”Hyperconnectivity is a trend in computer networking in which all things that can or should communicate through the network will communicate through the network. This encompasses person-to-person, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication. The trend is fueling large increases in bandwidth demand and changes in communications because of the complexity, diversity and integration of new applications and devices using the network” (Wikipedia, 2012)
Digital devices are connecting and communicating at increasing speeds. New media devices are constantly emerging, and they represent a wider spread usage than the mobile telephone. Tablet computer: internet-enabled fridges, interactive billboards, televisions, surface computers, vending machines, personal media devices, cars and even buildings are already talking to us via mobile devices and the internet. The App has revolutionized the world. In the not-too-distant future, they will be talking to each other as well, and talking fast. Hardware will be hyper-connected.
This area is developing fast. Seven major mobile operators from around the world recently agreed to work together to develop an international ‘machine-to-machine’ platform that would help devices talk to each other.
Mobile / web applications, and the personal and public profile information within them, will also be hyper-connected to devices. That means information like social profiles, real-time media habits and purchase preferences: Facebook, Zeebox and Twitter profiles, for example. Coupled with connected devices, these connected profiles will have a significant impact on the way we do everyday things like shopping, travelling and watching movies, TV shows and gaming and going for lectures at university.
The socialisation of TV has already started. People can now comment and make remarks while the show is going on (see www.zeebox.com).
Fast Forward to about five years’ time and you are watching a Bond film on an internet TV. It is connected to various devices and personal and commercial profiles. These profiles will act as our spam filters. They will not allow irrelevant or unwanted messages to reach us, thus building trust but they are open to new messages from brands which are relevant for that given place or time. Bond movies are famous for their product placement, which is great if you are in the market for an Aston Martin DB7, but most people are not and could only dream of owning one and being like James Bond. In the future there will be more product placement in the film. If you watched the latest Bond movie ”Skyfall” Daniel Craig could be seen sipping a ”Heinken”. We could touch the screen and have a six pack of ”Heinken” delivered to us from a local retailer. Just a prediction from me.
In a world where hardware and software are getting hyper-connected, it follows that our beloved mobile phone will evolve into a digital hub. More and more mobile ‘phones’ will be connected to other devices as we travel around – train ticket barriers, bus stops, parking meters, EPoS systems, televisions, magazines, points-of-sale, packaging, outdoor billboards, fridges, stereos, heating and lighting systems, and cars. It will be as simple as swiping the mobile phone to carry out a transaction.
Our mobile will act as a wallet or a tube ticket or our Oyster card will be embedded in the phone. but also as a device for media distribution. One example might be when we pick up a free movie on our mobile from a digital billboard. People will get used to ‘picking things up’ from locations, using their mobile device. If we look around this trend is sweeping the nation. QR code in print ads takes us to a piece of marketing communication and promise us intangible goods such as a music track or an album in return for our time spent looking at the advert.
The connected media audience will have more power and control than traditional media audiences who rely on TV. Within five years, we will see audiences that are used to manually controlling their experiences. In fact this is now made possible. For an example of how we are controlling our own experience. Have a look at Coca Cola’s Olympics themed Beatmaker London 2012 campaign .
A connected media landscape might equip University of Greenwich to become a great service provider even though there are significant issues of privacy to be ironed out. But with power going to the consumer, and the mobile mode being ‘pull communications’ and engagement. A university could do worse than to plan how to be creative and tell stories across various devices and locations; rather than relying on traditional media that keeps losing relevance everyday when it comes to engaging with the the Millennial generation, who will be applying to university in 5 years.