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Part II: Tomorrow’s Technology

Part II: Tomorrow’s Technology

Tomorrow’s technology offers a glimpse into a number of new ways to have fun and simplify your life. There are new ways to connect to the Internet, new ways to interact with your laptop and your personal digital assistant (PDA), new ways to network your devices, new ways for objects to communicate, and new ways to travel. All these techniques and devices will enable us to communicate more easily and to be more productive in our day-to-day tasks and activities. The overall theme here is that technology is becoming more and more embedded in our daily lives. It’s becoming pervasive and almost unnoticed. This is good news. When technology becomes invisible and just happens without us having to think about how to make it work, it means that it is serving us rather than the other way around. It means that we have successfully adapted technology to meet our needs and have shaped it around us and around our environment. For too long we’ve had to adapt our business processes and work habits around the requirements of these gadgets. We’ve been slaves to their way of doing things and their way of interacting. Finally, we’re beginning to reclaim some of that lost productivity and to turn the tables.

When we no longer have to worry about how to program the VCR, or how to send a text message on our mobile phone, or how to connect wirelessly to the Internet, we have achieved a significant breakthrough. We can focus on the task at hand, and the technology becomes a dialtone or capability that is always on and ready to serve. What’s more, many of these upcoming technologies and gadgets are blurring the traditional boundaries of product functionality and are offering completely new ways to get things done. For example, it used to be that the phone system was separate from the electrical system, which was separate from your home computer network. As we shall see, you can now run your home computer network over the phone line or your electrical system.

Many of the technologies and gadgets in this section on tomorrow’s technology are not yet in commercial production, but many others are; such products made it into this section rather than the Today’s Technology section because they are still in very early adoption. So although wireless networking can be considered close to mainstream by now, other techniques, such as networking using the phone line or networking using the electrical system, are still in the realm of the early adopters. How soon such technology moves into mainstream adoption depends upon the value they are able to provide to the average consumer, their industry support in terms of compatible devices, and their ease-of-use. The companies that will be successful in this space, whether it is virtual keyboards, personal mobile gateways, or other innovations, will be those that carefully balance product or service innovation with practical usability, a compelling value proposition, and a competitive price point.

Changing consumer behavior or introducing something new into the consumer space is difficult. It’s like baseball; a company may hit a home run or may completely miss the ball. Only time will tell, but these innovations described within this section should provide a glimpse into what is coming soon to a store near you.

Gradually, the computing options available to consumers and business users are becoming more flexible, more open, more intelligent, and more usable. The way in which we interact with computers and the way in which our customers and business partners interact with computers is changing. We are finally gaining the ability to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time. This is a capability that will be a key competitive advantage for businesses and a key benefit to consumers in the future.



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