As new technologies take hold, ideas and machines that at first seem unnecessary, have a way of coming together in ways that make our lives better.
A single technological breakthrough, like the invention of the combustion engine or the printing press, is hard to appreciate until that new idea converges with many other ideas. We call this “technological convergence.”
Some digital-era examples of convergence that we now take for granted include:
- Communication: What was once your phone, is now your watch, your camera, your calendar, your email, your credit card, your navigator, and your radio… oh heck, in the age of apps, an uncountable number of services are all converged into one device that is practically an appendage to our body today.
- Entertainment: Television viewing used to be one type of behavior using one specific device. Going to the movies was another similar but distinct behavior. Now we call it “streaming” because every type of video entertainment can be viewed on any device with a screen. Watching “the television” is obsolete but watching video content has converged in ways that make our total time spent watching video content far greater than it ever was before.
- Information: The data that each of us needs at specific points in time is more varied and complicated than ever before. But, the manner in which we access that data has converged to the point where the sources are invisible. If we are doing research, reading a novel, getting investment advice, fixing a sink, trying to find an email from last year, or concerned about a medical condition, we “search” for it and there it is.
The things that seem unrelated and potentially complicated become interwoven. One step at a time, these seemingly disparate ideas and technologies converge, and thus emerge as everyday parts of modern life.
Next Generation Convergence
There are new ideas buzzing around us that seem complicated and convoluted. They roll up to become things like autonomous driving and ChatGPT that seem like they might be dangerous. In the early days, potential changes are viewed cautiously. Over time, however, each wave of convergence brings forth amazing advances in how we live and work.
Technological convergence in the past 20 years has been all about the ways that humans engage with machines to gain immediate and tangible benefits. The great developers of the digital era were building stuff for us to use hands-on.
What we anticipate is that fundamental benefits like healthcare, security, travel, and productivity are going to be enhanced because the machines are all working together with the intention of finding solutions that are better than even the best human teams can conceive.
How are you seeing things converge? What ideas does new technology generate for you?
Here at Electronic Office, we avoid chasing the fads and buzzwords before they prove themselves. At the same time, it’s our job to advise our clients on how to effectively leverage converging technologies to provide the best opportunities for them to protect and grow their businesses.