By Rex Hammock, CEO

What media-driven technology, business practice or cultural shift has likely changed us forever as a result of the pandemic?

It’s an interesting question—but one we likely won’t be able to answer for another decade or two.

I’ve written before about the slow speed of technology adoption. Yes, that’s right. Technology moves slowly, and it can take decades to mature into something that’s viable or real.

The late scientist and researcher Roy Amara is credited with what’s called “Amara’s Law,” an adage about forecasting short-term and long-term effects of new technology. He explained it this way: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a new technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

Research firm Gartner took Amara’s Law a step further, creating a chart that shows the “peak of inflated expectations” and the “plateau of productivity” in what the research firm labeled the “Gartner Hype Cycle.”

Here are three media technologies and the way they have already changed us forever—or, at least, until the next 20 years roll around.

I’m not talking about the TVs with the big screens that are everywhere. I’m talking about our changing ability to take control of screens and turn them into various tools, or gatherings, or classes—or as many screens being used to create content as are consuming it.

There’s nothing inherently radically new about the TV. We watched The Jetsons a few decades ago—we know what the future TV is supposed to be like. However, it is now something that even CEOs can set up and run.

Workplace Flexibility Tools
In an earnings report released in June 2020, Zoom reported making $328 million in revenue during its February–April quarter—almost double what it made in 2019. Other team communication platforms such as Slack, WebEx, Microsoft Teams and Basecamp also experienced exponential growth as a result of the pandemic and offices transitioning to “work-from-home” scenarios. Right now, it’s hard to predict much change will come from the “work where you are” era.

Asynchronous Chat
This idea might conjure up a picture of a world where we turn over to Google all our maps, searches, chats, videos and all other forms of digital media it can be organized in a way so that allows us to have it with us everywhere, all the time, with no flu. To some (including me), that prospect can be a bit frightening. Others, however, see great possibilities―and, in fact, asynchronous chat is helping to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of industries including healthcare.

Bottom Line 
The past year has taught us new lessons we will carry for years. Sad lessons. Inspiring lessons. Lessons that will change us all in positive ways.

Image: Getty Images

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