Your Internet Future: Part One
YOUR INTERNET FUTURE, PART ONE: COMMERCE
Sharon is shopping at the Nieman Marcus store in Dallas. She is interested in a certain blue dress, so she takes it to a corner with an interactive mirror. Without changing clothes, she scans the tag on the dress with her iPhone. The mirror displays an image of Sharon in the dress. When she moves, the image of the dress moves with her image, so she can see how it looks on her from every angle. She wants to see how the dress would look in brown, so she selects one of the color options displayed on the edge of the mirror. The mirror displays Sharon in the brown dress. She wants to see how both dresses look side-by-side, so she taps on the phone, and the mirror displays a split-screen image of her, the brown dress on the left, the blue dress on the right. She tries two size options, so she can see which fits her best. The mirror also shows her handbags, belts, scarves, and shoes that will compliment the dresses. Sharon is not ready to make a decision on the spot, so she downloads the mirror’s data into her smart phone. When she’s ready to order, she can do it with just a few taps on the screen.
Joe wants to buy a new car. On his Android tablet, he enters information about his driving habits, his height and weight, roughly what he wants his new car to look like, and the levels of performance, comfort, and fuel economy he wants. The computer recommends four manufacturers within thirty miles of his home. Joe chooses one. He picks an engine, a transmission, a suspension, tires, interior, and color. The color is from a palette of sixteen million hues, so it’s unlikely that Joe will see another car on the road that looks exactly like his. The manufacturer quotes a price for the vehicle. Joe agrees, and pays a substantial deposit by entering his credit card information via Amazon.
The auto manufacturer “prints” Joe’s entire vehicle from stocks of raw metal, glass, and rubber: engine, transmission, chassis, body, tires, interior, electronic circuits-everything. One day after Joe orders the car, it’s ready for delivery to his home.
Ellen is ordering groceries. A robot scans the shelves in her pantry and refrigerator, and her iPhone lists the foods that are running out. Ellen wants to host a party, so she adds drink mixes and seafood to her regular order. At the grocery warehouse, a robot pulls the items she ordered from from the shelves, then loads them onto a cart. The robot loads the cart onto a truck which will carry the grocery orders of fifty customers in Ellen’s neighborhood. Two hours after she placed her order, the truck rolls up to her driveway. A robot calls Ellen’s iPhone, and she enters a code into it to open her garage door. The robot hauls the cart with her order into her garage, then stacks the frozen items in her freezer. The remaining items it places on a platform on the garage floor. Ellen’s home robot takes these items into the house, and arranges them by category in the pantry.
Will your internet future be like this? It may differ in a few details, but with the passage of time, your are likely to handle more and more of your daily tasks online. Your internet future will almost certainly mean that more of your shopping is web-enabled. Eventually, it will be so much more convenient to handle commerce online, that very likely you will never- or almost never- set foot in a brick-and mortar store.
(Editor’s Note: If your internet future is to work well, you will need plenty of bandwidth. If you’re not sure that your current internet service is adequate, visit Bundle Deals. Compare all providers and plans, and order any service with just one phone call.)