We live in interesting times, with the lines between digital and reality ever-blurring to become one. Full scale Digitization is looming on the horizon, where consumer, healthcare, retail and personal experiences are all vastly changing due to the influx of technology that is working to create unprecedented convenience- matched with an entirely new level of connectivity and consumption, and for many, an unnerving loss of privacy.
Grocery stores, equipped with location-monitoring beacons, will beam coupons and suggestions based on previous and potential shopping habits, as well as where you are at that moment in the store. Business ideas are endless- recently we’ve seen everything from grocery store apps that allow users to get groceries delivered via a smartphone, to virtual grocery shelves in subway stations , and even entirely virtual grocery stores that only exist online. The retail sector has been gravely impacted by the emergence of Amazon- almost an online Walmart- and also by the strong presence of social media in influencing shoppers’ opinions, preferences and trends. Digitization is here and has been for a while.
From healthcare apps that allow for virtual doctor appointments, check-ups and the scheduling of house calls, to connected toothbrushes, fitness and wellness apps and devices that track your activity, heart rate and sleep patterns- the need for actual doctors, trainers and regularly scheduled appointments seem to be diminishing quickly.
Virtual reality and the Internet of Things are oft-mentioned phrases bouncing around the tech world, with every big name trying to beat the other to the punch to create the most secure, most innovative and most adaptable piece of technology that will revolutionize the world even further. Understanding the progress that is in the works and the changes to come should be exciting to all. It may not be a future full of flying cars or the futuristic utopian, or dystopian, society that we’ve seen in movies- but it will be something we haven’t seen before.
The question becomes, do we accept and enjoy the benefits the hyper-connectivity of 2015, or do we become leery of the constant monitoring of our daily lives and most personal habits? Digital 2.0 is indeed here to stay, and it is working to better our lives, shake up longstanding industries, and remove much of the human interaction that we loathe yet desire. We’ll see where this leads us- to a digital world of progress, or perhaps towards something more like a virtual reality video game- human contact not required.