The Future of Connectivity, Sharing and Creation
How Technology Will Shape the Way We Live in the Future
Innovation is multiplying at a rapid pace. Never before have we seen user adoption and acceptance of technology increase at such rates—so much that old business models become obsolete and long-established ways of getting things done are threatened with extinction every day. A consumer-driven market has democratized information technology like never before. This presents tremendous opportunities for harvesting new ideas and creates fertile ground for redefining how we connect, share and create our future.
It wasn’t too long ago that I used to have to turn on my CPU (yes, the big central processing unit) and wait for Windows to load before I could access the internet. I would pass the time by getting settled at the workstation housing my desktop. The internet I eventually accessed then certainly wasn’t the same as what I see today. Fast forward a few years, and as I look around closely and observe (while genuinely appreciating it all), I realize that I have witnessed tremendous change.
I now carry an incredibly powerful (and surprisingly affordable) computing device in my pocket, so I don’t have to turn on the CPU and wait for Windows to load. I use the internet more often, far more often than I could back then, because now I have 24/7 access to the internet and a bundle of powerful devices that support it, such as my phone, my car, my TV and my tablet. Other people around me have even more interesting and exciting things, such as their watches and home appliances, connected to the internet to enjoy the power of the web.
Looking Back: It Almost Sounded Crazy
An article published by fortune.com states, “If you told the average person in 1994 what technology would look like today, they might have thought you were either lying or crazy.” Consider how Orange’s 1994 ad presented a picture of the future where voices would travel wirelessly. It may have sounded far-fetched back then, but only a couple of decades later, there seems to be nothing extraordinary about it. What may have sounded like a fantasy then is now business as usual.
We Are Accustomed to What Seemed Unimaginable Two Decades Ago
Generation Y expects to have high-speed internet access most of the time, in most places. They don’t have to wait for a photo to be processed in a lab before they can show it others. They can share content (video, audio, photo, text) in a variety of different ways. They can hail a cab, find a restaurant or navigate their way through unfamiliar routes simply using their mobile phones.
Today, we no longer wait for the traditional email message to hear back from our friends. We instead rely on quick instant messages. We can even create group chats to instantly exchange messages among friends from around the world. We can share our location, post our pictures, and engage with other people’s pictures by making comments. We can text message, voice chat and video chat—all using a handheld computing device. And these products are for everyday use, not special occasions—their technology is totally mainstream.
Looking Ahead: What Can We Expect?
When we look back two decades, predictions of some of the things we now use every day would seem crazy. It was perfectly rational to think them impossible. So what unimaginable technologies does the future now hold? How are our lives going to change through the next two decades?
Here’s what I think:
Connectivity: Digital technology will dramatically widen the expanse of connectivity. The Internet of Things—promising a connected network of billions of inert devices—will influence our lives in ways never imagined before.
Sharing: With users becoming more and more connected worldwide, technology will be the major driver in enhancing human communication.
Creation: Software will be built in innovative new ways. It will have to be capable of creating new opportunities, offering increased choices, producing outcomes not yet imagined and addressing previously unheard of use cases.