When the pioneering multimedia company I worked for was bought out by A Big Old Media Company*, it quite rapidly stopped taking risks with products, quite rapidly stopped losing so much money, and quite rapidly stopped innovating. Products that weren’t bids specified by customers were for safe, known markets, low investment and with stable demand. Known, because other companies were now doing things first, and taking the risks. We made good products but stopped sweeping up award after award every year. And then almost stopped being nominated. At least it paid the bills.
BETT this year features some really smart looking products. I’ve not visited, and I’ve not seen them, so they could be hype and hot air, but there are small new companies and organisations with some really good ideas, particularly Nesta Futurelab. Augmented Reality (AR) research! Wow. The Savannah project is fascinating. Nesta Futurelab acts as an R&D group. I really hope that these ideas get picked up by companies or open source projects, and get into schools.
If I had more time I’d love to be more involved; after almost ten years working around educational multimedia I still find myself thinking about ideas for projects and products. On the other hand, the potential for magical things like AR in university environments is vast, and even more interesting. I like my job.
*Twice. And probably again, quite soon.