Avant-Garde Technology Uses

It's strange to think now, but it wasn’t long ago that all people did with cell phones was make phone calls. They were essentially a handy means to connect with friends and loved ones regardless of one’s location. It wasn’t even unheard of for individuals to make use of them only in emergency situations.

That is so last century!

Now, in the 21st century, where advancements in technology have become the talk du jour, it seems only natural for human beings to be proponents of integrating technology into virtually every aspect of our lives.

This may defy generational stereotypes because I’m a Gen Yer, but I still only use my cell phone for the basics, such as texting and making calls, and tend to rely a great deal on my laptop and iPod for various entertainment-related purposes.

Apparently, this type of consumer behavior will presumably render individuals like me archaic in the next five years or so — that is, if we can rely on the accuracy of some analysts’ predictions.

According to a recent CNN article, the way we interact with and use cell phones in the coming years is expected to undergo a radical shift, in the sense that these little gadgets that we pay comparatively little attention to could soon be the tools our lives revolve around.

Here are a few examples to expound on that theory.

It’s estimated that by the year 2015, every time you leave the house, you likely won’t require your keys — just your cell phone, which will allow you anytime access through any door you need to enter, including access to subways and other forms of public transit.

Need a single, comprehensive platform to pay the month’s bills that have been stacking up? Not to worry — your cell phone will be fully equipped to make an array of payments with the mere touch of a button. Ah, won’t that be convenient!

As if that weren’t enough, the article even says that mobiles could possibly serve as a form of ID — replete with our fingerprints and the like — thereby rendering it useless for us to carry a wallet or anything else we currently deem as essential when we’re out and about.

Even your weekly visits to the grocery store, occasional shopping splurges and frequent runs to the gas station promise to never be the same, as individuals will be able to simply scan their cell phones in order to purchase necessary goods or services.

And this struck me as the most unexpected function of all: In some countries, such as Kenya, text messages constitute a type of currency because money can be transferred by using them. Sounds a bit surreal and futuristic, doesn’t it?

Whether or not the American consumer market will adopt these avant-garde uses of cell phones is yet to be determined. Apparently, we’ve got quite a way to go to become as savvy with these gadgets as our counterparts on the other side of the world, the Japanese, who already use cell phones for many of the aforementioned purposes.

Technology has a tendency to be embraced and adopted by individuals around the globe who concoct ways to use it for much more than its originally intended purpose. While some of these unconventional uses of technology may have fallen by the wayside after being tested on consumers, others have caught on — at least in certain pockets of the world, and this type of reinvention truly is a testament to our creativity.

Remember a time when we laughed at the possibility of being enveloped in a futuristic world like that of the Jetsons? Well, flying cars and robot maids aside, we can’t deny the fact that every decade ushers in a series of technological advancements and innovative ways to use them, aimed at making our lives a little easier and a little more integrated.

dhartley@certmag.com

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Deanna Hartley

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