Jun 14, 2004

ambient meetings

Reason #42 to ride the bus to work more often: you run into old friends on the walk from the bus terminal to the office. Ran into David Rose last week while picking up coffee and a bagel from Cafe Centro; David is CEO of Ambient Devices, the folks who make the glowing orbs, the weather beacons, and the upcoming executive dahsboards that pull information from a wireless network and display it “ambiently.” We spent an hour catching each other up and rambling through things like attention economics, virtual startups, information design, persuasive technologies and just how great it is to be a dad.

Ambient is featured in this week’s Economist (PDF version here), and there’s a great quote from David…

The problem with existing information-display systems, says David Rose, the firm’s chief executive, is that they provide too much detail and are too intrusive. By mapping information on to visual clues that can be taken in at a glance, Ambient’s products are intended to provide an unobtrusive alternative. “There’s a fallacy that more details are better,” he says. “What you actually want is awareness first and details on demand.”

The folks at the business intelligence companies like Cognos or Hyperion should be paying attention to what David’s up to; or even bundling their new dashboard product for execs. Awareness first, details on demand.

(Oh, and I also saw a prototype of a new device they’re working on, but if I told you about it, David would kill me.)