Babies Use Tablets, Grownups Get Tickets Driving With Google Glass

Nov 01, 2013

Recently I had a lengthy discussion with a friend, as our amazed children listened, about various types of technology we’ve used going back to our childhoods and the amazing changes that have taken place over the years.

Included in that discussion were:
1. Black and white TV (mid 1960s)
2. Color TV (late 1960s)
3. AM radio/transistor radio
4. Turntable for 45 rpm records
5. FM radio/Stereo system/Turntable for 33 1/3 rpm
6. Cable television (1970s)
7. Eight-track player and tapes (early 1970s)
8. Cassette recorder and tapes (mid 1970s)
9. Electric typewriter (1970s)
10. VCR (1980s)
11. Typographic equipment (early 1980s)
12. Pager (early 1980s)
13. Compact discs (early 1980s)
14. Car phone (mid 1980s)
15. Fax machine (mid-late 1980s)
16. Workstation connected to a mainframe computer (mid 1980s)
17. Apple computers at work for ad design (late 1980s)
18. Apple LE at home (late 1980s)
19. Video camera (late 1980s)
20. More sophisticated Apple and Mac computers (1990s and 2000s)
21. Email
22. Online shopping (late 1990s)
23. Online grocery shopping/home delivery from Streamline (late 1990s)
24. Online publishing (late 1990s)
25. Cell phone (early 2000s)
26. iPod (early 2000s)
27. iPhone (late 2000s)
28. Flatscreen TV (late 2000s)
29. iPad (late 2000s)

The way we as a society use technology or at least how early we start using it and what types of devices we use has changed dramatically over the years. Two recent news items reinforce these points.

Firstly, new research from Common Sense Media found:

  • Forty percent of families with children eight or younger have tablets, up from eight percent 2011.
  • Seventy-two percent of kids eight or younger have used mobile devices, up from 38 percent two years ago.
  • Thirty-eight percent of kids under the age of two have used a mobile device, up from 10 percent in 2011.

Secondly, a woman named Cecilia Abadie was ticketed for speeding earlier this week in San Diego. She also received a summons for wearing her Google Glass while behind the wheel. While she didn’t know it until getting written up, California’s vehicle code section 267602 prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle in which a video display is visible to the driver.

Which technological advances or consumer use of technology have had the biggest influence on retailing over the past 10 years? What will have the greatest impact in the next 10?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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13 Comments on "Babies Use Tablets, Grownups Get Tickets Driving With Google Glass"

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Ralph Jacobson
8 years 6 months ago

The convergence of devices including the telephone, the PC, the camera, etc., in a handheld device has driven global adoption and even is circumventing certain products (like PCs) as emerging regions evolve. They are going straight from no device to a mobile one.

Ryan Mathews
8 years 6 months ago
I’ll stay old school and say improvements in basic website e-commerce functions. That’s where the majority of dollars have been generated over the last decade, so that’s what gets my vote if I only had to vote for one. Not sexy, but probably had the greatest aggregate impact on retail. Wait! Before all those wails about mobile and tablets and glasses and watches ask yourself one question. Where do most of those apps et. al. take you? Back to a website which either runs smoothly enough to draw you back or doesn’t. Devices are – in the end – enablers, tools for accessing the meta-technology. Now, if we look beyond one technology and/or raw dollars into types of technologies that are critical we’d have to expand our list to include payment apps, GPS (for locating stores), price scanning technologies and locator apps (i.e. where can I find a shoe store or Italian restaurant?). Looking down the road a decade, I’d focus on social networks 2.0, ambient retailing, especially smart appliances and even implanted technologies or… Read more »
Anne Howe
8 years 6 months ago

Smartphones, and yes – websites that drive e-commerce. Ryan is right. But, in the next few years the mobile commerce experience will get better, and my guess is that some form of tablet, big enough for a visually satisfying experience but small enough to fit in your favorite carry-bag will emerge as the device that drives more sales.

That said, the physical store will stay in place in our world, and retailers must learn to understand that differentiation of the physical, and integrated multi-channel experience is what they will be judged on forever more.

P.S. – reading the list makes fee feel proud to have been a part of all that transformative change in such a short period of time. It’s really quite remarkable, and a fun ride on the innovation train!

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
8 years 6 months ago

The Internet and WiFi connections (and cell tower) connections to the Internet. This combination of devices allows consumers the ability to access information about products and prices, to compare that information easily, and to share that information. Consumer control has changed to role of the consumer, the power of consumers, the way companies communicate with consumers, and the structure of organizations. Future impact will be in finding better ways for organizations to restructure themselves around consumers, communicate WITH, not to consumers, and operate in a transparent marketplace.

Steve Montgomery
8 years 6 months ago

Mobile technology in all its forms. Smart phones went from being a little bit smart to being capable of complex tasks and creating a world where we all expect to be in touch all the time (good or bad) not only with voice, but email, text and with the internet and all it brings.

I expect this to continue to be the strongest trend in the future. Phones will become more like tablets in size and functionality. Tablets will add phone functionality further blurring the line that separates the two. I anticipate the two currently distinct devises will to morph into one and come in a variety of sizes depending on the buyer’s needs and intended use. Wearable technology will play a very strong part in this evolution.

James Tenser
8 years 6 months ago
I’m betting on web-connected devices to drive the next wave of innovation in retail and consumer life. Web-enabled displays, sensing devices, pressure-sensitive shelving, cloud-enabled wallets, e-door locks, e-thermostats, e-light switches, e-coolers, e-toilets, e-medical devices, e-running shoes, e-vehicles and yes, e-goggles. Some call this the internet of things – filled with devices that watch us watch them and communicate all of it with the uber-mind. (Can you tell I wasted far too much of my youth absorbed in science fiction?) I say this from the perspective of one who learned to be a journalist by hammering a rim-fire typewriter and who did his first computing on a teletype machine loaded with spools of punched paper tape. (And yes I walked 11 miles in the snow to and from the one-room school each day, up-hill both ways.) With perspective, I believe we’ll come to understand that the appearance of the internet itself is the overriding big innovation of the past century, much as the introduction of electric power was a century earlier. The specific devices and modes… Read more »
Lee Kent
8 years 6 months ago

Internet shopping! We all know that retailers are slow to adopt new technology so even though mobility is rampant, retailers are just now getting there.

The biggest impact I have seen in my almost 40 years in the biz is the internet. It was a huge game changer and, as expected, took retailers years to really get it.

Once the consumer confidence was securely in place for purchasing online, it has changed the path to purchase dynamically and retailers are finally using some of that mountain of data they have always had access to and more!

Shopping is no longer just a sport, it’s a genre!

Martin Mehalchin
Martin Mehalchin
8 years 6 months ago

Smartphones for sure. After the launch of the iPhones, consumers were suddenly walking around stores with access to more information about products than most associates combined with mobile access to competitors sites. We are in the early days of traditional retail’s response to this, so mobile could continue its run as the most influential technology for a good part of the next ten years. Later in the coming decade, I think 3D printing could have a big impact.

Vahe Katros
Vahe Katros
8 years 6 months ago
Biggest influence on retail? About ten years ago, the idea of the web as a platform (Web2.0) was taking shape, with the help of Ajax and JavaScript the web – on all of its touchpoints – became what it is today. This evolution of the web from something designed to move documents has had the biggest influence on every industry. But for retail, I’d say RFID! Just kidding – it was the web after Web 2.0, enabling an internet that’s not so bad. What will have the greatest impact on the next 10 years? As your article points out, more people are using newer mobile tech and that will continue – the mobile experience however is still in it’s 1.0 phase. The really amazing retail app has yet to happen and interacting with the real world is still clunky – but as it’s worked out, we will have a scenario of the ‘ubiquitous all knowing customer’ interacting with a sea of information. Hmmm, the biggest impact in the next ten years: the development of the… Read more »
Matthew Keylock
Matthew Keylock
8 years 6 months ago

I agree with James. I see the internet of things driving big impacts in the next 10 years across many angles: supply chain, logistics, product innovation, products socially selling themselves(!), automatic shopping lists and purchasing, serving size or dosage managemnt, brands engaging consumers directly, media and packaging personalization, etc.

All exciting stuff!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
8 years 6 months ago
Google Glass(es) are today’s lawn darts. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The technology I see being most influential over the next decade is gene manipulation in food crops – grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. People gotta eat, there are food shortages worldwide, and hungry folks have little interest in the internet or smartphones. Behind the scenes, scientists are working diligently to develop crops that resist disease, pests, and drought; that provide more nutrition; that have shorter growth cycles; that are easier to harvest; and that are cheaper to cultivate and store. Some even predict feed crops for food animals that will help reduce their need for antibiotics Oh, and for the flat-earthers out there – you know who you are – when genetically modified foods reach your stomach, your digestive system will break them down into the basic chemicals found in non-GM foods. GM foods will not influence your own genetic makeup. If gene manipulation in foods were a problem for us physically, corn as we know it wouldn’t exist and… Read more »
Karen S. Herman
8 years 6 months ago

In the next 10 years wearable computing will become what the smartphone is today and be integrated into our lives. Wearable computing devices will be small, due to quantum computing, and I think will lead to the demise of laptops and tablets for many people.

Wearables will bring dramatic changes to retail in terms of how the shopper chooses to experience a retail environment and also how the retailer chooses to reach this shopper. We are seeing the very beginning of this relationship dynamic today with showrooming by the consumer and geofencing by the retailer.

Retail will become a deeply immersive, destination experience for the shopper.

Alexander Rink
8 years 6 months ago

From my vantage point, the technology that has had the greatest influence on retailing in the last ten years has been the release and ensuing widespread adoption of the smartphone. These devices have provided shoppers with instant access to product and pricing information when in the store, either giving the shopper confidence to go ahead with the purchase or leading to showrooming as they check and potentially switch their business to another retailer.

For the next ten years, I am optimistic that the promise of personalized marketing offers, tailored to the individual shopper’s tastes and priced accordingly, will finally be realized and become widespread amongst retailers. I am also hopeful that this will subsequently lead to a higher ROI re-deployment of the funds spent on paper flyers, and a decline in email clutter from ‘spammish’ email promotions that are not relevant to any given shopper.


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