The next ubiquitous services

In an article of Winston Ross which he wrote for Newsweek (but wasn’t published) I found some interesting teasing quotes. The article itself asks the question what the next Twitter will be. That is a question that is often asked, but in essence not relevant. What is interesting however, is one of the subquestions that emerges: which are the services that will be unmissable, that will be part of our daily routine and become ubiquitous.

In that respect the quote of Steve Rubel he uses is very true; “Social communities aren’t going to be something you go visit”. As a concept. The way we use social communities is not the same as we use ‘normal’ websites. We want to stay in sync all the time. We live the real-time web. I posted more on the real-time web here before. In that sense you can see the social community services as ubiquitous services.

But are the social services the only ubiquitous services? I don’t think so. The apps that create smart contexts will be part of our life too. We will get used to an augmented lifestyle where we can add an information layer on real objects. We will see smart information been integrated in all kinds of services. In a way we don’t realize it is a service. For instance the route planning services, that will exist of more than route planning. We will be advised on the best travel routes based on the real-time traffic conditions and will receive additional information on points of interest down the road.

Twitter as a service will be ubiquitous too. Not Twitter itself per se, but the concept of conversational connection with your community is basic feature of our smart context. We use Twitter-like services to stay connected with our peers, with our brands and with our environment. The smart filters Winston Ross is talking about will be separate services that uses the technology concept of a tool like Twitter.

I think these two concepts of services are the most important to become ubiquitous in our live: smart contexts and conversional connections. Within these two there will be a lot of different services focused on specific uses and moments of use. Google Wave for instance is a service outlet that can be one that plays an important role. Just like Facebook will. But also new ones will come alive the coming years, as long they fulfill those ubiquitous services. Different providers will operate next to each other, the data will be shared via a kind of cloud. Hopefully managed by us the consumer.

It will be exiting times to see which ubiquitous services will emerge.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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