By Richard Barry
I’m often brought to a halt by the realisation that something mundane I just did would have been pure science fiction in most people’s minds just 10 years ago. An example : 10 years ago, if you told your friends around the braaivleisvuur that in 2014 they would be able to take their cellphone from their pocket, and within seconds they’d be able to view a picture of the South African store in Perth (where their brother buys his overpriced boerewors), they would have checked your glass to make sure you were still just drinking brandewyn.
This is what it looks like by the way. The store is called South African Essentials. It didn’t take me more than 30 seconds to get to this view on Google Street View. At the start of the 30 seconds I vaguely knew there was at least one such a store in Perth; I didn’t even have a name, never mind know where it is. Within one click I could have had a full route telling me how to get there (involving a long swim in this case), and another click would have called them.
This was what a top of the line cellphone looked like in 2004 :
You were stuck mostly with the software it came out with. Apps were few and far between (Mxit had just started, but not taken off in popularity yet), and certainly weren’t called apps yet. (Only nerds really knew of J2ME Applications)
Looking back 10 years, and what has since not only become possible, but mundane even, I want to look forward and make a few predictions about what the world might look like in another 10 years. So here are my 4 predictions for technology in 2024. To some they might be a bit obvious, but tell them to your friends at the braai over the weekend and see what they offer to refill your glass with.
1. Self driving cars will be on our roads.
We are on the cusp of a transportation revolution here. By April 2014 Google’s driverless cars had already covered 1,12 million KM on public roads in the US, without any accidents. Next year driverless cars will be trialed in 3 UK cities (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/390031/self-driving-cars-will-be-on-uk-roads-in-six-months). The concept just seems so futuristic that most people won’t believe it now until it has become mundane again in 10 years.
2. No more iPhones
I don’t know exactly what mobile communication will look like, but it certainly will no longer be a single device with a single touch screen you keep in your pocket called the iPhone 16 (or Galaxy S16 for that matter). The wearables revolution has just started. In 10 years I imagine you will be carrying around some small, powerful processing and storage unit that wirelessly interacts with various types of user input devices as you move along. At home you might have a large screen with voice commanding that your processing unit uses to allow you to watch your entertainment. In your car the visual part of the user interface might be a heads up display reflecting in your window, also commanded by voice. While walking around, the screen might be on your wrist or a projection on your glasses. The processing unit will have all the power and sensors to monitor where you go, what you eat, how much effort you put into your exercise, how you feel, throughout the day and night. All this data will be processed and used to provide you with exactly the right information you need, when you need it.
3. Broadcast Television will no longer exist
You will have full control over when, where and how you want to consume your entertainment. You will no longer be a slave to your remote and the TV schedule. You will be able to stream whatever you want to any device of your choosing. Netflix is just the start of the entertainment model that will eventually kill broadcast television in the next 10 years.
4. Everything will be connected.
The Internet of Things. If you haven’t heard the term, time to leave the technology cave you live in and get used to hearing it. Every technology device you own in 2024 will be connected to the Internet in some way, reporting back how it is doing, what it is doing and what it plans to do. When Google bought Nest for $3,2 Billion earlier this year, they didn’t just buy a company that builds smart thermostats. They bought an on-ramp onto the Internet of Things Highway.
How will this change Polymorph?
If you are an app developer, you might not have a job in 10 years if you think of yourself as an Android or iOS specialist. Polymorph will continue to stay at the forefront of mobile software technology. Already some of the most innovative products we are helping to develop, involve the integration of mobile phones with other hardware devices. The mobile device will be the user interface to the internet of things. The mobile device itself might change in form, but the idea of having a powerful processor, connected to the Internet, with you at all times will still be true in 2024. Polymorph will still be developing the most innovative software for those devices in 2024.