The Purpose of Laboratory4

In the early 1990’s, the term “digital convergence” emerged to refer in part to the imminent integration of networked computing systems and television.  Despite industry and consumer enthusiasm, this process took far longer than many of us hoped.  Legal hurdles, regulatory complexities, technological limitations, and infrastructure issues significantly slowed progress.  Finally in 2009 with the explosive growth of internet delivered video in all its forms, we can argue that the initial stage of digital convergence is complete.

We are now faced with new challenges.  An astounding set of powerful media devices, platforms, and services have become available which present new possibilities for how we interact with media.  At the same time, questions regarding monetization and consumer adoption of these new capabilities remain largely unanswered.

Laboratory4 will discuss and track interactive media technology trends as we travel the road to define the next stage of digital media convergence, one will that will likely focus less on the delivery of media, but more upon how we interact with it.

Topics will span a variety of areas related to advanced interactive media technologies including:

Mobile Platforms and Services: There are well over 3 billion mobile phones available for use in the world today.  Many of them are powerful, internet connected multimedia computers. How can these nearly ubiquitous computing devices be leveraged to create new ways of interacting with and experiencing media?

The New Music Industry: Physical music sales are nearly dead.  An enormous amount of music content can be found free online.  Blogs and social networks are replacing the radio DJ as tastemaker.  What technologies and services will further evolve how music is experienced and created?

The Transformation of Film and Television: The movie and tv industry is going through the same painful process of change that the music industry was thrust into a decade ago.  What role will new technologies play as this business struggles to adapt?

Emerging Technologies: Augmented reality, online virtual worlds, 3D displays, micro projectors, perceptual user interfaces, and other advanced technologies have enormous potential.  What role will they play?

Business Models: How can new and existing technologies and services be packaged to provide sustainable revenue streams?

The journey ahead is complex and risky.  For those of us inspired to embark upon it, opportunities for true innovation await.


Jarrell Pair


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