The internet has become more than just a nice perk, it became woven into our everyday life. We use it for payments, work, entertainment, communication, and everything else. Now even cars are using it for various features.
Nonetheless, the Internet has been one of the defining factors of our society and it helped in booming our economy over the past couple of decades.
Even though it helped us reach new heights as a global community and civilization, it hasn’t really changed all that much.
Of course, we see better designs, more functions, more engaging websites, faster speeds, the shift towards video content, and more. But it didn’t fundamentally change. We still interact with it via writing/reading text, product listings in lists or grids, and watch videos to reach a multitude of purposes.
This is all about to change.
Well, fundamentally and in many more ways than most of us imagine. But I’m here to try and put my imagination to go the extra mile.
AR and VR technologies will mature
Source: Worlds on Top of Worlds: Augmented and Virtual Reality in Training Available at: https://trainingindustry.com/articles/learning-technologies/worlds-on-top-of-worlds-augmented-and-virtual-reality-in-training/
According to the development of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, it will come as no surprise that people will use more than a 2D laptop screen to interact with the web.
Maybe in 4-5 years, laptops and computers will be used only for very processing-intensive tasks such as gaming, graphic design, video production, product development, and a bunch of other commercial applications.
Why am I saying this? Does it make any sense? How?
I’m highly confident in this idea.
I am an advocate for tech and I follow it a lot. I know Facebook and Apple are investing tons of money (quite literally...) to get Smart Glasses on the market and push them into the mainstream as soon as possible. Even though it may take a couple of years from release to mass adoption, I believe these products will be adopted by everyone in less than a presidential term.
These Smart Glasses will mainly function on Augmented Reality and maybe they will use your phone or Laptop to process all the information they display.
How will the information be displayed?
Source: vSpatial: A Peek Into a New World of Productivity Available at: https://arpost.co/2018/10/04/vspatial-a-peek-into-a-new-world-of-productivity/
Whether you’ll wear a VR headset or Smart Glasses, you’ll have access to infinite screens.
Now, look at your tabs on Google Chrome. I bet you see at least 7 open tabs. I’m also sure you have times when you have more than 15 or even 20 tabs open at once. It’s hard finding what you need when you only have 1mm per tab to view what it’s about.
With such technology, all those tabs will mostly be listed on a side panel in a grid or list to help you identify what it’s about more easily while the main 5-8 tabs you’re constantly switching between will be easily accessible just by turning your head (or chair) a little bit.
This is the most basic functionality, but I believe it would have a much bigger impact than you think right now.
Payments and purchases powered by your eye
Apple users know about Face-Id. This is how they unlock their phones for some reason. But there’s a possibility we’ll all do it in the future. How?
Well, you’re either walking on the street, mall, or just comfortably sitting on your couch with your VR headset, and you feel like online shopping, regular shopping or just eating a bagel.
First of all, you’ll most likely do it with a Virtual Tour (if you are at home, using a VR headset), but more on that in a bit.
Secondly, everything you see on the street (shops, ads, etc.) will be interactive, full of various animations, and so on.
BUT, when it comes to buying a bagel, you’ll look at the bagel you want and you’ll see through your glasses a tag that will show you the ingredients, price, and maybe some promotional material of the bakery you visit.
In case a robot doesn’t serve you, the vendor will just give you the bagel, eventually press a button or scan your eye (in case the shop won’t automatically do it), and the money will be automatically taken out of your account.
This is not all. For AR glasses, you’ll see your Spotify playlist, Google Maps directions, Uber trip, a Youtube video, WhatsApp account, and everything else in front of your eyes, without ever looking at your phone. Maybe phones won’t even have screens anymore. They’ll be just a bunch of bricks everyone holds in their pockets (but this will take more than 5 years).
I can infinitely rant about all the small things that will happen with such technology, but I want to write an article, not a book here.
For those of you who will use VR from their house, instead of Smart Glasses, you most likely will encounter and see the very same things, but you’ll be at home.
However, when it comes to online shopping, visiting museums, maybe even browsing Netflix, you will most likely use a Virtual Tour. You will navigate through a virtual venue that looks identical to the store’s physical location where everything has a tag and can be purchased. The products will also be shown in 360 photos or renderings to offer a more immersive experience.
Maybe you’d purchase NFTs by visiting online galleries in the very same fashion. We wrote an entire article about this topic.
Getting back to our initial question, how the information is displayed is one part of the equation, but there is also the question of how we will actually interact with it. Do we type in commands on a virtual keyboard? Do we use voice recognition? Will we have chips in our brains?
Source: The Future of Augmented Reality is “Virtual Wearables” Available at: https://www.inverse.com/article/42830-virtual-wearables-augmented-reality
We’ll use a lot of hand gestures and eye-tracking
As the world will slowly migrate towards novel ways of interacting with online environments such as AR and VR, the keyboards and mouse will become less and less relevant.
In a few years’ time, these input gadgets will only be used for specific tasks.
People will mostly navigate the web by waving their hands in the air to scroll through feeds, click on links and videos, zoom in and out, drag and drop, and for managing interfaces.
Eye-tracking will mostly be used in conjunction with hand gestures for accurately guessing where people look at, click on things, choose menu options, and much more.
When it comes to writing, this might be a more difficult task to accomplish, but in the beginning, people will just use any surface as a keyboard. So people will tap or swipe their desks all the time to write sentences.
Or maybe they will use more vocal communication.
Another possibility, although not in 5 years, people will write just by thinking, thanks to the tremendous development of Neuralink. In their most recent research and testing, they used their brain implants to help a monkey play pong with its brain.
So, maybe brain implants will be a great addition to these technologies. It will allow us to truly never use a keyboard again, and maybe many more things than I can think of right now. All people need to do is agree to plant a chip in their brains.
Virtual Tours will be everywhere
Source: E-Commerce PanoRender Available at: https://panorender.com/interactive-virtual-tours/e-commerce/
Nowadays, Virtual Tours are slowly getting absorbed into the mainstream through initiatives taken by big companies in various industries such as Amazon, Valentino, and others. They are mostly used by Real estate companies to offer better visualizations of their projects.
But in the future, thanks to VR and AR, we will encounter Virtual tours everywhere.
As of now, people are already using the internet on their phones to shop for everything from electronics and clothes to groceries and food. I doubt this will become less trending in the future.
Instead of ordering from a menu on DoorDash, they will offer you a virtual tour of each restaurant with tables full of their recipes and specialties, together with price, ingredients, and nutritional values.
Instead of doing groceries online, you’ll navigate through a Virtual Tour of your nearest grocery store and pick up items along the way.
Instead of going to the mall, you’ll navigate through a virtual Tour of it, enter any store to browse through items, and choose which ones you want.
The same goes for anything else based on the same principle.
The future holds many surprises. This is why it is always speculative. However, we can see some trendlines towards some outcomes. We know about the whereabouts of big businesses and that they invest large amounts of money in specific technologies and industries, so it’s an educated guess to believe those industries will shape our near future.
More specifically, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are two key factors in the new emerging society they will build. These technologies will shape our way of interacting with the world around us as well as the Internet.