In April, my family decided to take a weekend trip to Denver, intent on spending four days in the big city to the North. We had no plans, no reservations (literally) and no idea where we would end up; we would figure it out as the weekend progressed.
The only tool I had to help us navigate our weekend was my iPhone, preloaded with a handful of travel apps.
A smart phone is merely a pile of glass, silicone and precious metals all sandwiched on top of each other. This pile also happens to be connected to the Internet. The world “Internet” has been watered down over the last few years as it’s become a part of our daily lives. But what is the Internet, exactly? Besides being a global network, built for both communication and commerce, it also holds centuries worth of knowledge.
Think about that. Let it sink in for a minute. You carry the world’s knowledge in your pocket. At any time, you can light up the screen, tap on a few pixels and have any question answered in just a few seconds. Powerful.
I love the future.
On our trip through Denver, again with no reservations, we relied solely on my iPhone to get us around using GPS navigation, we found restaurants by relying on Foursquare’s Explore feature and yes, we even found and booked hotel rooms right from my iPhone.
Using a couple different apps to find local hotels and compare prices, I was able to save us over $400. I used the WorldMate Gold travel app, along with the Hotels.com app. Both apps use the same service to book rooms, but none of the prices were even close to the same. Once we would decide on an area to stay in, I would compare rooms and rates and book with the lowest rate.
One night we spontaneously decided to go to a Rockies game. I had heard a lot about a service called StubHub having tickets for reasonable prices, so I downloaded the app and decided to take a look. In under 5-minutes I had found some great seats in left field, only a few rows up, and purchased them for 50% off face value. Yet more money saved.
If you’ve talked to me for any extended amount of time, odds are you have heard me mutter the phrase “I love the future” more than once. Usually I reference something amazing that technology lets us accomplish right now. The phrase, although a bit gimmicky, is an important one as it’s meant to illustrate the future is already here.
Growing up watching Star Trek or the Jetsons it was easy to get excited about what the future would hold. Change and innovation is such a slow process, it’s easy to keep looking forward for the future to arrive, and not realize what we are surrounded by.
Take the impending public release of Google Glass as an example. Wearing a computer, on your head, that’s no bigger than a normal pair of glasses, is something we could only dream of growing up. This small computer is capable of connecting to the Internet, looking up information, giving directions (including inside a retail store) recording videos, taking photos, and even holding video calls. All of this is possible with a simple tilt of the head, or a voice command. This is the future, and the future is here right now.
In late 2010, I was able to walk into a Starbucks with an iPad I was trying to sell. A random stranger had contacted me through a Craigslist ad, and asked to meet to look over the device. After looking it over, he decided to purchase it, but didn’t have any cash. Two years prior to the meeting, this would have been problematic. Instead, I downloaded a free app called Square, logged into my account and swiped his credit card. I was able to take a spontaneous payment, with minimal effort, and both parties left happy with the transaction. This is the first time I remember thinking (and ultimately tweeting) “I love the future.”
What we grew up dreaming about using “one day” has already arrived, and in some cases passed us by, with the real unknown being what them literal future truly holds now. Companies have achieved most of what we saw in those futuristic shows growing up, so what’s left? There’s no real way to predict it, but I can tell you I can’t wait for the future to get here. After all, I love the future.