Everyone has heard the age-old adage, time is money, and money is power. I have my own take: time is money, and efficiency is power. By creating more time you can position yourself to come up with more ideas to earn more money, and also put yourself in a position to have power in every aspect of your life. Money and having lots of assets is simply not enough to live a happy, fulfilling life anymore. To most millennials, personal power is having enough money to survive, being able to exercise and eat organic to stay healthy, traveling the world, having the capacity to give back to those in need, and acquiring and sharing knowledge with one’s peers. Going to work from 8-5 and then calling it a day is not considered living a fulfilling life anymore. What has enabled our so-called “spoiled” generation to have and need this self-power? The ever evolving technologies that are exponentially creating efficiencies in the humdrum tasks of life.
Whether we are aware of it or not, everything we do has a process that takes time to accomplish. Some of these processes are easier than others, and some of these processes require more human input than others, more menial tasks. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, it was important that every individual and family set aside time to take care of their personal life duties outside of work. Most people would have to take a few hours a month reviewing bills, writing checks and driving to the post office to mail the checks. Someone in the family would have to take inventory of all the household items running low before making a trip to the store and walking down the aisles to ensure the house was all stocked up for the coming weeks. One missed item could mean a waste of two hours and another trip to the store. If you wanted to be knowledgeable about what was going on in the world or in business, you would have to make sure you are home in the evening to catch the news and sit there for a whole hour to make sure you were made aware of all the relevant happenings in the world. If there was no time, you would have to wait until the next morning to read the newspaper. If you were a kid wanting to play a multi-player shooting game with your friends, you would have to set up a time to hang out after school, days in advance of the e-battle. Businesses would have to hire workers tasked to spend most of their working day mindlessly downloading documents from the internet, and saving to folders on the network drive. If someone outside the office needed to access these files, the files would have to be sent individually through email. And if after all of this you were fortunate to have the time to exercise to remain healthy, you would have to go to a gym to visit a personal trainer who would show you how to correctly perform strength exercises to stay in shape, which probably would take about two hours a day. If you decided to take a shortcut and learn these routines yourself, you may pull a muscle or throw out your back; which would lead to hours of physical therapy and couch time. In order to be a well-rounded person, there are just too many things to do, and too little time considering the time it takes to accomplish all the routine aspects of life.
Over the past decade and a half, something in the air has changed. That something in the air is actually a Wi-Fi or phone data signal. Your bills are all paid automatically from your bank account. If you notice you have run out of toilet paper at home, you could have it delivered tomorrow from Amazon.com with one swift click of a button. You can now go to a news website like cnn.com or open an app on your phone like Flipboard and read the latest news in fifteen minutes, or listen via podcast while driving to work. No need to wait, no need to watch the news that you do not care about. If you want to play video games with your friends, you can connect using a network and have a sixteen person battlefield massacre instantly on your Xbox One or Playstation 4. Businesses now can schedule automated download and delivery of documents via e-mail, or better yet, they can be stored and shared on the cloud with Google Docs. Now you have cleared some time to work out! You can use fitness trackers such as Fitbit to track the calories you are burning and apps that show you how to perform an exercise correctly via video while counting the reps performed for each exercise. It has been happening right in front of our eyes. All these technologies have created significant efficiencies in our lives, allowing us to accomplish more at work, focus more on personal health, and spend more time with family and friends or network with our peers.
What the present is showing us is the power of automation. More automation means less time spent on menial tasks, which allows more flexibility in how you spend your time to focus on other goals. This allows people to spend more time on health, their family, personal projects and traveling. Businesses now have the capacity to grow via increased productivity. So what’s next? Near complete automation or maximum efficiency would be nice. With our tablet tracking our schedules through meetings automatically set up from email content, and our Fitbit’s tracking our daily calorie burn, we can focus our minds on the things that require our brain power, instead of the things that don’t. As much as these cool new gadgets are showing the productivity increases of automation, we have barely scratched the surface of what could be.
Now take a second and dream. Transfer your mind to a place that you only thought you would see in Hollywood. A place where you wake up in the morning and your coffee is ready. You open the fridge, only to find an empty carton of milk and no eggs. This is of no concern, of course, since the milk and eggs are waiting on your doorstep because your refrigerator noticed you were running low and put in the order. On your drive to work, you read your favorite book or start your workday itself using the desk in your car as your self-driving car takes you to work. At the end of the day, you feel the great reward of exercising your brain and your creativity all day because your company’s automation took care of all the mundane tasks we have to perform in our current work environment. On your evening run, every step will be counted, every pushup and sit-up will also be counted. Your posture will continually be checked to ensure you do not set yourself up for a spine injury, and your running pattern will be monitored to ensure you don’t tear up your knees. Then at the very end of the day while sitting in bed, you can review on your tablet, everything that happened during the day. You will evaluate the number of pages you read, miles you ran, calories you ate, and sales deals you closed. The success of your day and the days of every person around you will be measured by productivity, not a false sense of entitlement. You will never once have to make an excuse that you did not have the time to work out, cook, or rehab an injury. The internet and machines that accompany it will take care of this for you. You can go and walk your dog without your brain racing around thinking about what you did not accomplish or what you procrastinated doing. It will all be measured, and each individual will not need to waste brain power doing so. Action items will be presented, which will lead to increased personal productivity and accountability. This may sound hectic, but at the end of the day, will bring peace of mind.
Now open your eyes! Very soon, this will no longer be a dream. The relentlessly hardworking and visionary folks in Silicon Valley and all around the world are already working towards making this happen. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, m2m internet communication, and of course, the Internet of Things. These are all words you may have heard, and behind these words are what will be the drivers of change in the new industrial revolution. I will take a deeper dive into the technical speak and the impact of business in the new Internet of Things industry in later posts, but for now, I just want to convey the vision. This is not a Hollywood movie script anymore; this is what our world is evolving into.
Going back to my philosophy, time is money, and efficiency is power. With all the boring, time consuming tasks taken away via automation, you will have all the power you need to make your life what you want it to be. You can spend more time staying in shape, spending time with the family, or taking up a new hobby. You will be in control of your life. The IoT revolution is coming, so get ready!