In 1991, Mark Weiser’s famous essay on Ubiquitous Computing postulated that computers would someday be integrated “seamlessly into the world at large.” With our growing Internet of Things, this is fast becoming reality.
Enter Pervasive IA
In his book, Pervasive Information Architecture, Andrea Resmini discusses the need for a holistic User Experience that will unify our cross-channel interaction with services and technology. What I mean is that when we see one thing on many different channels (e.g. accessing your back account from a computer, a mobile, and the brick-and-mortar bank), it helps if the User Experience across those channels is seamless.
UPDATE: Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) already saw this coming in 2009. See this article and this one, where he discusses Digital Product Platforms, especially the different screens which will allow us to interact with these Platforms.
It’s Already Happening
All the big names now have these technologies and are working to make them seamless with each other.
- Google‘s Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be their unifying OS, and the company has been working in the cloud for years now.
- Apple‘s answer comprises OSX Lion and iCloud.
- Microsoft is doing it with Windows 8, XBox LIVE, and Windows Azure.
- Nokia‘s Maemo, MeeGo, OS’s and Ovi cloud service are more examples.
- Even Mozilla is working on an Android-like device Operating System.
What these systems will each bring is the holistic and coherent access to our information, friends, services, and technology, anywhere and anytime. However, this tech evolution is only a sign of the greater evolution at hand. With the seamless access these things will afford us, we, as a society, will change the way we think of business, technology, relationships, and property.
For more about how our near future will look, see Bruce Sterling and Bob Spence, both visionaries and each a futurist is his own right. I’ll leave you with Amber Case, who sees our (humankind’s) relationship with technology for what it is: