Don’t stress about super-crowdsourcing, printed medication and the ubiquitous workplace, says Virgin Media Business
Pervasive connectivity will change every aspect of our lives by 2025, with online systems checking our health and organising our work and social lives, according to a video released by Virgin Media Business.
Aiming for an artistic vision, the video suggests where technology might take the country in 13 years. But despite proposing that the cloud will manage our whole lives, the company is very positive that this is a future we should welcome, saying we have “nothing to fear”.
Predicting the future is a tricky business. If we would live according to the Sci-Fi vision of the seventies, our city streets would be full of flying cars, trips to space would be routine and our meals would come in pill form.
Virgin Media Business turned to The Future Laboratory to devise a more realistic version of the future, one driven by data and connectivity. According to the company, the amount of data stored by 2025 is expected to explode to a staggering 100 zettabytes – the equivalent of 36 billion years of HD video or approximately eight times the age of the Earth.
Life in 2025 does not necessarily mean staying in the city and cramming the house full of technology – according to the study, it will involve a mix of old and new, a world where people are free to construct their lives as they see fit. In this future, you can live in the farthest reaches of the countryside while staying connected.
The film proposes a kind of computer-assisted living. The daily routine of the characters revolves around their personal terminals, which could be seen as an evolution of the smartphone. These devices tell you how long you should brush your teeth and whether there’s milk in the fridge, organise your schedule and instantly connect to your colleagues for a “virtual office” experience.
As for healthcare, the same devices will monitor your weight, pulse and bodily functions. It will feel like “having a doctor on your shoulder the whole time”.
“We conducted this study and created the film because it’s often hard to describe technology in a way that people can relate to. IT is a very abstract field, since you can’t see or touch the product. But the application of that technology, whether it is healthcare or communication, that’s what brings it to life,” Mark Heraghty, managing director of Virgin Media Business told TechWeekEurope.
“The applications that you see in the film are not the ones we will be selling to customers, but they will be the applications that we will be enabling. For example, Virgin Meda will participate in the “super-connected cities” project, potentially building a fibre-to-the-lamppost infrastructure linked to the small cell 2G/3G/4G radios. We will then sell the infrastructure access to all mobile operators, to the benefit of smartphone owners.”
While none of us would say “no” to getting a prescription without having to visit the pharmacy, can we really trust this prediction to be accurate? “We are talking just 13 years in the future, so it’s not too far away to be meaningless,” said Heraghty. “Most of what you have seen is the technology which is already being used. However, from our perspective it’s all good news. Whatever happens in the future, there’s one thing we can be absolutely certain about: there will be an ever-increasing requirement for bandwidth.”
“The exciting thing is that although this is a vision of the future, we’re closer to some aspects of this technology than you might initially think,” commented Araceli Camargo, founder of the Shoreditch innovation space The Cube.
“People are already striving to work closer together and pool resources to explore new frontiers in technology and services. This will be supercharged in the future and Generation IP workers will be drawing on huge collaboration, crowdsourcing information in real-time and, what’s more, they’ll be able to do this whenever and wherever they like,” he added.
“Despite what seems today like a connectivity invasion, I truly believe that future generations have nothing to fear. The wonder of the digital future into which we are all moving is that it is incredibly empowering. It gives every one of us the tools to create the lives we’ve always wanted to live, and allows businesses to engage with each consumer on a one-to-one basis,” said Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.
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