Libraries & the Post-PC era – Jason Griffey – VALA 2012

Steve Jobs 2010 – analogy to cars – we have had PCs for 30 years, but now our needs are being fulfilled by other devices – pads and smart phones for example.

 Once upon a time………… there was a princess, the princess loved books, but the princess also loved computers – enamoured with the digital, loves media on all sorts of computers. Her media is everywhere and goes with her everywhere she goes. She doesn’t understand what “we don’t have it” means. She didn’t understand videotapes and the requirement to rewind before watching, it was broken technology to her.

 Our users expect our services to reflect the experiences they are getting from external services, such as Amazon and Netflix.

 No surprise that smart phones outnumber computers. It is a bit of a surprise that it is the same worldwide.

 Linux is less common, than even iOS, which is on the iPad. Australia has over 100% cell phone penetration and nearly ½ of the population have smart phones. The access this gives these people is transformative. In the US, penetration is over 100%, but smart phones is 35%. Mobile phones are the fastest spreading communication technology in the world.

 84% of Australian online adults who have mobile phones use them for more than voice. Not just SMS either.

He works at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga – has 10,000 students. A good representation of a mid-sized school in the US. 82% of students access their resources online – the other 18% in person. Gate count – 428,032. Website – 1,973,612. Think about how many people are serving in your buildings and then how many are serving your website.

 They can measure on campus use. 18.25% using Macs, 39.32& using Windows devices and 39.31% using mobile devices. 2.89% using games consoles and the remaining mostly Linux. So what are the most common mobile operating systems. These includes 5 Nooks, 41 Kindles, 69 Kindle Fires, over 1000 Androids, 770 iPod Touches, 839 iPads and 2173 iPhones.

 Of the Australian smart phone users, over 50% are using iPhones.

 What are the campus users doing on their devices? 36.5% Netflix. 17.8% Flash video over Http. 11.2% Http – standard web traffic. 11.1% http – media stream. 65.4% – of all traffic is streaming video. How much is coming from the library? People aren’t coming to us for this stuff anymore.

They have this as Chattanooga has the fastest Internet in the US and its cheap. $300 per month for a Gig of bandwidth. This is coming everywhere though. Media streaming is just the beginning.

 What does a post PC world look like? Not just talking about mobile. Its about everything that connected to the Internet. The Internet of things that talk to each other is coming.

 In ten years, we went from iMac to iPhone, from 2000 to 2010. Moore’s Law gets us this – every 18 months get twice as fast and half as expensive. This is what 10 years of Moore’s Law looks like.

 We have single-purpose devices – the Kindle is a great example – it is great at reading books, but terrible at everything else. We have multi-purpose devices – such as the iPad or Kindle Fire. They become anything you want them to become. Harder to understand how we deliver content to these devices because they are infinitely flexible. 55.28 million iPads sold in the three years since its launch. In 2008, Apple sold more iPhones than in 2007. In 2009, 2010 and then again 2011, they sold more than in all previous years combined. In 2011, Apple has sold 315 million devices running iOS. This is the platform we need to pay attention to, because this is what they are buying.

 PC is an example of a mediated interface – you interact with it via a keyboard or a mouse. With a touch screen, there is a direct interaction. Touch is something that everyone understands as a means of interface. What have we done for our library that uses touch as the interface. Its the easy one.

Microsoft Surface Table 2 is out now and that’s another big change coming.

 Xbox Kinect is another change coming. It controls via gesture. People are building it into laptops and will be coming to tablets. It will be commonplace within the next three years. We should be paying attention to this.

 Voice control was envisioned by Apple in the late 1980s and is now happening with smart phones. Another area to be watching.

 Jawbone bracelet monitors your daily movement and links to your phone to provide a daily report. It is becoming more widespread because the cost of sensors is dropping, making it much easier. Twine is a small ambient sensor which started as a Kickstart project – it can be left somewhere to sense changes and then contact you. eg. Lets you know when washing machine stops, if your aquarium leaks, if someone raids the pantry – its a generic device. It could text you, tweet you, when your programmed event happens. We could have them on our shelves, to record when someone moves a book! They can be bought right now, but are probably 3-5 years away from being robust.

 “Predictions are hard – particularly when they are about the future” – Yogi Bera.

 Showed Arthur C Clarke video about the difficulties of predicting the future. If what he says sounds ridiculous, its more likely to be true.

 Showed video on flip scanning from University of Tokyo – just flip through the pages and it is digitised. Can scan a 200 page book in about one minute, uses lasers to de-skew and uses a usual camera and a infra-red camera. The professor in charge sees this eventually in mobile phones. What happens when a user can just walk in with their phone and walk out with everything we own. Samsung Transparent Smart Window – light transmissive, unless you want it to be. Coming out later this year – already in mass production. 3D printing – Maker Bot already has a depository online of things to print – can buy one for $1750 in the US. This is an awesome opportunity for libraries to get into, before they become affordable to the average consumer.

 “Rainbows end” by Vernor Vinge is a MUST read – he describes an academic library after the human race is rendered super-human.

 There are heads up displays in goggles and glasses already available. LEDs on contact lenses are already in development.

 We are experiencing temporary INCOHERENT RAGE – Please stand by!

 We need to be thinking long term – Moore’s Law makes everything cheap eventually. They get so cheap that they end up being disposable. We need to be ready for when that happens.

 We need to be looking outside ourselves. Our issues are not unique and there are solutions out there that can work for us as well. Others are doing better than we are.

 We need to be thinking about mobile first and not fourth or fifth. “Adaptive web design” by Aaron Gustafson. Need better metrics and prepare for the data flood – its not about circulation or gate count. There are other things that are much more important.

 Roger’s adoption curve for adoption of new technology. Not all libraries need to be on the cutting edge. We need to be where our users are. If our patrons are late majority, we need to be early majority. Knowing where our users are, should drive where we our library is.

 Douglas Adams – anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things – unfortunately this is the group that most librarians are in – we need to change this.

 Clay Shirkey – tools dont get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.

 Henry Ford – if I’d asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.

 Steve Jobs – It isn’t the consumer’s job to know what they want.

 The best way for us to predict the future is to create it. Libraries need to be involved in this. The future needs us.


 We are needed? Please elaborate.

Patrons bypass us for resources. But they don’t use the web well – they need us to help them to discover and assess appropriate online resources. We also have a local role – not just community centre, but cultural memory – about the objects for which the community cares.

 Experiences cause expectations. How do you manage your undergrads who are early adopters and academics who are laggards?

We serve populations as best we can by segmenting them. Different services for different users. “but those people are going to die” – plan for the future, which means not planning for those who won’t be around for it.

 Are staff ready and willing for the post PC world?

Fortunate to work in a change oriented library – even if have had times where people have been dragged kicking and screaming. However, if they won’t change, then maybe they need to be elsewhere. Cant let the contrarians keep us from the future.

 Breakdown of remote to on campus students?

About 1200 remote – but large growth in off campus users, which will continue.

 NBN impact besides video?

Communication, learning etc. Skype is a trivial example but most relevant. Streaming media ranges widely between learning through classes to watching cat videos on YouTube.

 Concern about social control issue and privacy?

Should get over it because its almost about to go ahead away. Privacy is something we need to frame differently – users should have control over it themselves. Dont yet have a culturally good way to express the changes brought about by ‘things like CCTV, biometrics, social networking and more – much of which will have to be controlled legally. Going to have a hard time with personal privacy over the next ten years.

 When our free broadband is no longer required – where does our careful training go?

Our careful training will be used elsewhere – collection development – human filtered is still better than machine filtered.