Our mobile phones currently serve as the remote controls for the world around us. They function as the defining lens through which we unlock digital information about places and objects that we encounter in our daily lives. It’s amazing to think about how often we pull our phones from our pockets and access content that is designed to enrich the way that we experience the world. From social media posts to breaking news alerts and messages from our closest friends, our mobile devices serve as gateways to infinite paths of information and media.
Thanks to mobile, the physical world is no longer limited by its own boundaries. It is an ever-expanding landscape that can be augmented by each person that walks through it. We capture moments, share information once confined to physical books, and make digital connections that forever change the relationships that we have with physical spaces.
How we choose to use our mobile devices as we move throughout the world can have a lasting impact on our daily experiences. Are you playing mobile games as you move through a city? Are you answering emails? Did a shirt in a retail store window catch your eye, and now you’re ordering it online? Each of these actions would have been impossible before cellphones. Some may even argue that we’re losing ourselves in our screens. But, it’s impossible to argue that the technology doesn’t enrich our lives.
Do we have shorter attention spans than previous generations? Probably. Are we achieving more thanks to technological innovation? Of course. I have said that mobile is the Rosetta Stone for the world around us. It instantly translates language, media, communication, physical environments, and things that are imperceptible to the human eye. We are entering a fascinating time for humanity. Will technology make us slaves to our devices (some would say we already are), or will it continue to open the world to new possibilities?
Does technology’s value to humanity have a half-life? Is there a point at which more technology is a hinderance rather than a benefit? These are questions that we are pushed to explore through innovation. I am constantly awed by technology. I am a wide-eyed kid when it comes to things like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. I believe that we have only begun to scratch the surface in ways that technology will transform our world.
I have long explained to people that my interest in digital signage grew out of the belief that connected screens are digital gateways. With the evolution of the smartphone, these screens became landmarks through which people could create digital pathways. I realize that this is an idealistic view of technology that predominantly serves as an advertising medium. That’s what I see. Just like television, radio, and the Internet are more than the advertising that fuels their capitalization, so too are digital signs and mobile devices more than the paid media that flows through them.
Where does that leave us? We are weaving technology ever further into our lives. For that, I am optimistic. What about you?