This is the seventh of Havas PR’s “11 Trends for 2016.”
When future historians look back to see what people aspired to in our era, they’re going to be struck by how much we love smart. Smart people command a premium at work, of course, which is why so many worldwide are spending more time and money on education. But the world is going crazy not just for smart people but also for smart everything. To find out what smart has come to mean, look no further than the smartphones that have pretty much taken over the phone industry with their big lists of capabilities in small packages.
Hot on the heels of smartphones, we now have smart watches that control music, count steps, show social media updates, take pictures and more; smart fabrics that can change color, generate electricity and monitor vital signs; smart shoes that guide the wearer to a destination with haptic (touch) cues; and smart drugs that boost the natural cognitive functioning of the brain to enhance memory, learning and reasoning. In the works: smart fridges that monitor food stocks and freshness, and smart power grids that allow two-way flow of electricity and information.
Historically, many things have been motorized (transportation, garment-making) and more recently digitized (sound and image recording). The next wave is all about smartification. Anything has the potential to be smartified with the application of creative thinking and embedded sensors, processors and wireless communication. There might possibly be one or two big innovations that radically change everything, but there will definitely be many small innovations that make all of life that bit smarter.
“Smart” as a product descriptor is too desirable to be used sparingly, so it will become as overused, devalued and meaningless as “luxury,” “premium” and “advanced.” Expect any item with a chip built into it to get described as smart. And because tech can be built into pretty much anything at increasingly low cost, expect smart everything, from diapers to socks to cups.