Do you remember playing Minecraft and Solitaire on your giant IBM in the lounge room? A lot has changed since the first personal computers became available in the 1970s and the World Wide Web was opened up for public use in 1991. While many of these changes have been monumental, in the last 13 years, cloud computing and internet connectivity have affected the world in more subtle ways.
The Home Evolution
Smart homes that operate via wi-fi are becoming the norm, with new builds routinely including smart home security locks that can automatically activate once you are a certain distance from the house. Other smart home mainstays include voice assistants that turn on the lights or the television and video doorbells, so you always know who has come to visit.
People are relying on robot vacuum cleaners to do the housework and enjoy activating their smart washing machines remotely to take advantage of their solar panels or low electricity tariffs. Intuitive homes of the future will include keyless entry, invisibly integrated charging stations on the benchtops, and number-plate scanning technology, so you don’t need to find the remote for the garage when you get home.
Free to air TV is becoming a relic of the past as people use the cloud to store movies and TV programs to watch at their leisure on whatever device is at hand. With consumer usage patterns shifting, the media and entertainment industry is responding by offering video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
In many households, instead of crowding around the television to watch a show or movie together, the family might be watching six different shows – at times using one device to scroll Facebook while watching their favorite show on another.
The healthcare industry is still navigating the best ways to share health data while maintaining privacy for patients; however, we are rapidly moving towards storing electronic healthcare records in the cloud. Having this data online allows any doctor or healthcare professional to access it immediately in case of an emergency.
New apps are also being developed to assist with chronic disease management, from tracking of diets and heart rates to accessing information and support for terminal illnesses like cancer.
Modern humans have unprecedented access to products from all over the world. While e-commerce and online shopping are on the rise, they haven’t eliminated brick-and-mortar establishments altogether. Instead, they have changed the way people approach shopping.
Data from the E-Commerce Foundation shows that 88% of consumers browse online before they head to the shops to make a purchase. Online research allows people to compare prices, features, and benefits from the comfort of their armchair before they make a purchase decision.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a somewhat confusing term that is thrown around a lot. In essence, IoT means connecting all kinds of things not previously associated with the internet to the internet so you can gather information and send it back and forth.
A real-world example would be a system that measures the water content in the soil, calculates precisely how much water the crops need and sends this information to the farmer’s irrigation systems. To extend this concept further, data can be gathered about the optimum growing conditions and results when various techniques are used. This can all be collated using supercomputers to improve farming and food production worldwide.
These changes are only touching the surface of how internet connectivity and the cloud is transforming the world – imagine what our planet will look like in 50 years!
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