5 years ago Concept 21’s Annual Trend Forecast discussed how the internet was more isolative than social. We made the observation that social media, for example Facebook, encourages more voyeuristic behavior than a community or interactive experience. Through customer interviews we conducted several months ago we have found this to be a real issue for millennials. Fortunately things are changing…
A new era of the Internet is upon us. It is one that connects us, rather than isolates us from our experience of the physical world through the use of apps and integrated hardware. We are navigating the Internet with our own personal identities rather than through invented avatars, creating more accountability online.
The integration of the Internet into the real world has a profound impact on society, opening endless possibilities for new products and services. Now that we have progressed beyond the ‘digital Stone Age’, consumers are seeking new ways to interact with technology.
As with previous periods of change, such as the Industrial Revolution, it has taken time to assess the consequences, both positive and negative, that the digital age has produced. Interacting solely in the digital space has resulted in us becoming more disconnected from one another, despite having more information about each other than ever before. As inherently social creatures, this act of voyeurism has had negative effects on our psychology, our health, and our communities.
But today we are honing in more intelligently on how the Internet can enhance in-person experiences with simplified, smarter communication and commerce tools. We are at the edge of a precipice in which we are actively re-imagining the utility of the Internet itself. The Internet will be used as a tool to enhance personal connection, save time, and reduce our habit of interacting with technology rather than each other.
We imagine a future in which our lives will be aided, not dictated, by our digital technologies. It is through this lens that we will find opportunities for discovering things in a world yet unknown – a world of the virtual meeting the non-virtual.
A thought from Brent:
A recent article that I read in Wired highlighted the fact that you can talk to your TV, phone, coffee maker and even talk to your refrigerator. You can order what you need and have it delivered in 2 hours. Incredible!...right? All this listening goes up to the cloud, but one thought to ponder… who is actually listening to all the microphones in your house?