To everyone out there… Happy New Year and I hope your celebrations were great. But 2009 is now here and everyone out there wants to know… what’s the next big thing?
One question someone asked me this morning was if I thought this would be the year that 3D interfaces finally took off – what with the Microsoft Surface and the iPhone and a lot of things going tactile.
Let me say this … as much as I am excited about this technology, and I am. I really, really am (even though I refuse to buy an iPhone on principals – ask me about it sometime). Even though I think tactile interface technology is needed, necessary and a great direction… it is not the next big thing to be banking on.
The next big thing (drum roll please) … is going to be 4D technology – not 3D. 3D technology – the iPhone the Surface and so on – right down to holograms and Second Life… is not the deal breaker for 90% of the users out there if they had to pick a feature for any product. Be it a phone or computer or a software application. 3D tech will not make it on the list except for those people that the only reason they are buying that tech … is that feature. Those – are not consumers. Those are sheep. If you paint a rock and tell them it’s the hottest new thing… they’ll buy it.
The next Big Must Have I’ll Die Without It technology… is in the 4D space. The temporal user interface space. It’s okay – you’re allowed to go “Wha??” and look at me as if I lost my mind.
Let me explain so it makes a bit more sense. Temporal UI space is about improving the speed and space needs of the user. It’s about connecting the users needs so it’s there before they have to click and wait – it’s about improving speed, efficiency and making it so they don’t have to expend any of their temporal real estate more than absolutely necessary.
3D is about the physical – 4D goes way beyond that. 4D is about anticipating the users needs before they need them. 4D is about knowing what device the users on – and routing their needs accordingly. Why do I have to log on to 3 different web sites for the same data? Why isn’t my computer more of a perfect major domo than a high school drop out receptionist with major insecurity issues and a fear of the phone system?
4D is about collaboration – where the files I work on are accessible to me without having to go through hoops and multiple web sites that I may – or may not – have access to if I’m mobile. www.mesh.com – is a great example of this, and to a lesser extent google’s office clones and a better extent office.live.com. (Yes I know sounds like I’m prejudiced. But the fact is anyone who’s used office and office live with the connector will not use google’s toys again. Don’t believe me believe the dozens of reviewers that compared he features. Sure you “can” do “almost” every thing with Goog’s offering you can do in office… but this is 4D space and “can” is not the same as “does” and “almost everything” is not the same as “everything”. It is that big of a difference.)
4D is about making all of my work, my life, my files, my play – all available 24×7 when I need them, how I need them. That’s what improves your temporal real estate. That’s what makes you more efficient. That’s what gets you promotions and more time to play. That’s what people will pay for – thats what major corporations will pay for – and that’s why it’ll be the next big thing.
4D is the next space that not only needs to be conquered – it is the space that the greatest number of users want to have conquered. All the buzzing vibrating slide your finger tech in the world will not sell like an application that people actually have a need for – that actually saves them time or effort or energy. Cool gets you in the door. But what in the year that’s coming if you can’t eat it, sleep in it, or use it to get you where you want to go in life … it’s a niche market.
Trust me… 4D… it’s gonna be huge!
Happy New Year.