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Posted by James McQuivey on October 20, 2010
I'm in the business of identifying when there's a change in the wind coming that will push us in a new direction. On balance, I've been successful. So much so, that when something I staked my career on becomes commonplace, people are so used to it that they look back and think I was only pointing out the obvious. Like when the most senior faculty member in the advertising department at Syracuse University rejected the "Interactive Advertising" course I proposed to teach in 1996 because online advertising was "just a fad." I took a stand and got to teach the class, over his objections. Fast forward to today and online advertising is so obvious that predicting it is a thankless task.
I say this because I am about to take a stand I want you to remember. Ready? Starting November 4th, Kinect for Xbox 360 will usher us into a new era Forrester has entitled the Era of Experience. This is an era in which we will revolutionize the digital home and everything that goes along with it: TV, internet, interactivity, apps, communication. It will affect just about everything you do in your home. Yes, that, too.
I've just completed a very in-depth report for Forrester that explains in detail why Kinect represents the shape of things to come. I show that Kinect is to multitouch user interfaces what the mouse was to DOS. It is a transformative change in the user experience, the interposition of a new and dramatically natural way to interact -- not just with TV, not just with computers -- but with every machine that we will conceive of in the future. This permits us entry to the Era of Experience, the next phase of human economic development.
In this era, companies can no longer succeed by simply building a great product or distributing it efficiently because competitors can do the same. Instead, it is the compelling nature of the total product experience that will create value for consumers. To truly compel, these experiences have to engage your mind, your body, and your sense of self. Like Avatar 3D, only every day. Kinect can do that like nothing before it. This $150 peripheral for the Xbox 360 can see you in 3D, map your motions, and interact with you in completely natural ways. Kinect can recognize your face and your voice, knowing you in a way that science fiction authors have long imagined. It will make gameplay more interesting, certainly, but if it stops there, a revolution will be stillborn. It must ultimately go far beyond gaming. I describe many examples of this in my report, but let me just summarize how we get to a future where no product category or service can escape this change.
I can't persuade you in a single blog post, even in an entire report. But I have to start spreading the word. Because I want credit? No, I accept that in 10 years, when 70% of homes have this kind of technology and are experiencing the dozens of enhanced applications I have imagined as well as the thousands I have yet to envision, no one will look back and hand me a trophy. I don't care. I want this to happen because I want to be a consumer on the receiving end of these compelling and superlative experiences.
Which, at that point, will seem so obvious that, well, I will have moved on to predicting what comes after that.