In case you haven’t been on Kickstarter in the past couple months Bluetooth tags have become all the rage. This little plastic tags can be attached to almost anything and once paired with your phone will allow you to find the item they’re hooked on to. The most successful so far has been the Tile which recently went on sale to non-backers.
My personal favorite also went through Kickstarter with name Lupo. Despite the badly chosen name this European project(they’re based in Glasgow) gives you a Bluetooth tag that allows you to not only find your lost keychain or missing dog but you can use it as a trigger for your phone’s camera or connect it to your PC to click through slides at a distance.
The thing is all of these existing tiles obviously need a battery to power them. Since they run on BLE(see more about BLE and other uses for it on my blog) the battery will last around a year before they need to be replaced.
Then a few weeks ago an astounding new project called iFind launched on Kickstarter. This tag was the first of its kind that didn’t need a battery. An amazing project which is baffling to an outsider because how can you power something that needs Bluetooth without a battery, even if is small. Nevertheless the project quickly reached its funding goal and people kept on joining in. The team behind iFind, calling themselves WeTag, introduced new stretch goals that attracted even more people. I was one of the early backers and eagerly followed the news around the project.
Yet whenever I started checking into the project updates and reading the comments I would see people becoming more careful about the product itself and whether it could be executed. After all it was a Bluetooth tag that had a hidden source of power. It didn’t help that the Kickstarter video didn’t introduce a person who was asking for backers’ help, as is usually the case. A couple days ago one of the supposed founders of WeTag published a post explaining that the technology couldn’t be shown because they were afraid of it getting stolen from them. The founder, going by the name Dr. Paul McArthur, explained that he didn’t have an online presence because his identity was once stolen.
After reading this post and the comments below it I decided to pull out of backing it. After all the technology does sound too good to be true. And on top of that if your identity was once stolen that likely means you had an online presence and after something like that happens that presence just doesn’t get swallowed up.
After launching their own investigation into the project Kickstarter yesterday decided to suspend funding on iFind. In my mind it’s the correct thing to do. If such a technology does exist it’s great and will likely change the uses of Bluetooth forever.
But when it comes to technological developments such as these people need to not lose their head and the ability to distinguish reality and fiction. For many, including me, this did happen. We get so caught up in the quest for faster innovation that we lose a sense of reality. This project made me realize that simply because we are living in 2014 does not mean that technological miracles will happen. Innovation is a slow and tiring process. Nothing will happen overnight and we as consumers shouldn’t expect that.
The Megafaces installation was probably one of the coolest things to see at the Sochi Olympics(other than the sports and Jimmy Kimmel’s wolf). But what did it actually add to an experience? Advertising today should be about creating an additional value for the consumer rather than getting them just interested in the product. In my opinion the Babolat Play definitely created value. Ogilvy and Babolat didn’t just create a stunt or marketing gimmick, they created a whole new product and experience.
There were many different things up for innovation awards at the Cannes Lions but few truly added anything to the experiences we have today. Few annoyed me more than Breakfast’s Sign. I can’t seem to figure out what this would be good for and what it would add either for a business nor for a consumer. Chances are this is a one-off project that will likely never see the light of day.
When people say that advertising is bad it’s not completely wrong. With everything that we can use technology for today so little seems to actually be used to its full potential.
The Cannes Lions were originally there to honor quality advertising. Many say that it just isn’t the case anymore and that advertising awards are more for show than anything else. It even recently got dubbed the SXSW of France. Let’s just keep in mind the Cannes Lions are there for advertising and communication while SXSW started as a music festival. It seems both have lost their way. Digital may be becoming a bigger part of the Cannes Lions but we can’t forget that at the core of the Cannes Lions is quality, something that was not reflected in this year’s innovation awards.
More Oculus at #fens2014
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