Do you ever wonder what life will be like in 2030?
It’s little more than a decade away but what a difference a decade can make! If you need proof, just cast your mind back to 2009. Over the last ten years we have seen an incredible evolution in the world of technology and automation. In 2009, three of the most popular smartphones were the Apple iPhone 3GS, the Nokia N97 and the Blackberry Storm 2.
Nokia N97 (Image Source; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_N97)
Apple had only just launched their first iPhone two years previously and the iPad had not even been launched – this came a year later in January 2010!
Touchscreen functionality was still in its infancy and Google had only just launched voice search the year before. Siri and Alexa had not yet been born (this happened in 2011 and 2014 respectively).
Fingerprint recognition on Apple devices was still light years (4 to be exact) from going mainstream.
According to the CSO, in 2009, approximately 67% of households in Ireland were connected to the internet. Almost 10% of those without access to the internet stated that they did not require it.
The most recent figures from the CSO (2018) show us that 89% of households now have access to the internet, a jump of more than 20%.
So, what can this tell us about the next decade?
They say necessity is the mother of all invention and when it comes to data creation, it really is true. The amount of data being produced by humans is growing exponentially, so much so that our laws and our existing technology are struggling to keep up. It is likely that we will continue to learn the hard way and add new regulations as they are needed, especially as we continue to connect more and more devices to the internet.
The most interesting thing about this area is how data will be stored in the future. Ten years ago, a 2gb memory card was considered quite large. Today we are demanding terabytes.
Data centres are fast becoming the norm. Imagine what your younger self would have thought if you told him/her that we would be building giant warehouses devoid of humans to house massive banks of data?
Did you know that Amazon submitted plans to build a 223,000 square foot data centre in Mulhuddart, Co. Dublin last year? That is three times bigger than the Aviva Stadium! Apparently, a data centre of this size would consume the same amount of electricity as a city the size of Waterford or Galway, yet just 30 people would be employed at the site. Amazon have at least said they are looking into ways to ensure the energy they use is renewable. Hopefully the next ten years will see us reducing the square footage and the amount of electricity needed to house this data.
We’re already aware of the value of data analytics for business decisions which is why we are housing so much of it. Apache Hadoop gave us a way of processing it but most businesses are still a long way away from automating the analysis of so many different types of data; documents, text, video, images, geo data etc. In the next ten years it is likely that every job will require some analytical skills. Basing business decisions on actual data rather than a gut feeling, a hunch or experience will become the rule rather than the exception.
“Siri drive me home…”
Driverless cars may already be in existence, but the next ten years should see them become more widely accepted by consumers, possibly in the areas of public transport and haulage rather than family vehicles. Most new tech goes through a period of suspicion from the public initially. Can this device or machine really do what its makers are claiming. Do we trust it? We generally wait until there are enough testimonials from the early adopters or until we feel like we’re being left behind, before we consider trying it out ourselves.
On the 21st of November 2018, Vodafone made the first live holographic call using 5G between Ireland and Vodafone’s Innovation Centre in Germany. This was part of the launch of their first live 5G network site open for trials in Dublin’s docklands. According to Max Gasparroni, CTO for Vodafone Ireland, 5G “will enable the massive adoption of the Internet of Things….cars, fridges, smart meters, smart lighting…’ as well as enhancing things like media streaming, video analytics, HD video and holographic technology.”
Just think, by 2030, we could be on 10G and literally connected to everything around us, possibly even without the use of a device!
Social for Good
The peaks and troughs of social engagement over the past ten years have seen a consistent increase in the use of social to do good.
Businesses and individuals continue to utilise the power of social to raise funds and awareness for charities, events and causes. This is likely to continue into the future.
Facebook launched ‘Safety Check’ in October 2014 as a way for people to find friends and family after disasters. The functionality was added to in 2017 and it became ‘Crisis Response’ an area which incorporated ‘Safety Check’ with links to articles, photos and videos, community help and fundraising.
It was reported by Facebook in November 2018 that its users had raised over $1 billion since the launch of Facebook Fundraisers and Donate buttons in 2015.
In September 2018 Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland used social media, Facebook in particular to drive awareness and engagement with her personal ‘30k in 30 days Challenge’ fundraiser for the ISPCC.
On the 29th of November 2018, Three Ireland partnered with Samsung to launch the world’s first ‘Connected Restaurant’ using Samsung technology and the Three network to enable families in Ireland and Australia to have a Christmas dinner together.
Social was used extensively to drive awareness and the video uploaded to the Three Facebook page showcasing the event currently has 1.2 million views!
Businesses can see the obvious value in using social media to drive their CSR agendas. Social is still social and people will always respond to human interest and good news stories. It is likely that even if the platforms we consume our social media on change in the future the general theme of what works and what doesn’t will remain consistent.
The power of automation is fast being realised the world over. I was in a supermarket recently and a man in a queue beside me was talking loudly to a friend about how he wouldn’t dream of using a self-service checkout simply because it was taking an actual person’s job. I saw by the expressions on the faces of others in the store that this view was not shared. There are already a huge number of big brand supermarkets, fast food outlets, pharmacies, transport facilities and cinemas in Ireland operating self-service checkouts. The fact is that we should be striving to create more skilled and interesting jobs for ourselves. If we can automate the more tedious tasks, then shouldn’t we?
Anyway, an increase in self-service checkouts doesn’t seem to be affecting our employment figures. According to the CSO, “unemployment decreased by 19,700 (-12.1%) in the year to Q3 2018 bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 143,800. This is the twenty fifth quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis.”
The next ten years should see a mass adoption of automation in retail. We will become more and more used to swiping and scanning for ourselves and retail companies will see the value in being able to assign one person to manage ten checkouts while freeing up other staff to focus more on revenue generating activities.
Automation is happening all around us and the cost benefits are huge, especially for businesses.
Print management is one such area that can be quite easily automated reducing the amount of time and money you are spending monitoring, securing and fixing printers. Costs can be reduced, efficiencies increased and (GDPR) compliance easily demonstrated if your business is audited.
If you would like to find out more about how a managed print solution can benefit your business, get in touch with us now.
By Danielle Fitzsimons