The future of virtual reality… is video

By Andy Smith on July 6, 2015 | Permalink

The VR revolution is coming, and it’s not going to be what you expect. While VR gaming is considered to be the “tip of the spear” that will see the initial launch of mass-market devices like the Oculus Rift, the breakout application for the technology may not be gaming but video that allows you to look in any direction as the action unfolds around you in real time.

With GoPro’s recent acquisition of VR video company Kolor, it is clear that by the time that the Rift hits the market they will support a ready market for virtual reality video. In theory, the ability to naturally look around in a panoramic view sounds simple, but in practice it’s game-changing – as significant an advance to the medium of film as the move from black and white to color. (more…)

Virtual reality meets social media: what is Facebook’s endgame?

By Andy Smith on May 28, 2015 | Permalink

With Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, the creators of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset, the general consensus is that Virtual Reality is about to be “the next big thing”. Major companies are starting to investigate the Oculus rift and ensure that when the wave breaks they won’t be caught unawares. Google is even reported to be working on a virtual-reality version of the Android OS.

But what is far less clear, is exactly what form mainstream virtual-reality will take, and how precisely Facebook will drive mass adoption of the platform, let alone monetize it. The Oculus Rift was originally aimed at mainstream video gamers, who were none too pleased to see their gaming platform co-opted by a company whose principal revenues are driven by advertising and metrics. (more…)

Creating the Future of Media: 4 Driving Forces, 4 Strategic Issues, 4 Essential Capabilities

By Ross Dawson on December 18, 2009 | Permalink

I very rarely find the time to write magazine articles, but I was delighted to write the opening feature article for MediaTitles 2010, an annual publication which covers the media and magazine industry.
To see the article in the full splendor of the print version, go to the MediaTitles website, which has the full publication viewable using Realview Technologies (with the article reformatted to take out the lists of four, which I think is a pity). My article is on pages 7-10.
The (original) text of the article is below.


These are the best of times, these are the worst of times. The global economic crisis, coming on top of a dramatic transformation wrought by the rise of the Internet, is creating the swiftest change in media industry structure ever experienced. Newspapers and magazines are being shut down at an extraordinary pace all over the world, journalists are losing their jobs, and broadcast media are under threat as sliding advertising revenue hit an unmoving cost base. Yet as the world shifts towards what will be truly an all-encompassing media economy, there are extraordinary opportunities ahead for media organisations.
This is a critical juncture to examine the future of media. Magazines have and will continue to be central to how we learn, socialise, entertain ourselves, and make buying decisions. Yet the magazine industry will undoubtedly look very different scant years ahead. It is our role and responsibility to create the future of media, rather than to let it happen to us. To do that, we need to examine the most central driving forces, strategic issues and capabilities in the evolving media landscape.

Case study: hitting the Billboard charts by free online streaming of the album

By Ross Dawson on September 24, 2009 | Permalink

I notice that Imogen Heap is continuing with the free streaming of her album Ellipse . And no doubt significantly because of the free streaming, Ellipse is charting at #5 on Billboard. It is a glorious album, though I think we can pretty definitely count the free streaming of the album on the web as a very effective strategy. Perhaps it will become commonplace to stream music for free in order to maximize sales.
I’d be keen to know the proportion of sales of this album and the songs on it online versus through CD. It would almost be surprising if she sold much in CDs at all, because her presence is so online..
I notice Imogen on Twitter now has over a million followers.
A bit tangentially, I just found this beautiful video of a beautiful song by Kate Havnevik, who I found through collaborative filtering and Imogen’s music. If you like Imogen you’ll absolutely like the extraordinary Kate. (note that it doesn’t start for 10 seconds)

Q&A: Twitter’s retention rates: will Twitter be pervasive or a niche app?

By Ross Dawson on April 29, 2009 | Permalink

After my TV interview about Twitter the other day, I’ve just been interviewed by ABC Radio about the Nielsen research just out that shows that Twitter’s second-month retention rates for new users are 40%, compared to retention rates of 50-60% for Facebook and MySpace when they were at a similar stage in their growth.

I was asked some interesting questions in the interview, so to paraphrase them and quickly respond:

Is this a concern for Twitter’s executives?

Absolutely. It’s one thing to get massive numbers of new users. It’s another thing to retain them. Unless Twitter can change this, it will never conquer the world as some suggest it might.


Our trend map for 2009: The vital Trends, Risks, and Red Herrings you must know

By Ross Dawson on December 20, 2008 | Permalink

Following our extremely popular Trend Blend 2007 and Trend Blend 2008 trend maps comes…. Trend Blend 2009!
Created by Future Exploration Network’s Chief Futurist Richard Watson, also of, the 2009 trend map moves on from the subway map theme of the last years to show the multi-tentacled hydra that is the year ahead.
Click on the map to download the pdf (810KB)

To pick out just a few noteworthy elements of the trend map:
CORE THEMES include:
Global Connectivity
Power Shift Eastwards
SOCIETY: Search for control, enoughism
TECHNOLOGY: Simplicity, Telepresence, Gesture based computing
ECONOMY: De-leveraging, 2-speed economies, Shorter product lifecycles
ENVIRONMENT: Bio fuel backlash, Negawatts, Nuclear power
POLITICS: Virtual protests, Globalisation in retreat, Immigration backlash
BUSINESS: Networked risk, Transparency, Asset price uncertainty
FAMILY: Debt stress, Allowable luxuries, Middle class unrest
MEDIA: Flight to quality, Facebook fatigue, Skimming, Micro boredom
Climate change crisis
Fall of US Empire
Nuclear power
Device convergence
Major Internet failure
Influenza pandemic
Major earthquake in economic centre
Electricity shortages
People taking trend maps too seriously
As usual, this is released on a Creative Commons license, so feel free to play with it, adapt it, and improve it!
Wishing everyone a fabulous 2009 – be sure to take advantage of these upcoming trends!

Twitter friend inflation, the dynamics of influence, and why shifts in reciprocity are changing the social media landscape

By Ross Dawson on December 9, 2008 | Permalink

Anyone who uses Twitter will be deeply familiar with the issue of who you follow and who you follow back. As Twitter continues to gather traction, popular Twitterers are gathering followers at an increasing pace. If you’re on Twitter, by default you get an email whenever someone follows you, giving you the option of looking at their profile and deciding whether you want to follow them back. If you know them, you’re likely to reciprocate, however if they are strangers, you go through a process of assessing whether you’d like to follow back.
There are seven basic strategies that Twitter users adopt:
1. Reciprocate any follows. This can be done manually, or automatically by using a service such as socialtoo.
2. Look at new followers and decide whether you want to follow them back. This is the most common strategy, which allows people to decide based on a range of factors whether to follow back.
3. Turn off follow notifications. High profile Twitterers simply follow people they know, and choose not to be notified who follows them (sometimes simply because their email inbox gets clogged by follow notifications).


Launching the Future of Media Participant Blog

By Ross Dawson on June 23, 2007 | Permalink

As we did last year, activity on the Future Exploration Network blog will largely shift to the Future of Media Summit blog for the next couple of months.
The Future of Media Summit participant blog will be a forum for speakers, partners, and attendees at the Future of Media Summit 2007 to discuss the issues covered at the Summit before, during, and after the event. When you register for the event you will be given a login and instructions to post on this blog.
Last year we only launched the participant blog for the Future of Media Summit 2006 at the time when the actual event kicked off, so we garnered a range of comments during the event itself, then a very healthy and extremely interesting discussion between the event participants in the month after the event.
This year we’d like to build an conversation beginning before the event, and extending far beyond, so we will continue with the same Future of Media Summit blog for Summits in subsequent years, rather than create a new blog each year.
Look forward to hearing from you on the Future of Media Summit blog – please participate!

Announcing Future of Media Summit 2007!

By Ross Dawson on March 5, 2007 | Permalink

Future of Media Summit 2007 is on the way! Echoing what we did in a world-first at the Future of Media Summit 2006, the conference will be held simultaneously in Sydney on the morning of 18 July and San Francisco on the evening of 17 July, linking cross-continental panels and discussion by videoconference.
The partnership document which describes the event is available below. As last time, we’re looking for partners and sponsors to help bring this fun event to the world. Let us know if you want to chat about this.
Click here to see the Future of Media Summit 2007 Partnership document
More details will be available shortly – keep posted! In particular, we will soon start to release some of the content which will be at the heart of the event – and we’re always seeking partners for creating extraordinary content about the future of media. For now, here are some excerpts from the document (excuse the corporate-speak…):


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