Digital Experiences Competing with the Real World

Should digital experiences should stop competing with the “real world”? As part of Canada’s annual digital media conference, Canada 3.0, a workshop answered this question with “No”.

As digital distribution disrupts media everywhere, audiences seek out concepts like ‘authenticity’ and less commodified ‘experiences’. Trends are changing, people are concerned, and there are concepts that use digital technology to enable offline activities, instead of striving to just replace them.

People exist inside their smartphones today. We become deeply immersed in whatever it is that’s happening on our phone (a text messaging conversation, a game, commenting on social media posts, reading blogs or articles, or just plain nonsense.) I’ve done it (and almost always when I’m at a store or long event), and friends around me do it (to the point where they miss things, people can’t get their attention). So this whole concept of not having digital experiences compete with the real world, but just be better integrated into it, really makes sense.

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Right now, you have one life and another life online. You can choose what to separate. You may have given away too much information, or that you know too much information. A cab company tracks your location automatically, you know someone’s phone number just by looking at them, you go to a new location of Starbucks and they know your order already. Of course these scenarios are odd and could be awkward, but the workshop facilitator is most interested in this these moments, and using them to our advantage.

One example was about the future of Google Glass: Visualizing beyond limitations. A company called Playground is trying to dissect the human-technology relationship, and they believe Glass represents information technology at its most intimate.

Everything is possible today: Workout Path tracking, Comparison Shopping, Advertising, Secure payment experiences (Wallet), Smart Shopping, Taxi using Location services, Sports Updates, Guitar Training, Emergency Services, Presentation Aids, Gaming: Device Awareness and Syncing, and Context-aware notifications for TV Alerts. You may think some are super helpful while some are excessive in the video below.

Beyond Google Glass, which I noted is constantly feeing you information, but not giving much of a social or sharing perspective, the presenter gave 2 examples:

Findery is an example of Making places come allive. Leaving invisible notes to eachother. In Toronto we have Murmur, where you can call a number to hear a recording at a specific location (a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations).

The Conversation: Digital Experiences do not need to compete with real life

Who is working on this conversation about merging digital experiences with real world ones? Even Jones, Creative Director & Producer of Stitch Media, who I spoke with at Canada 3.0.

Instead of quick one-time sales or ads, Jones wants to create novel-sized, extra stories with more challenges – not simple, quick experiences that you see in an everyday online ad, for example. Clients approach Stitch Media to create interactive or entertaining ideas (TV production companies to compliment their shows, for example).

Evan Jones’ work at Stitch Media is about motivating people through great stories.

More About the Speaker: Even Jones
Stitch Media partner Evan Jones, is a two-time Emmy Award® winner whose innovative work on interactive content for primetime television, radio, web, mobile and games have established him as a pioneer in new genres of Alternate Reality Games, Locative Media and Interactive Documentary. His work was recognized as one of the ‘Top 10 New Media Groundbreakers’ according to the Bell Broadcast & New Media Fund. Evan’s international clients include Microsoft, Disney, FOX, CBC, Bell, Discovery and The Movie Network.