Picture the scene: bright neon vectors, 2D images flying around in thin air, Tom Cruise waving his hands around – yes it’s Minority Report, and the iconic ‘gesture interface’. At the time this vision of the future seemed so far beyond modern technology we called it science fiction. However, the idea that any surface can be a screen is no longer as far-fetched as it once seemed.
This tech is moving quickly into the home. LG recently showed a 64 inch screen at CES 2017 called Wallpaper. LG now has a screen which is just 1mm thick and can be attached to a wall with magnets. In under one year technology has gone from curved screen TVs to screens that can be rolled up like a piece of paper. Truly incredible.
By 2018 it is estimated that there will be around 759 million TV sets connected to the internet globally. This figure represents about 25% of the world’s TVs. By 2019, more than 50% of TV households in Japan, the US, the UK, France and Germany will have Smart TVs, according to the IHS TV Sets Intelligence Service.
We’re surrounded by screens everywhere we go. From the TV, to your laptop, tablet, or phone. And connecting them all is the Internet.
So, it seems all the parts are there: a screen or something plugged into it that can display images or video that it gets from somewhere else, a device in your hand, or in your lap, that gives you instant feedback the moment you touch or slide your finger across it, and a wifi network in your house that connects it all.
But there is one major hurdle stopping you from having your own Minority Report style show. Sharing media across all of these screens and devices: TVs, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, is not easy. This is because they are made by many of different companies. Some have features which allow for ‘cross-device’ compatibility: send video from your Samsung phone to your Samsung TV, send photos between Apple devices using Airdrop. But what about ‘cross-manufacturer’ compatibility? Well we are not quite there yet.
There are hardware solutions like Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV. However, all these require the app, or an extension to the app, to be compatible with your content. Screen-mirroring is one option, but forget about replying to that text, or alert, or notification from Facebook or Twitter, once you’re doing it – screen-mirroring means you’ll have to do it on both screens at once.
There are standards slowly being developed. Samsung’s Tizen system supports various types of DLNA, Miracast and DiAL screen sharing protocols across their range. LG have utilise both WebOS and Netcast. Sony is producing its own platform, as well as a Google TV variant. On top of that (literally, over-the-top or OTT) you have Google’s Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, and a host of other generic TV plug-in stick and boxes. But none of these solutions are independent and put the user at the centre. What’s needed now is something that centres the media experience to the user, around their most familiar computer interface.
The new kid on the block
Enter the new kid on the block, Playora. The basis of this new technology and app is that it gives the user the ability to touch something on one screen, and have that appear on another screen without fuss, wires or layers of menus. And that screen doesn’t have to be in the same room – or even the same country!
Now imagine this
You’re in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. The majestic peak of the Great Pyramid is to the left, and amazingly, impossibly, there’s hardly any other tourists around. The sun is just rising…you have the perfect shot: you, the Sun, and 4500 years of mystery. Click. That’s it… the best selfie you’ve ever taken! Then… swipe, press, swipe, press… that selfie is instantly on your Mum’s tablet back home in Italy. She’s just come home from work, she has some friends round (they’re all drinking espressos)… she sees the pic – gets all excited of course – and with the touch of a button sends it to her smart TV in the living room, where they’re all sitting. Much joy all around!
Picture another scenario
You and your friends all have Smart TVs – you’re out socialising all the time, round each other’s houses. WhatsApp is a big part of organising your social life, a great place for Banter, and a cool channel for sharing pics – but those pics from that boat party last night…well, they just have to be shared on the big screen. Your friends all have different makes and models of Smart TVs… but that’s not a problem: you just open up Playora! Swipe, press, swipe, press… voila! It’s on all their TVs at the same time… and your WhatsApp group goes crazy!
Who knows where we go next! With Google recently filing a patent to the US Patent & Trademark Office for what they are calling an “intra-ocular device” that lens may one day become a tiny, injectable transparent screen that lives in your eye and is connected to your phone by Bluetooth – making it possible to share your photos and videos directly into someone’s eyes, essentially creating a personal 3D cinema and built in virtual reality unit all in one, leaving Minority Report to dust!
Matt Spall (Founder)
Is a BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur, with a significant background in digital entertainment since 1986. Matt is the designer of Playora and has been active in development on Smart TV platforms and content since 2011.
Playora is raising £300,000 crowdfunding right now on Crowdcube, check out our pitch and see how you can buy a chunk of equity in the company that’s making science fiction science fact: https://www.crowdcube.com/playora
Founded by BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur Matt Spall, Playora is the trading name of Invisiplay Limited. The company was formed with the specific purpose of making it easier to use, so called, ‘Smart’ technology for entertainment by people left behind by the digital divide.