Joshua Isolated ©Gary Hayes 2005I have spent over 10 years of my life developing interactive services that hopefully empower and enrich people’s lives – most of this time at the BBC. Looking back as one does, before taking the next step, it is clear where much of the success was – personally revealing and relevant services. I will discuss that in more depth in future posts. Before that something to whet your appetite. This blog up to now (October will be different so stay tuned!) has been about the importance of agent choice and the techniques to find a range of content that is personally relevant – ai versions of the self trawling through a universe of choice to get stuff that works for you.

The other side of personalize media I intend and will be exploring from now on, in interspersed but detailed posts, is of course be the media instance itself – media that becomes personally tailored. What I mean by that for example is that a film or TV show, modifies itself to you as a viewer. This could be an alternative edit or a different route through the story dependent on your profile or it could be the choice of soundtrack or at a more basic level, the non-violent version. This is a very simple example of a single entity tailored to your liking, set automatically or activated on a case-by-case basis, but most importantly being seamless – you do not have to intervene, it flows. Of course this is not going to work for a shared experience – theatre or shared living room but more on that in future babble.

More complex personalized media experiences start to take into account time and place. For example – you prefer certain types of content on the move so all your MP3’s collected by various agents end up automatically on the portable player – again with you opt in and then without your intervention. Another simple temporal example may be that you only consume news at 8am and 6pm so the ‘news systems’ you have adopted only collects the latest news for you just prior to those times – of course this will be personalized news! For some reason Sport news has never worked for me and that is the first I tend to turn off. But I digress. The complexity and usefulness are inextricably linked – there is a threshold of personalized/tailored media where it goes from a nice to have to being indispensable – because when we also layer on the ‘personalized’ cross media element things get very interesting.

Here is a typical scenario I just dreamt up – oxymoron I know. Anyway you really like ‘road movies’. You know those long dreamy, rock music driven things with strange warped characters driving endlessly across Arizona and Nevada. OK so you want a personalized all platform, encompassing experience of said ‘road movie’. Your profile is set, the system knows your life routines and when and where you want things to happen and off it goes. Luckily this is in the near future and a service provider has made the necessary arrangements for this to happen. So you order the cross-platform package from work – NOT the interactive one I will get to that in the next post or two – you are informed a few minutes later that the package has been delivered and the scene is set. You get home the movie is waiting on your media center. You watch half of it and go to bed. The rest of the movie and other items are already automatically captured to your mobile devices in the background. In the morning on the train you decide not to watch the rest but listen to some of the tracks off the film which area ready to go on your iPot. Arriving at work you log into your home portal site – and there ready to go are latest extras about the film. You watch a little of the making of and take part in a discussion about it and are fascinated by what people are saying about the final scenes of the movie. Later on the way home you actually read the end of the script that is already on your mobile phone, and finally watch the rest of the film at home on the big screen.

Right. Not really rocket science, and full of film spoilers but you get the principle. In essence we have here platform and location aware media, tagged and packaged by cross-platform providers – albeit the same story elements, but a start at least. We are seeing very crude versions of this already – crude because it is disconnected and the viewer has to intervene and effectively act as aggregator, collecting the various components, not user friendly at all. A recent post Seek and Find Art talks about ‘assemblers’ being more proactive by engaging themselves in the aggregation process – I think both can coexist, depending on ones state of passivity or non-passivity at that moment.

What is the next level? Well if you recall one of my previous posts about the MyMediaGeneration we suddenly move into packages of personalized, parallel process aware cross-platform media. Wow! That’s a mouthful. Basically experiences that are tailored to your parallel processing liking and then we have another layer, interactive, ooohhh – but in true cliff-hanger style they will be the next few posts, so stay tuned…

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005