Thursday, March 27, 2014

Digital Paper and why it's going to be unused

So, yesterday, SONY unveiled what some are calling a productivity enhancement and a collaboration streamliner. Designed to increase productivity and streamline collaboration in paper-intensive environments, Digital Paper will appeal to a range of user communities including legal, higher education, governmental agencies and corporate board rooms across the United States.

Sorry, but that's not happening. No one scribbles notes onto a legal pad, and then posts that to the group as meeting minutes. Sure, it may reduce the amount of paper that flows between an executive and whoever does their typing, or it may enable editors to more quickly mark up changes to copy, but it's not going to be a time saver for those whose job it is to puzzle through that hand scrawl and parse it into actual, editable text. This has been the failing of every "digital ink" platform all along. If I can't search on the notes, why should I scribble them down? And, be sure, scribbling with a digital stylus on a screen is certain to be less legible than a ballpoint on a legal pad.

These folks trying to solve the digital ink/paper problem are building Ford's faster horse - they're listening to the user and trying to give them what they want. And that's not going to usher them into a new paradigm of collaboration and sharing. It's not even going to be as good as what they have now, making notes and edits on laser printouts. These people need to learn to type, or to use voice data entry. Or someone needs to get Apple's Newton handwriting recognition out of the vault and add it to the iPad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Memory Lane,Durham,United States