Technology Megatrends – Where will we be in 10 years?

Phil McKinney, VP and CTO for HP’s Personal systems group, recently gave a fascinating presentation on the future of technology at the DoD Enterprise Architecture conference. You can see the video of his full presentation on DodEA’s website via this link: http://afei.kzoplatform.com/swf/player/767/chapter:1 . It’s a little on the long side (over an hour) so I summarized the points I found most interesting below.

– It’s staggering how much of what we do today is last generation’s science fiction! For example, robots were first described in a book by Karel Capek in 1920. Cable TV was predicted in George Orwell’s novel “1984” in 1949. In 1898 Mark Twain wrote “London Times of 1904,” a fictional story about how news will be distributed in the future, which described what we know today as the internet.

– Stop looking at your shoelaces and look out to the future! History shows us why it’s also important to think about what’s coming over the horizon next. Keep in mind that the top 10 in-demand jobs for 2010 did not exist in 2004. Today we are preparing students for jobs that do not exist, for technologies that have not yet been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. Innovation is the key to success and looking to the future is a critical component of this.

Phil talked about technology megatrends that will that will change personal systems over the next 5 years. Here are four that I found particularly interesting:

  1. Consumer Driven Innovation – The trend of employees bringing their consumer products to the workplace is changing the way companies use technology. Phil gives the example of a major publishing house in New York City that decided to embrace the consumerizaton trend by giving each employee a one-time $1,500 raise and having them buy their own PCs for the office.
  2. Acceleration to a Connected World – Connectivity is driving the experience that consumers desire. In 2001 the U.S. was #1 in broadband penetration to the home, today we are #17 (and dropping fast). The disconnect between people’s insatiable desire to be connected and constraint on bandwidth is going to be an ongoing problem for the U.S. As a result, people who are dealing with online experiences (like Cloud) have to deal with broadband constraints. One way that HP is dealing with this today is by making devices that are not bandwidth hogs.
  3. Emerging Markets Driving Fundamental Shifts – To put this in context, 70 percent of world’s population has never owned a PC. If you give a PC to a person in an emerging market, you’re providing him with a tool that will impact him personally. But if you give this person a PC with broadband, you’re changing the entire village. Broadband enables the global population to compete and participate in the global economy which is driven by their ability to reach beyond the borders they’re in. HP’s focus on emerging markets is driven by business AND accelerating the growth of a middle class in emerging world.
  4. Redefinition of Content Experiences – A big change is taking place in how people want to process or input information, such as 3D. Can we take advantage of this? One of HP’s co-innovation projects is exploring this concept. HP is partnering with the Mayo Clinic to bring 3D technology into the surgical suite. Seeing a 3D image of the MRI and CAT scan allows the surgeon to perform an operation that is more exact and less invasive, resulting in a better medical outcome and reduced recovery time.

I would love to hear from the GovLoop community on technology use in their organization. How has your organization’s use of technology changed over the past decade? What do you think it will be like in the next 5 years? How about 10? I’m posting a forum discussion on our HP for Gov page to get feedback.

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Sterling Whitehead

I can’t accurately predict technology more than a few years out. Few people saw the impact social networking would have. It’s still a strange concept when you pull back and simply observe what we put out there.

What I can say with confidence is that demand for mobile web, mobile ecommerce and faster internet speeds will continue to grow.

Andrew Krzmarzick

This seems to be spot on – 3D / embodied experience of the web is high on my list of predictions.

I’d also add ubiquitous presence – entire walls at airports and other public places, etc. that become giant tablets for multiple users.

Holographics / augmented reality ought to be huge as well…think Star Wars and R2D2’s message from Princess Leia…that should be pretty common…not just recorded, but real time.

Jerilyn Handel Polson

ebooks have taken off in the past year in public libraries faster than eaudiobooks did a few years back. Mobile apps are in high demand for every imaginable transaction of service. Customers do not want to carry library cards, id cards, drivers licenses & debit cards ayn longer. Forget cash. They want their personal mobile device of choice to be their everything tool. Sort of an “I am my ipad” philosophy. Government services and businesses who anticipate this and adapt their services and products accordingly will be the leaders while others are left behind. Will these devices become easy enough for hesitant aging populations to use? That balloon demographic, our aging population, is a hodgepodge of techno-savy and techno-avoidance, somewhat according to economic and educational influences. As government servants, it is our responsibility to provide full service access to everyone.

Christina Morrison

Good thoughts all – I would agree that mobile web will be huge, and I like the ubiquitous presence concept. With the way we are seeing touchscreen technology grow, I don’t think that’s too far off! We had some other thoughts on our “HP for Gov” page on this topic – even as technology develops it is important that we determine how to maximize our use of the technology that is already available.