Thursday, February 7, 2013

Technological changes are closer than they appear

Yesterday I had a chance to chat with a couple of fellow product managers at SVPMA.  We talked about fast changing mobile technologies, social media and digital privacy.  It was interesting to share stories on how we work and play using the latest technologies that we take it so granted.  Being able to pinpoint our location using GPS system, looking up friend's phone number at moment's notice without ever having to memorize the number, and keeping up with profile changes among professional contacts at all time are some examples of what technologies enable us to do.

When I look back at my own technology purchases, it looks something like this:

My first camera phone.
I didn't think I would be doing things other than
talking on my phone; I was wrong.
  • 1998: My first laptop
  • 2000: My first analog cell phone
  • 2002: My second laptop
  • 2002: My first digital cell phone
  • 2004: My third digital cell phone with camera 
  • 2004: My second digital cell phone
  • 2006: My third laptop
  • 2006: My fourth digital cell phone with camera
  • 2008: My first Blackberry with data plan
  • 2008: My fourth laptop
  • 2010: My first iPhone
  • 2010: My first iPad
  • 2011: My first Kindle
  • 2011: My second iPad
  • 2012: My second iPhone

Looking back I don't think I would have believed all the gadgets that I had over the years even if someone were to show me the early prototypes.
  • Back in 1998, I would not have believed that I would consider cell phone with built-in camera as a necessity by 2006.
  • Back in 2006, I would not have believed that I would consider smartphone with internet connectivity as a necessity by 2010.
  • Back in 2010, I would not have believed that there would be dozens of tablets in the market by 2012.
Technological changes have always surprised me.  I think there is a tendency to underestimate how quickly a new technology can be adopted in the market, and become a standard.  It took laptop a several years.  It took iPhone a couple of years.  It took iPad several months.

As we move through the next few years, many analysts are forecasting the faster adoption as we ramp up on portable internet-enabled devices.

What would we see in the next couple of years?  What technology will we see that catches on just as fast, if not faster?

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