I was talking to a colleague recently and couldn’t believe that Apple sold 34,000 phones an hour in this last quarter. “What would the future hold if this trend continues for five or ten years?” was a question posed to me. It seems clear the trend will continue so the implications of that future are important – and fun! – to imagine.
Future generations will not walk into a bank
The notion of branches, ATMs, and physically entering a bank to get cash will become obsolete. Mobile payments such as Apple Pay (or its rivals) will take over. The only reason a person would go into a bank would become large events like getting a loan. And even then, some of those might events might spread more to the digital world. The only thing certain here is that those local bank branches on every corner that people go to will disappear, and be replaced by centralized data centers.
Mobile Phone as a Fashion Accessory
This trend appears to quickly be gaining momentum. Mobile phones are fundamentally different than the computers that preceded them. In general nobody cared about the computer someone else bought and it certainly wasn’t a fashion accessory. Now as long as a computer at home is good enough to get online, it is good enough for most people. This is fundamentally different than mobile where your phone becomes somewhat of a status symbol. This is one of the reasons that BlackBerry hasn’t been as popular recently – it’s not a trendy brand.
With watches on the horizon, there is now one more fashion accessory in addition to your phone. And there may yet be more wearable tech to come.
Virtual Interactions leading to In-Person Interactions
This trend started even before the Internet, but it really exploded with the rise of smartphones. Interacting in virtual space first such as setting up a date through Tinder then later meeting in person for the date is now fairly common place. People aren’t asking for phone numbers anymore – they’re asking for people’s SnapChat profile. The virtual interaction precedes the physical. It doesn’t replace institutions like local volunteer clubs, local dances, the library, etc. But it offers an alternative that is always available. You don’t have to wait for the next meetup – you just have to open up an app and see who else is around.
Mobile workforce automation
Phones are already being used for communication in many industries and that has been a small revolution on its own. However, in some businesses, mobile will have a great impact by helping to automate things which weren’t possible before. Imagine a worker approaching a forklist and as they get there information about the machine itself, or the load it’s carrying pops up on that person’s smartphone, tablet or watch. Perhaps it is information for the mechanic on what is wrong with the device based on internal sensors built into the device. Perhaps it is instructions on how to perform some activity or who to call for more information. Or a history of the changes done on this object in the past by the past workers. Location based information presented at the right time can be very valuable and lead to huge efficiency and safety improvements at a company.