In recent years, digitalization and Industry 4.0 have been buzzwords that have been regularly featured in media reports. With the Internet, many areas of everyday life and the professional world have changed fundamentally. Meanwhile, the penetration is so great that digital media are sometimes used quite naturally. But digitalization also has its downsides. The more hardware and Software penetrate everyday life, the greater the demands on data and consumer protection. Aspects that companies and developers will have to face in the future. But how does our everyday life change in Detail? What innovations will come and what should we consider when using them?
Where digitalization begins depends very much on the individual perception of the individual person. Digital media are particularly conspicuous where communication between people is concerned. Social Media has been shaping the user experience of people over the Internet for years. Analyses of user behaviour show that a high proportion of internet users have already set up their first social media profile before the age of 25. According to the large digitalization 2020 study by Dr. Hubertus Porschen GmbH her first Social media Account even before she was 18 years old. In the following age groups, the proportion decreases rapidly. This shows that the number of internet users is concentrated in the age group under 45.
In what form are digital media used today? The answer has certain surprises. Especially with the expansion of the network, which is being pushed further and further, the multimedia use – so at least the expectation – should set the tone. Of course, Facebook is the undisputed leader in social networks.
Media use in the form of a video platform or photo networks, which include Instagram and YouTube, is still relevant for around half of internet users. It is interesting in the classification of the overall picture that the use of messengers seems to have the greatest relevance for Target groups.
The heavy use of digital media over the Internet can be viewed from different points of view. An important reason may be the way users in different age groups communicate using digital media. Especially the age group up to 30 years prefers an online contact-because the first step here is considered easier. In the group of Under-20s, the proportion of users who view the Internet and digital media in this way is even around two-thirds.
Smart Home: The Smart Home
In any case, Smart home technology is one of the areas that has made a huge leap forward in recent years. Here, not only the developmental leaps are enormous. Especially in terms of dissemination and acceptance, the technology was able to gain. But in this area, it is not only evident what potential digitalization has.
An increasing number of data scandals and hacker attacks underscore very clearly that digitalization and its increasing penetration of everyday business and private life. Despite some recent negative examples – such as hijacked baby monitors-there seems to be no way around the Smart Home in the long term. Currently, practical concepts focus primarily on digital assistance. This means that Smart Home is primarily used to manage everyday life and resources efficiently.
Virtual Assistants and More Security: Applications in the Smart Home
The whole thing can be explained particularly well with a few examples. Digital assistants with voice control – such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant-are primarily designed to provide greater comfort. The digital assistants can, for example:
- Complete orders on call
- announcing the weather
- help with the organization of appointments.
In Parallel, their users already have the opportunity to pair different Smart home devices with each other. In this way, the light in your own four walls can be controlled or the heating can be perfectly adjusted to the weather. But mart Home can do much more. Intelligently linked to each other offers the possibility to build efficient building technology structures or safety systems. Here, for example, motion detectors, video systems and Remote Alarm systems interact directly – in order to transmit a silent Alarm to the Smartphone of the owner or a security service.
However, the technology can be considered much further. In the future, it will be possible for the kitchen to shop independently and for delivery services to simply bring the necessary food directly to the front door.
Smart Home Technology as an Emergency Detector in Medicine?
Another conceivable development is the monitoring of important vital functions. For this purpose, Smartwatches are coupled with Smart home systems. Typical trackers for documenting running routes or pulse monitoring are currently used by many. In the future, they could play an even greater role in the medical field. Among other things, patients with:
- coronary artery disease
- Diabetes, etc.
monitor and indicate changes in vital signs early on. Example cardiac arrhythmia: according to the DGK Heart Report 2017, the incidence of the disease has roughly doubled in 20 years. Undetected increases the risk of serious complications such as myocardial infarction. Due to the continuous monitoring, it is not only possible for patients to perform a quick check of the vital function. If the medical technology detects changes, the general practitioner or emergency service can be informed immediately.
Contracts: More and More Digital Features
Many workers are already experiencing the effects of digitalization live at the workplace. In industry, individual components can be tracked over several production lines and plants. Due to close Monitoring and control via digital processes, supply chains can already be designed so efficiently that goods and products are delivered exactly when they are needed.
However, digitalization is also permeating everyday private life to an ever greater extent. Years ago, it was still necessary for the conclusion of contracts that consumers at least took the last step – the Legitimization and personal identification – in post offices or directly in the branches of the companies. Today, such authentications play an increasingly minor role.
Other solutions take over in the area of remote control-for example in:
- Mobile phone contracts
- DSL contracts
- the conclusion of credit agreements
- Account openings
a much bigger role. In this context, the Video Indent procedure comes to the fore very prominently. With its help, consumers can legitimize their identity directly from home. What it takes is usually just a mobile phone or Tablet with Webcam, the fast internet connection and of course the identity card or passport.
Contracts are now also possible via the new identity card. Its features include a Feature that can be used for digital signing and authentication. But: consumers must actively enable this function. In addition, special service providers also provide the opportunity to sign a credit agreement or electricity contract with an electronic signature. The process is quite simple:
- The customer identifies himself at a Bank of video identification process (here, the ID is kept in the camera).
- This is followed by the issuance of a certificate (all important data of the applicant are included).
- The digital signature is carried out by means of a certificate.
- The certificate is only valid for the one predetermined process.
Due to the increasing use of digital authentication techniques, many processes relating to the conclusion of consumer contracts have been simplified. It is no longer just about the mobile phone contract. Today, consumers can easily:
- Open Bank accounts
- Conclude credit agreements
- Apply for credit/debit cards.
In the future, authentication could be based on biometric information – such as a fingerprint or an Iris Scan. However, it is not only the technical framework conditions that need to be created. It also needs legal conditions under which such forms of legitimization are possible.
Digital Assistance When Investing Money: When AI Makes Investor Decisions.
Digitalization does not stop at the financial market sector either. The development in payment can be seen particularly clearly. In recent years, various payment solutions for purchasing and money transfer on the Internet have emerged. Known examples are: paypal, Neteller, Skrill or Apple Pay.
The focus is increasingly on mobile Payment. But digitalization has been increasingly penetrating the investment sector for several years now. Digital assistance is increasingly being used here – also in the area of private financial investments. Under the slogan Robo Advisor, banks use programs to support investors in their decisions. The market has grown enormously in this area.
The Software takes up defined investor conditions – for example, in order to develop a suitable investment mix. For financial service providers, such Robo Advisors have the advantage that small deposits can be managed cost-effectively. On the other hand, their importance has also grown as an assistant for the professional wealth consultant. The advantage such instruments have is obvious. While human investment decisions are strongly influenced by emotions, Robo Advisors ‘ decisions are based solely on algorithms – i.e. mathematical foundations.
For companies, digital investment assistance offers a good opportunity to work more cost-effectively. Their use can be considered even further in the future. With increasingly better and “smarter” AI systems, Robo Advisors are also able to make more complex decisions. In addition, it is becoming apparent that such systems can take on more and more complicated tasks. In combination with paperless communication and document sharing, it is possible to streamline processes and make them more efficient in many financial areas.
The Digital State: Doing More and More Online
Meanwhile, not only companies are increasingly relying on digitalization. The state has also recognized that technological progress can be used in public administration. Many changes are not visible to the individual citizen, as they affect internal processes of the administration and authorities. This concerns, for example;
- digital archives
- electronic document delivery
- Central printing stations
- Remote access for teleworking.
Especially in connection with the submission of applications in electronic Form or the electronic vehicle registration, however, the growing degree of digitalization in the administration is very clearly visible.
But, especially in administration, digitalization is reaching its limits. The adequate protection of personal data is a major challenge: while the business community is often very liberal in its handling of corresponding guidelines such as the GDPR, the administration is often particularly critical of these aspects or the risks involved. Despite such hurdles, the “digital” State continues to develop. Examples of past years are:
- the electronic identity card
- digital patient records
- Online Tax Returns
- the digital Vehicle registration.
Such examples show how much the federal and state governments are expanding digital infrastructures. But hurdles and difficulties are also visible in the various areas. The digital tax returns illustrate the whole thing very well. For decades everything here was in paper format, taxpayers always had to sign their tax return.
Future Music: What can Change in the Future
What else does society expect when it comes to digitalisation? A question that brings visionaries to the fore – and skeptics. The latter are already warning against spying on households by a growing number of devices that tap personal data and send it to Mega-corporations. There is a fear in parts of society that the visions of George Orwell will become real after all.
On the other hand, advocates and advocates of digitalization see the possibilities of digitalization. In this way, Smart Home devices can provide more security in the everyday life of seniors. Family structures with multi-generational households that have grown over centuries have dissolved in the past. Today, many older people live alone-which entails certain risks. In the event of a fall, there is a risk of total immobility and medical emergency. With a coupling of Smart home technology and the connection to an emergency call system, this horror scenario can be captured.
Also, many other areas will also benefit from digitalization in the coming years and decades. Examples are;
- Online-Medicine Applications
- Health Apps
- Autonomous Driving
- Digital operations.
The latter are used to prepare interventions on people. Using virtual organ and body models, doctors can prepare operations. This offers the possibility of comprehensive preparation, especially for difficult procedures. In a similar way, digitalization can be used in future in the training of aspiring physicians – from the first Semester onwards. Instead of working directly on humans as part of anatomy training, medical students can be taught about digital models.
This form of training is conceivable in many industries and professions. Automotive mechatronics engineers can already deal with digital models of motors on the computer. In the future, it would be quite possible for trainees to move through the engine thanks to a fusion of these models with Virtual Reality.
Apart from the many visions and ideas for the future, the digital industry and research centres will also have to deal with the question of what user safety can look like. The more digitalization plays a role in everyday life, the greater the area of attack will eventually become. This is particularly evident in the manipulation attempts via Social Media or sometimes spectacular hacker attacks.
Digital Research: Computing Power from The Cloud
Largely ignored by the general population, digitalization has increasingly spread to science. At this point, it is less about the use of computing power in the modeling of certain processes or the construction of networks. The foundations of today’s internet are known to lie in the CERN particle research center.
Rather, digitalization and the progressive networking of individual computers lead to a Trend that allows scientific research to grow beyond the university campus. As part of the search for extraterrestrial life, Astro researchers have already used the possibilities of the internet to “tap into” the computing capacity of some enthusiasts.
The Trick: users who wanted to support the research have provided part of their computer capacity for a program that evaluates astronomical data. This concept of Swarm-based scientific data evaluation is now not only used by Space Research. Especially in the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, science has taken up this concept.
Special network systems to calculate / model the protein structures of the novel Coronavirus use this concept to bundle the computing power of modern CPUs and graphics cards – to decode the Virus faster and to arrive at a vaccine and new therapeutics in a much shorter time than usual. These possibilities of the Cloud and a bundling of the Swarm-based computing power will continue to gain significant importance in the future.
Conclusion: Digitalization Continues to Progress
The topic of digitalization has occupied research, politics and companies for years. What initially sounded visionary and hardly interested many consumers is becoming increasingly important. Digitalization already plays a major role in the professional environment and in the private sector. Media consumption often takes place exclusively via digital media. And instead of letters, only e-Mails are now written. With regard to future trends, the development continues.
Smart Home applications are increasingly in demand. But even in sensitive areas such as investments or medicine, the focus is increasingly on state-of-the-art technology, digital assistance systems or virtual body models. How dynamically the further development proceeds in the end will be shown. It may well happen that global crises such as the spread of Coronavirus will ultimately accelerate new solutions and technologies even further.