Digitization is bass and 3D

Times are changing – a technological evolution

Let’s consider the example of film history: The technology began in the 18th century with magic lanterns. This first series of photographic images was quickly replaced by the “Wheel of Life,” which generated an illusion of motion with a rapid sequence of many individual images. A few development stages later, it was followed by silent movies, which had their heyday in the 1920s before they were replaced by the talkies. Just like black and white film, which was replaced by color film. It’s important to understand that although all applied technologies appear relatively simple from today’s perspective, they were the ‘state of the art’ at the time. They corresponded to what was technically feasible. That may seem amusing when we compare it to today’s possibilities.

But we don’t have to go back far into the past. We can find countless examples of advancements and technical displacement in our own time.

The displacement of analog formats with digital formats

We now make intuitive use of digital formats and products in everyday life without question. Very few people are aware that these frequently are products and services that were originally converted from an analog state to a digital state. Here are a few examples:

Well, look at that… digitization in everyday life

While drivers had to rely on a bulky road atlas on the passenger seat in the past, most vehicles are now equipped with navigation devices, and cars that don’t feature this equipment yet are typically retrofitted with mobile navigation devices. The conventional roadmap has been replaced. Digitization.

Cameras with their original equipment now seem nostalgic. They are technically outdated and are only used by dedicated amateurs. Photography is now a digital process, using a wide variety of devices. The results are directly viewed on a display, edited, reproduced, transmitted, stored and sorted – instead of sending them to a lab to develop. Digitization.

Corporations and companies increasingly are switching to paperless offices, in effect networking processes, activities, branch offices and employees more closely. Documents, forms, correspondence, annual reports etc. are scanned, indexed, classified and saved.

Cash registers and warehouse systems automatically interact to match stock and automatically trigger ordering, shipping or notification actions; all of this is making manual documentation, withdrawals and shelving superfluous. Digitization.

Televisions no longer are monstrous static tube devices but are now convenient flat screens that serve as communication monitors and programmable interface devices at the same time.

....and even more digitization

Rotary dial phones – a thing of the past. Even ‘common’ mobile phones hardly exist anymore and have been largely replaced by multifunctional smartphones. Books are increasingly downloaded to the corresponding devices as e-books, letters are only sent rarely, while millions of emails go out every second. The same goes for postcards, which have been replaced by text messages and selfies. Newspapers are increasingly consumed online, and very few people still visit a brick-and-mortar bank to initiate money transfers and other financial transactions.

Various technical devices are able to make wireless or Bluetooth connections. Even the smallest items, such as screws or ball bearings, are now ‘smart’ and equipped with (global) communication options to automatically download maintenance or service intervals, and independently trigger order procedures. Advertising, sharing and communication have shifted to new channels, especially social media, where we like, share and comment. Meetings happen online, via live or video connection, while study programs, training classes and degree programs are available through online platforms. Avatars, the digital image of ourselves, are constantly optimized and further individualized, making them suitable for virtual try-ons in online shopping. Digitization.

Using opportunities

And those developments continue. Contactless payment using near field communication (NFC), the international transmission standard for exchanging data over short distances: this well-established application is rapidly increasing in popularity and will soon be as familiar to consumers as cashless payment; NFC is already a standard feature in the latest smartphones.

The list goes on and on – up to self-driving cars and delivery drones. Scenarios that may still seem unimaginable today will be a natural part of our everyday life in a few years. What we can learn is this: We don’t need to be afraid of digitization, but will benefit from openness, curiosity and engagement. You probably are much more digital than you thought, both in your private and professional life. So, use the opportunity to modernize your company and to leverage new possibilities. You will not regret it.