Ben Stiller (Zoolander) couldn't have been more prophetic… not only did his minced words at a funeral foretell the next technology superpower – but as he proceeded to put a cellphone the size of a peanut to his left ear – he also predicted the downsizing and globalizing of every facet of modern day communication. Well… maybe.
I've had the privilege of touring Europe recently and the sneak peak of what's to come when Telkom's Reich ends is enticing to say the least.
Take for example, the modern European business man's ordinary day in technology (paying special attention to how an entire life can be lived inside a simple internet browser - or even within the world of Google Services).
- Gets up, has designer Cuban coffee. This of course, has been ordered over the internet and delivered to his door the previous weekend.
- Walks over to the laptop desktop which is "always on" the internet. Nothing new to a handful of South African's privileged enough to experience broadband – but definitely new when you consider the basic, minimum package in Germany is a 2048k line. That's 4 times faster than the 512k R800/m 3 gig capped line Hellkom are offering. Did I mention the German line is uncapped? Free bandwidth for everybody!
- Chats with his secretary over Internet Phone (now available in a Pick 'n Pay-esque store across the UK) or Google Talk or MSN Messenger. Full audio / video conferencing if necessary. Voice line? Thing of the past.
- Needs to book a hotel? Heads over to Google Maps and does a location search. Prints the map out for good measure. Interestingly enough, a lot of hotels now have pointers onto Google Maps so prospective customers can find their way. Or, for the suspicious amoung us, take a quick look at the surrounding area using the full satellite imagery of Google Earth – Jack Bauer eat your heart out.
- Finally, some quick housekeeping. Back to his customized home page where CNN, BBC, Photos and a whole host of other content is sitting – remember, we are approaching Web 2.0 – content comes to you, you don't go to content.
- Makes sure all the documents he worked on last night are sitting on his virtual hard drive - yes, 25 gigs free storage for anyone on the net.
Checks how his overnight downloads have been going from the iTunes Music Store - quickly syncs the latest news broadcast (in video) and his favourite podcast to his jet black iPod Video. Earplugs in, and our typical businessman is ready to ignore everyone in the tube/underground on the way to work.
Did I mention 90% of this can be done from the average cell phone?
So, we've got quite a way to go – but make no mistake. This "Internet", this "Web 2.0" is going to change life as we know it. Excuse me, I've got a tube to catch.