January 4, 2010    /    by

Watch Out - the Vooks are Coming!

What's around the corner for 2010? What new invention will be the next iPhone, iPod or blackberry? Are there any hot ...

What's around the corner for 2010? What new invention will be the next iPhone, iPod or blackberry? Are there any hot tech topics that CTOs need to be considering for their infrastructure budgets? Just as important for technology professionals, what Christmas presents might be showing up at a government office near you?

Over the holidays I was reading about upcoming innovations and technology predictions for the new year and beyond. Along the way, I came across a new term called "vooks."

 I thought to myself: What's a vook? So I googled it and typed, "articles on vooks."  Google came back with: "Did you mean: articles on books?" My Microsoft Word program didn't do much better - putting a red line under the word and offering suggestions like "look, took and cook."

My daughter thought vooks might be creatures from outerspace or aliens in the movie Avatar - which she reminded me that we need to see soon.

 

But a vook is a hybrid between a video and a book. Scrolling down further from my Google search, you will come across these somewhat recent articles:

Curling Up with Hybrid Books, Videos Included (excerpt from New York Times)

"... In the age of the iPhone, Kindle and YouTube, the notion of the book is becoming increasingly elastic as publishers mash together text, video and Web features in a scramble to keep readers interested in an archaic form of entertainment."

Vook Publishes Sherlock Holmes Classics and Offers Hundreds of Thousands of Copies to Schools and Libraries in the United States and United Kingdom (excerpt from www.earthtimes.org )

"The Sherlock Holmes Experience vook is a revolutionary new way to read the exploits of Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary character, Sherlock Holmes. The vook enhances these timeless stories with videos that delve into the history and legend surrounding Holmes. The videos annotate the text, giving readers a better picture of the times and the ability to pick out details and historical facts that help readers further immerse themselves in the mysteries. Additionally, key terms are hyperlinked throughout the vook to let readers explore sites on the Web related to the plot without having to lose their place in the story. The vook will be available as an application on the iPhone and the browser-based Vook Reader."

What is a Vook and will it change how you read? (Excerpt from Entertainment Weekly)

"Is this the first hole in the dam for our traditional definition of what books are? Can a single medium continue to exist alone in this increasingly multimedia world, or will reading inevitably end up looking less like Gutenberg and more like Google?"

Where does a vook come from? Well, from vook.com, of course. Vook is also a company started in 2008.  (No, I have no financial interest or any other relationship with them.) Their front pages announces: "Make a new you in 2010." 

OK, so why is a government CTO writing about vooks in an infrastructure blog? Great question. A few things (and trends) to consider:

1) One complaint that I hear from our customers is that we are not thinking about their apps, the future, what's next, and building infrastructure to support it. We're too worried (and busy) solving current issues and not looking at strategic directions for government.    

2) Here's another great example of the new media world we live in where video, the Internet, text and just about everything end users do with technology, are merging together. Yes, we've seen similar things before with mashups - but vooks, or some variation thereof, may become a new killer app for select customers.

3) Think about future training opportunities at work and possibilities for K-12 and higher education.

4) More directly, this technology has major implications for network connectivity for governments, Internet access speeds, and more. I know many state and local governments that block all video, and that strategy will only work for so long.

5) As an author, I'm interested in books, new forms of writing, interpersonal communication and this cool, trendy topic. 

Bottom line - Watch out, the vooks are coming!     

 

One more thing - when I told my wife Priscilla about this new term "vook" she sighed. "Where have all the book lovers gone?"   She's not the only one asking that question.