I was recently interviewed and asked for my predictions of what technology will do in the next 5 years. 5 years!! Predicting the next 12 months is hard enough. My crystal ball is slightly murky.
Big technology companies produce visionary videos to help shape a future market for their products and services.
Back in 1990 Andersen Consulting (Accenture) made a video with a digital assistant called Henry. It seemed far fetched with a digital assistant, Henry, reading out emails to you over breakfast and reminding you to take an umbrella because a 70% chance of rain as you walked out of the door. Then there were clips of people making video conference calls using a small tablet device whilst walking in the street or in a plane. I have thown away the video along with my video recorder and cannot find it on the internet anywhere, but I still remember how impossibly visionary it seemed then.
So it hasn’t worked out exactly as predicted. But not far off. And it has taken longer than expected.
Microsoft produced a visionary video, below, on the OfficeLabs website which shows some pretty wacky ideas in terms of information displayed intelligently onto flat surfaces. What is interesting is that most of the technology shown is actually available now, just not in cost-effective for consumers/business users hence the video is titled 2019.
But sometimes it is easier to look back than look forward to see the ‘progress’ that has been made. Here is the Nativity in played out with Social Media. Funny but also sad.
The question one has to ask is, “Is that progress? Are we happier?” A classic quote from Robert Solow‘s in 1987 was “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”
I love the book In Praise of Slow by Carl Honoré. It tries to help us slow down rather that rushing though life from missed deadline to the next. There are times to slow down and reflect, before the next bout of activity. As the wise saying goes “If you have only 5 hours to cut down a tree, spend 4 hours sharpening the axe”.
So how do we make lives better for people? Probably not by asking them to do more and more and sacrifice their lives on the altar of career progression. I have been spending time researching what makes for happier more productive staff. Why, because that is at the heart of business process improvement – which is what drives Nimbus. The mission statement is To make work easier, faster and more valuable for millions of people.
Certainly there are clear linkages between happier staff and more productive staff which I’ve blogged in a post Happy staff! I don’t run a bloody holiday camp. There is also research which I highlighted in my blog What makes people happy that shows happy staff need to see that they are making progress; both in getting jobs done and in career terms.
So “social” is the new business buzz word. I prefer the term “collaboration” as it speaks more of getting the job done, rather than gossiping about the job to be done. Certainly Nimbus is working on a revamped UI of its very successful process management software application to take the collaboration capabilities which have been in since R1.0 (released in 1997) and making them look/feel more “social”. On the mobile side Nimbus was the first BPM providers with an iPhone/iPad application.
So I said that 2 issues will hold back the exciting images of future IT are Connectivity and Battery Life. I walk around with my iPhone feeling empowered – except I cannot get a strong signal in many locations in the UK and the rest of the time I am lookig for somewhere to charge the thing.
Does it make me any happier? Any more productive? Has my life improved? The jury is out…. and the connection for my Crystal Ball has gone down as it is low on battery.