How fast is fast when it comes to technology and behaviour?

I still pinch myself remembering not so long ago being stuck to the phone on a wall or side table, with my mother listening, not being able to walk anywhere. It made for some awkward conversations!

Fast forward to today, and my 12-year-old daughter is talking via Facetime video to her friend in China for free. I remember overseas phone calls were seriously expensive back in the day.

And I remember Pong was the first revelation in TV gaming. I don’t think we even called it Pong, it was just that tennis game!

The games we have now are light years away from good old Pong. Computer games have not just advanced in terms of the coding that goes into them, but they’re also being taken seriously as works of art, just like TV and films.

What will fundamentally change our lives next? What will be next to fundamentally change your business?

My 12-year-old will still learn how to drive a manual car, but she’ll struggle to find a new one to buy in five to 10 years. She probably won’t really need to learn to drive due to the coming age of driverless cars.

It’s hard to really fathom all the effects such a massive transformation will have on our society and the industries that have relied upon the old-fashioned automobile.

The Internet of Things, of which driverless cars will be just one part, is also gearing up to radically transform how we live, which means it will also disrupt how we do business at the core level.

According to Gartner, the number of connected devices in use globally will quadruple by 2020 to over 20 billion. We will see it in our everyday lives and we will feel its influence in the hidden workings of major public and private sector infrastructure such as electricity, transport, and communications.

I remember people talking about virtual reality in the 1990s but it never really took off, mainly for technical reasons. Those technical issues seem to have been resolved and VR is now on the verge of becoming a mainstream entertainment medium and learning tool.

What sort of VR experiences will people be lining up for? How will it change the entertainment, education, and travel industries? How far off are we from VR Facetime?

This article by John Patrick Pullen in Time explores the profound effect technologies like VR can have on us.

Technology can pull us closer together, as well as push us further apart. That’s because we bring ourselves into the technology. Tech is not a neutral thing because it’s all about how we interact with it, as Pullen points out:

“VR is a deeply personal experience, and what clicks for one person won’t for another. This breathtaking new medium is perception, pure and simple, and who you are in the real world influences how you respond to the virtual one.”

It’s worth remembering how we have reacted and adapted to all the technological change that has happened in our lifetime. As a business owner or executive, it’s worth thinking about how these momentous changes will alter or disrupt what your customers will want.

Will they still want what you have to offer? Or will you have to shift in line with the times too? Will your business even be relevant anymore?

These are hard questions that need to be asked. Technology is changing our behaviour, and when our behaviour changes, business has to change too.

Fi Bendall is chief executive of The Bendalls Group, a business that leads STRATEGY : ADVOCACY : MOBILE delivering the business acumen to drive effective positive results in a disruptive economy for the C-suite. Fi has recently won a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence award. 


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