Fast Forward 2005: 28-32

The future is something to get excited about again. Here’s our look at the surprising people, ideas, and trends that will change how we work and live in 2005.


28. Invasive, Invisible Security

Security’s not just a logistics challenge; it’s a design problem too. Real-estate developers are asking architects to provide the best security measures, without cluttering up the look and feel of the building. The design puzzle is to make something that’s everywhere disappear. The result is a new generation of buildings designed around a paradox: invasive security that’s invisible. Fortified buildings, lockdown doors, surveillance cameras, roadblocks — all disguised and incorporated into the design through an innovative collection of tricks and optical illusions (for example, large outdoor sculptures that double as roadblocks). Does this explain those artistic cows and fish in front of office buildings?


29. Old Vodka in New Bottles

If you can’t make the utilitarian invisible, make it ostentatious. Wyborowa premium vodka will try to stand out on the top shelf with the national rollout of a bottle designed by architect Frank Gehry, proving yet again that design is the easiest way to reenergize a product.

30. Pop-up Retail

Our retail landscape can be so monotonous as to blur. Think GapStarbucksCVS. What’s standing out from the clutter are the temporary retail experiments known as pop-up retail. “There have been half a dozen pop-up retail formats going on in the past four months,” says McMillan Doolittle retail analyst Neil Stern. “But in the next 12 to 18 months, I think we’re going to be deluged with people doing pop-up stores.” Early innovators have been Target’s temporary stores around New York (on barges, in Rockefeller Center) and Delta launching Song airlines with a SoHo boutique. If done right, pop-up retail generates great PR and excites customers wanting a novel experience. As pop-up proliferates, though, can retailers keep the stunts unique enough to continue generating buzz, or will these stores also blur into the landscape?

31. Jargon Alert! Time Sovereignty

As we wrote last month, balance is bunk. So chattering about “work-life” is, too. “Time sovereignty” replaces the work-life buzzwords. The idea: It’s not so much balance that employees are trying to achieve as it is the freedom to do either — work or have a life — when needed.

32. Brandenburg’s Digital Concerto

The father of the MP3, Karlheinz Brandenburg has now developed a second digital audio technology: Iosono. He calls it the first spatial sound system. Using wave synthesis, he’s able to place a specific sound wave with unprecedented precision. If programmers want to create the illusion of a tiger sneaking up on the listener, for example, they can move the big cat’s breathing from within inches of the left shoulder to the right. The applications for such realistic effects are endless — movies, musicals, operas, concerts, dance clubs, and home theaters. The first installation will most likely be a theme park attraction in 2005, says Tonio Palmer, Iosono’s U.S. sales rep. With the new equipment it requires and the learning curve to use it most effectively, though, it’ll be years before Iosono has MP3’s ubiquity.

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