In the technology industry there’s one thing that always stays the same—it’s a never-ending evolution.
A few years ago the biggest shifts we predicted were cloud computing, the proliferation of mobile devices, the adoption of social media, and the rise of big data. These were ideas that would change the future. Now, these once “out there” ideas have crossed the chasm and changed how we live and work today.
Those trends—the biggest in my industry—are not slowing down. They are going to continue to explode—and they are going to accelerate other ideas and industries.
Now, we are seeing the rise of ubiquitous computing, as everyone and everything is constantly connected to the network. We use geo-aware apps like Waze to help us plan our routes and steer clear of accidents. We pay for lattes at Starbucks on our phones. We wear Fitbits and Jawbone Ups, devices with computers packed into them that track what we do. Our cars park themselves and we are getting closer to having cars that drive themselves.
This is only the beginning. These are only the early indicators. We will see far more personalized and cool experiences that will come from the ability to connect everything to the network.
But wait — only if there’s more.
I am very inspired by the possibilities in ubiquitous computing, but in order to have it reach its full potential we need to find solutions to some of today’s complicated issues.
1. We need to improve what we think we’ve already figured out. I’m talking about “uncool” things people never talk about: network speed and bandwidth. We will continue to require more and more bandwidth and the companies that make and deploy it will do very well. Having increased speed and stability will be like steroids to these devices and unleash new innovation.
2. We need to address persistent and complex vulnerabilities. We must solve the privacy and security issues that continue to hound us, or we will see a much slower adoption of networked devices. There are many smart minds working on this problem. I am personally intrigued about Ionic Security, a startup that provides security at the data layer. (Disclaimer: I invested in this company.) That said, this is a big issue and there is a lot more work that needs to be done, (and it will be a continual battle to stay ahead).
The trends we know—cloud, mobile, social, big data—will continue to expand, and growth of ubiquitous devices will be aided by advances in security, protection of privacy, and the development of increased network speed. This will tip the scales of progress from exciting possibilities to practical probabilities, and ignite things beyond what our imaginations can currently process—and things we’ll soon wonder how we ever lived without.