Microtrend analyst says '4.0' era is upon us

Microtrend analyst says '4.0' era is upon us

A future where "technology and human become one" is fast arriving, according to Nils Müller, CEO of TrendOne, a German microtrend analysis firm.

Passive entertainment such as standard television embodied the 1.0 era, Müller said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Cebit show, in Hanover, Germany. Web 2.0 saw a rise in audience-generated content like blogs and podcasts. The ongoing 3.0 period represents a deeper level of engagement, where users "jump into" media such as virtual worlds, he added.

But evidence of the '4.0' era -- an "always-on" world where humans can "self-upgrade" through technology extensions -- is already nigh and being driven by the youngest generation, according to Müller.

"Our kids will talk to the Web like they talk to a friend," he said as a video presentation showed a user entering a series of natural-language queries such as "how far away is the moon" into the AskWiki search engine, now in beta.

While to adults virtual worlds such as Second Life were novelties, today's children are growing up virtually, he argued. As evidence, Muller pointed to Barbie Girls, a virtual world launched last year. Some three million young fans of the doll signed up for the service within 60 days of its launch, claimed one report.

Outside of computers, three-dimensional technologies will find widespread applications, Muller said. 3-D printers, now expensive devices often used for design and prototyping, will cost US$760 "and everyone can have one at home," he predicted.

A U.K. company called Musion has developed a 3-D holographic projection system. Recently, Cisco Systems used the system to "beam" a couple of its executives onstage to deliver a speech. According to Muller, 3-D holographs will power the next generation of television.

More important than one particularly flashy technology or another is the fact that the line between human and device will blur and even disappear, he suggested.

He pointed to medically focused devices such as the implant chip for restoring sight, being developed by German company Retinal Implant, as well as the work ongoing at Cyberkinetics, which hopes to provide severely disabled people with the ability to control a computer with their thoughts.

Hitachi Data Systems' chief operating officer, Jack Domme, also sat on the panel. He declared that RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, now common in manufacturing and other industries, will become so widespread that they create an invisible, living network capable of powering unheard-of levels of interaction between man and machine.

"RFID will be in every piece of paper that we have and every device we have out there," he said. "This whole room will become interactive. Your paper, your devices will start talking to one another."

For example, when all food items contain an RFID tag, a store scanner will be able to price every item in your basket simultaneously, he said. In addition, RFID will enable even more advanced scenarios, such as allowing a local store and your refrigerator to communicate and alert you when you're running low on certain items, he said.

Or by using the location-tracking abilities of RFID, your refrigerator could send a message to your car when you're going by the store and remind you to buy the items, Domme predicted.

"Our whole future revolves around data and data integration," he said.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cebit4.0 future trends3.0



The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments