Emerging Media Lab at IFTF
The Emerging Media Lab (EML) at Institute for the Future explores the rapidly evolving technologies and platforms that are transforming human communication. Over the past 100 years, we have seen exponential growth in the tools which humans use to share information, knowledge, emotions, and experiences—with one another, with the rest of the world, and into the future for others to learn from and build upon. Communication technologies have and will continue to be the most powerfully accelerating factor in the development of human culture and conscious.
The EML at IFTF serves as a prototyping studio, an independent research group, and an active participant in the continually evolving relationship between humans and the sophisticated media systems we create.
New Realities of Learning: Experiential Media and the Future of Education
The Emerging Media Lab at Institute for the Future partnered with California Community Colleges to explore the future affordances and applications of virtual reality and augmented reality for education and workforce training.
Together, VR and AR provide a wide array of powerful new experiential communication tools that provide learners with deeply immersive experiences that can deepen learning, connect with a wider range of learning styles, improve retention, and extend accessibility for learners and educators through remote collaboration systems.
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Following the IFTF Signals methodology, the EML will closely monitor the early signals of media technology as well as technologies that are coming online and to-market. The EML will continue to build on relationships with technology/platform developers both large and small in order to track developments from both top-down and bottom-up. As a not-for-profit, technology agnostic institution, IFTF holds a unique position and holistic perspective to be able to track not only individual product innovations, but to shape and guide the emergence of distributed communication ecosystems.
The EML will explore and evaluate both prescribed uses as well as uses unintended by the technology creators. The EML will experiment with potential use cases and applications in partnerships with a wide range of user groups including business enterprise, government agencies, social interventions, creative artists, healthcare innovators, and next generation educational systems.
The Institute for the Future has a nearly 50 year history of providing not only foresight into possible and likely futures, but more importantly, in leading and cultivating the conversations needed to more fully understand the impact these futures will have across the spectrum of humanity. The Emerging Media Lab will work in partnership with the extensive collection of IFTF researchers, partners and domain experts to better explain the wide scale impact of these emerging media trends, and help our clients and partner organizations better understand, navigate and apply the new affordances of the continually evolving media communications ecosystem.
Our primary research is focused on the rapidly emerging areas of experiential communication technologies including: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, virtual beings, social media, cognitive computing and other forms of ambient and immersive media/computing. Moving forward, our definition of media will evolve to include any tools, technologies or platforms that enable, assist or enhance human communications.
- EML Signals/Insights/Actions—reports and subscriptions
- Custom Forecasts—covering disruptions/opportunities of emerging media technologies/platforms
- Day-long Immersions at the EML—demos, workshops and curated expert conversations
- Custom Design and Prototyping Services
- Multi-Sponsor Research Groups
In addition to exploring and evaluating emerging media technologies, the EML will also provide and advise on production services for practical application of the most interesting and effective communication tools encountered in EML research in service of the broader IFTF research community’s communication projects.
Application of new communication systems in the service of conveying IFTF’s research and initiatives will also provide the EML with valuable insights into the opportunities and limitations of the tools.
Experiential communication tools are uniquely suited to provide our clients and community with powerful design, concepting, presentation, simulation and collaboration systems that offer levels of visualization, immersion, agency, embodiment previously unavailable.
The rapidly evolving fidelity and mutli-sensory capabilities of experiential media provide an unparalleled exploration space to simulate future concepts, objects, environments, relationships and scenarios in deeply powerful ways.