Change is the only constant in today’s media landscape,  society is not changing from one thing to another: it is rather that change is a permanent state. In forecasting the impact of change over a given period,  we must start by contextualising the drivers of change.

In 2019 we are at the start of the 3rd Connected Age. All of the platform businesses such as Netflix, Uber and Airbnb that have caused such creative disruption over the last 5 years are built on the 2nd Connected Age, the revolution in human experience caused by mass adoption of people connected across social graphs and smartphones. We are yet to see the impact of platforms built on the blend of AI, IOT and voice technology that will power the 3rd age.


Each of the three connected ages represents a revolution in the way that humans interact and connect using technology. The 3rd revolution will have far greater impact than the previous two: changing how we interact with our physical surroundings.


We found that when our participant houses connected to the most innovative technology currently available, they not only interacted with their homes in new ways, but they also felt very differently about the way that they lived. This meant that they were able to think about what they would want from products, brands and services through the lens of life in 2023-24.


And their expectations after only 6 weeks of living in this environment had advanced so far from today that we are confident in calling the 3rd Connected Age an Expectation Revolution.

Voice is how people know that a device is smart. A home controlled by an intuitive agent means we will expect the menial decisions to be taken care of for us.


People will share more in order to get more value – to look for more data to share that will make the agent smarter. And once the agent is smarter it can begin to provide the better living benefits of the 3rd connected age: emotionally smarter as much as rationally smarter living.


We believe that this also has a fundamental impact on the ways we approach customer experience. So much of our data today is based on transactional views of customers. Evidence from this study shows the value in broadening our insight to focus on Human Experience as well as Customer Experience. Only by understanding what people really want from brands, services and future living, will we stay ahead of the expectation revolution in our customers’ lives. It is how we will build brands that are verbally available, on the tip of millions of tongues. It is how we will create partnerships and design services that add genuine value to what each home’s agent can already do.

The only companies that  will exist in 10 years’ time  are those that create and  nurture human experiences.

World Economic Forum Annual Report 2019

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Graeme Wood

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