Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quick Hit: 2010 Horizon Report on New Technologies and Museums

The folks at the New Media Consortium have released their annual Horizon Report, a roundup of up-and-coming technologies relevant to museums, archives, and libraries. Like its predecessors, the report provides succinct backgrounds and reference projects for technologies predicted for widespread adoption on the 1, 2-3, and 4-5 year timescale. 2010 is the first year that the NMC has released a museum-specific report, but previous reports have been informed by museum professionals (as well as other educational technologists).

From my perspective, the Horizon Report's value is in its quick technology descriptions and links, not its predictive power. The technologies are selected by a large and diverse group of professionals, and it's probably impossible to pick a single set of near-term technologies for institutions with different budgets, capacities, and technological experience. One institution may be struggling to provide open wireless while another is messing around with augmented reality. Over the past five years, there have been some technologies that came and went (virtual worlds) and others that seem to be permanently on the five year horizon because geeks really like them (semantic web, internet of things).

The Horizon Reports ARE really useful if you need arsenal to explain the relevance, utility, or educational value of new technologies in your museum. Their descriptions of the technologies are clear, brief, and loaded with links.

Here are the technologies covered for the past five years, along with links to the reports. Happy reading!

  • mobile
  • social media
  • augmented reality
  • location-based services
  • gesture-based computing
  • semantic web
  • mobile
  • cloud computing
  • geo-everything (similar to location-based services)
  • personal web
  • semantic-aware applications
  • smart objects
  • grassroots video
  • collaboration webs (collaborating on the web)
  • mobile broadband
  • data mashups
  • collective intelligence
  • social operating systems
  • user-created content
  • social networking
  • mobile phones
  • virtual worlds
  • new scholarship and emerging forms of publication
  • massively multiplayer educational gaming
  • social computing
  • personal broadcasting
  • mobile phones
  • educational gaming
  • augmented reality and enhanced visualization
  • context-aware environments and devices (similar to "smart objects" in 2009)
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