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Technology to get more "intimate," according to IPG media lab

Technology is about to get intimate, according to a research report titled “Outlook 2015- Let's get intimate,” released by InterPublic Group's (IPG) media lab earlier today.

In a conversation with the Drum, one of the report’s authors, Josh Shabtai, said that the lab’s aim was to use its “sophisticated research team” to create the document which explores the changes facing today’s industry.

“What we do is we basically explore the world of evolving media technologies – how audiences are changing,” he said.

Shabtai explained that, “if you go back in time every computing revolution or era lasts about 14 years.”

It has been about eight years since the iPhone was first introduced, so according to Shabtai the industry can expect to see an even further shift when it comes to consumer usage of technology.

He said that portable technology will continue to dominate the sphere, but is in the process of becoming more “intimate” than it ever was.

He compared upcoming technologies to the operating system featured in the movie Her, but assured that its “not that creepy.”

Essentially, while the use of smart devices is expected to continue, it’s expected to become more invisible.

“We’re seeing this place where the interfaces start to disappear,” he said, “where in essence, we always think about computers as being through a screen and even that’s starting to go away.”

He said that along with regular smartphone usage, consumers can now be connected to their smart devices in their cars, in their homes, and even on their bodies, with the introduction of wearables.

“All of that basically comes together to make the world --and the world of media technology-- much more personal than it’s ever been,” Shabtai said.

He continued that with this increased connection, researchers have found that users experience dopamine rushes both with updates on their smart devices and the anticipation of such updates.

“You know the feeling--when you pick up your phone and you hope your friend emailed you,” he explained. “Even if you don’t get that email you still have that excitement, that rush.”

He said that only a few brands have caught on to this emotional connection, but the ones that have, have used it in very interesting ways. He used the example of Phillips Hue LED Lightbulbs. Phillips has a deal with the SyFy network so if a user is connected to Wi-Fi and is watching a particular show, the lightbulbs will change colors to reflect the mood of the show.

One industry that can benefit a lot from this new technology, Shabtai said, is the auto industry.

“I would think about more interesting ways to make your car more connected to your phone,” he suggested.

Still, it seems the increased connectivity came at a price.

Shabtai warned that the average user attention span has decreased to eight seconds – one second fewer than that of a goldfish.

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