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Years ago, Elizabeth Gibson was walking along a street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side when she noticed a framed artwork that had been placed on the curb between two garbage bags for trash collection. Upon closer inspection, Gibson took a liking to the work of art and decided to take it home. In an interview for the New York Times, she admitted “I had a real debate with myself. I almost left it there.”
As innovations continue to proliferate, technology is being increasingly integrated with the human body. Elon Musk’s Neuralink vision epitomises this, with the possibility of a computer-brain interface becoming more and more possible by the day. However, irrespective of this extreme, the embrace of human-integrated technology is evident in our ordinary lives in the form of wearable technology.
The Quantified Self movement and the general focus on fitness have played a significant role in generating a market for wearable technology. However, wearable tech does not end with fitness.
Here are 4 areas that are seeing tech become more wearable than ever:
A few years ago, I was running a strategy workshop with the leadership team of a global medical device firm. As we explored the disruptions that were impacting their business most, one came up that I hadn't previously considered.
An audience member shared that while increased competition and demographic changes were having a significant impact, a new trend that was proving enormously disruptive to their business was how increasingly aware their customers were of price variations across different markets. “In the past,” he said, “a customer in Spain was unlikely or unable to compare the price they were paying for a medical device with that of a patient in New Zealand. That’s all changed now. Our customers do compare and it is doing significant damage to our brand’s perceived trustworthiness.”
This challenge is far from unique. Across the board, consumers are demanding more and more information regarding the products they use on a daily basis.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I was fairly slow to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Even when the social media site had become relatively mainstream, I was still resistant to join in, dismissing it as time-wasting and superficial. I often caught myself judging my wife as I’d notice her scrolling through Facebook for what felt like hours at a time.
However, when we went on a month’s holiday to the US and my wife was regularly posting pictures of our travels, even I could not resist looking over her shoulder to see the likes and comments we were getting. Eventually one day I actually asked if I could use her Facebook login to jump online to have a look at some photos posted by one of our friends back home who’d just had a baby.
“So now who doesn’t like Facebook, hey!?” she asked with a knowing grin. It was one of those awkward moments where my self-righteousness and hypocrisy was laid bare. Within a few days, I had created an account myself and have been as hooked as most of us are ever since.
Despite our constant frustrations with inconsistencies in others, none of us can honestly deny the presence of incongruence within ourselves. In psychological terms, this behaviour is referred to as cognitive dissonance.
In the past few years, countless businesses have found themselves in crisis. As the world spiralled out of control and circumstances changed at an unprecedented pace, many found themselves in places of irrelevance before they even had a chance to catch up with the times. However, it is all too easy to forget that, despite the varying circumstances, relevance in business follows an incredibly predictable cycle or pattern – one which can be best depicted by a model I call the Relevance Curve.
In a world of seemingly unlimited options, it has become necessary for nearly all successful businesses and brands to personalise products according to the customer. Personalisation is now widely recognised as a powerful tool for selling and engaging customers. However, there is a range of contexts in which this same strategy of personalisation can serve just as powerfully.
While current trends like the Great Resignation are placing powers in the hands of employees, the technological advancement that the pandemic accelerated is highlighting the many industries that are increasingly vulnerable to disruption. The lockdowns and distancing measures of the past few years have resulted in more and more businesses embracing automation, and recent technological developments reveal just how few jobs are immune to the effects of automation.
More than any other point in history, our era idolises the individual. Especially in the West, our ideals, advertising and algorithms place the individual at centre stage of their own lives. Laws, instructions and requests that once would have been seen as serving the greater good are now likely to be interpreted as fundamental threats to freedom and autonomy.
With the last couple of years boasting an unrivalled pace of change, 2022 is approaching with promise of further transformations in the way we live, work and shop. With global crises exposing inefficiencies and issues of remote living raising demands for new solutions, technological innovations have been quickly adopted by businesses and are set to continue taking over our work and play.
With abilities that seem to have come straight from the future, 3D printing is gaining traction across all industries. While 3D printing has been a fringe technology for decades, the numbers give some indication of how quickly it is moving towards the mainstream. Recent years have seen worldwide sales of desktop 3D printers triple with estimates that annual sales will exceed 100 million units by 2030. Siemens predicts that 3D printing will become 50% cheaper and up to 400% faster in the coming decade.
The powers and potentials of 3D printers are hard to overstate. Here are 3 of these key powers, driving this technology’s march to the mainstream.