It is tempting to believe that we will continue to see the growth of faster and more connected devices becoming further ingrained into our personal lives. And if you can’t live without your phone, like 80% of knowledge workers – you know where I am coming from. I was attending the UXCAMP at the Museum of Civilization last May when the power went out. No worries though, once everyone held up their phones it was almost as bright as if the lights were still on. When I went to see Rihanna back in May, people held up their phones during the encore performance of Stay, not their lighters…
However, if the MIT Media Lab and the Fluid Interfaces research group has anything to do with it, expect the device to become irrelevant. The goal of mobile computing was never to ensure other peoples’ access to you and your time, the goal is to give you access to the metadata of the internet – anywhere and at anytime.
As social media and the internet continues to grow, so does the sheer volume of texts, photos, links, chats, raw data and background applications; all representing an exponential growth in data traffic. This traffic contains valuable information, and the strategy that “delivers the data” in the easiest, most convenient, most efficient way possible will be the winner. When put in these terms, it is obviously the data, not the device that becomes central – and to be honest, I would rather not carry around a delicate $500 piece of tech that contains a massive amount of my personal private info and communications.
Take a look at this TED talk to see what I mean about the device becoming irrelevant.
So what does this mean for the future of business?
It means that maintaining a Brand in the 21st century is going to get increasing difficult to define, let alone manage. Your customers will be generating information about you and your company on the fly. This information, wholly outside your control – will become search indexed, re-posted, recopied and refiled a thousand times. People of all types, and in all places will have access to this information like a 6th sense. It is the birth of the social business. In order to resist becoming a target of the internet, you will have to become a creature of it. The information surrounding your brand will become your calling card, unfortunately not one that you will have much control over.
The takeaway here is that as a business owner or savvy marketer, it’s important to treat your brand not like a device, but rather as a means to delivering value. You must start down the path of thinking about creating greater value, not just with your clients or customers but with the larger community as a whole. Expect a new suite of connected devices and social media platforms that continue to break down barriers, recombine and re-purpose data and information in surprising ways. We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it by looking at the past, and the past tells us that information wants to be free.