Monday, January 11, 2010

Immersive Media

In the last decade we saw the explosion of social media, in this decade I wonder if the time has come for Immersive media. At the recent CES (I wasn't there but read the press reports and blogs) it was clear that the Z axis was as important as X and Y given the amount of 3D technology being rolled out and it can't be long before depth cameras are commonplace on computing devices to give depth to gesture interfaces. Another popular subject at CES seemed to be the mass digitization of the written word into various e-book devices and services was quite apparent.

And it was the latter that started me thinking about Immersive media and what it might mean in the context of traditional media such as books. We have had Imax and wrap around cinemas for many years, and Virtual reality simulators all of which cost large amounts of money. In a little while I will have 3D content on the small screen in my home as long as I want to make a negative fashion statement and wear glasses. Digitizing books seems ok to me, making a them more portable and the sales experience more direct. But what if the experience could be more immersive?

In a digital book there is more opportunity for interaction, more opportunity for secondary media streams (e.g audio) that can make things more real and engaging. As can be seen in this CNET interview at CES with Ray Kurzweil

CNET: Ray Kurzweil on the future of reading

The Blio platform seems very interesting and will certain will have the potential for authors to make books more engaging and interactive. I can imagine two key opportunities emerging, augmenting existing art and new purpose authored content for such a platform.

So if platforms like Blio are almost here, what else might be done. Well what is the book could reach out into the environment/context of the reader and cause actions to occur. For example what if the cookery book can control aspects of the kitchen. With knowledge of inventory it could suggest recipes, and instead of asking you to pre-heat the over it could do it for you and maintain cooking time and optimum temperature.  Such things might be the next enhancement for immersive media and further blur the physical and virtual worlds.