The Household Horizon: Technology + Life in 2012
The Household Horizon: A Guide to Technology and Daily Life in 2012
Drawing on our emerging technology research, IFTF has forecast several big changes on the technology horizon, including a highly connected world of distributed computing, new premiums for small-scale energy technologies, new manufacturing paradigms based on sub-micron technology, and a new health economy shaped by innovations in the life sciences sector.
For companies that want to succeed in the consumer marketplace, the question is:
How will these technologies—or any other major innovations—change the purchasing patterns and preferences of household consumers?
Answers to this question must go beyond simple analyses of product and service opportunities that a new technology affords. The Internet, for example, allows broad connectivity of computers, but no one in 1995 was predicting that one of the major uses would be peer-to-peer swapping of music, or that this mostly illegitimate activity would spawn a market for a whole new class of consumer electronics—namely the MP3 player. Forecasters were even less
likely to anticipate that pagers originally designed for professionals would eventually drive teen social behavior.
And yet there are thousands of clues in hundreds of IFTF surveys and interviews about the way that new technologies change household activities, relationships, and spending patterns.
What is needed is a framework for analyzing these clues systematically to identify:
- New categories of need for products and services
- New expectations for existing products and services
- New meanings of old activities that will reshape basic consumer fears, values, and desires
The goal of the Household Horizons research has been to create such a framework and to then use it to forecast the impact of three key technology changes on the household and household inhabitants.
* First of two papers in a series. Companion report is Technology + Daily Life: A Spotlight on Entertainment