Repositioning Interactivity – taking my Ferrari out for a spin

Laura spoke to the concept of interactivity.

The gating step is how much data can be delivered how fast over what system to the destination.

I look back ten years ago and Netscape was the rage. My customers changed markedly from 1990 to 1996. In 1990, they were mostly software oriented people who could pop the top of a computer and fix stuff as fast as Gyro Gearloose could.

Ten years before that, most computers with any power were the size of a refrigerator and word processing was something that required a special set of hardware – and Wang was its name. Color laser printers, digital cameras, flat panel monitors, search engines, web cafes – the concepts ranged from Buck Rogers to the incomprehensible.

The other day a news reporter told how some students were tapping out text messages on their cellular phone – while in their pockets, no less – and sending schoolmates answers to questions during a test. This has led to some schools to contemplate a policy of banning all cellular communication – especially, phones.

The generation that has taken the place of Gen-X, young boys with money (allowances) for whom movies are targeted, have stopped going to films. Passive watching of programming is hardly in peril, but the trend is unmistakable and spiraling.

Interactivity in games might be a large market, but it is hardly the largest. The revenue models are still taking shape, but what is clear is the firms that find ways to interact electronically will have a competitive edge over those that are still door-to-door – in the way of the Fuller Brush Company.

Something I have noticed is the “standard” looking web site and design. Like a newspaper, having a standard format is not altogether bad. There is the content, and the ads, and the various sections, and even when we’re in another town, we know how to look through the paper.

Today, this is where Web 2.0 seems to be. Borrowing largely from the Sears catalog and the Yellow Pages model, web pages present products on the “TV screen” or give information on how to locate the establishment. Frequently asked questions are addressed, but the infrequently asked ones take some time – and sometimes a competitor or alternative solution is found before the question gets answered.

Take an example of what might be in store. Suppose I would like to own a sports car such as a Ferrari.

Nice brochures and pictures, but let’s say they really wanted to get my attention. What about sitting inside – somewhat virtually – and taking a spin? Does any dealership take its customers out for a 185 mile per hour ride? Not likely you’ll be allowed to sit inside one of the ones in the showroom (they’re locked) let along roar down the open road.

And if Ferrari decides they don’t have the budget, maybe Corvette does.

Interactivity that is thrilling is not limited just to games.

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