The Herman Trend Alert|
February 17, 1999
Our Technological Future is Right Around the Corner
Technology will have an increasing impact on workplace and workstyles. Current, developing, and emerging technologies will substantially affect our personal lives.
Video teleconferencing will be more common in the office, in home offices, and on the road via laptop clip-on miniature video cameras. Telephone teleconferencing, already routinely used for staff meetings, will be more heavily utilized with personal videophones not far away.
More of us will be dictating directly into computers. This speech recognition technology is one of this year's hot new software lines. Expect to see fewer clerical support people as executives become more comfortable with their ability to create sans keyboard.
Some of our traditional barriers to doing business internationally will vanish, as real-time telephone language translation enables cross-language business management.
Collaborative software allowing geographically dispersed teams to work seamlessly together will build greater productivity of our intellectual workforces. As more cities install cable modems and offer instant access internet service, we will facilitate real-time communication.
Integration of phone, pager, fax, e-mail, and Personal Digital Assistants, with one number following you everywhere is right around the corner. Using a 500 area code, AT&T introduced its "Follow Me" service several years ago. Satellite phone networks, like Iridium, offer instant communications literally anywhere in the world, shrinking our planet even further. Since we are all now more mobile, the communications technologies will help us stay in touchýno matter where we are.
Holographic image processing and transmittal may seem far out, but may not be so far off. Your holographic image may soon represent you in places you can't (or don't want to) go.
Paper documents will give way to electronic documents, but issues of security, storage and retrieval (over long time periods) remain to be solved. Some computer applications cannot read documents they produced in earlier versions. While anomalies will make the transitions difficult for a while, technology will soon make paperless functioning comfortable and affordable.
Special thanks to Futurist Terry van der Werff, PhD, for his input for this week.
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