editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Time to Get Loud

It’s a classic case of upping the ante, and it’s not clear where it’s going to stop. Much consumer technology these days has been focused on democratizing the media, letting everyday people make their voices heard. This happens in a variety of different ways, whether it’s a succinct tweet, a simple click of the Like button, or any of a number of ways of sending a message to someone.

The problem is that the success of these technologies makes them somewhat self-neutralizing. When there’s only a few people tweeting or +1ing or even sending text messages, it‘s truly a dialog, and people can digest and respond to what’s being said.

But with everyone doing it, there’s so much “noise” that a) it’s hard to get noticed, and b) no one has time to read everything anymore, much less actually respond. So it’s become so much shouting into the wind.

Well there’s a new technology just announced called S’CREAM that raises the stakes. For now, anyway. Taking a cue from the Howl messages in Harry Potter, subscribers will be able to include special audio tags in their messages. When, for instance, a text or tweet arrives at someone’s phone, in addition to the message being visible on the screen, the audio module in the phone will also be brought to bear, blaring the message at top volume. The point is to be heard, so the volume control doesn’t affect S’CREAMs; only putting the phone in silent mode works, and, even then, the phone simply whispers the message instead of shouting it.

This technology is actually being implemented in a number of innovative ways. For example, the near-field communication technology being built into phones can be harnessed by businesses that invest in a simple, low-cost NFC reader. If you have Liked the business online, or if your tracked behavior is in any way consistent with liking that business, then, when you enter, the NFC reader will make note of your entry, cross-check the database, and send a S’CREAM to your phone that makes it blare, “I LOVE this place!”

Beyond that, RFID tags sewn into clothes will be able to satisfy the need for many people to consume conspicuously. No longer to be ignored, these clothes or accessories can trigger the phone to exclaim, as you walk into a room, “This suit cost $5000!” Or, “My wallet was made with 100% endangered rhino skin.”

Asked whether this will be self-defeating once everyone has it, CEO U. R. de Lautest said that we were underestimating the creativity of users. “It’s not how loud you say it,” he suggested; “it’s what you say, so being noticed is in your control.”

Asked whether all public spaces would resonate with a cacophony of S’CREAMs, he simply waved me away, saying, “Silence is dead. Get over it.”

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jun 30, 2020
“The customer is always right!” Anyone in customer service knows that motto. Pioneering businessmen César Ritz, Marshall Field, Harry Gordon Selfridge and others championed similar mantras throughout their careers. Today, Samtec lives and breathes Sudden Servic...
Jun 26, 2020
Oscar Vermeulen has been able to replicate the functionality of a classic PDP-11/70 using a mega-cool front panel with a Raspberry Pi as the computing engine....
Jun 26, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at the common machine-vision application and its primary .] We'€™ve seen that vision is a common AI these days, and we'€™ve also talked about the fact that our current spate of neural networks are not neuromorphic '€“ that is, they'€™...

featured video

Product Update: What’s Hot in DesignWare® IP for PCIe® 5.0

Sponsored by Synopsys

Get the latest update on Synopsys' DesignWare Controller and PHY IP for PCIe 5.0 and how the low-latency, compact, power-efficient, and silicon-proven solution can enable your SoCs while reducing risk.

Click here for more information about DesignWare IP Solutions for PCI Express

Featured Paper

Cryptography: Fundamentals on the Modern Approach

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

Learn about the fundamental concepts behind modern cryptography, including how symmetric and asymmetric keys work to achieve confidentiality, identification and authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation.

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

Magnetics for High Voltage

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Bourns

With today’s trend toward ever-increasing voltages in energy systems, choosing the right transformer for the job has become an engineering challenge. High voltages demand careful attention to insulation, clearance, and creepage. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Cathal Sheehan of Bourns about choosing magnetics for high-voltage applications.

More information about Bourns Magnetics for High Voltage Applications