Ubercool, Uber-fast, Uber-tired -- Trends for This Century
If your customers seem to be moving at a more frantic pace, they are not alone. Overall, everyone is more pressed for time these days, says uber-cool trend spotter Michael Tchong, who spoke to VARs about the quickening pace of all things and how that fits into the uber-trend of being unwired.
Tchong, founder of startup Ubercool, told VARs at the VSR Business Optimization Summit that overall people today get 2 fewer hours of sleep than people did in the 1920s. We have faster food (McDonald's and microwaves), faster information sharing (Twitter), and the need to do more and more. The energy drink industry has grown to $39 billion, he says.
And as we watch our lives flash before our eyes, he cites a study (the name of it went by too fast for me to catch because I was tweeting at the same time) that says there has been a 65 percent increase in new products using the word "simple" or "simply." Apparently, although we are racing ahead in this age of speed, insomnia and constant communication, we are all also looking to escape from it.
"Who are the most valuable companies in Silicon Valley?" Tchong asks. "Google and Apple." And those companies have an aesthetic that is minimalist, simple, easy.
And yet we cannot help ourselves, says Tchong. Our unwired lives have led us to new extremes.
What is the biggest control freak application of all time? FedEx package tracking, Tchong says. Today we need to know where our package is at every moment. And now there is a restaurant that has pizza delivery tracking, too, so you can see when your pizza goes in the oven, when it bakes, when it is boxed, etc. Because these days we need to know these things. You probably have customers that fit this description, too, right?
The next step? As if this reality weren't enough?
A new application on the way is the augmented reality browser. Offered by Layar, the application uses the live photo from the camera on your phone and overlays it with markers of, say, houses for sale. Click on a marker and see the address and price. Hold down the click and your phone dials the Realtor. The same can apply to bars and restaurants, with reviews and ratings of the fine establishments that you see in front of you right now.
Another potential application, Tchong says, is to see where our Economic Stimulus Funds are being spent - where and how much - right in front of you.
But even as this new lifestyle and these new technologies speed us up, take away our sleep and make us busier, they are also looking to provide us with some small bit of relief.
Tchong points to the iPhone NYC Subway Snooze application. Truly an application born of the wireless age when we are going faster and faster, this app uses GPS to let the user take a catnap between subway stops without the fear of missing his or her stop. Maybe we'll get those 2 hours of sleep back. But I wouldn't count on it.