Sometimes new technology seems like science fiction. Other times, science fiction introduces us to new technology.
I remember watching Minority Report and having a sense that I was watching a future closer than it seemed. There's a scene where Tom Cruise is walking through a shopping area and each time he passes a store there is a personalized ad; and in other scenes there is a "Terminator-Like" text that overlays the physically real world. That is called "Augmented Reality".
Well, your phone may not be as cool as that, yet; however it's getting there pretty quickly.
The next picture doesn't look like much; but it's using the iPhone's built-in camera and GPS unit to recognize highly rated restaurants in real time. The application doing this is Yelp. This feature is
currently hidden by default; but you can turn it on by shaking your
phone vigorously, until the "Monocle" feature activates.
Soon, I imagine this will be enhanced further with a discount coupons and the
ability to place orders before you walk in the door. Nonetheless, it's
an example of what's coming.
Where Else Will This Be Useful?
Imagine what this could do to the real-estate industry (as price per square foot, tax rates, etc. overlay the properties as you drive by). Or, imagine traders looking at a chart displaying the most relevant indicators, patterns, setups, and triggers for the company or market they are analyzing. It gives a whole new meaning to real-time business intelligence.