In the November issue of Professional Pilot Magazine, I wrote an op/ed on what I see as one potential future for the aerospace industry:
The movement of people and goods is increasingly showing the impacts of technological developments. At a time when the costs associated with travel, transportation and shipping will increasingly matter to the bottom line, it will be imperative to rethink the way in which we view transportation in the coming years. Some factors – energy concerns, environmental issues, terrorism and crime, etc. – are significantly affecting all aspects of travel and transportation. Other changes are incremental; some are revolutionary, in some ways bringing to reality what were formerly the fantasies of science fiction writers. In the face of concerns about the environment and negative impacts of travel, the Internet (and virtual reality) will significantly reinvent the way in which we traditionally viewed transportation, and more specifically, aviation.
In our shop, we define virtual reality as tricking the brain into being somewhere else, doing something else, in real time. By 2011, four out of every five people who use the Internet will actively participate in some sort of virtual environment. This means that 1.6 billion out of a total 2 billion Internet users will have found new lives online. The virtual economy is growing at an exponential rate, and environments such as Second Life have morphed from a virtual playground into a force for change in the real world. As virtual objects and services gain real world value, a flourishing internal economy has emerged. And today’s virtual worlds are primitive compared to what they will evolve into in the next few decades, as virtual reality comes closer to “real” reality. As virtual travel becomes billed more and more as an environmentally-friendly alternative to real world travel, companies in the aviation industry may become more involved in this space by setting up profitable businesses there, information centers, experiential learning centers, etc. It will also mitigate the need for excess baggage, passports and costly flights!
Airlines could use virtual environments to prototype new planes, terminals or airport lounges, thereby allowing consumers to test-drive features in virtual space before they are introduced in the real world. At a time when financial difficulties and ecological worries may limit actual tourism, a cheaper climate-stable virtual world can enable the aviation industry to navigate the future effectively.
We here at WEB often talk to our clients and conference attendees about the “Evolution of Economies” — a critical understanding of how economies have historically layered on top of each other, while the societies underlying them replace one another. It’s a complex issue to be sure, and one that is way too comprehensive to cover in one blog post. That being said, as we discuss the Evolution of Economies, we talk about how we have entered into (and are continuing to enter into) the emerging “Metaspace” Economy. The Metaspace Economy has sprung upon us at unprecedented speed, as economies are replacing one another at faster rates than ever before. Indeed the pace of change with respect to everything (especially technology) is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Within the emerging Metaspace Economy, we have identified 8 distinct “growth areas” for business. They are all conceived within the framework of “space.” And one critical growth area that we talk to many of our clients about is “Design Space,” especially as it pertains to the organizational functions of innovation and product development. The purpose of this post is simply to introduce the concept into the vernacular of our blog, and to set the stage for frequent posts about interesting developments, articles and blogs that we see in the area of Design Space.
A great site for keeping tabs on novel applications that not only adhere to, but expand upon, this new design imperative is The Cool Hunter. The site is broken out into a variety of categories, but “design” is a good place to start for anyone looking to find something novel. While perusing the site, we saw an article about these great portable, modular designs for mini hotel rooms or “sleep boxes.” These have have actually already begun to appear in airports and other locations around the world. Kitschy and unnecessary, or innovative and adherent to both the design imperative and an emerging market need? We know that people are facing time pressures and multitasking more than ever before. You decide…but fascinating nonetheless. More to come…
Time, like energy, is becoming a precious resource. Just as no entity has the luxury anymore of frivolously wasting energy, no entity will have the luxury in the future of failing to value time. The dimension of space will govern much of the innovation and application of products and services of the future, and the coupling of time and space will define one of the most important areas of that growth.
We are increasingly seeing endeavors that seek to compress, alter, amplify or eradicate real time in real or virtual space. That space might be the human body, the community, any place we might visit or work from, a warehouse – just about any physical or imagined place. We are learning more about how to manipulate time, and how to apply that to all manner of existence, enterprise or activity.
It’s tempting to think of time as a linear sequence of events best captured by a straight line…but physicists have never felt constrained by such a definition. Biological entities require a non-linear formulation of time because their existence is characterized by rhythms and cycles rather than linear processes. This may be increasingly true for businesses as well.
The increasing focus on time as a value-added proposition will have numerous significant effects on society. Speed and multi-tasking (although its impact on memory is highly contested) will become of paramount importance, and that will alter the human resource talent that many organizations need in order to survive and thrive.
New theories of time will increasingly shape our thinking as we move through the emerging Virtual Economy. As the 21st century progresses, we will be faced with alterations in this dimension that challenge our body rhythms, our business practices, our psyches and our personal behavior and expectations.
How do you see the element of time changing in your workplace, in your homes or in your day-to-day lives?