The digital video industry has its hands full already just trying to monetize the desktop screen, so it may be asking too much to consider how to make a business of a video-enabled bathroom mirror or kitchen countertop. Still, one of the unlikeliest of viral video hits this month offers an enticing vision where pretty much every surface becomes another digital screen. The Corning Glass "A Day Made of Glass" video has more than 9 million views via YouTube already, and it has to be among the most watched industrial flicks of all time. As Mediapost MarketingDaily columnist Aaron Barr reported earlier this month, the video was designed for an Investor's Day by the company in February, but the sleek futurism and deft narrative skills involved made it an unexpected YouTube hit once it got online.
If you haven't seen this yet, it is certainly worth the five minutes.
In classic industrial film fashion, this is really a glass manufacturer's wet dream of a future made of its raw materials. I am sure that beneath and behind that fantasy is the darker calculus being made of a monster business in replacements for a world made of glass. As soon as that young girl plopped her sneakers on the countertop in this video the parent in me immediately started wondering how long it would take for a dropped pot, a wrestling match or a stray shove to crack any of those wonderful displays on that refrigerator, counter, stove. And that glass dashboard in the interactive car? How much of a fender bender would it take to crack that one? Remember the first cases of the cracks on iPhone 4 models? What if the world were built that way?
Taking my scolding parent's hat off, however, Corning's fantasy surely is one that should energize the digital video industry. In this world, virtually every imaginable space becomes a screen, and so there is another good use case for video as the information medium of choice. Take note that Corning's fantasy is not one in which "information is at our fingertips" but one in which full motion video experiences are everywhere and relevant.Sure, Corning has revived a long lost art of the futurist fantasy. But get beneath the wonder and there are great ways to imagine how video everywhere (truly everywhere) could enhance living. Just imagine if those refrigerator and stovetop displays communicated with RFID tags in the products you buy to put on these screen recipe ideas, nutritional and dosage guidelines? What if the range of possible screens on which your video could play were so diverse that new ad and content delivery systems would be needed just to understand context and adapt media accordingly? If we think the online ecosystem is complicated, consider how daunting and thrilling a video (really) everywhere environment would be.