We're living in a digital age that keeps progressing and extending like a bottomless pit with impacts on every aspect of our lives. The new change does not leave space for rest, it constantly opens our eyes to new innovations. It reminds me of those iconic cyberpunk novels in which imagination leads the theme. The new reality makes people like me, who are always curious about the future, wait impatiently for the next big thing to effect our lives.
This might sound a bit strange, but back in the days, I used to think that if someone creates a novel concept that influences the world such as a social network like Facebook, a platform like Twitter, or a search engine like Google, they will be able to relax and enjoy their success for the rest of their lives. Then, I realised that the real world doesn’t work like this. Continuous change and innovation is a must for every industry, but for tech companies it's even more crucial. David Aacker, an influential Marketer and the creator of the Brand Equity concept, explains that in order to protect your radical innovation, you need to keep creating incremental innovations to stay ahead of competition. That’s why, these innovative companies are relentless, they keep forecasting future trends, creating new concepts, investing in new ventures, growing and thus influencing our lives.
In this fast growing environment, we can no longer simply label the major tech giants as merely what they were when they first started. Facebook is no longer just as a social network that connects people, nor is Twitter only a micro-blogging platform to express thoughts, nor is Google a simple search engine. These companies have left their comfort zones and widened their spectrums to explore new opportunities.
Until last week, Facebook was expanding its business by purchasing only within the social media industry; from Instagram in 2012 for $1BN to Whatsapp for $19BN last month. These decisions were surprising in terms of price but acceptable for a social media giant that has 1/6 of the world population on its platform and that generates millions out of advertising by the second. Many people thought that Facebook will replicate its advertising model on Instagram and Whatsapp and bombard users with ads, but this never happenned. Facebook managed (so far) to keep these channels true to their essence. The biggest news came last week; it was the acquisition of VR head set Oculus Rift for $2BN. This unexpected move signals that Facebook has an eye on other tech areas and has already set a business plan to make it real. For Mark Zuckerberg, this purchase was about getting Facebook ready to become "the platform of tomorrow" where "you can share unbounded spaces." "Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face--just by putting on goggles in your home".
Another virtual reality investment unveiled 2 weeks ago by Sony. It is called "Project Morpheus: which is a prototype headset for the PlayStation 4 that allows players to fully immerse themselves in 360-degrees virtual worlds. It would also allow PlayStation 4 players to explore games by physically moving their head and interact with in-game objects just by reaching out and trying to touch them.
On the other hand, Google is unstoppable with its major investments in different areas. One of its main projects is Google Glass, it is the first huge push to get useful augmented reality into the hands of everyone. Besides, they’ve launched Android Wear last month which is an operating system for wearables - mainly smart watches - that gives you helpful information needed during the day such as places nearby, weather, messaging and calendar notifications etc.. . There are also some interesting rumors that Google will start to sell wireless carrier services for smart devices.
These new products might seem to have different functions in a variety of areas but they certainly change our perspective of the world. While Sony focuses on allowing people to escape their reality to virtual realms to battle orcs or pilot star-fighters in far-off space battles, and Oculus tries to turn Facebook into a metaverse, Google is concentrating on making sure that the real world is always seen through the lens of its services. These trends and new technologies seem alien from outside-in, but they're empowering from the inside-out. We will have to wait and see whether these trends will succeed in dominating the market or turn out to be merely some tech fads. However it's obvious that we will witness more companies investing out of their comfort zones in these new trends, and that the next big thing in tech will change the very nature of the way we experience reality.