Under the Christmas Tree

What are people dreaming to find under the Christmas tree in the technology space?

Raspberry Pi has released a new model, still selling for 35$, with increase performance and lower power consumption. It already sold 2 million pieces and it is on the way to sell many more. 

This is just one of the many tech presents that are being suggested by CNET under 50£. You can find add on keyboards, appliances controllers, micro music players, you name it.

The question is "what could we expect to find under the Christmas Tree in 10 years time?" or, even better, "what would we like to find under the Christmas Tree in 10 years time?". Not necessarily what we might like will become the priority of researchers and marketeers but it can provide a general guidance. Besides, what we would like is strongly influenced by our today's experience...

Ericsson ConsumerLab released in December a report on technology trends in 2016 and beyond that makes for a good reading to investigate those questions. It is based on 100,000 interviews to people in 40 Countries and 15 megacities statistically representing 1.1 billion people (1/7 of Earth population).

The trends identified point to 

- an increased importance on networked life, on basing our decisions on the collective advice of thousands of other people, be it the matter of finding a hotel, a place to vacation, buying a car, and, increasingly, selecting the cure for a disease.

- the preference of content in small "pills", like the one provided by YouTube, versus the television content. Content produced by amateur is rapidly getting the upper hand in terms of eye balls. In the US 16-19 years old have come to watch 3 hours of YouTube content daily!

- in a few years AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be a constant presence in our life, decreasing the time we spend in finding a solution or implementing it. Rather than interacting with a screen (often the smartphone one) we will be relying on AI features in the smartphone and in the ambient to tell us or take action on our behalf.

- Virtual Reality will slowly become just ... Reality. It will become part of our everyday experience, in the same way that a television is part of our reality. Studying, working as well as socialising will be a blended experience mixing Reality with Artefacts into a seamless continuum.

- Social networks will be there to help, even in emergency. Rather than calling 911, or whatever, you'll be likely to call onto your Social Network that will seamlessly provide what's needed to help. I have been relying on social networks for a few years now to help on a variety of doubts, be it on computer use, on photography and even in pills I have to take ....A progressive extension to several other areas seems just ... inevitable.

- Turning commuting into smart commuting might be the alternative to the work at home trend that never really materialised. Making a smart use of your time as you commute, particularly as driving will be off-loaded (in 2 decades) to your smart car, will look smarter than staying home. Students may get "prompts" as they commute to reinforce what they are learning. taking examples from what happens around them. Tourists can discover that the time to get there is actually a useful time since it gets them into the mood and provide increasing motivations.

- Journalism will be the turf of ... everyone, including smart applications that will start writing about what you are potentially interested in. Socially gathered information and automatic checking of trustiness will lead the fact harvesting phase. Journalists, as commentators, will not become obsolete, but for sure will be forced to strive for excellence to survive.

- Internables, sensors embedded in our body, will become commonplace and the trusted source for proactive health care. It is starting with the smartphone, it will move on with wearable and smart fabrics weaving our dresses... 

- Security, hacking, safety will continue to be an issue, with no hope of finding a silver bullet. Actually, the situation will get worse in the sense that everything will potentially be a target for hackers, yes, your car too!

Out of all these trends I hope we will continue to look at the Christmas Tree, or at the floating lanterns in the Far East Asia, as a time for feelings, remembrance and hope for the future.

May you have wonderful dreams and the opportunity of fulfilling most of them, but not all. You need to have always another dream to chase in your life.

Merry Christmas


Author - Roberto Saracco

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