Whilst the technology companies demo their living rooms of the future, they live in a dreamlike world where everything you buy is a Samsung, or a Sony, whereas the reality is a Funai next to a Huawei next to a Panasonic next to a Vizio. And it’ll probably take 10 years for them to work together to fix this mess, let alone pipedreams of creating common standards.
Experience designers love a bit of Saarinen: “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” That’s what’s wrong here, an RFID card is not considered within the context of a wallet, containing multiple competing RF field creating information and ID objects, and this new, electric... wallet isn’t considered within the larger system of shops and the invisible RF world. This is starting to happen elsewhere, too. Pretty much every TV at CES had the same functionality: Wi-Fi. Gesture control. Voice control. Given your console, your TV, your cable box, your light switches, your hi-fi, your phone, your tablet will have these performative technologies, we’ve got to find ways to add direction to our waving hands and faltering voices. I’m already at the point where I have to turn the Xbox off completely before flicking to watch TV, lest the Xbox misinterpret my movements. Every utterance or movement could be met with a chorus of slavish obeyance by your white, brown and shiny goods. Badly designed hardware interfaces will be bullies – demanding their own room, with no interfering IR laser speckles and a stalkerish obsession, hanging on your every word.