Here are some predictions of the hot topics for the next five years within the world of technology. Digital shifting to make “dumb” objects/experiences “smart.”
The Connected Home:
As technology starts to permeate into everyday objects, we as innovators are presented with the opportunity to enhance a diversity of experiences. Whether it’s wiring your refrigerator to know when you’re milk is expiring and automatically re-ordering, to it displaying the best recipe available from the leftover ingredients. We are heading towards the ability for your oven to know exactly what kind of setting is correct based on a programmed recipe to your heater and air conditioner adjusting temperature based on the weather forecast. Our kids will be able (and in some ways are already able) to start watching a cartoon at home and seamlessly transfer it to the screen in the backseat of the car or their iPad. The new opportunities save us time, make life easier and allow our homes and vehicles to become more environmentally friendly.
The Connected School:
The challenge of education today is that it isn’t suited for the careers of the future. Students are not equipped with the tools to be able to problem solve and understand the global landscape. We are taught rudimentary knowledge that is tailored to a one size fits all solution that is not developed for individuals but for the masses. Since we all learn differently and have very different strengths and weaknesses, it’s crucial to tap into those individual needs. Technology presents a great opportunity to create customized learning experiences for students in classrooms. Whether its personalized tablet textbooks, digitized whiteboards and homework to creative outlets like tailored educational games we are presented with the opportunity to make education at every touch point smarter and able to elevate each child’s strength and improve on their weaknesses.
This concept has been around for a while but it’s starting to gain momentum at hospitals and doctors’ offices across the world. Slowly we are progressing towards a smarter system to share knowledge on patients, medical conditions, outbreaks, etc. as well as a much more powerful opportunity to tap into the wisdom of the medical crowds. Doctors rarely have a view into the entire medical history of patients, files being spread out across many offices and timelines, people often getting duplicated prescriptions and incorrect diagnoses because the whole picture of their medical history is scattered. Leaving the big brother privacy issues out of the picture for now, the benefits of implementing a unified digitized medical history for a patient are enormous. Being able to share those records with a pool of experts around the world can present unparalleled opportunities in healthcare. Secondarily, bringing that knowledge virtually into operating rooms to support doctors can help make operations safer and more reliable. Ideally in the near future with medical robotics we will either have more accurate surgery or robotic chips that will perform surgery without the error of surgeons.
Other innovations that already exist but are in their infancy are bracelets and wearable technology that will alert our doctor if something in our body is a cause of concern, shifting the dynamic to prevention and early detection instead of being reactionary.
Bringing elements of personalized user experiences into the retail environment has already began in very lightweight format with things like virtual mirrors and interactive walls where consumers can customize products and services. This is going to evolve into much more tailored experiences using technology like beacons. Once opted-in, consumers will be able to get customized crafted greeting, offers and directions once in a retail locations with additional offerings like personalized shoppers tailored to them. With the progress in manufacturing, customized clothing is going to be created that is best suited for the shopper based on their body type, skin colour and lifestyle. In-store staff will be better equipped to provide that personalized service, keep an database of their clientele and have more tools to upsell. Digital will be an enhancement to personal communication, not a substitute.