A New Year and a New Wave…. Is it Really a New Era?
If so, are we better off being a Millennial or Creative?
Perhaps you’re wondering where this question is coming from. It will make more sense later… and, it may be a very important consideration for your career and company. One of the areas of focus of this author, and for many in our industry enjoy, is that of starting and building things. Whether it’s a new business or electronic system, this is at the core for our current and long-term success; as, individuals, companies and an industry. Much of what we see around us (and, what this author has been guilty of focusing upon) is the constant comparisons of the generations. Many in the media would just as soon say something like, “well you’re a Millennial you must like ‘fill in the blank’.” So, why the crazy question, “are we better off being a Millennial or Creative?”
Only a Millennial is likely to be around 50 years from now and take in all of what technology will bring during that time. Note the use of the word “likely”, leaves room for anything we don’t see coming where we start methodically start living to be 120 or so years of age. Perhaps, a new psychological term is warranted called Millennial-Envy. After all, the best many Boomers had for many years (until shows like Eureka) was a TV cartoon called the Jetson’s. Furthermore, it’s taken until the last ten years to see some of what was envisioned then; and, we’re still not totally there yet. Even the futurist, Michael Rogers, at the 2015 CEDIA EXPO Keynote said he expected to see flying cars before now.
So, let’s hold on a minute. Perhaps some have been sleeping, but have you noticed the projections for technology like self-driving cars and robotics beginning to pick up at an unbelievable pace? Projections that include significant displacement of manufacturing, patient care and other functions in the next 3-5 years are beginning to surround us. For example, BusinessInsider.com cited this month projections of 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020! According to DigitalTrends.com they’re quoting U.S. Census Bureau estimates of five million jobs lost to robots by 2020.
All of this being projected for less than 3-and-a-half years away! So, it doesn’t look like we have to wait very long at all for us to see a lot changing around us. So, if we’re in the technology integration business, how does that affect or change what we should be doing, or even noticing, now? Run from it? Learn as much as one can? We’re talking transition with implications to our professional life whether we’re buying, selling, designing, installing or doing a job that hasn’t even been invented yet. Bottom line, one does not have to be a Millennial to be expected to prepare for more dizzying change, now!
Perhaps, this is bubbling up because we’re now starting to register for the 2016 CEDIA EXPO and thinking about what we’ll need to learn when we get there. How much do we need to anticipate with change in order to even know what to learn? Earlier this year, this author wrote that even the term Home Automation Control may require re-thinking because of the increasing prevalence of IoT sensors and devices.
Last month we talked about nano-technology being employed in the CoeLux artificial sky-lighting panel. Using a real atmospheric mix of molecules within a nano-particle panel only 2cm in depth that duplicates the same blue sky we see outside, artificially, is truly disrupting lighting design. Furthermore, let’s add a company more people are talking about, from within our industry, called Colorbeam. After our company scoured what is considered the top international lighting show (LFI) at the end of April, we were not able to find exactly what our company needed. Then we found this very creative CEDIA integration company in Canada with a truly unique low-voltage LED lighting system that carries low voltage, control signal and color-tuning in a way that we could not find executed by any of the larger, traditional lighting industry manufacturers.
So, what’s the best characteristic we’ll need to focus upon so that we can enjoy the latest technology and not be replace by a robot? This sounds a bit funny…in an odd sort of way… but, it is a very serious consideration and question. It looks as if we have enough to keep us busy, whether we’re in this for 10, 20 or 50 years. Yet, we’d like to be enjoying and growing in this as well. The beginning point for answering this is to first make sure one is noticing things, especially new things.
Answering the above question is not a topic that can be adequately covered within the boundaries of one article. We’ll attempt to give you a start here, but the rest is up to you. What’s interesting is that some of the best information in this regard has been out there for a few years. In fact, the first book being referred to here, is entitled The Rise of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida. It is currently listed on Barnes and Noble as a 10th Anniversary edition, which was published four years ago.
This work actually comes from research done in 2002 through the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. They divide the creative categories into the standard occupational codes of 1) Super-Creative Core (e.g. science, engineering, education and computer programming) and 2) Creative Professionals. These – according to the Wikipedia article on the subject – are the classic knowledge base workers; including healthcare, business and finance, legal and education. The bottom line of their research was that the fastest growth in the economy from 2002 to 2012 would be from these “Creative” classifications; and, they were projecting 10 million new jobs, which, by 2012 would comprise 40% of the population.
Then there is the new book from AOL founder Steve Case, published in the last ninety days. Mr. Case intentionally borrowed the title “The Third Wave” from one of his favorite authors and futurist, Alvin Toffler; who, had an earlier book by the same title. The focus of his writing is that the Internet has had three waves. The first wave was during 1985-1999 which he calls “Building the Internet”. The second wave of 2000-2015 is called the App Economy and Mobile Revolution. Finally, the third wave he is describing as The Internet of Everything…with “ubiquitous connectivity allowing entrepreneurs to transform major, real-world sectors”. What’s most interesting is that Mr. Case is saying this Third Wave started this year!
In answering the first question, at least by the assessment of Steve Case, we are definitely starting a new era of technology. As to the second question, “Are you better off being a Millennial or Creative?” It would not appear to be a pat and dried answer. However, while some may come to a different conclusion, it would appear if one is older yet actively creating new solutions using new technologies vs. a Millennial not being industriously creative, it would appear there is ample evidence that creative application of new technology will win the day. And, as this author has stated more than once in the past, the creative mixing of ideas with the informed experience of various age groups will set the pace and leadership for all of us.
Andrew Ard … is an industry veteran with over twenty years’ experience serving in marketing and start-up roles for key CEDIA manufacturers, integrators and distributor organizations. He is also a current member of the CEDIA Advisory Board, former CEDIA and IPRO Board Member. Andrew is currently serving in a new start-up role in a new leading-edge technology company, Koa Technology Group, headed by CEDIA Board Member Greg Margolis, of Hometronics, Inc.
Andrew Ard is an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience serving in marketing roles for key CEDIA manufacturers and service organizations. He is also a member of the CEDIA Advisory Board, former CEDIA and IPRO Board Member. Andrew is currently serving as director of marketing and outreach for Dallas Sight and Sound, a founding design-build system integration company and member of CEDIA, specializing in high-performance, easy-to-use systems that have been delighting clients for over 30 years.