A technology trip down memory lane…

bag006If, Paul Revere were to ride today I suspect the signal would have been by text if by land and a picture if by sea. Instead of lamps hung in the old North Church. I am not sure that people even look at the towers of the old North Church anymore. It is still there, but well you would have to look up to see it, and looking up means you aren’t looking at your screen.

I am of course, being mean but you get the concept. People look down a lot now. I was thinking this morning of the passage of time, and the change in technology. I remember, when I was little you had one phone in the house. We then began to add phones connected to the landline. But when I was little there was one rotary dial phone in the house. Touch tone phones appeared, we had more than one or two phones in the house and the world began to change. The attribution for the revolution in communication that we have experienced in the past 30 years is NASA. They needed to build communication systems that could traverse the distance between earth and the moon.

They, NASA, couldn’t put rotary dial phones on the moon so they needed a new system. Frankly. Having dialed an incorrect number on a rotary dial phone a few times, we all needed a new system. We all needed hand held devices that could communicate around the world.

Once that reality of instant communication evolved, the change was on! We started slow, remember the 80’s as that transitional period where some people had mobile phones and car phones. They were the original innovators. That change moved from CDMA in the early 90’s to digital signals by the mid-90’s which led to smaller and smaller phones.

bag004Smaller and smaller home and personal phones allowed for the creation of connected devices. As more and more people used more and more wi-fi and cellular hot spots, more cellular and wi-fi hot spots were created. The more points of connection that were created the more devices that could be connected. We suddenly have the Internet of things (IoT).

Then the world changed again. First the rise of voice controlled systems. The Amazon Echo, Siri, Cortana and Google Home rising up and saying, ask me for what you need to know or want. Amazon Echo even having a shopping list and the ability to send you anything Amazon sells. You just need a valid credit card and the ability to say Alexa, buy a copy of all the Beatles Albums. As long as your account is properly set-up you will in two to three days receive the entire library of Beatles’ songs on CD. So be careful what you say to the devices in your home, unless you want to have the entire Beatle’s song library.

Now we have AR/VR devices. I love this time of year. The Consumer Electronic Show or CES just completed. The interesting devices that appeared at CES are always intriguing. I like to see how many of their hot trends I had and was using last year. They tend to be a year or so behind the reality of cutting edge. But the operative word in their title is consumer. The cutting-edge market, or bleeding edge market isn’t a consumer market. It is the market of those who seek to be ahead of the consumer market. The trends of CES are today trends.

bag008That is always the cool thing. To see what made it out of the soup of early thinking into the reality of the showroom floor. This year is my best year ever. Fully ½ of the early Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects I backed are actually attending and sharing at CES. As I said my best year ever. But I tend towards things that are focused on specific areas of interest that are smaller consumer markets, so for me to hit on 50% is actually really high. There are not 170 million boaters in the US all buying the interesting boat gadgets I like. There are not 170 million people will multiple home weather stations. You get the concept, the markets for many of the gadgets I buy are pretty small. Now, as CES fades into the sunset it is time to see what else is coming in technology this year. We are still just a few years ago, from the complete IoT revolution.

Today is the first day of searching Kickstarter and Indiegogo for the projects that will be hot for next year’s CES!

Images today provided by Henry O Andersen and all are copyrighted Henry O. Andersen.