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Media and Ubiquitous Computing

Mark Wiesner, HCI chief scientist at Xerox PARC, formulated that ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) can be called “third wave” of the computing revolution, where computing culture moves off the desktop and out into the world.

In a ubicomp world, everything is animated. Today, we still live in a world where objects count themselves. In the future, whether it is radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags or another kind of sensor, one finds information systems that in real time track objects whose presence can be read by satellite, radio or scanner. The Internet of Things is the name of the growing movement in ubicomp design in which sensor-linked objects, actions and capacities are tethered to a network. The Internet of Things describes a consortium of web-designers who are creating sense-able objects that can be located and interacted with across a network. Implicit in the logic of the Internet of Things is also an idea of the sensible object.

For media houses ubiquitous revolution means big challenges. Already multimedia included many challenges for the media and journalists. One of big challenges will be increasing mobility of media coupled with an increasingly consequential relation to space, place and time where the physical world and virtual platform intersect. Some people are talking about X-reality engagement in the ubicomp context.

Pervasive computing is leading us to pervasive media, to the world of the Internet of Things, where media houses are operating fluently. Before we are facing the era of pervasive media, there will be a transition period. With ubicomp the computational work of information processing is integrated to objects, activities and sites of the everyday. Such obvious objects and activities are smart media houses, home studios of journalists and their smart cars. The ubicomp has not yet achieved the full scale of pervasive computing to which it aims.

The term pervasive media is used to describe a global culture that engages a spectrum of networked technologies. The pervasive media includes many issues, especially many novel ubiquitous technology platforms. Such issues are virtual worlds, voice-over-Internet protocol, mobile rich media and texting, microblogging formats like Twitter, Web-based video (You Tube), social profile pages (Facebook) and web logs (blogs). Together this spectrum of media technologies is leading us to transmediated communication. There will be convergence of pervasive media technologies. This converge process can lead to surprising results with many technological affordances. Probably pervasive media as a whole simulates presence, where ability to be authentic matters. Digital technologies change conventional static media and multimedia. As Marshall McLuhan said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools.” Key concepts of pervasive media are:

  • Social networking
  • Social media
  • Social bookmarking
  • Blogging
  • Wiki
  • Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0.
  • Structural modularity
  • User-generated content
  • Content sharing
  • World Wide Web

The word media means “ways of transmission”. It encompasses all of the various technologies we use to record information and transmit it to others. The era of pervasive media means hyperconnectivity, whereby people and machines stay perpetually connected via an ever expanding network of diverse communication channels. New digital devices provide new possibilities for hyperconnectivity. Hypermedia is a term which refers to a host of digital technologies that enable the presentation of multimedia content in a nonlinear form.

Hypermedia is probably a key future issue in the pervasive media development. Media will almost never be a standalone kind of product any more. Multiple touch-points are available for the consumers of media content. Interaction with the audiences will be two way creating a conversation media. Some pieces of news are serial and some media content are tailored for very sophisticated global audiences. Hypermedia is used as a logical extension of the term hypertext in which audio, graphics, plain text, video and other hyperlinks intertwine to create a generally non-linear medium of information.

Sources

Costello, V., Youngblood, S.A. & Youngblood, N.E. (2012) Multimedia Foundations. Core Concepts for Digital Design. USA: Focal Press.

Coleman, B. (2011) Hello Avatar. Rise of the Networked Generation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

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