3 April 2011

COMMENTARY: 5 years ago vs today

How long will it take before there are no more video stores, music stores or book stores? In my estimation - not very long.

We can already see the large book store chains starting to shut down. In Australia this is happening to Angus and Robertson. I wonder how long the others will last.

Much of what I blog about will include items of technology, some will be products (iphone, ipad etc), some will be processes (blogs, automated factories, email, tweeting) and some will be emerging ideas (new materials, new business models etc). I thought it might be good to look back 5 years and see what types of things I was using in my home or at work and then contrast that with today.

5 Years ago at home:
A mobile phone (but only just)
No credit card
An old desktop computer
A television that my grandparents bought me (I still have it!)
An old VCR
A stereo with a cassette deck and CD player
A dial up internet account (but broadband ordered)
No Facebook, Linked in or Twitter account
A digital camera at 2.8 Mega pixels
2 large bookcases for our books, another one on order for the books that don't fit
maybe some more 'stuff'

At work I had:
a laptop
Had just bought a GPS for the car for work
Had started using a web-service for managing the contacts in my business
A fax machine
A fax to email service (to receive faxes electronically)
A USB thumb drive with 2 Megabytes of data available (wow!)
A website
Write notes and other work items in microsft word and print them out for filing or sending

Lets have a look at today (at home):
We use a Home Theatre PC (HTPC) that I had built by our local computer shop
The HTPC has 1.5 Terabytes of storage locally and another 1 Terabyte in an external drive
We use 3 iPads for almost everything
An iphone with unlimited data and 2 spare mobile phone handsets
We have synchronized calendars across iPads, iPhone and desktop computers
All of our music is electronic
We don't buy books anymore, all our books are electronic (and read on the iPads)
2 credit cards for loyalty programs (frequent flyer points)
1 company credit card for travel expenses
A flat screen television that connects to the broadband TV receiver and HTPC
A 1 Terabyte hard-drive that contains all of our files and photos as a backup
A 12 mega-pixel camera and 2 spare 'old' cameras with 2 or 3 mega-pixels
A broadband account with unlimited data at about 100 times the speed of the dial up
Fully wireless in the house
A Facebook and linked in account

At work today:
Some 'cloud' applications
Secure wireless internet in any meeting room
No desktop phones, only mobiles
Book meetings only through Microsoft outlook or similar
No more word documents, only mind-mapper and powerpoint really
Very little printing
Almost always use 'wikis' or 'share point' sites to share information
An SMS is as good as an email

So what happened?
Nothing that special happened, things just moved on. In one sense it became necessary to work in a new way because that is what was needed to connect with other people. In the home sense we just opted for ways of doing things that seemed more convenient, less costly or more available.

An example:
5 years ago, if we liked a song we needed to:
Get in the car
Go to a music shop
Find the song
Buy the whole album unless it was a single
Go home
Play it


Go to itunes or some other music service like spotify
Click it
Download it
Play it

I'm sure there are many examples that show the difference just as well. We can do the same thing for books and movies.

How long will it take before there are no more video stores, music stores or book stores? In my estimation - not very long.

Thanks for reading.