The Digital Lifestyle

Image this: before you get out of bed, you have read your email, checked what meetings you have today and scanned the news. Then breakfast. If this is not yet a description of your life, you might like to know that to many people this is pretty much what they do. Many people keep their smartphone on their nightstand over night, ready to grab it when they wake up. Their mobile phone is with them 24/7, all-the-time. This device is a window into our digital life. Somewhere out there is all the information about us, our content, our conversations, our likes, our contacts and our everything. Welcome to the digital lifestyle of the 21st century.

If we look at the trends of the last two decades we can make interesting observations. The Internet becomes mainstream around 1994-5. At this time getting online was not that easy and required some effort. With better operating systems like Windows 98 and Windows 2000 and computers with WiFi built in, this became easier, making adoption go to an exponential growth stage. The computer and the Internet became consumer items.

The first decade of the 21st century can be called the digital decade. This is the time when content became digital. Media such as music and video became digital. Music was the first to become easy to share, resulting in the record labels long battle with piracy. As bandwidth got better, music videos, photos, short videos, then episodes, then movies and now HD movies are easily shared and downloaded (legally or not). Lastly, books became digital with eReaders like kindle and iPad.

At the center of this was the computer – the digital hub. All devices connect to the computer, even the TV. The computer is the device used to download and store. Other devices, such as MP3 players and TV (with STB or media centers) are used to consume. Cameras and phones are used to take picture. All connect to the digital hub.

As we begin the 2nd decade of the 21st century this model is changing. With the rise of the cloud, the computer is no long the center hub of content. The cloud is were the content is. Any device than connects to the cloud.

This new world order defines people’s digital online profile. All your data, conversions, content and connections are now defined in this profile. In this new world the computer is not the primary device for all your content. The computer becomes one device in an ecosystem of multiple devices.

The challenge for software developers is this: the focus should not be on devices or specific channels. The focus should be on the digital profile and understanding how this profile should appear in specific devices. Each device, i.e. laptop, mobile, tablet, and TV are different and people use them differently. It’s not about creating an iPhone app, it’s about creating an online software solution and making it available using an iPhone app. The device is just the window into the online solution.