There was a time not too long ago when typewriters filled offices and documents were sent by fax or by post. It was a time when no one had a mobile phone, but rather a home phone and answering machine. And it, like the eras before, and the eras since, was considered a time of technological advancement.
But how quickly the technological advancements of one decade fade away to make room for the next. It may seem that tech evolution has met its match with the smartphone, and that we have a technology here to stay for a while. But the truth is, the smartphone will be replaced by something else—and sooner rather than later, whether we like it or not.
In the short term, we don't think there will be a revolution, or a replacement to the smartphone. There will be an increasing use of virtual assistants, voice activated control and virtual reality headsets.
To this point, the new Galaxy S8 comes standard with Bixby, a new virtual assistant that Samsung promises will one day let you control every single feature and app with just your voice. It will also ship with a new version of the Gear VR virtual reality headset, developed in conjunction with Facebook's Oculus. And the next iPhone is said to be shipping with upgrades to the Siri assistant, along with features aimed at bringing augmented reality into the mainstream.
In the medium term, we think all of these various experimental and first-stage technologies will start to congeal into something that will actually replace the smartphone. In fact, augmented reality could very well completely replace the smartphone, the TV, and anything else with a screen in the next two decades. There is not much use for a separate device sitting in your pocket or on your entertainment console if all your calls, chats, movies, and games are beamed into your eyes and overlaid on the world around you.
Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and the Google-backed Magic Leap are all working to build standalone augmented-reality headsets, which project detailed 3D images straight into your eyes. Even Apple is rumoured to be working on this.
Simultaneous to this happening, devices like the Amazon Echo or Apple's AirPods will become more prevelent. As artificial-intelligence systems like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Samsung's Bixby, and Microsoft's Cortana get smarter, there will be a rise not just in talking to computers, but in having them talk back.
This is a world where real life and technology blend seamlessly. The major tech companies promise that this future means a world of fewer technological distractions, and more balance, as the physical and digital world become the same thing. But what do you think? Will we have less technological distractions, or more, in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
All of these technological advancements rely on you wearing a device, even if it is an exceptionally light, almost invisible pair of glasses. But the most forward-thinking advancements go a step further, integrating technology into our bodies.
Neuralink, a company co-founded by Elon Musk, has the goal of building computers into our brains by way of "neural lace,". It is a very early-stage technology that lays on your brain and bridges it to a computer. It is the next step of blending the digital and physical worlds, as human and machine begin to become one.
Assuming this far reaching technology works — and lots of smart people believe that it will — this is the logical endpoint of the road that smartphones started us on. If smartphones gave us access to information, and augmented reality puts that information in front of us when we need it, then putting neural lace in our brains just closes the gap.
For VTSL, we have to think about how these next technologies will influence business communications. As we see it, even as we all begin to wear smart glasses and eventually neural laces, voice communication will still rely on VoIP. VoIP will continue to develop as the technology around it does, but the basics of voice packets travelling as fast as the speed of light is already next generation.
Speaking of which, so is our VoIP business phone service.