I often joke about the little technology pyramid I now bring on business and pleasure trips that includes: my netbook (replacing my laptop and providing good document editing and other work-related options, plus video watching), my Kindle (replacing a heavy stack of books and magazines), and my iPhone (enabling my social media habit, providing directions to unknown spots, relieving boredom, delivering instant info, and occasionally fielding a phone call). This little stack, if perennially charged, could keep me happy on a deserted, but wired island for quite some time. I'm connected, informed, and entertained.
Often these devices serve multiple purposes. I can surf the Web and access Web mail on the Kindle in a pinch, though it's clumsy. I can open and edit documents on the iPhone, but would not want to do so regularly. Mostly on my iPhone, I text, tweet, try out apps, or use the GPS function that has saved me on numerous occasions. I still need all three devices in my pyramid to be comfortable on a trip, but the day is coming when a single device will meet all my needs. That device will become so important to me, I will likely customize it, secure it, and protect access to it, and me, like a zealot.
What happens when we begin to consume all, or the majority, of our online content, ad impressions, or other digital influences within a single device? It's not tomorrow, even for early adopters, but we should be thinking about that day and planning for it.
Think about possible impacts, like:
In the future, this device might also start my car, open my front door, alert me if Aunt Betty falls down, be a portable office, project on a screen for shared viewing, deliver instant news source, pay my bills, and manage my portfolio to my specifications. It will be a proxy for my life and contain significant personally identifiable information (PII).
I bet you've driven away from home or the store and found you left your wallet or cell phone behind and promptly turned around to retrieve it -- in a panic. I have. I did so because of a feeling of discomfort and disconnectedness without my cell phone, or the terrifying prospect of the reported 700 hours necessary to untangle an identity theft. Imagine the powerful importance this device would take on, the new risks that would come with it, and the potential backlash that early efforts might suffer? Would they persevere? Would the early adopters report a significant enough benefit from a unified device to entice the marketplace response from both providers and consumers of these mythical beasts?
For now, I still need my little pyramid and if I can't contain myself, I may be adding the Barnes & Noble eReader for its purported color, touch screen technology, and book-sharing capabilities. Here I go again. Before I'm done, I may own dozens of devices and be thrilled to trade them all in just so I can revert to a single charger. So, what is your must-have technology gadget?
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Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.
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