4 Ways The “Future” is Closing in on Reality

January 16, 2015 - 6 minutes read

As an employee of SPOT I spend a lot of time immersed in what’s going on in tech these days. Alot of the tech news I read is about really boring industries like parking spots for example. Sadly, unlike parking which has seen a boom in technology and innovation over the past 4 or 5 years, there are many industries that in a world of drones, smartphones and connected homes seem outdated. Here are some technological advances that are beginning to become more popular in industries we all have some interaction with in our daily lives, and how that could help make the very near future more closely resemble the future we all predicted back in the days of bad 80’s Sci-Fi movies.

1. Elevators

Like I said I spend alot of time reading about boring industries. Elevators are an age old technology at this point dating as far back as 236 BC! The modern elevators we are familiar with today came out of necessity during the industrial revolution and haven’t changed all that much since. In a world where I can get from Boston to D.C. in the time it takes me to watch Goodfellas, I simply don’t understand how it takes 4 whole minutes to get from a lobby to the penthouse of any building. Luckily for us, this is being addressed by Hitachi, so it’s only a matter of time (say 40 years or so?) before they arrive in your local suburban office park and you can go from floor L to 100 real quick.

2. Furniture

A lot of people will argue that furniture, like fashion, changes with the times and is ALWAYS evolving, and they’re not wrong. But I include it in this list of evolutionary technology because like many people under the age of 35, I move a lot. I’ve had 7 addresses in the past 6 years and that shows no signs of stopping as SPOT gears up to launch in a variety of cities in the next few years. The worst part of all these location changes? Carrying beds, couches, desks and more, by manual labor, up and down several flights of stairs. In a day and age that I can turn my house lights on from 1,000 miles away via the touch of a smartphone, and hoverboards are becoming a reality, it’s only a matter of time ‘til we have smart furniture, that with a snap of a finger (or likely the touch of a screen) can be remotely moved from a living room to a truck outside. This would also be a nifty way to trap burglars while you wait for police to arrive, or just a great way to freak your friends out and make them think they’re in a horror film. Sadly, unlike the other technologies in this list, these smart furnishings that you can remotely control are simply a pipe dream for the time being.

3. Shoelaces

This may seem arbitrary but for far too long we’ve all been getting played. Shoelaces are annoying, they’re labor intensive and for as popular as they’ve become, they’re not all that effective. Consider how frequently your shoes come untied; would you put up with a once-a-day malfunction from any other device? Velcro tried to replace this awful design for a bit but the dorkiness factor was far too much to handle. Though loafers have got the slip-on factor down, it seems to be a look that can’t be adopted by boot-wearers and sneakerheads. Thankfully Nike, influenced by the beloved Back to The Future series is now developing self-tying laces, which is a great step forward in human ingenuity after we’ve all been tying our shoes manually for generations.

4. Parking Spaces

Of course, while parking is seeing a lot of innovation these days, we’re still looking at creating spaces to park. We get that this  is a problem. We literally built a product and a company to address that exact problem. The flip side of that problem is something facing cities all over; what to do with all this space when nobody needs to park there. Our own fair city of Boston has begun designing multi-purpose parking spaces that would house performance spaces, serve as places for art installations and more during non-peak parking times. No word on whether or not there’ll be free event admission included in the price of your monthly parking pass.

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