Sony's eMarker and Xenote's iTag are the harbingers of multifunction devices that will integrate users' lives more deeply with the networked world.
Both devices are at rudimentary stages and can be viewed essentially as time-stamping devices that enable users to place markers in a single dimension, time.
In their current models, the devices are purely informational. For example, they identify songs or, in iTag's case, advertisements that appear in a stream of information.
In the future, however, they will facilitate negotiations for purchases and will enable users to transfer media into personal accounts on a network or into a device such as a portable media player.
Sony will have the initial advantage in pursuing such a strategy due to its own line of personal electronics.
Xenote will doubtless cast itself as a neutral technology provider, however. It will sell its chip and likely a database of informational content to Sony competitors and companies in completely different businesses.
The wearable network interface market is also poised to spiral out into complexity.
Retailers such as grocery stores will likely supply personal bar code readers, for example, which will enable users to click on an ad to obtain a virtual coupon for a product at the store. Such a device would benefit from the ability to click on a media stream as well.
Retailers, advertisers, media aggregators and producers must watch the Sony strategy and that of Xenote--as well as the strategies of all personal network interface products--in order to discern opportunities in this nascent but potentially explosive market.
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