For almost all of human existence on planet Earth, it was safe to assume that the world you were born in would look pretty much the same as the one in which you’d pass away. But that is no longer the case – and pretty soon, it may be that humans won’t even die at all.
“We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate,” wrote futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2001
Look at how much has changed in the past 10 years alone. We’ve seen the advent of wireless internet, social media platforms, wearable technology, and self-parking card. We can’t even begin to realistically imagine what the world will look like by 2027, or 2100.
For the first 200,000 years of the Homo sapiens existence, survival instincts meant we thought linearly. If we need a chicken to feed our family for a day, we would need 30 to provide for a month. If we needed a kilo of wood to keep the fire going for an hour, we would need 24 kilos per day. And if we can build a home shelter each day, in 7 days we can provide shelter for 7 families.
Modern technology is challenging our preconception of how we see our progression. Our presumption that everything builds linearly means that, for example, if a computer held 1GB memory in 2001 and 512GB in 2010, then it will hold 1,000GB in 2020. But, in reality, computers are likely to hold 524,288GB by 2020, as memory capacity is currently growing exponentially. By the year 2030 we may have reached the point where memory capacity is over a billion GB.
Need for speed
In 2001, technology was only as good as the 1GB memory capacity it held. Whilst most of us didn’t even have a mobile phone, those who did wouldn’t have the luxury of a camera built in. Mobiles were only for calls, SMS and the now infamous Snake. It would be many years before loading web pages would be available on the move.
By 2010, the 512GB capacity allowed for coloured touchscreens, 5 megapixel cameras and 3G data connections – it felt like we had reached the pinnacle of personal portable technology. What else would we need?
In 2017, we have front and back cameras with up to 10x digital zoom, 4G data connections and fully waterproof phones. And our smartphones have a companion – the smartwatch.
By 2020, imagine what we could be carrying around with us – with the predicted 524,288GB capacity, the development of wearable technology and the constant improvement of intelligent technology such as Siri and Alexa.
But not all technology is advancing at the same rate. Batteries, for example, are still the sticking point for many consumers – running low within hours, causing the smartphones we rely on to not be there for us when we need them most.
Gifting in 2017
It’s not just mobile technology that is progressing at a race of knots. The corporate world is starting to catch up with individuals in understanding the power of giving recipients choice when providing a gift, and is now actively adopting gift cards as an incentive to employees based on their performance – both incentive based and recognition. The swift increase in uptake across both private and corporate sectors – an impressive 10.8% annual growth rate is predicted in SBWire’s report “Gift Card Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast, 2016-2024” – is driving the gift card marketplace to also remain current and innovative.
The use of mobile phones and smartphones is forcing the rise in e-commerce platforms, starting with the likes of Amazon or BestBuy, as well as closed-loop e-cards. In 2016, e-Gifting and digital gift cards amassed $20billion in global revenues. This is predicted to grow by 20.7% by the end of 2024.
Prepaid technology has been released, with leading retail and banking organisations providing customers and members with prepaid cards, commonly referred to as gift cards. In the latest report, Persistance Market Research estimated that by 2024, $698billion worth of these pre-paid gift cards would be in existence globally.
In addition, universally accepted open loop prepaid or gift cards are now more popular than ever, and are predicted to grow by another 12.1% annually over the next 7 years. Offering something for everyone, this platform allows gifters to take the ‘easy’ route of not choosing a personalised gift whilst still providing the feel-good factor. Acceptable worldwide, both online and in-store, recipients now have the ability to get exactly what they want. No longer will they have to beg to return unwanted gifts – or tat!