What is the future about? What is it going to look like? It’s a sweeping and broad question and of course not one that can be easily answered unless you count divination among your hobbies. However while specific answers may not be forthcoming, what we can assume with confidence is that it’s in the hands of businesses and industry. It’s capitalism that drives the technology industry forward, and it’s consumerism that decides which developments stay and which go.
But of course this is always going to mean that some businesses move further ahead than others. And there are definitely some risk taking organizations out there that are happy to take more of a leap into the unknown and blaze a trail for the rest of us. So right now, which are those companies and which technologies are they using to provide something completely new and game changing?
3D Printing Companies
3D printing companies like Shapeways and the other big digital manufacturing firms are truly liberating for inventors and entrepreneurs and put the manufacturing process in the hands of ordinary people. If you’ve ever had an idea for a simple product that you think could sell, or if you’ve ever wanted to make something for your own amusement, then all you need to do is to choose your service, upload a 3D CAD file, and then have it moulded by digitally controlled lasers in your material of choice. It’s fitting then that every order from Shapeways currently comes with a free label that reads ‘Made in the Future’.
Lulu is essentially Shapeways for publishers, the idea here being that you can upload a .doc file, and then have books printed out as and when you need them bound in all manner of ways and with all kinds of options. It means anyone can publish a book and make money from it, and anyone can see a publication with their name on it on their bookshelf. Companies like Lulu and Shapeways are likely to be great blueprints for the way business operates in the future, and they’re likely to help more and more entrepreneurs strike out on their own and take on the big businesses.
RJDJ makes apps and this already puts the company at the forefront of a young but booming industry. However what these apps do is what makes them truly unique and even more cutting edge. RJDJ’s niche is in sound, but not just in normal sound but ‘augmented reality soundscapes’. Their flagship app for instance works by recording the sounds around you in the earphones and then echoing those back to you in a distorted, enhanced or warped manner. This creates an incredibly surreal experience that makes you feel like you’re in a dream state while turning the world around you into music. Another app attempts to induce dreams in an ‘Inception’ like manner by getting you to sleep while listening to those soundscapes. Incredibly unique uses for multiple technologies.
‘The Cloud’ isn’t really new news any more, but still very few companies have really begun to take advantage of its full potential. OnLive is one such organization that allows you to play top end PC games your smartphone by literally streaming them from another server. The experience isn’t perfect – the resolution and framerate drops occasionally over all but the quickest connections and the touch screen controls on most devices are a little frustrating (though it works for PCs too), but the concept is still likely to be the way we consume media and play games in the future.
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