Digitisation and the impact across generations is now an interesting and valuable debate. There should be no doubt that digitisation is already delivering immense value but is the relentless drive to “digitise” everything unifying or dividing the social and working world (a discussion for another day)?.
My passport details do not hide the fact I am “Generation X” therefore hailing from an era without “digital personas” at the core but I am equally fortunate to possess a digital journey that did not commence at the dawn of the Smartphone era or more recently the industry restart of the digitisation agenda. I can fondly recount my early days in information technology (which span back to punched cards and mainframe tapes !!) when the “digital” world we now deem our norm first spawned. Back then a fair degree of resistance to information technology (IT) was evident due to natural human fears of change and equally the unexpected results delivered by IT systems of the day. And as many prepare for the new Star Wars extravaganza, concerns of “beings from out outer space” and even the potential takeover of the society and humanity we hold dear by “the machines” were ever present.
If I fast forward to now, the binding between humans and technology is very different – we have an umbilical style dependency on digital technology without a fear of inconsistent results, in fact quite the opposite due to a common reliance on IT solutions to deliver workload “consistency”. And the human concerns of “the machines” taking over the world have been replaced by a global “welcome mat” for technology based assets driving digital elements forward at warp speed to do just that, “run our lives”.
It is this humble journey of that has allowed me to tag myself a “Digital Inspirer” (albeit a reluctant one at times) as I have enjoyed my role as one of the human change agents flying a flag for IT and digital technologies from the dawn of the modern computing era to the present day. Does this history deliver extra credence or deeper immersion into all things digital, potentially but through my own experience heavily tempered by a perspective that places human expectations at the core of all technology aligned outcomes?
A temptation may exist if people flip into enthused technologist mode to “do digital” or “become digital” with the drive to force technology forward without a qualified and validated overwhelming human need to embrace it. This mistake has been made with numerous technology centric “must have” initiatives over the past 30 years (and many years prior) resulting in a fundamental stall prior to solution adoption. Fortunately the digitisation drive today is different from those past technology led initiatives that remained “technology centric” interpretations. From a two year old child swiping the screen of an ipad mini to a £100000 production car handshaking continually for updates with the internet, the digitisation template we are now absorbing feels more human, more personal than any previous technology led evolution. The poster child for digitisation, the Internet of Everything (IOE) is already with us but the “everything” annotated will be a number of connected and different devices beyond our widest dreams. It is for me one of the most exciting and potentially human impacting digitisation perspectives as our imagination will be the only limiting factor that impedes progress.
2016 is set to be an amazing year with the digitisation impact at the heart.
Until next time.
Chief Technologist – Computacenter UK, Networking, Security & UC