We are pushing into a fully digital world. This was first driven by digital device adoption over the last decade and that digital device adoption is subsequently being followed by the broad digitization of our physical surroundings.  The digitization of everyday objects is driving the digitization of all information. This information isn’t just the historically analog information found in places like books and magazines for which we are busy digitizing today, but is more fully encompassing of all information. The shift to digital is improving – and in many cases making possible for the first-time – the capture of this information. Information that might have existed, but wasn’t being readily captured in the analog world.  Recording information on data streams like our steps or heart-rate in continuous time are only really possible in a digital world. In this blog I’m going to start a new series that looks at some of the things now possible – and in many cases only possible – in a digitized world.

Prior the Super Bowl last week featuring the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, Boeing – which was previously  headquartered in Seattle and still maintains major operations there – flew an invisible “12” in the skies over Washington in recognition of the Seahawk fans and the support they provide the team as the proverbial “12th Man.”



I caught the recent story of a man arrested for drug possession in Orlando.  Apparently police monitoring a live video feed sent officers to the scene who then made the arrest.

In the accompanying video, one of women being interviewed about the role of video cameras says something interesting. When asked if it is acceptable to use live video feeds to monitor behavior she responds, “around here they need to be watched.” Note, she doesn’t say, “we need to watch.”  She suggests the video doesn’t apply to her behavior, but rather the behavior of others. As we transition fully into the digital decade there remains diverse opinions on the role of data, but many seem to share this similar sentiment – that this broad movement doesn’t apply to oneself.



Google recently introduced Google Now – an app/service available on android.  Essentially, Google Now attempts to predict the information you want. Standing on a train platform – Google Now will deliver up details on the next departing train.  If you have an appointment across town, Google Now monitors traffic and alerts you when you need to leave so you aren’t late.

Here’s a quick commercial video on the service.

The real estate of mobile devices is an incredibly valuable resource.  Clearly Steve Jobs recognized this when Apple provided new app review guidelines back in the fall of 2010. When users are overrun with choice, making a choice can be difficult at best.  Use-case for mobile devices – and especially phones – is one of bit-sized information/content and speed. Consumers also value recommendations and these recommendations can come in a myriad of forms.  The key is these recommendations have relevancy. Google Now tries to take advantage of known information to offer useful bit-sized information in a quick format.  It takes advantage of the clock, the GPS coordinates, and search history.  In the past I’ve written about the sensorization of consumer tech – and how devices moving forward will integrate more sensing technologies.  Ultimately that should mean more meaningful recommendations with greater relevancy.

Much has been written about big data (insert air quotes) over the last 12 months and articles are now regularly showing up in mainstream publications (also see: Six Provocations for Big Data, IBM‘s Big Data landing page, and a couple of NYT articles from the past few months here and here). During a panel during The TV of Tomorrow conference held earlier this month in San Francisco, Jeremy Toeman suggested big data was a bubble.  He made this comment with a reference to twitter and other similar data.  I’ll call these data public data – which suggests there are private data which I’ll talk more about below.