domingo, 26 de outubro de 2008

The end of products, the rise of services

It’s not something new to say that product design is “changing” into service design. But many people still don’t get it quite well. What do you mean? No products?

Yes. No products, at least in some specific situations. As I use to say, you don’t have to own an electric drill. You have to be able to make drill holes, no matter whose eletric drill will you use! You need the service, not the product. For many products we own, we seldon use them – the eletric drill is a classic example!

These changes are specially true when it comes to the digital world. We have seen it happening slowly, for example, with music. We had long play records, cassette tapes. They turned into CDs. And now our CDs are stored in mp3 players.

But we still have to store data in our computers, or, in the case of music, in our mp3 players. But I guess this is just a matter of time to change again. We don’t need to have the files, we need to hear the music. No matter if it is stored in our hard drives, or remotely stored in a server that can be accessed by our players. Storage is a huge problem, we have constantly to buy new storage devices to keep our stuff, as we keep producing and saving files, photos, videos…and it’s worst when you think about the backups! Burning DVDs, or copying files to external hard disks, blue rays or whatever media. I think this will change soon…I already use Dreamhost to store many of my files. I trust them to make the backups, to keep my stuff safe. I guess they have a better backup routine than me (at least, I hope they do!).

I have the feeling that this will not be only about storage. Google already have the Google Docs, with which you can edit many kinds of documents like Microsoft Word files, even if you don’t have Microsoft Word in your computer. One of the topics discussed when Adaptive Path showed their Aurora project was that the limits between the browser and an operational system were not so clear anymore. That makes sense, if you think that we don’t need to have so many programs instaled in our computers. We need to be able to perform the tasks, and that’s the idea behind Google Docs.

I recently was introduced to Lala, a not so original online music service. The new thing about it is that you don’t need to have more than 10 cents to have a “web music” added to your library, which you can stream as many times as you want. If you want to download the mp3 file, you pay more. But you don’t need to…you can just hear it with your iPhone, streaming the file. For 10 cents, not bad. Why would you want mp3 file? To have storage problems tomorrow? Just add the music to your library, and listen to it whenever you want (as long as you have a good connection!), and let them deal with the storage! Soon everything will be connected anyway…pervasive computing is at our doorstep. This way, we prevent for demanding more physical goods, and reduce the electronic waste. It seems more rational and environmental friendly.

A very interesting article about Lala is avalilable at TechCrunch.

Again, it’s not about having the product, but having the service available.

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  1. Ola mauro, achei bem interessante seu texto e imediatamente fiz a ligação com um pequeno trecho do livro Convergence Culture do Henry Jenkins (q infelizmente ainda não tive oportunidade de ler inteiro) sobre o que ele chama de evolução das “tecnologias de distribuição” em detrimento do serviço (como vc disse).
    Hoje em dia eu não seria capaz de abrir mão de um produto físico como um HD para deixar meus dados armazenados em um host qualquer. Talvez por conta do serviço não ser garantido…, mas também acredito que é a evolução natural da tecnologia… bom texto…
    abraços…

    Bruno Duarte
    segunda-feira, 27 de outubro de 2008
    10:53
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