In many of our corporate presentations to our clients we describe how we believe we are in the middle of this journey from analog to digital. We explain how the first block of this 50 yr journey was bringing digital technologies to the enterprise. Then we explain how the next 25 yrs will be the journey to bring digital technologies to the masses. I feel as though a more fundamental observation needs to be made about this transition so that we can understand the impacts of digital technology in the future and the value that it will bring to the masses.
The observation in which I am referring to is the fact then when a digital technology presents itself in the market we always move from a linear experience to a nonlinear experience. Meaning something that was experienced in one way may now be experienced in many different ways.
In the business realm the entrance of digital technologies directly increased efficiency and productivity. This was observed early on with the first application on the personal computer assisting in moving away from paper based solutions in the workforce (linear) to digital forms of databases, communication, accounting, etc (nonlinear). I recall my first job in 1997 at Cypress Semiconductor was to completely overhaul the system of document control which was all paper based and convert it to a digital system all through the corporate Intranet. This move from linear to nonlinear experiences or processes greatly impacted and will continue to impact the enterprise of tomorrow.
In the consumer realm we have seen only a peek at what the move to digital will bring. Tivo was a good first example. Before Tivo television could only be viewed at a certain time, on a certain day, in a certain place. Unless of course you were an expert with the VCR at which point you inconveniently and many times unsuccessfully, in an analog way, time and possibly place shifted the one show you recorded. Or you could be a complete geek and have two VCR's in order to capture multiple shows. None the less this was a cumbersome process. Then Tivo entered the picture and changed the model of what was the only way to experience TV to a whole new experience of possibilities and new ways to consume television content.
We are also only beginning to see the digital shift and its impact on communication with our current cell phones. We believe we are on the verge of a mobile/computing revolution that will impact greatly many linear experiences consumer have in the world and create new nonlinear possibilities.
Suffice it to say we believe that we are at a inflection point that we will look back on in the many years ahead. Our observations will continue to amaze us at the amount of impact digital technologies had on the many aspects of our life's that we never knew existed.