In View from the Fen during 2003 we reported on some of the key changes that have been taking place away from the headlines. While the economy has seemed to mark time, and media attention has been elsewhere, profound changes have been taking place that will affect all our lives for many years to come. Here are some examples:
Oil has been the central plank of the world economy - and a powerful force in global politics - for the past century. But, astonishingly, we will soon be spending more on mobile phones than the total value of world crude oil production. Has the 'oil economy' finally had its day? With congestion edging cities all over the world ever closer to gridlock, are we now more dependent on mobiles even than on cars?
See Mobiles will be 'bigger than oil', July 2003
Television has been king of the media hill for more than a generation. But a profusion of new channels is splitting the TV audience, while radio is undergoing a renaissance. Meanwhile changes in media ownership are announced every other week. Has the media landscape changed for ever?
See The Radio Revival, September 2003
Music has supplied the soundtrack for every generation now living, but less and less of it is now bought on disks from record shops. As downloads of mobile ringtones exceed sales of CD singles for the first time, the music industry is desperately reinventing itself to stay alive... while sales of MP3 players are going through the roof, and Apple has made downloading music respectable.
See Bits and Pieces - the music revolution, May 2003
Meanwhile text messaging has escaped from the teenage ghetto and become a perpetual accompaniment to the lives of people of all ages, keeping them in touch with friends and colleagues at all times. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can always text a friend. People have yet to be convinced about video calls, but they are taking to text in their millions.
See Text vs 3G, June 2003.
Not surprisingly, organizations of all kinds are waking up to the fact that text is an extraordinarily powerful - and low cost - way of communicating with both customers and employees.
See our paper on Text: the natural medium for interaction.
While media attention has been elsewhere, and economic progress has been unspectacular at best, developments such as these are changing daily life and work in a way that affects us all. They alter the way we communicate and interact - not just how we do it, but where and when.
They create an unstoppable force that affects the way things are done, not by imposing change from the outside, but by giving each of us the means to change things ourselves, from the inside out. As economic conditions improve (so far, signs for 2004 are cause for cautious optimism), these are the kinds of change that are most likely to become a permanent part of the landscape, when other high profile trends and initiatives are no more than an embarrassing memory.
©2003 Mediation Technology