MiCpicks: Steve Mast’s ‘Three New Technologies You Should Know About’ » Media in Canada

MiCpicks: Steve Mast’s ‘Three New Technologies You Should Know About’

From augmented reality on everyday objects to 3D across multiple media, Delvinia Interactive's Mast reveals three new technologies he thinks will hit the mainstream big.

To identify the work Canada’s media gurus think best exemplifies smart new media thinking, MiC regularly invites guest curators to share their thoughts on the Really Important Things That Are Happening in the mediaverse. Today, Steve Mast, president of the recently rebranded interactive design and digital marketing firm Delvinia Interactive, fills MiC in on the coolest new mediat technologies likely to hit the mainstream next.

It has always fascinated me to watch a media technology trend go from ‘geek cool’ to mainstream, just like Twitter and mobile apps have done in the past year. This made me think about the future: what will be the next big technology media trend to make the leap into everyday life? Here are my top picks:

Digital everywhere

In 2009, augmented reality took huge steps forward. However, we are still restricted to viewing and interacting with content on an actual device. The opportunities go far beyond the physical gadget or screen that is simply touch-enabled.

Going forward, this experience will be able to be extended to everyday surfaces, such as a wall or even the window, creating deeper and richer consumer experiences. And believe it or not, the costs are often lower then you might think. Take the Pico projector from Light Blue Optics. This compact and affordable projector can instantly turn any surface into an interactive experience. Much of this technology exists today and is being either tested or developed further right now – it won’t be long before you’ll feel like you’re Mission Impossible.

3D is everywhere

I know what you are thinking: not another article about 3D. But it’s increasingly hard to ignore its potential. Thanks in part to Hollywood, a number of mass-media, augmented-reality print ads and the recent announcement from ESPN and Discovery launching 3D networks, some would say it has already made the leap into the mainstream. But where will it go next?

Back in the mid ‘90s, when I was producing video games, I began experimenting with consumer-grade virtual-reality headsets. That lasted about for about a year or two and then died, just like 3D movies did in the ’50s and ’80s. So why are manufacturers, technology companies and content producers going after it again? Simple: it can be applied in so many ways. Today, 3D is in print, packaging, TV, movies, games, mobile apps – and I have even read articles discussing 3D billboards.

Recently, I experienced an NFL game on a 3D TV. It blew my mind. I have never felt that immersed in a non-live sporting event before. The thing that really stood out were the interactive features. It even provided a 3D, gesture-based user interface to control replays and camera angles. You were actually in control of all three dimensions. This is not to say that it won’t become gimmicky and lose its appeal. Like all media technologies, it has to go beyond the ‘cool factor’ and truly enhance the experience. It needs to be more user-friendly than the old tech and seamlessly integrated into the story, advertisement or game. My bet is 3D is in it for a long haul.

Location is everything

It’s no secret that mobile devices, netbooks and e-readers and tablets are making us more agile and connected, and the most recent trend to take advantage of these media tools is GPS or location-based awareness technology. There are many great examples of the use of the technology already in place. Toronto’s fourth annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche had a smartphone app called Night Navigator that helped move people through the downtown events with the flick of a finger. We are also seeing location-based social games and tools popping up everywhere like Foursquare and Gowalla.

However, this technology does bring up a number of questions regarding privacy: opted-in just got a whole lot more complicated.

Often referred to as a ‘digital architect,’ Steve Mast is fascinated by the way people interact with technology and world around them. When he has a minute away from his busy work schedule, he can be found promoting the digital industry by chairing committees and speaking at various industry events.