Growing up in the ‘70s, one of my favorite television shows was The Jetsons, a cartoon that followed a family living in a “utopian future.” The Jetsons lived in a space-house, drove a flying car, had computer-enhanced appliances, used video-conferencing, traveled on moving walkways, and employed a robot maid. While watching this as a child the animated world seemed like a distant future, but the producers were not far off with many of their predictions.
We are rapidly moving into a new era where change is constant — the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This period, coined by Klaus Schwab of The World Economic Forum, is characterized as the “blurring of the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds.” The velocity of the change we’re seeing is being driven by technology shifts and advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and more. Here are a few of the “megatrends” emerging in this new era:
An Increasingly Connected World
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand and grow. By 2020, Gartner estimates that there will be over 20.4 billion IoT connected devices. This proliferation of connectivity is enabling Smart Factories, Smart Homes, and Smart Health. The connected and data-enhanced home in The Jetsons is now a reality. Our movements and actions are being tracked both on and offline by sensors, connected devices, and more. Industries being revolutionized by IoT include supply chain management, farming, advertising, retail, manufacturing, product development, and more.
The Future of Work is Evolving
New technologies have also dramatically changed how and when we work. The introduction of the iPhone and the “app” economy, estimated to grow to $6.3 trillion by 2021, laid the foundation for the sharing and on-demand economies. This created the infrastructure for fast growing businesses such as Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb. We’re seeing a rise in the use of contract workers and a drive by many companies to use Internet bots to automate simple and repetitive tasks, and to augment and reduce risks in areas such as mining and long-haul driving. With these changes, the nature of work is predicted to evolve. For example, we’ll see future generations working a portfolio of jobs to maximize income streams. But, have no fear, there are upsides to this trend, new economies and new types of jobs are on the rise.
The Rise of Autonomous Vehicles
Again, The Jetsons and their flying car wasn’t too far off! There is a race by many companies to bring autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars, flying cars, and drones to market. Laurie Yoler, a Board Member at Zoox Inc., a robotics company pioneering autonomous mobility, said that “in four years, we’ve raised $790 million in financing and hired 600 people. We have lofty goals. Much of our success will also depend on regulatory frameworks and being able to work with innovative people that welcome us.” Flying cars are also being tested by Kitty Hawk Flyer. With funding by Google’s co-founder Larry Page, they are one of the companies developing “vertical take-off-and-landing vehicles (VTOLs).”
Porter Gale is the former VP of Marketing at Virgin America. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing, business, and tech, she works at the forefront of emerging trends and innovations.
A c-suite executive and tech lover she was awarded the Changing The Game Award by the Advertising Women of New York, and recognized on AdAge’s Digital Hotlist and iMedia’s Top 25 Digital Marketers List.
In her popular talks, she uncovers the latest trends and innovations in marketing and technology, and shows how strategically building a network improves happiness, productivity, and return. Interested in learning more about Porter and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].