The Real World Just Got Better

Today, many different kinds of products can independently access the Internet. With his company Evrythng Andy Hobsbawm, who will give a keynote speech at NEXT Service Design, is taking this technological development to the next level: The firm’s software engine provides physical objects with a social life on the web.

Evrythng creates an online persona for products – their “active digital identity”. Buy a product with this capability integrated and you can check into the object just like you can claim a place on Foursquare. That way things can be connected, even if they are technically not online themselves. But what’s even more important is that it offers brands the possibility of providing complementary services that exceed the original product and create added value.

Active digital identities build up a stronger relationship between brand and customer. In his keynote talk at NEXT Berlin 2012 Hobsbawm used his guitar as an example of this. By checking into the guitar’s online persona it becomes an unique object that may trigger geosocial services, such as searching for other instruments in his region in order to form a band – and in doing so, the guitar develops a social life.

According to Hobsbawm, layering additional services, applications and experiences on top of physical objects will turn them into personalisable digital media. This will fundamentally change the product-customer-relationship. And gives these products the edge over their competitors if they offer useful services that can ease customer’s everyday lives.