read and alter patient stress levels. In short Mindmaze can read your thoughts, an issue we will revisit in a closing chapter.
We’ll also explore mind hacking, as EyeGym practices it. This company took the worst rider on the South African Cycling Team, in terms of falls per race, and made him the best – all with an eye/perception-improvement system that you use on your computer, and soon, inside your VR headset.
Ch12 Placekeeper chapter
We are investigating several possibilities that may develop into a chapter in a couple of areas: Media or education & training. Currently we have not found sufficient content for this chapter on either, but we will continue to search.
Ch13 Marketing on Demand
Snapchat, the most popular social media platform among Millennials and presumably Minecrafters, is experimenting with sponsored filters by major consumer brands such as Coca Cola. The key is to use location awareness to pinpoint marketing incentives to small groups based on time and place, such as football stadiums on Sundays in Autumn.
AR and VR will reach all sorts of places, and marketers, advertisers, PR practitioners and even corporate communications folks are finding a new way to reach new customers with unique and highly customizable experiences.
This book will tell you about how Marriott and The North Face use VR to give shoppers a sense of what it would be like to visit a tropical resort or use special gear to enjoy extreme skiing.
Excedrin is using AR in ads, so that people can see what a migraine headache feels like.
What we like most is how paid content can be useful or entertaining to those who watch it. Most people who try on AR/VR headsets, those who watch ads smile at what they see, rather than reaching for a virtual clicker to mute or change channels.
Part 3: World Changers
Chapter 14 Darksides
This chapter will examine both obvious downsides, as well as those caused by unintended consequences. Obviously, the vastly increased collection of data and its impact on privacy will be one issue. There are others we’ll look at related to the blurring of reality and illusion. For example, could an adolescent boy fall in love with a virtual girlfriend? How will predators be stopped from impersonating someone they are not?
Chapter 15 Exciting Conclusion
This is our Big Picture chapter. We will not determine contents until we have completed our research.