Waking Tomorrow: It’s 6:00 am. An alarm sounds to wake you up but it’s not coming from an alarm clock plugged into the wall, nor is it coming from your smartphone. The alarm is coming from a glass section of the wall in your bedroom which is also displaying the weather and your daily itinerary. As you stumble into the bathroom the lights turn on automatically and the mirror on the wall lights up with some text messages and reminders of things you need to do this morning before work.
Waking Today: You can pick up the Withings alarm clock which connects to your iPhone or Android device. It will simulate sunrise, wake you to the sounds of Spotify, and even give you some stats on the quality of your nights rest.
Morning Routine Tomorrow: After your shower you head downstairs and go to the kitchen to grab some coffee which is already brewed because the coffee maker was automatically triggered by your stumbling around upstairs thanks to linked sensors throughout your home. You pour yourself a cup of eye juice and read the morning news which is being broadcast on the glass countertop of your breakfast nook. A text pops up on the glass telling you a meeting has been rescheduled to be a ½ hour earlier. Dang! You quickly rush out the door which automatically locks behind you. You don’t have to worry about forgetting your wallet, keys, laptop, etc., because none of those things exist anymore.
Morning Routine Today: Mr. Coffee produces a “Wemo” connected brew system that allows you to schedule brew times on the fly. Just grab your iOS or Android based smartphone and tell the app it’s time to get brewing! A fresh cup of Joe will be waiting when you make it down stairs.
Driving Tomorrow: As you get into your car a HUD (Heads Up Display) alerts you to road conditions and traffic areas to watch out for. As you hit the freeway a message comes up alerting you that it is now safe for hands-free driving. You say “okay”, take your hands off the wheel and touch a glass interface on your dashboard to see what your day is turning into. The meeting you are rushing to has now been canceled. You mutter a few choice words under your breath then decide it’s the kind of morning you could use another cup of coffee.
Driving Today: We are shockingly close to the future on this one. A friend of mine took me for a drive in his Volvo XC90 and as long as it was under 30MPH it drove itself. It accelerated, braked when necessary and all without his hands on the wheel! Autonomous car technology is currently mind boggling if you have the money to dole out. See Tom’s Guide to drool over the cool tech available in premium cars today.
Coffee Shop Tomorrow: You pop into the local coffee shop near the office and the table you’re sitting at has a screen that lights up with your own personal homescreen. You search the web, send a few texts and receive a message that a courier package has arrived at your house. The courier’s face pops up on your screen and you give him permission to place the package in the house. The door unlocks, he drops off the package, and it automatically locks behind him when he leaves. You look down at your smartwatch and whoa, time is slipping away! You get up and head out to go to the office. No need to pay the waitress, the minute you walk out the door your account is debited for the correct amount along with your usual tip.
Coffee Shop Today: Pay with cash or debit card? Not for long. Digital payment systems abound and are getting smarter every day. There is Google Wallet, Apple Pay and Visa payWave, to name a few. Uber today allows entirely autonomous payment for services along with a host of other groundbreaking consumer benefits. Smart locks are also currently available. Check out TopTenReviews 2015 ratings of the latest and greatest.
Parking/Elevators Tomorrow: As you are heading to your usual parking spot the HUD display alerts you that it is already being used and recommends the next closest open spot. You park, get in the elevator which senses you and asks if you want to go to your usual floor. You say yes and up you go. But not just up: Sideways! The elevator also moves horizontally to get you to the west wing of the office tower which is closer to your desk. When the elevator gets to your floor, a voice coming out of the door wishes you good morning and tells you to head to your bosses office for an urgent meeting.
Parking/Elevators Today: Many cars today feature self parking capabilities. One of the first was Ford Motor Company but the self-parking pack is getting pretty thick. As far as smart parking lots are concerned, they have arrived too. ParkiT has a system that identifies open parking spots and will direct you to the nearest open spot. Cities are getting on board too with smart meter technologies and apps to help you find an open meter in a busy city core. As for elevators that only go up, those days are limited too. A company has built a full scale working model of an elevator system that goes up, down, left and right. It actually takes up less space than a traditional elevator system. You can learn more about what to expect from elevators in 2016 in this Fast Company article.
Copying/Printing Tomorrow: Once out of the elevator you head right to your bosses office. The door is closed but a sensor lets him know you are near and the door opens to let you in. He lets you know he needs a few copies of financial documents ready for a few die-hard team members that only work with paper. From your conversation your boss’ electronic assistant picked up the instructions for the document that requires printing and automatically sends it to the print queue. You let your boss know you’ll take care of it and head to the MFP (Multi-Function Printer) down the hall. Once there the device automatically senses your presence. It authenticates your permission levels with NFC (Near Field Communication) and the screen lights up with your documents all set to print. You authorize it and take the printed spreadsheets to the boardroom.
Copying/Printing Today: NFC and Card-swipe technologies for authentication already work on MFP’s with Print Audit’s Embedded solutions. In the old days a separate box would have to be attached to the device with the user required to do a manual pin-code authentication. Devices with the Embedded solutions only release documents when a user authenticates which saves a ton of pages from abandoned or out of date print jobs. Proprietary MFP interfaces are also disappearing. Samsung was the first to introduce an Android-based MFP touch screen and others are certain to follow.
Meetings Tomorrow: You take the printed documents and head to the boardroom. You hand them out to the 3 people who wanted them on paper. Everybody else has a digital copy of the document which shows up on a section of the boardroom table in front of them, no laptops or tablets required. They even have digital stylus’ which allow them to annotate the virtual documents as the meeting progresses. One of the walls in the meeting room has a 12 foot by 16 foot image of the document up as well which you use to move through the meeting. At the end of the meeting everybody simply gets up to leave and the document securely disappears from the wall and boardroom table. All annotations are saved and ready for viewing and sharing by authorized meeting attendees only.
Meetings Today: In boardrooms across the world there are more iPads and other tablets than ever before as people are electing to use these instead of paper notebooks. At Print Audit we use Google Drive to share documents for meetings and everybody’s notes are saved in one central place. Companies like BoardPad have tablet based solutions for highly sensitive document sharing and collaboration to ensure better governance and security of information.
After a productive day at the office you head home. Halfway there you get a video call from your wife which shows up on the HUD display in your self-driving car. Suddenly 6 more people join the video call and sing you “Happy Birthday”. All this technology and you couldn’t even remember it was your birthday!
One device to rule them all. I think as you can see by some of the surprising connected technologies that already exist today that the reality of life with a single computing device that connects to innumerable screens is closer than you think. This video from Corning is a great inspiration for those looking to the very near future:
Now it’s your turn! What surprising technologies have you run into recently that blew your mind? Anything in the office you’ve noticed that completely changes your workflow and the way you do business? Leave your comments, we look forward to your thoughts!