Leads and Cables
Back in the beginning of micro-computers we thought it marvellous that their was a small box that ran a cassette tape that loaded a series of beeps and tones that meant we “sometimes” got our programs loaded!
Computers then required cables and power to function. So you were confined to your desk or dinning table and have things weighed a fair weight as well has having the following:-
- a bulky monitor
- a cassette tape
- a cpu
- a keyboard
- a mouse
- a dot matrix printer
It could hardly be called mobile.
Laptops and Wifi broadband connectivity
The next technology leap was laptops and wifi broadband connectivity. This meant we could take our computers anywhere we liked with us. At first hotels were not able to make use of this technology but that has changed from being the unusual to becoming the norm. Laptops meant that we could work in different locations at times convenient to us including travelling on planes and trains accessing the internet via on-board wifi systems.
SmartPhones and Tablets
The next development has been in smartphones that can do more than make a call. Now the ability to email, make a video call and surf the internet reside in your pocket. Unthinkable at the time of the first microcomputer where it took 2 days to get a reply to an email! Couple that with being freed from your cables and leads this truly means freedom and “anywhere , anytime ,” technology. The introduction of the iPhone then the iPad has inspired a whole range of tools and devices that allow us to do anything we like on the internet and with our data.
Cloud computing and the Internet of Things
Being freed from our cables and leads is only the start. We can now be freed from software on a single device. The present trend is to have data and software held elsewhere ( probably Iceland!) and across ALL our multiple devices. Yes, multiple devices. Where as it was considered almost impossible to own your own computer we now have more than one device in your home. In fact each member of a family will own or have access to a device.
Then, there is the internet of things. A term that is as almost as misunderstood as to what the Cloud means! The internet of things refers to devices that:-
- speech input giving and receiving of information
- control the heating of your own remotely
- monitor your heath and fitness through a range of body worn devices
Such devices are truly making a difference in our world. People with Alziemers regaining functions they had lost through speech recognition and expert systems such as Siri to a wearer of an apple watch because it noticed a heart condition before the user and had notified a doctor (remotely and instantly) who immediately arranged treatment!
So these are the trends we are seeing and experiencing. Couple this with knowledge that Solomon would envy having through the worldwide web and we are the most informed and most liberated of learning than we have ever been. A new type of skill set is needed to make use of these opportunities. I wish to end by listing some of them to inspire you to take one step forward to having mastery of one or more of them. So let’s start the list:-
- To make use of the vast amounts of knowledge available we need to understand what we need to access this information. Keywords and phrases are so important along with the understanding that if you don’t know something you should consider using the internet to finding it. Asking the right questions will usually give the right answer!
- Management of your own data – both through your own portable hard drives but also have access to them on cloud-based storage device
- Understanding that data can be accessed across any device you want to use as long as you maintain a database of your username and passwords
- Microsoft and Apple talk about services and connectivity across their products constantly. They talk little of software now which implies they see the future in the above terms as well.
- Finally, we access what other people make but now we have the capability of creating and publishing our own materials and ideas. This is indeed liberating and powerful but not to be confused with the trend to celebrity and pushing one’s ego in front of others!