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Agenda for further research / KHK 26.2.2001

Agenda for further research

In this section we will concentrate on the topics we believe are most important and promising for further research and which we feel that we have something to offer in terms of vision and leadership.

We will offer an introduction to a programme which plan to initiated with external funding, together with industrial partners, Tekes, and the European Union.

The reason for emphasizing the importance of vision and leadership is that the area of our past research has been very broad, and although the topics we are now proposing are much more defined, they continue to be very broad. Therefore it is possible for someone to propose almost any kind of activity and find a way to explain how it fits within the scope of these topics.

The point is that the topics and the relevant content for the activities can't be defined with a simple sentence or a name - the relevance of activities must be derived from a comprehensive vision. The leaders of the research must have the vision, or rely in their decisionmaking on those who possess the vision.

In this report we have tried to present some key elements of our vision, but unfortunately, they escape simple definitions, which tend to make them seem trivial. However, the vision shows its power better in dialogue within a more constrained context.

We propose the following components for an agenda for further research. They will be presented more thoroughly in separate documents.

Future Design Initiative

The central goal of the Future Design Initiative is to develop an idea of a desirable future in a multidisciplinary, multicultural collaborative process.

The initiative will arrange its own activities, research, mediaspaces and collaborative events, but also host a number of projects which have their own funding.

The following projcts are proposed in a context created in this larger initiative. The initiative gathers together many activities which by themselves can concentrate on their own agendas, but as a whole they further the initiative.

People Design Future

The interest and voice of people is not sufficiently present in the processes and structures that shape our future. One of the problems is that experts and non-experts can't communicate in a way that would make the collaboration relevant to both.

The People Design Future (PDF) project attempts to address that problem through the development of practical processes and design language which facilitates design collaboration.

Mediaspaces and Mediascapes

The global Mediaspace represents the most central potential for positive development in the digital future.

While its technological foundation has been quite developed, the research into how especially audio and audiovisual media content should be authored and produced for a mediaspace environment, to take full advantage of its potential, is very limited.

With so little understanding of the way to take advantage of the technological potential, the technological development has unfortunately also been limited in its ability to deliver added value to users.

On the other hand, the emergence of Mediaspaces will raise the importance of the Mediascapes, the collections that emerge when a point of view is applied to the Mediaspace.

In the Mediaspaces and Mediascapes project, we will develop Mediaspaces and Mediascapes with a large variety of approaches, using very different kinds of materials, and for many different kinds of applications. We will study and develop different media product formats, production processes and management strategies and tools.

We will do this in practical settings, with real media about real topics that have significance to their authors and audiences. The project will be linked to an educational programme in the Media Lab.

Interaction Lab and Studio

People are in reality less interested in the digital devices than the digital information objects and the activities such as telephone discussions.

With the DigDim, the role of the gadgets will be changed, they will become compatible parts of the seamless ubiquitous infrastructure, and their excellence depends on their qualities as interface tools, windows to the DigDim.

Similarly, the importance of software grows, and they will reconfigure themselves into new kinds of Digital Things.

In the Interaction Lab and Studio, we will develop a set of compatible software and hardware toolkits which can be used in research and prototyping of future digital environments, interfaces and DigThings.

We hope to initiate and hopefully coordinate funding for a number of open source software developments within the Interaction Lab project.

Consumer/Producer Interface

Consumers influence the world of business through their buying decisions. Increasingly, consumers want to know more about the products they buy, how they were produced, by which standards, where, in what social conditions. Digitalization and Mediaspaces make it technically possible for the future consumers to get all the information they want - it will be a design and policy decision for the producers to make: how transparent will theit processes be. If consumers have transparency, they will be able to select based on their values, and thus influence the development dirctions of global business.

Also, the simple interface between the consumer and producer is also evolving into a manysided long term relationship. People want to influence products, and producers want input, but often these desires do not meet.

Marketing will change when people can manage their mediascapes better and block unwanted advertising. In a Mediaspace world, the whole marketing industry will need to develop new models of operation, media production, and financing. Consumers will still want marketing information, but they will be in control, and they will be demanding. Products will be judged first according to their presence and behaviour in the mediaspace, and second according to the experience. Those products and advertisers whose presentations do not match the experience, will not fare well.

We plan to study the many sides and activities at the consumer/producer interface.