Skipping Steps: How Web 2.0 Technology Can Transform Our Industry (and
 our Lives)

In What's the Buzz by Helen Gregg

By Riky Stock

Attending Web 2.0 at the Sheraton New York this week along with
 visionaries, marketing professionals, and web experts was like stepping
 into the future and realizing the future really isn’t that far away. 
In my version of the immediate future I imagine myself owning own a pair
 of “augmented reality visors” just like the ones I learned about in the previous session. Augmented reality is an emerging technology that allows for digital 
images and information to be overlaid on smartphone screens or computer
 monitors. I picture my interactive visors as a very advanced,
 wearable smartphone.

I walk towards what I imagine a future bookstore 
could look like. A location-triggered mobile marketing text message
 appears on my visor that reads “Welcome back! Last time you bought the
 new Barbara Kingsolver. Come on in and check out similar titles.” I
 enter and my augmented reality device scans the barcode on the name tag
 of the sales person in the far left corner and allows me to check out 
the store’s Facebook fan page and most recent blog posts. I plop down in
 a comfy lounge chair in the middle of the room and watch the virtual ads
 on the wall. Most of them are promoting books, and all are in 3D. Whenever an ad features a
 book I like, my visor scans it and provides me with reviews of people I 
know through social networking sites. I download a few sample pages to
 check them out later. 

Since, as always, I need to buy a souvenir for my
 kid, I get up and browse through the soft touch-and-feel picture books
 and the children’s merchandise section. (Yes, in my future there are 
still bound books.) I take a picture of some of them as taking pictures
 of barcodes is part of a game I have been playing.  When I take a 
picture of certain barcodes I win points for my game.

In addition, the
 visor alerts me to great discounts and makes suggestions as to what I 
should buy next. By this time, the Web 2.0 session I meant to attend
 just started, but luckily I can click on the live video function on my 
device and can follow the conference similar to what IBM did at Wimbledon. I quickly choose what I want to purchase. My devise sends a
 picture of my credit card over to the bookseller and I can go back to my 
conference (Chase has this for checks, credit cards can only be a matter of time). Now it’s is almost time for their lunch break where I am going
 to use the face recognition app to talk to fellow marketers and to
 exchange some ideas with them on choice architecture and as to how building sociability into an application will make readers 
buy more books.

In reality, I just finished my coffee and went to the next session. But
 I think it is important that we in the publishing industry allow 
ourselves to start having these kinds of daydreams. At Web 2.0, I saw
 new and exciting technology just waiting to help us bring a bit of new 
life into our industry, and bring us closer to a future that really 
isn’t that far away at all.

Check out speakers, slides, videos, and blogs of the September 27- 30, 2010 Web 2.0 Conference.

About the Author

Helen Gregg