Anyhow, David Beisel at Venrock had an interesting post outlining Seven Ubertrends ripe for VC capital. Here are the first three and I encourage you to click through to see the rest:
"1. The digitalization of transportation experience. Our cars are transforming from motorized transportation into digital immersion experiences. With in-dash devices ranging from GPS, to satellite radio, to integrated telephone controllers, the place where many Americans spend much of their day is going digital. Also, other transportation experiences, namely public transportation, is being affected by a digitalization trend – everything from digital signage in subways to infomation touchscreens in taxis is modifying what we do when going from here to there.
2. Internet’s facilitation of green lifestyle. With concern over the environment becoming a progressively more relevant issue, the web provides a natural vehicle for connecting people to resources and services which lessen impact of individuals on environment. We are at the beginning of “The Green Web” which will provide individuals within our society a leveraged way to positively affect the planet.
3. Influence and word-of-mouth marketing facilitated by online social software. Marketers are increasingly concerned about truly engaging with consumers as the effectiveness of traditional advertising erodes. Social software (in its broadest sense) coupled with the principles of word-of-mouth marketing will provide for successfully reaching potential customers via the most trusted source – people they already know."
The first point I find interesting as we have been poking around Sync - the voice activated mobile and MP3 control that is a joint venture between Microsoft and Ford - for a client. It's only natural that we would spend energy figuring out how to make use of our time traveling and especially commuting. I hope some equal energy is spent on making the road experience more glorious and fun via digital.
- What about a digital version of "I Spy" that would let cars traveling the same road participate as a community? "I spy something red near Exit 12...."
- Or a voice activated Yahoo Answers for a local community. Driving through, I could call a 1.800 humber and pose a question about the best diner in town with fresh pie. It gets converted to text, someone answers and it appears on my Google map mashup that is custom published for my trip.
- Or a traffic alert collective where everyone traveling on I95 through Maryland subscribes to a live channel that broadcasts traffic reports called in from the crowd.
I am all for seeing where travel innovations go to make us more productive during those lull moments we cannot control. But I don't want to lose the sense of adventure I get on road trips to the distractions of headphones and DVD consoles.
(image Heart Like a Wheel (2006) from http://www.takehitoetani.com/hbbb.html)