Tomorrow’s 2015 Shifts
GROUP7) A Four Screen World
Identifying trends has always been difﬁcult, but the rampant and accelerating pace of change in
the the current age makes it harder than ever.
Any snapshot of a moment in time is likely to be a blur of movement & immediately out of date.
Trends are hard to separate from fads, they are impossible to act upon, they don’t allow for
building sustainable growth, they offer a ﬂicker of illumination, not the need for continuous
So the Tomorrow Group develops and leverages Shifts.
Shifts are multi year changes in how people behave, how technology is changing this behavior ,
they offer a more ﬁrm platforms to base decisions on.
I hope you enjoy them, shifts are living, evolving, they blend and separate, I’d love to hear any
feedback on any part of these.
These are highlights, for more information, ask me for a brieﬁng.
Tom Goodwin - October 22nd 2014.
Introducing: A four screen world
We’ve lived our lives with an array of devices and media channels, for many years they all
seemed totally diﬀerent.
We listen to music by recording cassettes, listening to the radio, or buying CD’s.
We watched movies on VHS tapes or DVD’s, viewed TV shows via Broadcast.
We read newspapers, books, looked at maps.
The physical format was all totally diﬀerent, a world of pipes with diﬀerent meanings, media
channels with separate routes to markets.
Then it became digital, in the digital world, everything just became data, it was just audio or
The new world is one of a “pervasive” web and then contexts to access it. This is the four
What helped Henry Ford create the car was forgetting everything about what existed before it.
What enabled Apple to create the iPhone was thinking of it as a personal communications tool
to access and share everything that mattered, not a phone.
This is the sort of “re:imagination” that we rarely see, but that changes our lives.
When we base our thinking on current paradigms we are affected to greatly by what’s been
done before, we follow conventions, we evolve towards the same goal, our latent memories
move us towards convergent thinking.
Forgetting everything brings change; Uber knew nothing about taxi’s, Chipotle knew nothing
about fast food, Airbnb had no idea about hospitality. Knowing what people dream about and
technology is a killer cocktail. Conventional wisdom is poison.
If we were to think of a four screen world, we’d be best to forget CD players, Televisions, Blu-
Ray players, Portable DVD players, and just think…….. How would we best access stuff?
The Context of the four screens.
I think the context of the future we be a world with what I consider the pervasive web , we will
live in a world with our physical world overlaid by a continuous,fast, invisible lattice of data, the
Within the internet will be every ﬁlm ever made, every piece of music, every news story, every
notable image. It will be the biggest cloud of content that one can imagine. In addition, the
internet will become connective tissue to allow us to speak with each other, or control other
things that are connected, our cars, our fridges, our home heating.
If there is a real world and a pervasive web around us, the devices we own become one of
1) Devices that do things, items like fridges, vacuums, thermostats, heaters, locks, washing
machines, items that are all connected and controlled by a network, but are there as items
2) Devices that are gateways or bridges - They are screens that become gateways to the
pervasive web, screens to all content, to each other and to control the network above.
But we need to think less of individual items and more as an ecosystem of things that work
together and in partnerships with each other.
The Four Screen World.
I see the future as a personal ecosystem of 4 types of owned devices to bridge the
real world and internet lattice, going up in size.
• Mobile Devices
• Portable Large Screen
• The Large Screen
We will think not of what we buy as separate screens, but as devices in a personal
device ecosystem. We won’t consider a phone alone, but what it can do relative to the
gaps in our system and how well they function together.
• Smartwatches become ultra-portable ways to bridge the real world and virtual world
and remote controls for other devices in our ecosystem.
• I see their use becoming limited, mainly for payments, recording more personal data
and for GPS like guidance through pulses.
• I see them not for content consumption, but more as micro nuggets of contextual
data to aid our lives- personal nudges to aid our lives.
For warnings it’s about to rain, for telling us we’re late, for notiﬁcations. ( I wrote about
this before, and quite nicely predicted the Apple watch )
• Mobile Devices - which I guess we will still call anachronistically label “phones”.
• For accessing most things on the go, ﬁnding things, being entertained, booking
• Our most personal and portable access to the pervasive web.
• The one we use most, but again for little snippets of information that are personal.
This is something I will call the Th’internet.
Portable Large Screen
• Portable Large Screen - Something like the MacBook Air or Android tablets.
• This will be the device you use to experience the internet in the richest, yet still
• You will use this device to do work, to consume richer media on the go, the role of
this device is most uncertain.
• Will “phones” get so good that this device becomes less important?
The Large Screen
• The Large Screen- A ﬁxed, huge screen in your home that acts as the main gateway
to the internet.
• The main gateway to home networks, the main access point for entertainment.
• This is the screen than the TV will become.
No more screens ? Anywhere?
• Cars - In particular cars will have larger screens, I’ve not included them in the four
screen theory because I think we won’t own these screens or cars. I see the future
of cars as being electrical, high capital vehicles we don’t own. I see us renting cars
much like Zipcar or Hertz 24/7 but in a much more sophisticated way. We will have
subscriptions much like mobile packages where we get car miles per month. In this
context the screen in a car will become super personal, it will synch to our
accounts and take on the same form as the “Portable large screen” accessing the
same stuff, but contextualized for driving.
• Retail - I see the future of retail as being incredibly screen driven, from shop window
displays that you can shop from, from dynamic signage, personalized videos, and
offers sent to your phone. I think the high street and eCommerce will bend
seamlessly, but you won’t own these screens.
• Ads - Outdoor advertising everywhere will be digital screens and personal.
• How does advertising function in a world where everything is just a digital data stream?
• How do adverts work together in ﬂow advertising?
• Do we buy ads by context? I think so.
• Do we buy people not channels or programs? I think so.
• Does everything in advertising become automated, both creative and buying? I think so.
These are just some quick thought starters.