Where we once had analog, we now have digital. Digitization has allowed us to create new ways of thinking – opening a multi-way dialog and generating new ideas. This is being borne out in an interesting new approach by Kate Stone, a new breed of “creative scientist”. Kate Stone’s work, outlined here at re-publica.de, is a mix of digital elements with traditional print. Kate Stone’s business concept creates interactive prints, using digital aspects; she digitizes printed products that then invite you to participate in the experience. Her company, Novalia, produces a number of digitized print products, including posters for a beer brand, which uses conductive ink and motion sensors to create posters that play music. Another of her innovative products is a brochure for a car manufacturer where the reader can test out the console of his next vehicle using a Bluetooth connection and a smart phone. Previously purely visual information is now a tactile experience.
This idea of digitally refining and reinventing analog data can give products a new lease of life. For example, publishers could digitize defunct printed products, adding new features and capabilities, making them attractive to a new audience and generation of individuals. With the help of gamification and a smart phone connection, we may find that ‘Generation YouTube and Netflix’ can be motivated to read more.
Digitization of previously analog only products is providing innovative approaches to design too. The application of digital to everyday objects, such as household goods, like washing machines, is already in progress. Bosch, for example, are forging ahead, bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to the world of manufacturing. Bosch, traditionally a manufacturer working in the world of analog, has transitioned to the world of digital, merging the analog with the digital in our everyday lives. They have created a ‘Bosch-Cloud’ handling the digital data generated by their analog-based products. They recognize that manufacturing is moving towards a highly connected world where digital will augment and enhance the analog.
As our world heads rapidly to a highly connected and digital realm, our analog past is still hanging on. When push comes to shove, will it be analog or digital that calls the shots, or will their merger give us a new world order?