Sony Europe and Forum for the Future unveil four ‘concepts’ for 2025

Today Sony Europe and non-profit sustainability organisation Forum for the Future have unveiled four new and exciting concepts intended to show how technology might contribute to living more sustainably in the future.

The four concepts – a product, a place, a platform, a design philosophy – are the product of the FutureScapes project.

Coordinated by Sony, FutureScapes is an open collaboration project that has brought together futurologists, thinkers, authors, technologists, sustainability experts, vloggers and the public to imagine what life might be like in 2025.

The community debated the potential for technology to create a better, more sustainable world. Ultimately, a series of ‘workshops’ were held to build on that debate and develop real innovations, inventions and ideas for a more sustainable future.

The four concepts

A huge range of ideas emerged from the workshops, but four in particular – Wandular, the Internet of Things Academy, Hyper Village and The Shift – were chosen to be taken forward for further exploration by Sony’s collaboration partners.

1) Wandular

Development partner: Engage by Design

A multi-functional, modular handheld device that evolves with you over your lifetime. Aims to encourage people to attach a different meaning to a device and develop a longer-term relationship with it. Stays up-to-date thanks to cloud downloads and the latest hardware plugins.

2) Internet of Things Academy (IOTA)

Development partner: Superflux

IOTA makes coding and data accessible to everyone, allowing people to translate complex bits of data into simple, useful building blocks. By allowing the ‘mixing and matching’ of hardware, software and data sets, it will free people to create things they want and need.

3) Hyper Village

Development partner: The Pipeline Project

The Hyper Village is a ‘hi-tech, hi-nature’ rural community. Self-reliant yet globally connected, it’s underpinned by the very latest high-spec software and hardware. It’s the best of both worlds, allowing people to enjoy the best that both technology and the natural world have to offer.

4) The Shift

Development partner: Forum for the Future

The Shift is more a question than a concept. Is it time to refocus society’s relationship with technology so that it more genuinely meets human needs? A theme that continually came up throughout the FutureScapes project, The Shift looks at how technology might change to boost creativity, productivity, or even our relationship with nature.

FutureScapes: the story so far…

· Since its launch in September 2011, the FutureScapes project has brought together some of Europe’s leading thinkers, futurologists, writers and inventors to explore the possibilities for life in 2025

· It hasn’t been about predicting the future, rather exploring what opportunities and challenges we might face, and what new technologies and lifestyle changes might be needed

· The public have been with us every step of the way, from gathering for a mass brainstorm to recording their thoughts on YouTube; sharing their thoughts on Facebook and Twitter to submitting their own original fiction as part of our short stories competition

· The Economist and Wired magazine have also been involved – check out what their experts have had to say about 2025 here and here

Get involved!

We want to know what you think of our final four concepts! Think they’re a realistic prospect for 2025, or improbable? Which would you like to see come to life? Have you got a favourite concept you think we should look into in more-depth? What have we missed?

Here’s how to air your views:

· Watch the summary video of for all four concepts, or download the full pdf to explore the concepts in greater depth

· Post your comments and join in the conversation over on the FutureScapes Facebook page or chat to us over on Twitter

· Visit the FutureScapes website to find out more about the entire process and the journey that we’ve taken to reach these four concepts.


Esther Maughan McLachlan, General Manager, Sustainability, Sony Europe:

“With collaboration at its core, FutureScapes sought to shake up the way people think about sustainability and technology. It’s not about predicting the future; instead it’s about getting better at imagining the possibilities. We’re really excited about the potential of these concepts and have set about connecting with others already working in these areas, in order to explore how FutureScapes can continue to evolve.”

Rodrigo Bautista, Founder Engage by Design and concept lead for Wandular:

“Wandular is an exploration of how we can relate in a different way to artifacts and services in the future and also hopefully reduce the amount of disposable electronics. The aim is to encourage people to attach more meaning to a technological device, and develop a long term relationship with it. The idea is for Wandular to be magical, grow old gracefully with its host and be upgradable as a service.”

Dan Burgess, The Pipeline Project and concept lead for Hyper Village:

“Hyper Village is about exploring ways to create more equity between rural and urban communities in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. It’s about realising the enormous value in remote and rural areas, not just for the communities that live there, but for urban communities also. We’re excited about creating better connections and relationships within the whole system of life that exists between rural and urban. We believe this will be critical for a healthy and flourishing society in 2025.”

Anab Jain, founder of Superflux and concept lead for IOTA:

“IOTA is an initial attempt to visualise a thriving community of people involved in imagining, building, and testing projects at the intersection of the physical and the digital. We wanted to propose a single, unifying platform that provides a space for play and experimentation, empowering people from a variety of backgrounds and with various skills to build something bigger.”

Hugh Knowles, Forum for the Future, and concept lead for The Shift:

“One theme that has emerged time and again throughout the FutureScapes project has been what we are calling ‘The Shift’. Can our relationship with information and communication technology really continue on its current trajectory, and what might the impacts be by 2025? Greater connectivity does not always mean greater productivity or better relationships and how can we explore the idea a more proportionate approach to technology? Inspired by this idea, Forum for the Future is going to start working with like-minded organisations to experiment with improving our relationship with technology and trying to answer some of these questions.”

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