Future Perfect triggers thoughts…

June 4th, 2013

By Mattias

A few weeks back I wrote a short blog post regarding why we started Fidesmo. There I mentioned that we want to break down the barriers for NFC by providing software and connectivity in an Internet-fashion. A few days ago I then read “Future Perfect” by Steven Johnson (an all in all very enjoyable and accessible read about the future networked society, trying to tie together the fast paced technology evolution with a more slow paced evolution in the social, politics and business dimensions) and came across the chapter “What Does the Internet Want?” and thought: this is what we want with Fidesmo!

Johnson here introduces the term affordance, which is a term that tries to capture the “deep-seated tendencies” of a communication medium that define the way users will interact with it. For instance, for television the affordance is a one-way broadcast of images that is mostly passive for the receiver of the content. It is also top-down, in the sense that very few people in the world could evolve it since major corporations have controlled the technology. For the Internet, it is not so easy to come up with its affordance since it is a “shapeshifter” – it can become whatever the users of it wants it to become since everything is software anyway…

According to Johnson, the first affordance with the Internet is this ability for shape-shifting and to re-invent itself. This is also mirroring what we at Fidesmo feel is lacking in the NFC world: We need tools to innovate with, and we need a platform to innovate on top of. Even more so, for the whole NFC eco-system to flourish, we need more companies to start using it, and for that we need to get out of the one-way mode of operation that has been going on until now, and open up since, as Johnson wisely put it: “A medium that displays a capacity for reinvention tends, in the long run at least, to build up a much larger community of people who want to help reinvent it.”

The second major affordance with the Internet is that it makes it easier and cheaper to share information. This is why Internet is used in uprisings all over the world, and why it is used in so many lightweight and distributed organizations (also at Fidesmo we heavily use Internet based communication tools, distributed as we are… 🙂 ) And here we touch upon the second target for Fidesmo: to make it easier and cheaper to distribute applications to secure elements. In fact, this is not an easy target, but we are determined to succeed!