The Connected Experience: How tech is making the world a better place
The “Future is an attitude” podcast series presented by Audi features inspirational South Africans who think differently about the future and who challenge the status quo by driving progress within the fields of design, digitalisation, performance, and sustainability to help us shape the future.
We can see the future, but how do we create it? As the boundary between physical and digital becomes increasingly blurred yet integrated, the merging of these two worlds offers an unparalleled opportunity for innovation.
In this episode, podcast host, Azania Mosaka and trends analyst, Dion Chang, explore how the Internet of Things can make our lives (and our homes) better, thanks to a new generation of smart products. We also catch a glimpse at the opportunities that lie beyond our physical universe, in a new digital world called the “Metaverse."
Welcome to the “Metaverse,” an online playground where everyone is free to explore, where we can be and do things that we can’t even imagine in real life. It probably sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn't it?
The concept of a “Metaverse” can feel a bit unreal...
Twenty years ago, the Internet of Things sounded like science fiction. The idea that everything in the physical world could be connected to the internet seemed too futuristic for our minds to comprehend. Sure, we were happy to see it in the movies, but the thought of it becoming a part of real-life might feel overwhelming, especially when the “Metaverse” might be closer than you think... and parts of it are already here!
So, if you're feeling a bit stunned by the idea of it all, you’re not alone. Just imagine thinking about the future for a living – that's exactly what Dion Chang does at Flux Trends. He looks at what’s happening now to try to work out what’s going to happen in the future.
For me, the Internet of Things will make our lives more seamless, more convenient. If you think about it, we pay for the privilege of convenience, and the Internet of Things makes things a lot quicker and more convenient.Dion Chang, Trend Analyst and Founder at Flux Trends
We’re easily scared by the thought of our world changing too quickly. This has taught Chang to talk to people about the future in small, digestible doses. He learned to make people feel that the future is not too far-fetched to grasp, amazing people just a little bit at a time, over time.
We've imagined a future where cars are more than just a means of transport.
We no longer have to imagine a future where our cars are able to speak to our homes. Audi South Africa's head of product, marketing and public relations, Tarryn Knight is excited by the future possibility that our cars could soon be integrated with our homes, to create a seamless experience where no time is wasted on activities that could be performed by artificial intelligence.
Your car will now be able to tell your boss that you're stuck in traffic and running late for a meeting, it will turn the oven on at just the right time so that dinner is ready by the time you get home, the lights will be turned on before you arrive... and soon, it’ll drive itself, too.
Shopping in your smart mirror
Shopping for the perfect outfit? Trawling through racks of clothes in a store will become a thing of the past. Soon, you'll be able to stand in front of an interactive smart mirror in your home that scans your body and determines your size.
Think about it.
The Internet of Things knows what your social calendar looks like, it understands your fashion sense based on your online shopping history and is able to make personalised, intelligent recommendations on outfits, show you how you’ll look and have the items delivered straight to your door.
Futurist, Graeme Codrington believes that in a world of technology and digitalisation, the human element of experiences are going to be what matters most.
Human centricity creates connection
Unlearning expert, Zanele Njapha thinks of the Internet of Things as more than just gadgets, she thinks of it as The Internet of Life.
She believes that technology is unburdening us so that we have more time for living.
In her view, the Internet of Things makes the human experience easier, it allows us to focus on the things that make us human while artificial intelligence takes care of the rest. She helps people unlearn beliefs and habits that will no longer serve us in the future so that we are able to make room for what the future has in store.
Chang agrees and according to him, a connected experience is a blend of the two worlds – cutting edge technology with humanity.
The more we hurtle into a digitalised world, the more we crave humanity and human touch. And the pandemic has really laid that bare, that we are human beings and we require this kind of human experience.Dion Chang, Trend Analyst and Founder at Flux Trends
It is innovation that puts humans at the centre of everything.
Shifting the focus to tech that makes the world a better place
Tech entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana thinks about the Internet of Things as an extension of our bodies... a sixth sense that enables us to collect more information and better interpret what’s going on in Africa, in order to make better decisions.
The question has been asked: Is Africa home to the next Silicon Valley? And, the answer is simple, the digital revolution in Africa is unfolding in front of us and we are already witnessing how tech has enabled hospitals to deliver medical supplies, track temperatures and, control the quality of the storage of critical medication.
For Chang, the idea of technology with a purpose is a beguiling one... an idea where tech adds value to human lives and is the key to a thriving future, and it's already in motion.
What you actually see on the ground, (literally) are different African countries, Rwanda being the first, using small cargo drones to ferry medical supplies and medicines and blood supplies and all of those things. And for me, that kind of technology on the African continent is actually a lot more relevant than it is in developed countries or the Western world.Dion Chang, Trend Analyst and Founder at Flux Trends
In a sense, it is the humanisation of technology and innovation that makes an impact on the lives of human beings.
How do we wrap our minds around big, scary ideas like the "Metaverse"?
The “Metaverse” is hard to describe and hard to understand because it doesn’t entirely exist yet. But all the building blocks are already here – we’re experiencing virtual reality, connectivity, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, right now.
I think about embracing new ideas. I think that's progress, because too often we see people digging their heels in and not embracing those. They are closing their minds off to new ideas, new concepts and everything. It works if you just start accepting new ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of being.Dion Chang, Trend Analyst and Founder at Flux Trends
When we stop thinking about the idea of an enhanced, virtual twin of the physical world like science fiction, we begin to feel the seamless integration of physical and digital.
Connected mobility is the future
For over 100 years, Audi’s history has been marked by prestige, automotive ambition and technological excellence. Progressive innovation is so much a part of Audi’s heritage that, in 1971, the slogan Vorsprung durch Technik was introduced and over the 50 years that have followed, Audi has continued to pioneer some momentous world firsts for the automotive industry. Today’s modern vehicles have become mobile devices that assist their drivers through a variety of systems while they are on the move. Electric vehicles take this digital integration even further. Incorporating technologies like car-2-x services, Audi connect, innovative lighting concepts and next-generation driver safety systems, the Audi e-tron electric vehicle range is a digital plethora of innovation.
Visit www.audi.co.za to see why Audi's new e-tron range is the next exciting step toward a progressive future.