Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Archive for October 2007

Pockets get sci-fi?

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What’s in his wallet?

Well well well. The future is not what it should have been. New airliners are marketed on the basis that they can cram more people into economy class and are quiet on takeoff, rather than blast you to Tokyo in style at Mach 3 (sigh). It seems as if existing stuff gets a little better or more connected. All so marginal.

However these small revolutions can come slowly and boringly but before you know it lives are made better. Anyone unlucky enough to use the Tube recently would have seen plenty of guff about Barclaycard OnePulse. Lame vistas of a future London (where the Battersea Power Station is defaced with a pointless windfarm etc) urge punters to get hip to the future of debt and rapacious fares by visting an uninteresting website. OnePulse combines a credit card with an Oyster card. You can make small payments in ‘participating’ shops by just touching it Oyster style and have one less card in your wallet.

So far, so pointless. However, proximity sensor payment cards like these have been around in Japan and other more advanced nations for a while and are somewhat nifty. Imagine rather than queuing to use a gob and grime covered ticket machine at Paddington while already late for a train, just waving your magic card at the gate – scanning your own paper and waving a card rather than waiting around, fumbling for change or getting your finger covered in obscene residues by tapping in a PIN on a grubby pad etc.

OnePulse is not it though. It is a credit card which we (or at least I know I) use far too much anyway and you’d have to be mental to use it for small purchases all the time. Now if a clever firm sold or licensed the technology to a wider variety of banks and there was a debit card version as well, that would be more interesting.


Written by pilotlight

26/10/2007 at 9:23 am

Posted in Advertising, Business, PR, Tech

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The future finally arrives?

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The better choice

OK, so last night I had a life changing experience. Not on the scale of Santa Claus isn’t real, but one that got me thinking that FINALLY the digital revolution had delivered on its promise to me as a consumer.

I’d had a pretty busy day and was frankly knackered. I’d taken the opportunity of having the house to myself for the evening to slob out and carry on doing a few bits of work that I wanted to get out of the way. So, it hits 9pm and I decide I’ve had enough. I walk downstairs, get some food and throw myself into the sofa.

Then without any thought I pick up two remote controls: change channel and fire up Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on my AppleTV. 30 minutes and an M&S chicken and mushroom risotto later – I’m chilled.

The moment when the album started I realised how glad I was I bought that little box. I didn’t have to boot up a laptop and go and turn on the PC upstairs containing the library. Didn’t have to think about where I had left my iPod or its audio cable. I didn’t even have to get off the sofa to find the CD. This was effortless: music as a utility in my living room. 300 albums in a tiny elegant box you’d struggle to find in the room if you didn’t know what you were looking for, and so simple a total technophobe could use it. I don’t even have to think about updating the library when I add something new – it all happens over WiFi.

For me, and this is a significant change in recent years, technology has to be in the background. I don’t want it taking over rooms in my house, or wasting my time, or getting me stressed. I just want it to deliver. I love my gadgets and am a bit of a geek, but now I’m getting bored with the hassle and clumsiness of it all.

Device manufacturers have a lot to learn from the AppleTV. It is not perfect, especially if you want film downloads (only US currently) or you don’t want to be tied to iTunes, but in every other respect, it is exactly what consumers should demand from digital devices in the home.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the AppleTV does and the way the consumer digital experience evolves, but the scariest thing of all is that other device categories are going backwards. I’ve owned several smart phones in the last 18 months, and all except my current one have been slow and crap at making phone calls, and none of them have been as reliable as my first phone from the early nineties…


Written by pilotlight

11/10/2007 at 9:16 am

Posted in Business, Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with