So as a technologist I think a lot about the future, always trying to see beyond the horizon. So in these Future Thought posts I’ll try and articulate some of these musings.
To kick off I want to introduce some ideas about the devices we will be using in the future. When I started thinking about this it was a mad collection of divergent processes, apps, networks and screens. I could see what it could look like – but honestly couldn’t articulate it.
Then I read Scott Jenson’s post ‘Triumph of the Mundane‘ and it all became much clearer. Scott’s vision matched mine – but he’d actually been able to put words to it. My comparison would be that my thoughts were the rantings of a bearded homeless man whose next meal seemed to be lodged in his facial hair, compared to the polished prose of an English professor in a tweed jacket.
So here’s my interpretation of Scott’s post:
- Micro Functionality
In this step we start to strip away functions. Rather than devices becoming increasingly complicated they can become increasingly simple. The latest range of tablet devices are a good example. On their own they do little except allow you to browse the web, access email and view maps. Add in a few apps and you can expand their capabilities and transform them into a truly multifunctional tool. But each app performs a specific function. There is no app to rule them all, they all work within the confine of singular functionality.
- Liberated Interaction
This equates to interactions being separate to the device. Huh? Well programming your PVR or for those older people your VCR requires buttons, menus, processes, logic and controls to be built into the device. Well image that you could program the recording of that TV show you wanted from your computer or even your phone – and that command gets sent to the device. The device doesn’t need all this extra stuff which just adds cost and complexity – it just needs to be able to receive and interpret the commands. The interface and interaction take place somewhere else.
- A Clustered Ecosystem
With our simplified devices and liberated interactions we can now envisage a future with clustered ecosystems. So the phone you carry isn’t just a phone, it becomes the central point of your network, allowing you to interact with the various devices in your home – from your TV to your toaster. It will transfer and bridge information between the various devices you use. It becomes the hub of an information ecosystem around YOU. Personal computing becomes just that for the first time – personal.
An amalgamation of the next generation of mobile devices, network connections and cloud computing will form part of this new technological wave. Where we are now is a transitional place where we move between the age of machines to the age of computing.