Evolution Shift
A Future Look at Today
January 9th, 2007

The Consumer Electronics Show – Sometimes it is Easy to See the Future #4

This week at the Consumer Electronics Show there are hundreds of companies touting new gadgets that are “revolutionary” “innovative” “at the cutting edge” and “totally cool”.  I will leave the descriptions of all these to the mainstream media as they already excessively cover this convention.  Instead I will give you some view on the larger trends that are clear.

Connectivity

We are rapidly moving to total connectedness. Whether you are in the office, in the home, on the road, or anywhere in the world you can be connected to information, data and billions of people.    Bill Gates spoke of the fact that the home is soon going to be completely connected.  Computers, televisions, phones, everything in the home will be connected.  Ed Zander, Chairman of Motorola spoke about the home as being a hub of “seamless technology” and that mobile devices provide “seamless mobility” wherever we are in the world.  Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia speaks of “a world where everyone can be connected” and of “mobility, interconnectivity, community and convenience” 

Compare how much more connected you are now than you were 10 years ago. That is how much more you will be connected in 3-5 years than you are today.  How we use that connectivity is up to us and is the human variable in the equation.  Technology is providing us with connectivity that twenty years ago was only imagined in science fiction and in the minds of a few visionary futurists.

Availability

We are moving toward a world where practically every type of information and entertainment will be available to us not just when we want it, but where we want it.  First there was time shifting, now add to that place shifting and device shifting.  Whenever, wherever and on what device is now or will soon be up to us.

Multi-functionality

It used to be that phones were for making calls, television sets for watching TV programs, music players for listening to music, cameras for taking pictures, GPS devices for finding out where we are or how to get to where we are going and PDA for our schedules and contact information.  There are now a multitude of devices that provide you with the capability to do all of these activities on a single device.  It used to be an axiom that ‘combo’ devices compromised on everything.  That is no longer the case.  We are rapidly moving to phones that play music as well as music players, and handheld computers that can replace laptops and televisions.  We will have an incredible amount of choice as to what devices and how many we own and carry with us.

Style and Interface

This is the next step after providing functionality.  Many companies are now focusing on style and feel.  How cool does a device look?  How easy is it to use?  How ‘low-tech’ can it be made, so that ‘anyone’ can use them?  This is the new point of differentiation in electronics today, along with price.

Price

Price always declines as technologies develop and gain acceptance.  This seems to be accelerating across the board.  Remember when flat screen televisions cost more than $5,000 or a desk top computer more than $2,000 or a smart phone more than $500?  Those days are long gone.

Choice

The consumer is in control.  We now have practically unlimited choice in almost any area of electronics.  If there is any area where that is not true, wait, it will be.  Congratulations, you have the power.

Embrace the future, it is here, and it is yours.

 

 

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In times of global uncertainty and disruption it takes a futurist to provide context and understanding.

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