At last year’s World Economic Health Forum, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, predicted that the infiltration of digital into our lives would become all encompassing, “like air”.
Here are four technologies that are set to become part of our digital vocabulary in the coming decade:
Touted as the next phase of mobility for the internet, virtual reality – such as Google Glass – represents a new era, says Dr Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg (University of Southern California).
“Smartphones moved the internet from laptop to mobile, and now virtual reality is moving it to our line of sight,” says Cole. “It’s just like having a 65-inch screen without having to have one.”
Despite this great innovation, it is not yet clear what impact it will have on the corporate world, Cole adds. On this point, director of BanterMob mobile marketing, Kelly Slessor, agrees. “Virtual reality is still very niche,” Slessor says. “The short answer is we haven’t worked out where it’s going to add the value yet. We’re still playing with it and testing it out.”
Apps that inspire
Marketers often miss the point of apps altogether, says Slessor. “We’ve shoved this great big screen into a little screen and we haven’t added the functionality or benefits that mobile can bring on the interactivity,” she says.
Having personally read and classified 40,000 app reviews, Slessor says the creators of most apps tend to forget the simple consumer mindset. “In the retail app space, people either want you to save them time or money,” she says.
Smartphones moved the Internet from laptop to mobile, and now virtual reality is moving it to our line of sight.– Dr Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, University of Southern California Annenberg
AI was once considered a thing of the future, but it’s soon to be a part of everyday life. The proliferation of products such as the Amazon Echo – a 10-inch black cylinder with seven speakers, eight microphones and a soothing voice named Alexa – are bringing fun and helpful technology into the home, Cole says.
It can download your favourite song, turn lights in the house on and off, and even make orders to restock your fridge. Alexa is a self-updating device that has new functionalities added each week. “She is now completely integrated into the house, a device with artificial intelligence that you can talk to,” Cole says.
After Uber will come driverless cars, says Cole – just one of the many innovations of the new collaborative economy, a world in which consumers prefer to share than purchase. “Your car will drop you off at work, then it will become my car,” Cole says. “Then later in the day it will become your car again.”
Driverless cars will also curb the need for excess infrastructure, such as car parks. “All of the attention will be in a place it’s never been before: the back seat,” says Cole.