In a post-mobile world, we will be connected via devices with billions of other objects, from refrigerators to cars.
In a post-mobile world, the lines will blur. An interconnected network of devices and objects will offer better connectivity and functionality.
In the early 2000s, mobile devices like the Palm and Blackberry were revolutionary, but could not match the computing power of a desktop computer. As mobile technology improved, the smartphone (and laptop and tablet) became ubiquitous, giving users the power of a desktop that could function as well as any desktop computer when a powerful wireless signal was available.
And now, with the growth of the Internet of Things, we are entering another era of computing, one in which we are connected to billions of devices and objects that are designed to interact with each other and with us. By all accounts, it's clear we are entering the post-mobile (phone) age.
Living in a Post-Mobile World
In a post-mobile world, our notion of a network will be expansive. Consider the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of billions of devices outfitted with sensors and software. With inexpensive wireless technology, these devices can collect information, share data, and detect problems with ease. Already, there are an estimated 15 billion devices within the IoT, with estimates predicting that, by 2020, that number could grow to 120 billion.
In a post-mobile world, consumers will be able to connect and interact via a dizzying array of endpoints, including mobile and desktop devices, wearables, and IoT-connected devices such as smart thermostats and refrigerators. Smart cars, smart homes, and interconnected apps will allow us to access applications and information from not just any device, but any location and time interchangeably.
Just as the introduction of smartphones a decade ago revolutionized our notion of mobile connectivity, the IoT and other technologies are resetting the way in which we use devices. Consider the seemingly sudden rise in the use of devices like the Amazon Alexa or Google Home, with verbal commands letting us control home functions, place online orders, or seek information.
Wearables are similarly mainstream, providing trackability of data points on health and fitness. Consumers and medical providers can track, in real time, how they are doing with chronic and acute illnesses and maintaining healthy lifestyles.
What it Looks Like
It is perhaps too early to predict where the post-mobile world will take us, just as a decade earlier it was nearly impossible to predict what the post-PC world would be in the age of the iPhone. However, the technology news provides a few possibilities
- Virtual Reality. The use of VR in gaming and entertainment is here already, but the technology will begin to be seen in other applications
- Aggregation. Take cord-cutting as an example. To get all the TV channels you want requires purchasing multiple online services from competitors that do not offer the same channel options. That means supplementing with provider-specific services (e.g., HBO Go or CBS All Access). Aggregating these services and apps lends simplicity.
- The Internet of Apps. The IoT will likely soon provide brands with the ability to personalize our experiences like never before. Check on movie times on your phone and you may see trailers and ads on your Facebook or Twitter feed, for example.
Wherever the technology ultimately leads, the blending of technologies and increasing reliance on those technologies will continue to grow.