The loneliness of a long distance futurist comes from having a picture of what the future might look like, the understanding of the benefits, measured against how long it takes to get realise; and the consequences of people’s opinions when they focus on the hype of the Peak of Inflated Expectations.
It doesn’t help when we see individual disruptions that are successful or appear as overnight successes and based on the hype, assume that the future will be here tomorrow. We might do well to recall for example, that Uber was founded 9 years ago.
An area where there is a lot of evidence and that I am very passionate about is location based services. Even Gartner themselves were over hopeful in this area.
I was involved in the Internet of Things back in the days when we were delivering signature capture and proof of delivery at data speeds of 19.2 kbps over CDPD and back in the 1980’s trying to do the same using Tait Communications Radio, where my CEO said there was no market for it, even though I had a business plan with customers ready to open their wallets.
It’s taken a long time before these concepts became reality despite the massive costs of manual systems. The market just wasn’t ready for it.
We developed MeMail at Rocom Wireless to help make it really simple for people to do their email on a mobile phone. We were probably 10 years too early. Geeks could do it but others weren’t ready. I remember going to a client in the 80’s where my contract was to help General Manager’s in a very successful corporate access their calendars and deal with email anywhere, any time. When I asked them how they managed their email at that time, the common response was, “I dictate it to my PA”. Now of course those who don’t access their email on their mobile are in the minority, but how long did that take?
Now we are expecting autonomous cars, wearable technologies, voice controlled virtual assistants, big data, machine learning and location based technologies to give us the free time to catch up on demands of our attention within the next 3-4 years. I was promised that outcome at primary school when I was 8 or 9 with a Department of Education Plan called ‘A Blueprint for Survival’. The problem, I was told (before I studied Maslow and Herzberg) by the time I got to 40 years of age would be what to do with my leisure time. So I set out to try to make that happen and haven’t stopped. I have become more realistic in my expectations but not my desire for a better ecocentric world.
So beam me up Scottie, I just want to teleport over to Holland for the day, why wait for Virgin Galactic or some other company that can get me there in 6 hours instead of the usual 36. Am I dreaming?