#Future Vision: Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist, the voice of Carl Sagan and words from his book Pale Blue Dot
In January 2012, Cisco released this ‘future’ video. Nearly two years hence, how much of this has come true? Are the linear trends projected in this video still valid or can we see some unimagined disruptions starting to unravel the way future was supposed to be?
Solar Roadways, a US based start-up that is developing a “modular paving system of solar panels” has raised $1.4 million in crowd-funding, within 7 days, on Indiegogo. While the concept of solar-powered smart roads is exciting and a peek into possible future, the success of Solar Roadways’ ‘viral’ marketing campaign raises several discussion points for our #hkuiom meetings!
The wonderful video that powered this superb effort is below:
This video showcases Samsung’s vision of the near future, involving a plethora of sensor-embedded, foldable, glass surfaces transforming into intelligent displays. As seen in #hkuiom !
Phillips and Accenture have created a proof of concept to showcase the possibilities that lie when wearable computers (Google Glass) are used in the healthcare arena.
I use several images and examples from the works of Jules Verne during our futures discussions in #hkuiom. Here are some interesting facts from his 1865 novel ‘From the Earth to the Moon’.
A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship,Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon.
- Verne estimated that the mission would have cost his day’s equivalent to $12.1 billion ($5,446,675 US dollars in 1865). Surprisingly spot on–the Apollo program up through Apollo 8 (the first manned vehicle to circumnavigate the moon) cost $14.4 billion.
- The launch occurred 132 miles from the site of Verne’s prediction.
- The United States would launch the first manned vehicle to circumnavigate the moon.
As part of its ‘Delivering Tomorrow’ series, DHL has created a scenario study on “Logistics 2050.” One of the five scenarios visualized in this report is a world of 3D printing; or what we call in my class #hkuiom as ‘A Future of Mass Customization’.
2050. Our world is much more colorful, diverse and local. Technical progress, especially in 3D printing, turns consumers into producers. ‘Self-made’ and ‘individually tailored’ become the new ethos for society. New types of production processes facilitate a world with a multitude of individual lifestyles.
Uniform goods and mass-produced items have vanished from display windows and apartments. The consequence of this development is not only a revolution in supply chains. Awareness about the need for recycling is growing, creating new commercial perspectives. Recycling ensures replenishable supplies and keeps 3D printing running. It’s a world characterized by diversity — but are more possibilities out there?
See the segment below:
The full video, with all five possible scenarios is below
The full report also contains some excellent essays on Future Studies and Future Forecasting, besides scenario analysis and future predictions. The full report and other future predictions can be read at www.delivering-tomorrow.com
Here is an alternative link to Logistics 2050.
Key tech trends include wearable computing, contextual apps, big data and maturation of social networks.
While these trends will surely change commerce practice in the coming years, the nexus of these trends will be immensely disruptive. Think convergence – contextual apps on wearable computers that provide services based on real-time analysis of social and location data, delivered via omnipresent wireless internet access.
Wearable computing: Think Google Glasses or Motorola Solutions’ new HC1 headset computer that you attach to your head and operate with voice commands
The “open world”: Android’s relative openness has encouraged “contextual apps” to emerge from the woodwork. “Apple doesn’t let them [developers] talk to the WiFi radio or bluetooth radio,” said Scoble.
Weird databases and the rise of “big data”: “We are seeing weird databases spring up like mushrooms,” said Scoble. These include NoSQL, Firebase, and MongoDB.
The maturation of social networks: The leading social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are accumulating a massive store of user-generated data. What will they do with it?
Facebook’s plummeting market value has been a major talking point of late. Its share price recently fell to below half of its IPO level and the doomsday forecasts are arriving thick and fast. Most analysts suggest that this is due to a combination of factors – expiry of a moratorium means that insiders are flooding the market with stock; Facebook is barely meeting its revenue and profit guidance numbers; and, the market is adjusting to the ‘real value’ due to reduced future expectations .
Decelerating growth in users, unfavorable change in user mix, and a question mark in ARPU. In the short term, Facebook is certain to grow, but the question of Inferno vs. Paradiso will take quite some time to sort out.
Facebook’s major user growth in the coming years will occur in developing markets – where average revenues per user are traditionally much lower as compared to developed markets. Another major trend is the the movement of users to mobile platforms.
This second infographic by statista makes this more clear:
It seems clear that Facebook’s future (or at least future stock price) is dependent upon its ability to monetize its mobile and developing world users. Or is it?
A bigger upside depends upon Facebook’s ability to make itself a platform for commerce and creativity. If Facebook can set rules that protect the privacy and security of its billion plus engaged users, while providing an environment within which application developers and entrepreneurs can offer Social network driven, Mobile based, Location triggered services, it can potentially earn billions in revenues through commissions alone. A scene illustrating this viable future is:
You are deciding where to get lunch. You launch the FB app, and use the smartphone camera to view a restaurant. The image is augmented by a bubble which states that 78 of your FB friends have recently been to the place, 80% of whom rate it 4+ out of 5. The app also says that if you eat there today, you will get 10% off your bill in the form of FB credits.
How does Facebook make real money in the scenario? By taking a cut on the sales of FB credits (for example, $1 = 1 FB Credit, but you can buy 10 credits from Facebook for $11 and sell 10 credits back for just $9).
However, these are big IFs and THENs.
A year ago, Corning shared a (rather long) video on their take of the role of glass in the future. They recently released Version 2 of this video
Corning’s expanded vision for the future of glass technologies. This video continues the story of how highly engineered glass, with companion technologies, will help shape our world.
‘A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision.’ showcases several technologies of the future – 3D holographic projection, electro-chromatic glass, multi-touch sensitive surfaces in wall and table formats and augmented reality, all riding on the back of high bandwidth, optical fiber driven broadband.
The original video is below: