The rise of the
Internet requires a
his model of
computers were in
their infancy. The
Internet was a
mainly to exchange
mail and files.
Nothing like the
September + October 2011
But “social” is more than just
online networking sites. Wikipedia
and its variants, Threadless (a
crowdsourced design service), and
open source software projects
are also social. Indeed, social has
become a component in most networked services. Modern search
algorithms, collaborative filtering,
and crowdsourcing are all inherently social, relying on “the wisdom of crowds” to create value.
Physical. Of course, the physical
world has been here all along; it’s
just taken a while to see how it will
connect to form what Kevin Ashton
calls an “Internet of Things.”
In terms of Convergence 2.0,
“physical” means providing con-
textual information such as the
• Location: Mapping information
and descriptions of places. Where
am I? What’s around me?
• Participants: Identity and relationship information. Who am I with?
• Activity: Information about the
process and current stage of activities. What are we doing?
• Goals: Information about one’s
intentions and interests. Why are
we doing this?
• Time: Information about one’s
calendar and commitments. When
is it happening? [ 11]
Physical also means providing
meta-data, and deep descrip-
tions—about the things around
us so that we can understand our
context. Much of this contextual
information will come from a
network of sensors around us, on
us, and in us that measure things
such as location, motion, energy
use, temperature, humidity, and a
wide range of biomarkers.
Convergence 2.0 in Mind
Both convergence models also have
practical value for product manag-
ers and designers; they can help
us generate options and identify
opportunities we might otherwise
overlook. They also suggest a
checklist: How does the application
we’re designing (or redesigning)
relate to the convergence of the
publishing, broadcasting, and com-
puting industries? How does it take
advantage of text, rich media, and
interactivity? And how does it con-
nect with network services, social
networks, and the physical world?
Where does integration yield inno-
vation, difference, and value?