One of the stories told in management classes as an example of a recurring mistake companies make when their industry is transitioning is focused on buggy manufacturers at the turn of the last century.

Those who found out were in the personal transportation business for cars. Most others who thought they were only in the buggy business went extinct as their market moved to cars, and they didn’t.

Seems obvious after the fact, but apparently it didn’t seem quite obvious at the time as most buggy makers and horse sellers and blacksmiths were out of business.

This story was originally published on January 17, 2022. As a result of its popularity, it is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT news series.

In the case of autonomous cars, we are looking at moving from car ownership to a service like Uber that will provide cars when we need them.

But, going forward, with services like Zoom initially and the metaverse eventually expanding the concept of holoportation – with drone deliveries and pandemics – will we need cars as much, or at all, in the future?

Holoportation, or literally the use of avatars to travel, is not considered personal transport today. But if it is successful, it could eliminate most personal transportation in the future, and in turn put existing car makers in the same category as they were buggy makers a century ago.

Should holoportation be considered part of the transportation industry, or should existing personal transportation be considered part of old school collaboration, social networking, and shopping?

Let’s talk about some of these big upcoming technology disruptions. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a head-mounted display from TCL called the NextWear Air that could become this year’s must-have gadget.

personal transport

Before the pandemic, private transport was mostly focused on air transport, human powered transport, and even motorcycles, mainly on cars falling into various classes. But with the increasing use of video conferencing and collaboration products like Zoom, Teams and Webex, the need for business travel has taken a significant hit.

Among the great things at CES this year, Portal and La Vitre showed off a way to meet family and friends virtually, while a solution called HoloPresence from ARHT Media showed how you can speak at any remote event without leaving your home. are, yet actually appear to be there.

While we are still bound by the habit of travelling, the pandemic is forcing us to rethink our safety and consider not travel aggressively. We don’t really need to go to the store anymore as the delivery options have expanded. Due to COVID, our doctors visit us far and wide, and we are able to use services like Amazon and eBay to meet our need of going to malls and department stores.

When cars become truly autonomous, why would we need one for a while to leave our homes? Just contact the car service and an automated vehicle will show up at your doorstep and act like a lift in a high rise. You don’t need to have a lift, so why would you need a car?

At CES, a lot of car designs looked more like rolling living rooms than cars, and many of them were ugly. But there are lifts too, and we don’t care what they look like more than we care about old yellow cabs or buses.

Also, we haven’t even begun to talk about flying cars and people-carrying drones, both of which are moving very quickly. Once vehicles become autonomous, we will no longer need professional drivers or driving licenses as humans will not be driving.

film and television

In video games, we have a concept called an NPC, a non-player character who follows a set script. But isn’t that what actors and extras do? Soon, it may be far easier to program an NPC to appear in a movie and convert a script into a realistic representation of the character, and much less expensive than hiring a person.

Actors can get sick, they can have behavioral problems, they can get into trouble off-screen that can result in their termination, and they get more expensive every time you use them. Movies today are largely shot with computer graphics anyway and it is much easier for a rendered character to work on a virtual stage than a human.

Now, it’s not just acting. Script writing can now be done using AI. You don’t need to cater or recruit virtual players, and with a digital movie-making engine, you can rewrite scripts and digitally recreate the scene while fine-tuning the result with a digital character rather than a human. can shoot with.

Studios like Dust are already creating relatively high quality content using fairly cheap digital tools, and an increasing number of films today use people as extras for scenes that previously required humans in those roles. .

So, do we replace directors, writers, actors, extras, camera people, and everyone else on film crew with some programmers and advanced artificial intelligence? The result is still a movie — and services like Netflix and Amazon today have a never-ending appetite for content. It seems to me that video game studios may well displace film studios before this trend ends.


Traditional farming methods are becoming largely obsolete due to climate change. We are moving to warehouse farms that produce more food in a much smaller space and can exist very close to customers located in cities.

Robots and autonomous devices on such farms are rapidly increasing in order to reduce costs and pollution and operate on a scale that conventional farms typically cannot match.

In addition, for livestock owners, we are developing healthier, tastier alternatives to beef, chicken and other animal protein sources.

These changes should not only be more reliable in times of rapid weather change, but also potentially be more beneficial to the environment because you don’t need to clear rain forests and you no longer need to eat other animals. . Some of the animals we eat are major producers of the methane gas that contributes significantly to climate change.

Does this mean that farming will become like manufacturing, especially as we start eating 3D printing? The farm of the future may just be another factory.


Warehouses and factories are changing with the increasing use of robots and less need for human workers. Factories effectively grow into giant 3D printers that can produce cookie cutter products in volume, and much less expensive custom offerings thanks to increased automation.

Are factories still there after they are fully automated? Or are they just giant devices that 3D print the products we want on demand and ship them using the growing variety of autonomous vehicles and package-carrying drones?

Fully automated 3D printing factories should have fewer shutdowns, be less affected by inflation slowing their growth, and be more able to meet temporary demand using a periodic manufacturing model. In addition, because these automated factories will use 3D printing as part of their process, they may be smaller, more localized, and possibly more resistant to logistics disruption.

Wrapping Up: Tip of the Iceberg

I could go on for pages about the massive disruption of electrics replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, personal robots, military drones (we may not need military pilots or drivers in a few years), fast food. Robots are turning fast food restaurants into large food vending machines, and satellite-based data and voice services—and we already have advanced coffee vending machines that make a better cup of coffee than Starbucks.

Is personal transportation really personal, or is it becoming part of the communications market? Are restaurants, factories and 3D printers merging to be part of the technology market? Are movies and video games going to merge and provide different experiences but use the same build tools and back-end. If so, what do we call the result?

PCs and smartphones are rapidly merging, but is the result an advanced smartphone or a more portable PC? These are all things that will be addressed over the next decade and companies that figure out what new segment they are in will likely survive. Those who don’t anticipate these changes and evolve over time probably won’t.

But one thing is certain, this decade is going to be marked by an unprecedented turnaround and a lot of companies and people suddenly realize that the path they were on has come to an end. you’ve been warned.

Rob Enderle's Technology Product of the Week

TCL Nextwear Air Wearable Display Specs

One of the disruptors to come are head-mounted displays eventually reaching a price and performance level that makes them viable. The TCL Nextwear Air Head Mounted Display is powered by a smartphone or PC and projects an HD image into the glasses that’s like viewing a 140-inch screen from four meters away.

TCL Nextwear Air Wearable Display Specs

While it’s mostly for watching movies rather than monitors for work or gaming, it’s a significant step toward that latter category and, eventually, head-mounted displays will force a major shift between PCs and smartphones, especially when in the cloud. together with services. Windows 365.

Once they’re in widespread use, the need for monitors, screened laptops, and even personal TVs may be a thing of the past. We may decide that even when we are seated together, by using our own screen, which can be adjusted for our vision and unique problems (such as colorblindness), a better solution than the big screen experiences we have today. Will happen.

What makes these latest TCL glasses interesting is that they are 30 percent lighter than previous generations and they don’t look as dark. The specs deliver decent details (though I expect 4K glasses to be better eventually), deep colors and surprisingly deep blacks. They’ve made speakers that sound great and that means you can often leave the headphones at home (I still use the headphones on planes or when I’m near others).

Expected to cost just under $700, these specs are competitively priced when you consider that 140-inch displays cost more than any car you’ve ever bought, making them potentially a must-have. Real value – and become my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.