While UX-designers still argue about wether mobile first or responsive design is Da Bomb – another, bigger issue is unfolding on the digital stage. I’m talking about the third industrial revolution.
Jermy Rifkins is a world leader within the field of Internet of Things (IoT) and how this will transform our life. In The Zero Marginal Cost Society – published last year – he describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global ‘collaborative commons’ and the eclipse of capitalism. The Millenias are coming and they will not be passiv consumers but active producers, sharing their product for free. The Dinosaurs are about to get their Kodak moment.
Rifkin has just held successful meetings with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinas Premier, Li Keqiang providing the blueprint for Germany’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and China’s strategic acceptance of climate policy.
You are the producer
In short, we are no longer only going to be consumers – but producers in the new digital world. People will produce their own energy leaving the oil and energy companies with no choice but to shift their business strategy from total control over the consumer to providing the infrastructure for us as producers of goods. The German village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs. Selling that energy surplus back to the region’s local utility company adds $5.7 million dollars to the town’s treasury.
So when the energy is free, Germany is building the first «digital highway» and Google claim to have a self-driving cars by 2018: Why should you buy a car? Or call a cab (ok, Über)? The transportation is going to be free. Owning a car in 2025 is might be a hobby, like collecting stamps. There goes two more carbon based industries.
So what now?
I choose to see this as an great opportunity for the IT-industry. You as a UX-designer, business- or it developer should approach this in at least three ways:
1. Forget about the blind focus on web and iPhones. Build interfaces for all the new devices and services emerging on these connected «things». We want smart solutions!
2. We should think of solutions that allows producers to share their content for free. We have YouTube for video. Now we’re going to need solutions for free transportation like Rideamigo, self-health services that connect with your doctor, free energy sharing and yes, things like Toysharing.
3. Find smart ways to connect the the solutions to supporting devices and technology and align it with your governments digital infrastructure. If there isn’t one, propose one.
But you better get mowing. The world is in BETA.