Street Fight’s February Theme: Beyond the Screen

This post is the latest in our “Beyond the Screen” series. It will be an editorial focus for the month of February, and you can see the rest of the series here


Consumer touchpoints continue to fragment and atomize, disrupting conventional approaches to media and tech. Drivers of this trend include devices from smart speakers to cars. Accordingly, as we roll into February, the Street Fight editorial team is thinking outside the box — that is, beyond the rectangles that frame our typical screen interfaces.

For example, as my former colleague and newly minted VP of Insights at Uberall Greg Sterling says, “The future of search will begin with a V.” He’s referring to voice search and visual search. As speech-to-text processing and computer vision improve, these will emerge as major alternatives to typing.

One sign the industry is headed in that direction is simple: Follow the money. Google has a lot riding on future-proofing its core business, so it continues to cultivate additional and alternative front ends for search. Strengthening visual and voice search not only secures a future position for the industry but also increases query volume today.

This theme also builds on displays at CES, the annual inflection point of consumer tech that looks to claim mindshare beyond the edges of your smartphone. It also comes as smartphone global growth continues to plateau, compelling hardware providers to scramble for other “constellation” gadgetry.

In fact, Street Fight contributor and Brandify VP of Product Damian Rollison* was on site at CES and picked up on many related shards, including the proliferation of voice into myriad consumer touchpoints. He had this to say in a recent discussion:

“CES may be a bit out in front of the reality on the street for most consumers, but it demonstrated that consumer tech companies are betting big on embedded connectivity in a very wide variety of electronic devices — and even some household objects, like frying pans, bath mats, faucets, and cat litter boxes, that we wouldn’t normally think of as part of an information network.

As for what this means for the future of the interface, it seems clear that we are moving further toward the disembodiment of the operating system from any single machine. You might not be issuing voice commands directly to your frying pan, but you may well be doing so soon enough through the indirect linkage of a Google Nest Hub integration. Voice is just one of many interface options that will likely be determined by what makes sense in context.” 

Of course, there’s also everyone’s favorite topic: 5G. Because its low-range, high-frequency signal will require densely clustered base stations, a byproduct will be greater ability to triangulate precise location. That will happen through sensor-laden devices on your wrist and places other than your phone.

So, our promise to you is to provide deep coverage of emerging technologies including voice search, visual search, augmented reality, and 5G. How are tech providers innovating with these modalities? How are users adopting them? And how are local marketers tackling the opportunity?

This month, you’ll see a series of posts on these topics. We’ll label posts accordingly so you can look out for them. We’ll also give you the chance to see them all at once. This is part of an ongoing editorial cadence at Street Fight aimed at helping you find our most pertinent content across monthly themes.

Reach out to us with suggestions for monthly themes, opportunities to contribute, and to amplify your brand messaging alongside this thematic coverage. We’ll soon publish an updated Street Fight media kit so you can plan accordingly.

*Brandify is Street Fight’s owner and corporate parent, though Street Fight maintains editorial independence.

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Mike Boland is Street Fight's lead analyst, author of the Road Map column and producer of the Heard on the Street podcast. He has been an analyst in the local space since 2005, covering mobile, social and emerging tech. More biographical information can be seen at www.mikebo.land