Currently, technology connects with two of our senses (sight and sound). A study conducted by mobile manufacturer Ericsson, indicates that consumers expect an ‘Internet of Senses’ by the year 2030. This will include the ability to digitally transfer thoughts, have wearables that can immediately translate languages and experience taste, smell, touch, and temperature. As we progress further into this virtual world, it will require hyper-fast connections and advanced automation.
This vision doesn’t only come from anticipated technological developments but also on research. Tech enthusiasts and early adopters anticipate that we will be using all of our senses online by 2030. Of those 40% think that immersive and virtual entertainment will be the main cause for change and innovation. 31% believe that the change will come as a result of necessity such as the climate crisis.
The big 5 tech companies – alongside niche companies are predicted to dominate and run half of all Internet of Senses services by 2030.
Brain = User Interface
By 2030, tech is set to be thought-responsive and could even share them with others. The development of brain-controlled technology may eventually replace traditional input devices – mouses, keyboards and controllers. Users will only need to think of commands……. Smartphones could function with no touchscreens.
Of course, such rapid advancements come with red flags and inevitable downsides. Our thoughts will be fully accessible by technology and our minds will be part of the connected world. As we have seen from recent data scandals, policies and regulations do not advance as quickly as technology and care needs to be taken not to advance without adequate and protective infrastructure. Privacy and integrity will need to be taken to higher levels, people will not want to give advertisers to access their minds. It’s already fairly creepy when you book google flights to the Caribbean and the next minute Facebook advertising assumes you’re a travel writer. This is indeed an area that will require some serious thought.
So this gets weirder…… Can you ever imagine that putting a device in your mouth that would digitally enhance your taste capacity? Anything could taste exactly as you want. 44% of the early adopters in the Ericsson research report believe this could happen by 2030!
Let’s imagine what this could mean for both health and diet. Basically, everyone’s dream can come true……. You could eat sprouts and essentially taste chocolate! Along with smell (we’re coming to that part), taste has so much influence on how we remember past events. Our childhoods are a reminder of special treats and home cooked food. As a result of this, these memories will be enhanced by the utlisation of digital taste. Pictures from parties or restaurants in the past won’t just bring back a memory based on sight and sound, you would also be able to savour the tastes.
We have all tried the promotional food samples that they have in grocery stores – which enable people to ‘try before you buy’. If you’re like me, you’ll have a cheeky taste without actually intending to buy. If taste sensations become a reality, there will be a revolution in online shopping, consumers would have the ability to taste samples from their devices. Cooking programs could actually allow you to experience the taste of the food onscreen!
Currently, smell is almost impossible to convey digitally – but this is all expected to change. Smell affects us directly and intensely. For example – when you buy a new car, car manufacturers want you to experience that new car smell. Coffee shops always smell so much better than the stuff you buy in the supermarket.
Of course, current online experiences do not include that of scent but consumers predict the sense of smell to be an integral part of the internet by 2030. Over half of the world’s population live in cities and away from nature. Consequently our desires for natural experiences are increasing. It is expected to be able to virtually visit forests or natural areas to encounter all the smells and aromas of such places.
For consumers, the easiest to imagine feature is the impact that sound has on a physical level. Tech enthusiasts foresee that earphones would be able to digitally transfer the physical experience of a live concert to their chests.
It is also thought that smartphones with screens, will convey the shape and texture of the digital icons and buttons when they are pressed. The ability to experience digital and virtual textures has the potential to go much further than the screens of our smartphones. It’s anticipated that by 2030, wristbands that stimulate our nerves will be available so that we can feel any digital object and even the weather.