By 2030, we have a social (and psychological) issue that we can no longer ignore – and some say has reached a crisis. Technology and ‘on the go’ lifestyles force us to interact more using shorter bursts with ‘get to the point’ sound bytes and bullet points. We speak in headlines not prose and while we continue to be connected – we ask, are we personally CONNECTING at all? Essentially, communal places are where everyone goes to be alone, together (think Starbucks today…but everywhere). Isolationism – or a feeling of it when even surrounded by people is common. We know so much about each others habits, whereabouts, friends (think Facebook) but have lost the ability for deep conversations. We spend so much time living in a world of ‘doing’ that ‘thinking’ and ‘being’ has been, well, lost. Communicating on these deeper levels is hard to recall – and harder to ‘learn’, complain many. Each generation has of course morphed its communication abilities to match the context of the world they live in but it appears at this point, we lost too much. A surprising result happens – something that hasn’t happened for a few generations (at least not in Western cultures). Elders are respected for their skills and capabilities on this subject and are paid great sums of money to reintegrate communication skills into our technology driven world. Getting ‘Connected Again’ becomes a movement. The past 20 years we spent so much time knowing information about each other, we forgot how to connect the dots.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the real world could be managed as easily as the online world? Online, we can save bookmarks, catalog files and photos, and clip interesting paragraphs and sound-bites for later. In the real world, however, it’s not quite so easy. Aside from writing down the things we want to remember (gasp), we have no reliable way of keeping track of things in the real world.
All that may begin to change very soon. Companies like Nextcode are hard at work trying to make sure we can “click” items of interest in the real world and interact with them much in the same way we do online. Picture this: you’re walking down the street, and pass a really nice looking cafe that you want to try for brunch some time. You pull out your camera-equipped cellphone/PDA, snap a picture of the cafe’s “intelligent barcode,” and are brought to the cafe’s website on your device’s mobile browser. You can then email yourself a link, or just bookmark the site for later. Easy. As. Pie. (Sure, you could just snap a picture of the cafe and save the photo for future reference, but where’s the fun in that? What if you want more information right now?)
Yes, it all sounds so futuristic and magical, but in reality, it’s very possible. Smartphones and internet-enabled mobile devices are growing in popularity each day, so its only a matter a time before more businesses begin integrating intelligent barcodes onto their products, signage, and marketing materials. Actually, maybe it’s not just a matter of time. This may very be one of those seemingly appealing technologies that just doesn’t have an eager-enough market. Either way – The American has a great article on the whole topic, entitled The Internet of Things. Check it out.