Archive February 2015
I’ve just returned from a lengthy trip to the USA and Middle East, beginning at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas looking at the near future and ending with an exploration of the medium to long term future through the eyes of the world’s second largest Silicon Valley – Israel.
CES, the largest annual electronic show on the planet attracted over 170,000 attendees from 140 countries and had 3,700 exhibitors who collectively released 20,000 plus products over four (4) days, was overflowing with the new and anticipated; gadgets galore; geeks a plenty and nerds in abundance.
The major display areas included wearable devices, 3D printers, connected cars, health and biotech, robotics and smart homes and the more I walked, saw and spoke, the more certain I became that our world is moving towards complete digitization, with almost everything on show capable of capturing real world information and turning into a zeros and ones that can then be put through the digital sausage machine, mixed with other secret sauce technology ingredients and turned into something else.
Wearable devices was a great example of this and it abounded at the show with thousands of objects on display that we can wear, hold, implant and ingest all outputting digitized real time data of what’s happening around us, to us, or inside of us.
The end game of all this will be a world of digital co-dependency, an intricate online spider’s web of connected people and things tethered together, where it becomes impossible to know where you finish and your toaster starts.
Riding on this new connected superhighway is the Internet of Things a horizon trend that will connect up all of our devices and objects allowing them to speak to each other and to us and to orchestrate what gets done, when, where and how.
This will truly go with that, when closing your front door automatically summons your car to pick you up and as you drive away your home will go into hibernation mode shutting curtains, switching off the heating and lights and locking all the doors and wait patiently for digital evidence of your imminent return.
As the car drives you to your meeting, it is constantly scouring all the other cars around searching for the best traffic conditions and adjusting the track accordingly all the while keeping your upcoming appointments aware of your changing arrival times and letting you know what’s important around you.
This new hyper connected world will drop us rapidly from six (6) degrees of separation from each other, to just two (2) degrees separation from everybody, everything and anything.
In what seems the opposite of the big digitise everything CES trend, the other enormous show-off section was 3D printers eager and hungry machines capable of turning all sorts of digitised images into real life 100% usable objects.
These newly minted 3D printers on show printed nick-nacks, prototypes, model buildings, car parts, spare parts, dresses, shoes, spectacles, cups, crockery, cakes, chocolates, sweets and so much more.
Tearing myself away from Las Vegas I headed off to New York to catch up with clients, speaking agents and some Venture Capitalist mates to chat about what their investing in and why and also to rifle through the prototype cupboards with some really interesting developers and entrepreneurs looking at their “next big thing”.
Israel was the last stop on this odyssey and my goal was to try and better understand how such a tiny country could punch so far above its weight in terms of developing bleeding edge technology; what is the ecosystem that encourages technology and entrepreneurs to flourish and what’s beyond the bleeding edge of their technology horizon.
My travels took me into the board room of Israel’s largest venture capitalist group; into university offices and labs where I got to play and experiment with Oculus Rift and mind reading headsets, that allowed my physical body to sit comfortably on a chair whilst my virtual self got to fly over oceans and deserts, walk around virtual homes, drive the fastest of cars, perform hospital operations with the skill and dexterity of a physician and experience firsthand the sights and sounds of virtual reality.
The journey continued into the offices of fellow futurists, both academic and consulting based before moving off to spend time at one of Israel’s largest technology hub meeting with up and coming entrepreneurs’ and being pitched their incredible mind blowing ideas, playing with their prototypes and playing the “what if” game as we explored the road ahead for them.
These incredible experiences and provocative conversations only reinforced my dogmatic belief that there is “far more in virtual and physical earth, then we can ever imagine”
The more I travel, speak and discover the more certain I am that Moore’s Law is now struggling to keep up. That the world is truly evolving faster and in more ways than it ever has before, with the consequence that it has never been easier to fall behind and become obsolete, but it has also never been easier to invent, to innovate, and to succeed.
The notion of a business or strategy having a finishing line is so last century. Instead foresight strategy demands that we incrementally adjust our strategy as we go as well as taking regular innovation stops along our business race to catch our breath, assess the race we’ve run and plan for the changing terrain ahead.
Competitive advantage is withering on the vine and beginning to smell like last week’s rotten fruit.
This lumpy bumpy new world of business is now truly asymmetrical. Size, budget, past experiences and runs on the boards are no longer necessarily predetermines of future success as we see huge long standing industries, brands and products being felled by disruptive impertinent ant-like upstarts.
To succeed in this future business landscape we must be willing to seek out and destroy our anchors of “we’ve always done it that way “and instead flex our innovation muscle by remaining open and ready to explore, question and exploit the ever increasing number of supposedly competing but yet complimentary thinking, practices, technologies and business accelerators that abound.
The road to tomorrow is in many ways unrecognisable from the road behind. It will at times be uncertain, fraught with angst and littered with casualties of business past, but with each exhilarating stride towards tomorrow we will be reimaging, repurposing and reshaping our business, social and mortal worlds as we continue to bend the fundamental notions of time, space, commerce and what it is to be human.
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We will increase our global population from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050, Australia will move from 23.7 today to 40 million in 2050 and Brisbane from 2.2 million today to 4.2 million in 2050, there are huge implications in these population increases and one of them is the notion of work.
In a world that seems to be shedding jobs, where technology is evolving the way we work away from routine jobs to more specialised tasks and with industries literally disappearing before our eyes, how will we employ today’s people let alone tomorrow’s workforce.
Work of course puts food on tables, roofs over people heads, but for most of us it does much more, it provides a sense of well being, dignity, self worth and purpose.
This big issue was the focus of this weeks regular chat with 4BC’s Clare Blake as we explored the changing workforce away from a 9-5 Monday to Friday post industrial norm to a work where, when and how is appropriate model. In this new work frontier many of us will have 6 careers and 14 jobs, work into our 80’s based on a lifespan of 120 and have a work portfolio rather than a job.
This work portfolio might see us with a range of concurrent income producing activities mixed in with other hobbies and secondary skilled jobs. It may see some of these coming from providing services and tasks through digital marketplaces which may now include ebay, airtasker, fiverr, airbnb, etsy and maybe seeking funds or resources for more audacious builds or roll outs from crowdfunding sites like pozible, kickstarter and indiegogo.
Listeners rang in to voice their concern about our current immigration adding to this burden but this to me is not the reason for the concern, it just adds to it and this conversation catapulted us into looking at where we’re going to house this growing population, whether our current infrastructure will cope with this growth and my thoughts on the need to grow satellite villages that connect our larger cities to others, using fast transport, great roads, well serviced with utilities and infrastructure and where work is available or undertaken locally.
Lots in this weeks chat, so listen in now (17 minutes) and then share your thoughts on Jobs 2050
reprinted from The New Daily – Jackson Stiles Advisor Editor
In the race for tech supremacy, smart eyewear is one of the next battlegrounds, although the industry is off to a rocky start.
Japanese company Sony has begun taking orders for the Smart Eyeglass, an internet-linked wearable frame that superimposes text and images onto the real world.
But will consumers warm to the devices? In January, Google halted the testing phase of its smart eyewear product ‘Glass’, following complaints of limited battery life, privacy issues and eye strain, but the tech giant has sworn the technology will live on.
Tech futurist Morris Miselowski is convinced this ill-fated first attempt was simply a marketing failure, and that we are “absolutely” seeing a trend towards visual gadgets.
“Google Glass was lauded for about two years and it kind of fell on its own sword. By the time it came out, we were over it.”
“But there has always been this fascination with seeing more than we have before,” he says. “It’s not new, we’re just adding more technology onto it.”
Humans are very comfortable wearing glasses, so it makes sense to some that wearable tech will head in this direction and eventually catch on, but some are still dubious.
Tech expert Paul Lin says the technology may never take off for the general consumer market because it is socially unacceptable, at least in its current form, with privacy a major concern.
“It’s not quite a trend yet because nobody has had success,” he says. “It’s still a niche market.”
But there is vast potential for the devices to assist in the workplace, Mr Lin says, where social acceptance is less of an issue.
Experts predict that high-tech glasses could help factory workers quickly find boxes in giant warehouses or surgeons to views x-rays and medical records right in front of their eyes before making an incision.
Military pilots already use helmet-mounted displays when flying jet fighters and bombers to help them navigate and fire weaponry.
A version of Sony’s eyewear tailored for software developers will be sold to software developers for $1,075 in March, with a full commercial release slated for next year.
Toshiba and Samsung have also unveiled prototypes, although both of these are yet to be released.
Whereas smart glasses would allow us to look up from our phones and engage with the world, another variant of eye tech aims to immerse us fully in virtuality.
And unlike glasses, virtual reality goggles, like the Samsung Gear VR, can already be bought, with Facebook’s much anticipated Oculus Rift expected to be released sometime this year.
Microsoft has also announced the HoloLens, a mix between glasses and virtual goggles that it boasts will immerse users in “a mesmerising world of augmented reality”.
Smart contact lenses
Contact lenses containing tiny telescopes that will allow wearers to zoom at the wink of an eye are also in the works.
The lenses magnify objects 2.8 times, allowing the visually impaired to see and read clearer without normal glasses.
Funded by the Pentagon, the prototypes were intended for use by soldiers, but have since been adjusted for civilian use by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
A Swiss drug company has also been contracted by Google to build smart contact lenses to help diabetics to track their blood glucose levels. These lenses would measure glucose in tear fluid, removing the need for constant finger pricks.
The visually impaired seem to be some of the biggest winners from eye tech.
For example, an Israeli company has developed the OrCam, which straps onto reading glasses and can tell the user what they are pointing at and read out text.
Hover-boards and flying cars are the two things I get asked about everyday and although they have sort of been invented they are still waiting for their time and opportunity, but what is not waiting is the next enormous evolution in motor vehicles.
David Dowsett of ABC Wide Bay and I in our regular segment chatted about what’s just down the road for our humble motor vehicle including the current rise of semi autonomous cars now available with added features like brake assist, self parking, heads up displays, radars, GPS, Bluetooth connectivity and others all of which we take for granted, but have only been available in our cars for 10 years or less.
This transportation evolution is being heralded by every car manufacturer on the planet as well as some new disruptive non car manufacturers like Google, Tesla and Apple, with an expectation that today’s prototype will be the highways reality within 10 years.
These new cars will be software centric, have constantly moving dynamic displays instead of fixed buttons that anticipate what you need and offer to you before you know you need it and the ability to upgrade augment and change the virtual interior of the car, its performance and function by software add-ons, updates, patches and fixes.
In this brave new world of machine driving will we need a drivers licence? Who will be responsible for accidents? Who will lose points for bad driving and who will ultimately be responsible for what happens inside and outside the car?
Have a listen to the segment now and then share your thoughts on tomorrow’s driving landscape…
Bench-tops that turn into convection cooking tops. Weight scales that measure and guide you through the ingredient inclusions. Fridges that talk to your pantry and then let you know what you have and need and order what you don’t and 3D printers that print food ready for you to eat, were all part of a #FutureKitchens chat I had with Sonya Feldhoff of ABC Adelaide.
Most listeners emails and SMS’s erred on the side of a step to far and not in my kitchen, but these are the same people who said they would never own or use a microwave.
Printing of food in our kitchens for most of us, is about 5 – 10 years, but chocolates, cakes and sweets are already being printed with pizza not far behind and coming to a NASA space station near us, this year.
There seems to be a panic driven push-back but many things are and will conspire to make the kitchen of the future and even 3D printed foods seem ordinary.
Firstly we love our kitchen gadgets and devices and they invariably always sell well.
Secondly the Internet of Things which will connect all our inanimate objects are on the cusp of becoming ordinary, with Samsung announcing only last month that every device they sell by 2020 will be capable of connectivity.
Thirdly, the reality that many of our future homes will be built smaller and it will be imperative that every inch will be capable of multitasking and multipurpose.
And lastly, that we will have to feed 2 billion more people by 2050.
Our answer to this kitchen and food evolution is, as always, not to denounce and pillory the uncomfortable and uncertain, but rather to become informed and make considered decisions.
Gadgets and devices are one element of this, printing of food is another.
The debate must be had and because we can is not the reason that something like 3D printed foods must be.
For the sick, those not able or willing to cook, for developing nations, nations with little or no farmable land and those that may not have ready access to food supplies, perhaps 3D food printing is a reasonable alternative worth considering.
Should it and will it replace all growing of foods or cooking of foods, absolutely not. But perhaps it is a reasonable addition to the continuum of possibilities where food is not readily available? Well, that’s the debate we have to have, so let’s have it now.
Have a listen to the segment and then let me know your thoughts (17 minutes).
The thrill is to speak with Rob, a pioneer who sees an industry not just for it was and is, but more importantly for what it is likely to become and how it may be disrupted.
Rob is also a rare blend of someone who is not only talking the talk by speaking,blogging and podcasting, but also walking the walking working side by side with savvy entrepreneurial Pharmacists guiding them through his proprietary and proven pharmacy business program towards a very different and very exciting Pharmacy future.
Rob and I caught up the other week for a chat about the Pharmacy and Pharmacists of the Future and in his intro to our chat he said…
Whether we realise it or not, we are all futurists, as we make plans, take actions based on internal predictions of what may happen in our environment and our communities on an everyday basis. So what do you believe your role as a pharmacist will be in 2050? Do you believe you will still own a pharmacy at this time? Will robots supersede our profession? All of these are questions we would love answers to when planning our remarkable futures. If you would like to take a peek at what’s coming our way in 2050, then you don’t want to miss this episode of the Transpharmation Show.
In this weeks episode, I interview Morris Miselowski – Business Futurist and we discuss what the pharmacy world might look like when our children have 7 careers and 14 jobs and live to 150! The future is created by making small incremental changes right now, and for you and your business to keep pace, it’s imperative that you begin to shift away from transactional healthcare and into delivering healthcare wisdom to your patients.
Take a listen to the Podcast now (1 hour 12 mins):
The hover-board made its latest debut at CES in two forms a Segway like device minus handles that works on any surface and another that required a specific metal floor that acted much like a fairgrounds bumper car ride in order to work.
Apart from these two must have’s 4BC’s Clare Brady and I chatted about the year ahead in tech and gadgets, wearables and watches, the ridiculous and sublime of CES 2015 and we even squeezed in a Las Vegas travelogue and took a callers memories of his last trip there, all in the first of our 2015 regular catch ups.
Listen now (17 minutes) and join me on 4BC Brisbane radio Tuesday 25th February @ 4.00 p.m. (EST)
On the back of a report that Samsung TV’s new voice-activated features have the ability to capture, store and send your voice and words to third parties, Phil Staley of ABC Far North Queensland jumped on the phone to say “tell me it isn’t so!”.
The reality is that voice activated tech, which we’re seeing lots of, does do what it claims to do, hear, understand and act on your voice and to do this it records you and if required sends your voice to a third-party to trigger service or information to be sent back to you.
This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last.
Samsung was caught out in 2012 when its TV webcams were hacked and viewers could be watched at home without knowing it. This was quickly fixed with a patch, but the spy tech is out there, it is capable of spying on you and if you’re paranoid about it, simple don’t enable the feature.
This is not just a Samsung issue, most tech can be hacked into nowadays. Microsoft Xbox One was tapped not so long ago as were Apple, Google and Amazon and lets not get started on the whole Sony tapping debacle.
It isn’t that there is some Russian or North Korean spy listening into your every word, but rather that there is a potential for it that worries most of us.
Simple solution – don’t say or write anything online that you wouldn’t go down to the local market and shout.
On a more serious note, as we use more gadgets that are voice activated or have access to our whereabouts, or store private stuff about us, we become ever more vulnerable to being spied on, this is just the beginning of these possibilities and personal cyber-security is set to become a big issue over the next year or two.
Listen to the segment now:
In my first segment back for the year David Dowsett of radio ABC Widebay and I looked at the weird and wonderful of this years Consumer Electronic Show (CES) show to see whats trending in gadgets and what to expect in tech in 2015, including Segway like skateboards; smart shoes that tickle one foot or the other to direct you to where you’re going; belty a smart belt that expands and contracts depending on what you’ve eaten; UHDTV TV’s and curved TV’s and mobiles.
It’s good to be back on air for my fourth year of regular chats and if there’s something you’d like David and I to cover this year email me – Morris@BusinessFuturist.com
To hear all about the newest gadgets and thingymebobs have a listen now (7 mins 30 secs):