2011; first steps to a playful virtual monetary system

Well it is that time of year again. Predictions to do. Because it is a tradition and it is fun to do some analytic thinking, just like the last years.

Looking back to the predictions of 2010 I think the developments were slow in some ways. The exploding web as we coined it in 2008 is now fully adopted in the Splinterweb. And functional use of social systems as I expected for 2010 is now widely predicted for 2011. But a lot interesting stuff happened nevertheless.

As expected, the flight the iPad took as most interesting of course. The impact for a transformation to a digital lifestyle will be even more clear in 2011. There is still a lot to do if you look to the newspaper apps for instance. 2011 will be a transition year where the masses will get used to digital content and publishers will dare to create real new interactive concepts that fits our realtime lifestyle, mixing up traditional models with the new expectations.

The economy did not have the backlash I was afraid for last year, and I think we will not have one in 2011 too. The trust is high and the underlying system is paved with bandages. Not before 2012 or later we will experience the next problems. Europe however will have a severe time.

The shift to services driven products will continue and become more and more fact for traditional products. Apple and Nike will not be the only examples where products are mixed succesfully with services.
Even more interesting is the emerging of the first phase of a virtual monetary system above on the existing payment system. Virtual money will be facilitated by systems as the public transport cards with automatic recharging, and especially by the big social players, headed by Facebook. But also Google will use his banking licence to create a virtual wallet. Paypal will be a strong player and do some strategic partnerships with mobile carriers and social platforms.

One of the biggest trends of 2011 will be gamification. Game principles as the perceived preservation for traditional marketing principles, but the real success will be with the services that incorporate play into there user experience approach. Just like all social systems do. We will see emerge some examples there, but maybe will have the real impactful ones in 2012.

Now that Groupon is not bought by Google, we will see that Facebook will lauch a simular service connected to the Places functionality. In the second half of the year Places will really fly when it is rolled out in the rest of the world. Facebook will be the talk of the town in 2011 again when the roll out their message service including voice together with Skype. But the talk will not only positive. They face another Beacon gate when they store more and more data. Facebook will also get into a dispute with Apple because the iPhone app is taking over the primal functions of the phone with the messaging.

In the end 2011 will be real transition year where the social systems are set and will become functional on one hand, and on the other hand will trigger some real first steps in disruptive system changes with the virtual economy. The roads for services are paved with the dataplatforms of Facebook and Google. A lot will come together with playfulness as an important mean for development of new kinds of services.

For me the Age of Curiosity as coined by Jesse Schell is the inspiration for this coming year; building services that use the fact all knowledge is instant available combining the finding those knowledge fitting the own needs based on profiled data and playful experiences.

So I’m sure, we have another promising year ahead.

Published by


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.

One thought on “2011; first steps to a playful virtual monetary system”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s