Humanity is progressing technologically at a burgeoning rate – soon to reach the point where the entire population will have access to a standard of technology far superior to even the greatest advancements of 100 years ago.
Smartphones. Nearly everyone has got one. Being obtainable for as little as R500 and offering the user the power of; 1.3Ghz Dual Core CPU, 1GB RAM, 5MP Camera and 3G/Bluetooth/Wifi/NFC capabilities – it’s really no surprise. This is the precursor, the one tool needed to connect anyone to everyone. The biggest issue stopping people from using these devices to their full potential and creating a drive for penetration is, of course, internet access. Although Mobile Internet is an option for a lot of people, it is not very economical or of a caliber to really make any major impact. However, the titans of our digital age are looking to resolve this issue.
Facebook recently purchased UK based drone designer Ascenta with a plan to send drones, (with the wingspan of a Boeing 767) code named Aquila, over remote areas that currently have no internet access and provide a connection point for individuals to use. These drones will supposedly be able to spend more than three months in the air without returning to ground, cruising between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, relying on nothing but energy from the sun.
And so, we can see that there is not only a push in the accessibility of devices, but also in internet access. The last real remaining obstacle involves something more tangible. People need access to physical products, the internet can open doors to ideas and knowledge, but without support from product delivery (unrestricted by location, materials and other factors) – it can’t really go any further. However, we have the solution, progressing at the same rate as the rest. 3D printing.
3D printing has been on the cards for a while. Although not having too much publicity, the actual implications and opportunities of this technology are massive. In the short time that 3D printing has been around we’ve already managed to print; Houses, Vehicles, Space Technology and even new Limbs! As this technology is mastered more and more – in the same way mobile phone/computing technology has, we will see a point where-by the standard level of technology available has raised so much that it will become common place for most people to have access to these products and tools. It may seem bizarre; but ordering a blueprint for a product and printing it in the most remote of places may become just as easy as online shopping from your sofa.
In conclusion, the possibilities that arise for businesses and consumers alike are phenomenal (although I have only touched on some specific cases in this article). It’s the new world of supply and demand, the unification of business and consumer – the power shift we have been experiencing for some time now. I’m excited in 2015 to really see this digital age manifest more and more into our daily lives, to see how it shapes our world. It’s clear we’re going somewhere fast. I often just find myself hoping we stay on track and do not derail our humanity – for the sake of profit and convenience, along the way.