You don’t go from online bookstore to the largest Internet-based retailer in the world without a lot of planning for your future. Amazon, which also produces consumer electronics, is now moving big time into the physical retailer space after acquiring Whole Foods Market. So it comes as no surprise that Amazon commissioned a report to mark the launch of its Shop The Future online store a standalone section of the Amazon UK website devoted to cutting edge tech products. The “Shop the Future” report which was kicked off at a marketing promotion in London, features the insightful predictions of futurists Anne Lise Kjaer (founder of Kjaer Global) and William Higham (author of Next Big Thing).
The report extrapolates on where things will be in the coming decades based on advanced analytics and future-projecting predictions to bring shoppers everything they didn’t even know they wanted yet. Kjaer and Higham’s predictions for new products include some ‘way out there’ technology like communication devices that would understand and translate the different barks and meows from our pets. Sounds like TV commercials featuring a dog asking Alexa to order a pizza with anchovies is in our future too? Not as surprisingly our future autonomous cars will whisk us away to wherever we need to go, perhaps to the nearest Whole Foods, after our ‘smart convenience’, refrigerator decides were getting low on certain foods and reorders the groceries themselves for us to go pick up.
To keep our future leisurely lives well managed the futurists predict, we will have voice-activated smart home hubs that will evolve in sophistication to the point where “homes will increasingly manage themselves”. Since most media with be digitally owned there will be ‘virtual shelves’ that organize our music and books, and display them like physical copies (holographically perhaps?), in our homes along modular walls capable of morphing into other furniture like book shelves or tables depending on our whims. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) screens will be so thin and flexible that they can be rolled up.
On the flip side, Kjaer and Higham’s see physical currency as the next dinosaur to go extinct, as we’ll have implanted technology, with embedded sensors to let us pay for items. To better monitor and analyze our physical well-being, implants and trackers fitted on and inside the body will become the new rage, in order to supply more accurate real time readings. The technology for health theme also includes seniors using tools that encourage lifelong learning through cross-generational “brain dates”, to keep their minds sharp.