A New Dawn In The Digital Age.
“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
Those were the words of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, in an article he wrote just over three years ago. And we only need to think of the speed at which the introduction of the Smart Phone in 2007 changed , to know this is not an exaggeration.
We’ve come a long way in 40 years…
It’s hard to believe that the World Wide Web, as most homeowners would know it, has been in existence for less than 30 years. Back then it was just an online library, with very little two-way interaction, and dominated by Netscape Navigator and Yahoo listings.
This was followed by Web 2.0 which heralded information sharing and participation through the birth of Social Media. From Friends Reunited and Myspace/Bebo to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, our world shrank before our very eyes as we started to connect with friends, family and complete strangers with common interests from across the globe.
According to Peter Diamandis, Founder of a Silicon Valley University that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies, “the web 2.0 connected the planet more in one decade than empires in millennia”. However, we’ve not yet scratched the surface of what technology and data will mean for us.
The Web 3.0 – Spatial Web
We’re now on the cusp of Web 3.0 – also known as the spatial web – and it’s going to take us to a new place altogether. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, has likened where we are today with data and technology, to the discovery of electricity. In their wildest dreams, people could not have imagined how electricity would change the world. The same can be said for data and technology. For most of us, it’s hard to envisage the possibilities of it all.
So, what’s going to spark this new big bang moment, and when will it happen? Within the next three years there is going to be a convergence of technologies that will herald the beginning of the Spatial Web. You will probably have heard of most of these technologies, but it’s their coming together that will dawn a new era:
Augmented and Virtual Reality
We’re increasingly surrounded by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences. Go to any theme park, and there will at least one ride that uses these technologies. There are bus stops where you can look through a ‘poster’ and see dinosaurs walking in the street. Or you might visit a travel agent where you’re given a VR headset and are able to ‘walk around’ the resort they are promoting.
But soon AR and VR will be integral to our everyday lives. Imagine opening your curtains in the morning to reveal a stunning sunrise from a different part of the world. Or standing on the field with your favourite sports team, seeing the ball from their perspective. You could be walking into a store looking for a new kitchen, and your AR glasses will lead you right to the one it knows you want, even before you do. Education will never be the same again. No longer will our children be learning history from dusty old textbooks. They will be taken back in time to re-live and breathe those historical moments, or they could have a virtual teaching assistant that gives them additional help with their homework in the evening if they get stuck.
How much more potential will our children of the future have when their brains are wired in a completely different way to ours, due to their exposure to the spatial web during their formative years?
Internet of Things (known as the IoT)
Again, this concept is not new. Indeed, at Luxe Smart Homes we’re working with the IoT every day. Basically, it’s a term commonly used to describe the connection of billions of devices which feedback live information to the internet without the need for human interaction.
Smart home technology is a good example of this. You could enter your driveway and your lights will automatically come on, your garage door will automatically open, and your TV will be switched to your favourite channel as you walk through the door. That’s because sensors are feeding live information to the internet, which is then able to send pre-programmed commands to another device.
Soon there will be over 30 billion connected devices globally, with sensors in our home, on the streets, in the sky, in public areas, on our clothes, hats and eyewear.
The advent of 5G networks
The UK is set to launch its first 5G network this year. This is a hugely exciting development as it means data transfer will be much faster, more reliable, and the amount of data you can transfer at one time will dramatically increase.
To put that into context, it takes over a day to download a full HD movie in 3G, and over 7 minutes in 4G. With 5G, it will take between 4 and 40 seconds. In terms of capacity, it means that we’ll rarely experience degradation in response times if there’s large demand on the network, which is still commonplace with 4G. The advent of 5G will also accelerate the use of VR and AR technologies, as well as the IoT. The advent of 5G will be integral for the expected dramatic uptake in use of VR and AR technologies especially when developers start mapping moveable augmented images over the reality of walking down the street.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
We’re surrounded by AI and ML every day, perhaps without realising it. Common examples are Alexa and other chatbots, Google translate, or facial recognition on your iPhone X.
The rise of AI and ML is perhaps one of the most exciting developments of all. It’s hard to believe that in 30 years’ time we may not own a car. We’ll just summon a driverless car to take us where we want to go. Energy companies will, for example, be able to temporarily turn up the fridges and marginally dim the lights in all supermarkets when there is a sudden surge in energy demand. You will be accepted for a mortgage in seconds, not days. And you will no longer have to wait weeks for a specialist medical diagnosis. The possibilities are endless and will have significant consequences for governments, businesses and people.
Blockchain technology is usually associated with Bitcoin, but the potential uses of this technology are far-reaching, particularly when it comes to data security. A (very) simplified explanation of blockchain is that it enables us to own, package up, authenticate and distribute data, without anyone else being able to copy it. Data has been described as ‘the new oil’, so to be able to protect and own it is paramount. Although Bitcoin has so far not been able to establish itself as an alternative global currency, the blockchain technology that spawned the entire crypto currency eco system is seen as the building blocks for the Spatial Web.
How can you be prepared for the web 3.0?
This may feel like science fiction now, but within a couple of years many of these things will become the norm. Practically speaking – if you’re about to build a new home, or a large extension, you need to be thinking ahead before you spend a large amount of money. For example, with the next big jump into the spatial web, and people streaming huge amounts of content directly into their Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality goggles, are going to suck up lots of bandwidth within the home environment.
It will be more important than ever to separate what you can on to a wired system so that these devices have the space to stream at a higher transfer rate. We are already installing fibre optic cable in our projects to ensure that in the future, these properties will have the best infrastructure to handle what ever the spatial web or web 3.0 will demand.
At Luxe Smart Homes we have a keen interest in the advancement of technology, and we’re excited to see what these developments will mean for the home. By having one eye on tomorrow, we can use this insight to do as much as we can to future-proof your home today. For example, we’re already installing fibre optic cable in our projects to ensure that in the future, these properties will have the best infrastructure to handle what ever the spatial web or web 3.0 will demand.
For further reading on the spatial web from the leading expert in this field, click here.