Vision for a New World Beyond Today's PC-Plus and Post-PC Worlds
What kind of multiscreen Internet-connected world are we living in today? Is it a PC world, a PC-Plus world, or a post-PC world? Or is it some other new world that we have not yet formally defined or officially labelled?
As of this writing in late 2013, it is clear that we are no longer in a PC world. Just as the mainframe world of the 1960s yielded to the minicomputer world in the 1970s and the minicomputer world yielded to the PC world in the 1980s, the PC world has yielded to a new world in the 2010s.
However, the new world we are living in today is not a PC-Plus world. The opportunity to extend the personal computer into a PC-Plus world passed a decade ago with the outright market failure of the original Windows-based tablets in the early 2000s. The lack of success of these early PC-oriented tablet devices was so dramatic that it left a deep and enduring imprint on the minds of top executives from the leading PC vendors at the time. When Apple took a shot at redefining the tablet market in 2010 with the release of the Apple iPad, incredulous PC executives never expected Apple’s new post-PC approach for designing, building, and marketing a tablet class device to succeed, let alone reshape the entire modern personal computing industry.
In 2010, after almost a decade of evolution, PC-based tablets available from leading PC vendors were complex, stylus-based, work-oriented devices that were relatively expensive, heavy, and short on battery life. In stark contrast, the first iPad tablet offered by Apple in this same year was a non-complex, finger-based, non-work-oriented post-PC device that was relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and long on battery life. In short, the Apple iPad was a very different device, and users found the new tablet so simple, easy to use, fun, useful, and affordable that it was an instant and overnight sensation. (source: iPad page of inocles.com)
With the tremendous market success of the Apple iPad post-PC tablet (based on Apple's iOS mobile operating system) in the ensuing years coupled with the more recent success of Samsung, Google, Amazon Kindle post-PC tablets (based Google's Android mobile operating system), the market adoption and upgrade rates of traditional PC netbooks, PC laptops, and PC desktops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and others (based on Microsoft's Windows operating system) have been dramatically and irreversibly impaired. With annual global PC unit sales declines of ten percent in 2013 and further declines expected for 2014, we have clear market signals providing manifest evidence that the PC world has undeniably yielded to the post-PC world in terms of global mainstream mass-market adoption.
Wearables and the Birth of a New Multiscreen PostPC+ World
But will we be living in our modern-day post-PC world in the near future, or is there something more? We believe that there is truly something more, and refer to the new world of the future as the multiscreen postPC+ world, which spans the traditional PC world, the modern post-PC world, plus the nascent wearable computing (WC) world.
In this new postPC+ world, users benefit from the simplicity, approachability, and usability of the modern post-PC world, the richness, productivity, and continuity of the traditional PC world, plus (+) the awareness, immediacy, and experiential nature of the emerging wearable computing world. With this background, we are now ready to present our formal written definition as well as our visual definition of the multiscreen postPC+ world for the first time.
The new multiscreen postPC+ world is defined as the grand unification of the traditional PC world (PC), the modern post-PC world (postPC), and the emerging WC world (+). It spans the following fundamental set of five smart device dimensions:
The best way in which to understand our vision for the new multiscreen postPC+ world is to visualize these core dimensions in a unified macro-level PC, post-PC, and wearable computing (WC) smart device continuum, as illustrated in the diagram below.
We call this diagram the Multiscreen Smart Device Continuum for the PostPC+ World. It is organized into four top-level strata, including mobile,
embedded mobile, embedded non-mobile, and non-mobile (reading from left to right across the top of the continuum), two sub-level strata, including wearable mobile and non-wearable mobile,
and six base-level strata, including wearable mobile smart bands, wearable mobile smart watches, wearable mobile smart glasses, non-wearable mobile smart players & smartphones,
non-wearable mobile tablets, and non-wearable mobile laptops (reading from left to right across the middle of the mobile section of the continuum).
By simultaneously referring to the five fundamental dimensions of the postPC+ world while reading from left to right across the centerline of the postPC+ smart device continuum, we clearly see through vivid visual examples the vast scope of the postPC+ vision:
In the near future we shall be living in a true multiscreen Internet-connected postPC+ world that spans the complete gamut of wearable, non-wearable,
embedded mobile, embedded non-mobile, and non-mobile devices from Internet-connected smart glasses and watches to Internet-connected smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected smart cars and
robots to Internet-connected smart appliances and kiosks to Internet-connected smart ultra high-definition televisions, virtual reality headsets, and gesture recognition controllers.
Dominant PostPC+ Dimensions
Based on our postPC+ definition and high-level postPC+ vision above, we are now in position to expand on this vision and take a grand leap into the near future, a future multiscreen postPC+ world characterized by the following critical and dominant postPC+ dimensions:
These core dimensions of the postPC+ world provide us with the ability to construct a powerful visual framework for understanding and analyzing wearable and
non-wearable devices that will drive and shape the future of modern computing across the globe for many years to come.
Wearable Mobile PostPC+ Smart Devices
We begin our journey into the multiscreen postPC+ future by posing and answering the following question: "What are wearable mobile postPC+ smart devices?"
Wearable mobile postPC+ devices are Internet-connected smart bands, smart glasses, or smart watches that enable postPC+ users to sense and monitor body and environmental conditions, share experiences and information hands-free with friends and family, or quickly check and respond to messages and notifications without reaching into one's pocket.
The core competencies of wearable mobile Internet smart bands, Internet
smart glasses, and Internet smart watches are the sense competency, experience competency, and check competency, respectively, as
depicted in the Wearable Mobile PostPC+ Smart Device Positioning & Core Competency diagrams above. The cloud, depicted as a chamfered yellow square in the diagrams, serves as a central
hub providing application (app) and media content distribution and synchronization (sync) services to all wearable mobile postPC+ devices, as well as direct access to all commonly available Internet
Non-Wearable Mobile PostPC+ Smart Devices
We continue our journey into the multiscreen postPC+ future by posing and answering the following question: "What are non-wearable mobile postPC+ smart devices?"
Non-wearable mobile postPC+ devices include Internet-connected smart portable media players; nano
smartphones, mini smartphones, air smartphones, pro smartphones, and max smartphones; mini tablets, air tablets, and pro tablets; air laptops, ultra laptops, and pro laptops; humanoid robots and
flying robots; and smart cars, motorcycles, and trucks.
These non-wearable mobile devices enable postPC+ users to play and launch media content and software apps; communicate via text, phone, and email with friends & family; easily read books, play games, and surf the web; manage work documents and libraries of digital media content; get assistance retrieving, lifting, or moving common objects (such as newspapers, shoes, drinks, food, boxes, packages) or lifting and guiding elderly, injured, or disabled people; or travel from place to place while viewing three-dimensional maps, receiving navigation directions, playing music, listening to podcasts, and controlling and monitoring vehicle air conditioning, entertainment, mechanical, lighting, display, and performance systems.
The core competencies of non-wearable mobile Internet-connected smart
players, smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart robots, and smart cars are the play, communicate, read, manage, assist, and travel competencies,
respectively, as depicted in the Non-Wearable Mobile PostPC+ Smart Device Positioning & Core Competency diagrams above. The
cloud, depicted as a chamfered yellow square, serves as a central hub providing app and media content distribution and sync services to all non-wearable mobile postPC+ devices, as well as direct
access to all commonly available Internet services.
Wearable Non-Mobile PostPC+ Smart Devices
We continue our journey into the multiscreen postPC+ future by posing and answering the following question: "What are wearable non-mobile postPC+ smart devices?"
Wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices include smart Internet-connected virtual reality (VR) headsets and gesture recognition (GR) controllers. Virtual reality headsets enable postPC+ users to immerse themselves, friends, teammates, and opponents
in a virtual three-dimensional panoramic world filled with dynamic environments, live-action scenes, and life-like characters. (As of the time of this writing in early January of 2014, VR headsets
represent a nascent technology with future non-niche market adoption potential.)
Gesture recognition controllers enable postPC+ users to wear a virtual three-dimensional body-suit that accurately tracks head, torso, waist, leg, foot, arm, and hand movements. By precisely tracking full body movements, GR controllers allow users to naturally interact in real time with dynamic gesture-oriented media content, including adventure, dance choreography, sports, pet training, motorsports racing, fitness workout, warfare combat, big-game hunting, social networking, and casual video games.
In addition to the ability to recognize full body motion gestures, GR controllers are also able to actively listen for and accurately recognize simple user voice commands. By combining both gesture recognition with voice recognition, GR controllers provide a new powerful, unique, and highly innovative user input control paradigm enabling postPC+ users to easily and intuitively control media entertainment centers, set top boxes, personal computers, video communication systems, and smart televisions with simple hand gestures and voice commands.
The core competencies of wearable non-mobile Internet-connected virtual
reality headsets and smart gesture recognition controllers are the immerse competency and the interact competency, as depicted in the Wearable Non-Mobile PostPC+ Smart Device
Positioning & Core Competency diagrams above.
The cloud serves as a central hub providing app and media content distribution and sync services to all wearable
non-mobile postPC+ devices, as well as direct access to all commonly available Internet services.
Non-Wearable Non-Mobile PostPC+ Smart Devices
We continue our journey into the multiscreen postPC+ future by posing and answering the following question: "What are non-wearable non-mobile postPC+ smart devices?"
Non-wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices include: a) Internet-connected
smart high-definition televisions, ultra HD TVs, media entertainment systems, and set top boxes; b) desktop personal computers and professional workstation PCs;
c) smart video communication systems and video game consoles; d) smart home appliances (such as smart refrigerators, smart washer & dryers, smart vacuums, and
smart coffee pots) and home fixtures (such as smart thermostats,
smart doors, smart windows, smart lights, and smart sprinklers); e) smart business kiosks (such as smart restaurant kiosks, smart hotel kiosks, smart delivery kiosks, smart banking
kiosks, smart travel kiosks, and smart shopping kiosks); and f) industrial robots (such as smart manufacturing line robots, smart process automation
robots, smart final-assembly robots, smart inventory management robots, and smart order-fulfillment robots).
These non-wearable non-mobile devices enable postPC+ consumer users and postPC+ business users to: a) discover and watch media content and software apps; b) create and manage personal and business documents and data; c) visually communicate and share social experiences with friends & family in real time; d) prepare, monitor, and manage family meals, household laundry, home cleaning, morning coffee, home energy utilization, home security, ambient lighting conditions, and indoor and outdoor plant and lawn care; e) place, transact, and manage meal orders & payment, hotel check-in & check-out, package pick-up & delivery, bank deposits & withdrawals, airport check-in & baggage claim, and retail store navigation & check-out; and f) build and manage intermediate goods, work-in-process (WIP) inventory, finished goods, finished-goods inventory, warehouse inventory, and packaged orders.
The core competencies of
non-wearable non-mobile Internet-connected smart televisions, desktops, smart home appliances, smart kiosks, and smart industrial robots are the watch, create, prepare,
monitor, transact, and manufacture competencies, respectively, as depicted in the Non-Wearable Non-Mobile PostPC+ Smart Device Positioning & Core Competency
diagrams above. The cloud serves as a central hub providing app and media content distribution and sync services to all non-wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices, as well as direct access to all
commonly available Internet services.
Master Positioning Framework for PostPC+ Smart Devices
By combining the four individual postPC+ strategic positioning framework diagrams presented thus far into a single master image, we are able to construct a new master-level postPC+ device framework for organizing, analyzing, and understanding device positioning strategies expected to be pursued in the multiscreen postPC+ world of the near future.
We call this master diagram the Wearable & Non-Wearable Multiscreen Smart Device Positioning Framework for the
PostPC+ World. It is organized into four quadrants. The upper-left quadrant contains wearable mobile postPC+ devices, including smart bands, glasses, and watches. The lower-left quadrant
contains non-wearable mobile postPC+ devices, including smart players, phones, tablets, laptops, robots, and
The upper-right quadrant contains wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices, including smart virtual reality headsets and gesture recognition controllers. The lower-right quadrant contains non-wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices, including smart televisions, desktops, appliances, kiosks, and industrial robots.
Master Core Competency Framework for PostPC+ Smart Devices
By combining the four individual postPC+ core competency framework diagrams presented above into a single master image, we are able to construct a new master-level postPC+ core competency framework for organizing, analyzing, and understanding device competency strategies expected to be prevalent in the multiscreen postPC+ world of the near future.
We call this master competency diagram the Wearable & Non-Wearable Multiscreen Smart Device Competency Framework
for the PostPC+ World. It is organized into four quadrants. The upper-left quadrant contains the core competencies possessed by wearable mobile postPC+ devices, including the sense, experience,
and check competencies. The lower-left quadrant contains the core competencies possessed by non-wearable mobile postPC+ devices, including the play, communicate (or talk for short), read, manage,
assist, and travel competencies.
The upper-right quadrant contains the core competencies possessed by wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices, including the immerse and interact competencies. The lower-right quadrant contains the core competencies possessed by non-wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices, including the watch, create, prepare, transact, and manufacture (or build for short) competencies.
This new competency-oriented paradigm, born in the post-PC era and carried forward in the postPC+ era, shatters the notion of device convergence associated with the traditional PC era and ushers in a new era, one of device divergence, where specialized postPC+ devices are each highly optimized to perform a set of core functions within a particular activity context better than any other device within the multiscreen postPC+ continuum.
Understanding the Core Competency Concept
To understand the basic concept of a core competency one must consider a simple example based on a device that is typically used every day, the smartphone. Ask yourself:
The answer to that key question can be quickly determined by identifying the unique capability or function your smartphone possesses or performs better than any other device that you utilize throughout the day. To do so, simply complete the following statement:
A typical modern smartphone user would complete the statement as follows:
By selecting the verb that completes the statement above, one can now definitively answer the core competency question:
That is, the smartphone is specifically designed and highly optimized to communicate better than all other competing
classes of devices available to a user throughout their 24 hour day. (source: iGlass page of inocles.com)
Note that while other devices, including smart watches, smart glasses, tablets, smart cars, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs, can also provide specific communication functions, such as text messaging, voice, and/or email, none of these devices performs the communication function under all activity conditions (on the go, at work, at play, reading, watching, or at rest) as well the mobile smartphone. Therefore, the smartphone is said to own the core competency of communication relative to all other smart devices along the multiscreen continuum of postPC+ smart devices.
Master List of Core Competencies for PostPC+ Smart Devices
By matching the set of postPC+ smart devices from the multiscreen positioning framework with the corresponding set of postPC+ core competencies from the multiscreen competency framework, we can summarize the primary core competencies of each postPC+ smart device as follows:
We refer to this list as the Master List of Smart Device Core Competencies for the PostPC+ World. By examining
the full list above, it is immediately clear that we are rapidly moving into a new world were a typical postPC+ user interacts with a substantially large number postPC+ devices throughout his or her
24 hour day.
Moreover, because each postPC+ device has its own unique primary core competency, postPC+ users will with high likelihood select the single best or most highly optimized device for the task at hand given the activity context, location, and time of day, making it highly probable that a typical postPC+ user will interact with up to sixteen or more postPC+ devices in the near future.
The Dual Role of the Cloud in the PostPC+ World
With postPC+ users regularly interacting with up to 16 or more postPC+ devices throughout a typical 24 hour day in the near future, how will leading postPC+ companies address two of the most challenging problems caused by the expected explosion in the number of postPC+ devices?
Specifically, how will leading postPC+ companies ensure that postPC+ users have the ability to utilize any of their postPC+ devices to access all of their postPC+ apps and postPC+ media content? And how will these companies provide postPC+ users with a unified and seamless experience across all of the postPC+ devices they choose to interact with throughout the day?
We strongly believe that the answer to both of these critical questions is found in the postPC+ cloud. As we have specifically noted in our discussions above regarding postPC+ devices, the cloud occupies a central position within the postPC+ world. It is this central position that enables the cloud to exclusively address the app and content access issue as well as the unified experience issue.
The best way to understand how the cloud addresses these two key issues is to visualize the two fundamental roles of the postPC+ cloud in the conceptually compelling cloud framework diagram below as well as its associated cloud services diagram.
We refer to this diagram as the Multiscreen Cloud Framework for the PostPC+ World. The diagram clearly illustrates the first
fundamental role of the postPC+ cloud, which is to automatically distribute and synchronize digital content (including documents, data, apps, games, music, videos, television shows, movies, books,
digital newspapers, and digital magazines) across all classes of postPC+ devices along the entire length of the multiscreen postPC+ smart device continuum from wearable mobile postPC+ devices to wearable non-mobile postPC+ devices.
Specifically, the postPC+ cloud provides multiscreen postPC+ app distribution and synchronization services across all postPC+ devices, as shown by the pink arrow in the diagram above, and it provides multiscreen postPC+ media content distribution and synchronization services across all postPC+ devices, as shown by the purple arrow.
In addition to providing distribution and synchronization services, the postPC+ cloud serves a second fundamental role by providing unified and seamless access to all commonly available Internet services from all wearable, non-wearable, mobile, and non-mobile devices, as depicted by the light blue clouds in the cloud services diagram below.
The diagram above is referred to as the
Unified Cloud Services Framework for the Multiscreen PostPC+ World. The diagram details the most important commonly available Internet services provided by the cloud, including
social networking, commerce, payment, search, communication, streaming, storage, synchronization, collaboration,
virtualization, compute, integration, and big data services. (source: Steve Jobs page of inocles.com)
As depicted in the diagram, each Internet cloud service is provided by one or more Internet cloud companies. For example, Facebook is the leading Internet company providing cloud-based social networking services, Amazon is the leading Internet company providing cloud-based commerce services, and Google is the leading Internet company providing cloud-based search services.
By automatically synchronizing multiscreen postPC+ apps and postPC+ media content while simultaneously providing access to a vast array of common Internet services to postPC+ users via a standard set of Internet protocols and browsing technologies, the cloud inherently drives postPC+ app & content ubiquity and unifies the postPC+ user experience across all classes of postPC+ devices.
These two fundamental roles of the cloud make it seamless for multiscreen postPC+ users to simply select the very best postPC+ device for the task at hand given the activity context (on the go, at work, at play, reading, watching, at rest) without loss of information or service fidelity.
PostPC+ Vision Summary
By combining the key postPC+ frameworks, illustrations, and diagrams discussed and presented above into a single grand unified postPC+ vision diagram, we are able to capture and summarize the quintessential qualities of the multiscreen postPC+ world of the future. The five postPC+ qualities that will define the shape and drive the evolution of modern computing into the future are presented in both written and visual form in the vision diagram below.
We refer to this diagram as the Strategic Vision for the Multiscreen PostPC+ World of the Future. It lists each of the five foundational qualities or
structural pillars of the postPC+ world of the future with color-coded call-outs to supporting visual graphics.
The five postPC+ pillars are listed below as follows:
The corresponding graphical diagrams for each postPC+ pillar are listed below as follows:
The five pillars described above in written and visual form define a new multiscreen postPC+ world of the future, where postPC+ users commonly interact with sixteen or more postPC+ devices in a given 24 hour day, postPC+ devices are each individually designed with a unique core-competency focus, personalized postPC+ agents uniformly and intelligently assist multiscreen postPC+ users throughout their day across all of their postPC+ devices, multiscreen postPC+ applications and postPC+ media content are instantly accessible to postPC+ users from any one of their postPC+ devices, and postPC+ cloud services provide multiscreen postPC+ users with a unified multiscreen postPC+ experience across all of their postPC+ devices from any location at any time, day or night.