We live in a world of information overload, information thrust at us across all media: print, hoardings, building facades, transport buses, taxies, email, SMS, chat, social media, and now multiple mobile devices that wake up and stay with us until we go back to sleep. In bed, while traveling, at work, at home, with friends, in a meeting, relaxing by the beach, even while in the washroom, we are now connected, consuming, creating and contributing information to the ever growing heap.
Information overload was a term I heard long time ago when dial-up internet connectivity was just beginning to get into our homes. Suddenly the world of information opened up; over the years the quantum of information just continued to grow exponentially while technology folks created new terms to encompass the new paradigm. KB to MB took longer than MB to GB did and GB to TB to PB happened in a jiffy. Suddenly it appeared to be more than we wanted. Nostalgically, we did enjoy occasional moments of privacy with sparse cellular coverage, unaffordable handsets and obscenely high tariffs.
So when along with a few CIOs I met a learned senior consultant talking about the disruptive nature of technology innovations, it provoked an interesting debate. He outlined his theory on hyper connected information overload that every executive faces today. He postulated a world of hyper mobility where devices connected or disconnected from people receive information on the go. People consume this information and take decisions that influence business and personal outcomes. Everyone agreed and sought to look at the future. The wise man smiled and refrained from making any predictions.
The phenomenon today is driven by multiple location-aware mobile devices all connected to an ecosystem of corporate data and applications and personal/business social media interlaced with multiple apps. Thus corporate decisions are no longer only dependent on transactional or analysed data within the enterprise. This trend is increasing exponentially with buzz around Big Data which encompasses all the data. It however does not factor in the speed at which information is disseminated to the consumer of information. Are we burning the wires, read wireless, faster than we can process it?
I do carry three devices (almost) everywhere with me; my laptop, my tablet and my smartphone. Across these almost all the information I need on the go is synchronized over the air. They are interchangeable and yet serve different purposes. From one line responses on the phone to approvals, dashboards and longer responses on the tablet, the laptop is still the device for writing posts like this and doing a lot of figure work with formulas or creating presentations. I know many would jump up and say all this is doable on the tablet; I personally find it easier on the laptop.
A new paradigm
With divergence being the new convergence, it is certain that we will continue to waddle between screens; a recent study talked about multi-taskers using two or three screens connected to the same desktop computer for enhanced productivity. Really productive? Velocity of information will continue to increase and our day will continue to shrink. We are doing more everyday thanks to technology. Our world is more productive, our companies more profitable; as individuals we see ourselves evolving faster, achieving goals quicker than we did even a decade ago. Will we ever stop? I don’t know.
What will be the next disruption in this space? A connected device to keep us busy while we sleep?