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Get ready to connect in multi-dimensions

The internet is about to transform the way we see and interact with the world in ways we could only have dreamed about a few years ago.

The existence of social networking sites and the amount of data collected from them allows programmers to make rich relational associations.  A further step is to associate these associations with what we experience and see in three-dimensional space.

Take Epson’s world-first three-dimensional see-through head-mounted display, Moverio, which has just been launched in Japan.   It connects directly to YouTube for video content and uses a browser to display web pages, and it weighs only half a pound.  The device reportedly will have an initial retail price of only $800.  Eventually, this innovation could be given the capability to allow us to view things on the other side of walls, such as wireless devices.

moverio epson 3d headset display innovation

Epson's new three-dimensional headset display, Moverio.

Eventually, users will be able to see their social links through the headset as well.  The Google+ mobile app already allows users to see posts from other mobile Google+ users nearby. It is a short step for Google to represent this data superimposed on the three dimensional, physical world.

The physical experience of shoppers is already being connected to the internet as retailers embrace mobile payment technology. The Gap Inc. just announced that it will accept Google Wallet payments in the Bay area.

One Millionth Tower, a recently released documentary provides a window into the potential to tie rich sources of data into a three-dimensional representation of reality using open source code.

The movie creates an environment online in which the user can move around in three-dimensions to explore different nodes of information.  Filmmaker Katerina Cizek uses these nodes to present graphics and audio about people who live in Toronto highrises.  The environment also brings in external information, such as the current weather conditions in Toronto, and allows this information to affect the movie.

millionth tower environment 3d graphics webgl javascript html5

In One Millionth Tower, users can move around in 3D space and choose which content they will view.

The project is programmed entirely in HTML5 using WebGL and Javascript which are widely used and open source. More complex implementations will not not require any major technical advances – they simply require imagination.

The movie hints at the opportunities. “What we’ve done with One Millionth Tower is not the future,” Cizek said. “It just points to it.”

Marketers are still trying to figure out how Twitter can make money, but that’s missing the point.  Twitter was and is a revolutionary way of creating, consuming, and re-organizing information online.  The next step will be to hashtag the entire web to improve our collective intelligence, and attach this information into the users’s environment with images and sound.

The implications of these innovations are enormous and will continue to speed up the way that consumers create and share information.

The raw materials already exist.  Google has built tools that enable mobile users to see where media is coming from.  New opportunities like Google Wallet exist to link social media with purchase.  One Millionth Tower demonstrates how diverse sources of data can be presented in an appealing three-dimensional image in a web browser.  Moverio shows how data from the internet can be projected onto images of the real world.  Now all one needs is imagination to link everything together in convenient and fantastic ways.

New tools help with market insights

Faced with the task of market innovation the first step is to do some research. You can find a torrent of information about every subject online. But these days the problem is not that there is not enough information, there is simply too much. How can you find information about current trends that are reliable and digestible? How can you make any sense of the 200 million tweets that are sent every day?

If you just look at what is most popular you don’t find much that is helpful. Mashable reports that the top 10 followed Twitter accounts belong to celebrities: @ladygaga, @justinbieber, @barackobama, and @katyperry with a combined audience of 60 million follows. How can you filter out the babble of teenaged Katy Perry followers and understand the trends that are allowing these pop culture icons and others to succeed?

Well, you can start with Trend Hunter, the site that is run from offices just around the corner from ours.

Trend Hunter uncovers new trends

Trend Hunter crowd-sources insights from sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr. Unlike trend reports created by individuals and small teams, this service uses thousands of ideas generated by their global community to uncover whether a trend is in the making.  Using millions of weekly views of their online network they rank trends according to pageviews and the amount of time the audience pays attention. The articles are then reorganized into clusters of ideas and presented clearly, in a way that gives marketers a head start.

Marketers can pay a modest subscription that makes the trends easier to uncover and present.

Trend Hunter's platform filters the most attractive trends for marketers out of a vast array of popular content. It then reorganizes the best posts into "Pro Trends," aligning the best trends into leads for marketers.

Storify helps turn streams of posts into coherent stories

Storify is another online resource. It is free and it helps make sense of the information in social media streams.

This is a screen grab of the dashboard Storify provides to create posts using the service. The Storify interface makes it very easy to arrange social media posts.

Still in its beta stage, Storify allows you to find and compile snippets of posts from a variety of social media sources.  With it you can organize photos, videos and Tweets and publish them as simple stories.  In between each cited social media posting, you can include a commentary.  Once the story is published, you can embed the “storified” post in blogs and personal pages.

The Storify format includes additional functionality that makes it easy to repurpose the individually quoted social media posts within its platform stream.  For example, a quoted Tweet has buttons that allow you to retweet or reply to it in real time.

Youtube videos and other embedded media can be interacted with right inside the embedded Storify stream. You can interact with the embed in a live way by using the Tweet buttons.

You can also build audio clips into the Storify using Soundcloud.

Both the Trend Hunter and Storify innovations help you filter out the babble in social media streams and arrange the results into formats that are rich and compelling.