This week the tech-adjacent media (which I personally define as internet-savvy pop culture sites like Jezebel and geek lifestyle sites like io9 and The Mary Sue) has been full of stories about a new software called iPet Companion. Animal shelters are using it to allow users to play with kitties at the shelters remotely- which is a win for everyone involved, as the kitties get entertainment, the users develop engagement with the kitties and are more likely to adopt (see this article about how online engagement drives sales) and the company, Reach-In, gets their software publicized.
As a marketer, I salute the Reach-In folks for this masterstroke- using the internet to disseminate gamified kitty-based marketing content with a social conscience message pretty much hits it out of the park. You can actually buy the software for your own home and use it to entertain your own kitty, for $349.95 (the doggy version is $395), but what Reach-In is really doing is selling their technology to businesses. And that technology is the future, a future where everyone uses real-time physical interaction applications to move objects over the internet. The implications are profound- imagine life-saving surgeries performed remotely or artists directing robots to install massive sculptures in a city half a world away.
Earlier this week we wrote about the advances in 3D printing, and how the Shapeways’ Factory of the Future is basically realizing the future William Gibson described in “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, where a “Nanofax” machine offers technology that “digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.” Reach-In’s technology is offering the ultimate realization of the remote manipulation technology originally envisioned by Robert Heinlein in the short story “Waldo“. When you go to iPet Companion to play with the kitties (because who wouldn’t? It’s the best, cutest, nicest idea ever and it’s free!), consider that we may crowd-source remote operation of rock-sampling robots on Mars with iPhones before you know it.
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