We all make some predictions, but when someone likes Bill Gates makes them, they ought to be true. Back in 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book with the title “Business @ the Speed of Thought.” The book talks about the integration of business and technology. It elaborates how information networks digital infrastructures can give a business a competitive edge. Not to forget that this was about 18 years ago when the technology was considerably less advanced than it is now.
In his book, Gates made 15 very ambitious predictions, which at the time sounded absurd to some. It is a bit of a shock how close those predictions have now come to reality.
1. Price Comparison Websites
The book reads, “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”
You can just search on Google or Yahoo for price comparison websites like NexTag and PriceGrabber which have been developed specifically for the purpose.
2. Mobile Devices
“People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”
Smartphones are not the only devices that do all of these tasks for us. We are using more and more Smart watches which are more portable and classier.
3. Online Payments, Financing, and Healthcare
“People will pay their bills, take care of their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the internet.”
PayPal and Venmo like websites are very commonly used for online payments and people do business all over the world through these. Websites like ZocDoc find you a doctor and make it easy for you to schedule appointments. Online healthcare management systems are making lives easier for both patients and doctors.
4. Personal Assistants and the Internet of Things
“‘Personal companions’ will be developed. They will connect and sync all your devices in a smart way, whether they are at home or in the office, and allow them to exchange data. The device will check your email or notifications, and present the information that you need. When you go to the store, you can tell it what recipes you want to prepare, and it will generate a list of ingredients that you need to pick up. It will inform all the devices that you use for your purchases and schedule, allowing them to automatically adjust to what you’re doing.”
It is almost scary how close this is a reality today. Google smart assistant runs on most mobile devices and tells us about pretty much everything that Gates talked about. Devices like Nest collect your daily data and then adjusts your house’s temperature automatically. Voice-controlled home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo have sprouted that are capable of doing nearly all tasks that your phone can, without needing you ever to touch it.
5. Online home-monitoring
“Constant video feeds of your house will become common, which inform you when somebody visits while you are not home.”
A smart doorbell camera by Ring lets you see who is at the door and toys like Pebby not only monitor your pet while you are gone but also plays with them while live streaming their activity.
6. Social Media
“Private websites for your friends and family will be common, allowing you to chat and plan for events.”
Even at weddings, we are using websites like Facebook or apps like WhatsApp. Communication is so easy, and you can pick Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or any of the hundreds of other smaller networks to suit your needs.
7. Automated promotional offers
“Software that knows when you’ve booked a trip and uses that information to suggest activities at the local destination. It suggests activities, discounts, offers, and cheaper prices for all the things that you want to take part in.”
Have you ever noticed if you are searching for something particular on the internet, you will see advertisements of related things on practically every website that you visit later? Well, that has become possible through the automated promotional offers. Websites like Expedia and Kayak offer deals based on the purchases you made in the past.
8. Live sports discussion sites
“While watching a sports competition on television, services will allow you to discuss what is going on live, and enter a contest where you vote on who you think will win.”
We are practically way ahead of this prediction with a line of social media sites allowing live sports discussions particularly Twitter. Sports events stream live, and you can leave comments on websites like ESPN.
9. Smart Advertising
“Devices will have smart advertising. They will know your purchasing trends, and will display advertisements that are tailored toward your preferences.”
All the advertisements that you see on your Facebook and Google feeds are linked to the searches that you do online. They are tailored to your interests by studying your click history and purchasing habits.
10. Links to sites during live TV
“Television broadcast will include links to relevant websites and content that complement what you are watching.”
That is exactly how social media advertisement works these days. All commercials and advertisements provide a link to the business social media handle or a QR code for adding to SnapChat.
11. Online discussion boards
“Residents of cities and countries will be able to have internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them, such as local politics, city planning, or safety.”
This hardly needs an explanation. All news forums and websites have a comment section where readers and viewers can discuss their opinions. Social media websites like Twitter and Facebook have played a major role in political revolutions in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.
12. Interest-based online sites
“Online communities will not be influenced by your location, but rather, your interest.”
News websites and online blogs now focus on a specific genre instead of publishing general content like in earlier days. Websites divide themselves based on people’s interest rather than their location or identity, of which Reddit is a very popular example.
13. Project-management software
“Project managers looking to put a team together will be able to go online, describe the project, and receive recommendations for available people who would fit their requirements.”
Project management hardly goes round without proper plan layouts on a project management software. This is changing recruitment, teaming, work assignments, and team collaborations in nearly all institutions globally.
14. Online recruiting
“Similarly, people looking for work will be able to find employment opportunities online by declaring their interest, needs, and specialized skills.”
LinkedIn is the most popular network for uploading resume’s and finding jobs based on interest and skills. It aids both recruiters and potential employees in their job hunt.
15. Business Community Software
“Companies will be able to bid on jobs, whether they are looking for a construction project, a movie production, or an advertising campaign. This will be efficient for both big companies that want to outsource work that they don’t usually face, businesses looking for new clients, and corporations that don’t have a go-to provider for the said service.”
Enterprise software these days are focused on both skills and social aspects allowing users to reach businesses of their interest that could lead to much bigger projects. Websites like Upwork connect businesses to freelancers to whom they can outsource many of their tasks.
Source: Business Insider