Please wait while the search results are loading...

The Future: Pervasive Computing and Complete Mobility Will Be Standard, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Smartphones with larger screens are taking over more and more of the functions and tasks previously assigned to desktop PCs and laptops.  Mobility, miniaturization, fast wireless connections, easy access to data, software-as-a-service, and entertainment via apps and the cloud, as well as long-lasting batteries, reign supreme in this trend.  Simply put, smartphones are very small, lightweight, versatile and reasonably affordable computers that improve from one generation to the next.  The fact that wireless internet access speeds have become quite fast is a big enabler of this trend.  While the latest 5G wireless services remain a work-in-progress, this technology has the long-term promise to even further boost smartphones and other wireless devices as powerful drivers in the future of computer usage.
This relentless drive toward miniaturization and wireless access will have a profound effect on the way we interact with computing devices over the long-term.  Rooms and automobiles that react to a person when he or she enters the car, home or office will become standard.  Cars that use Bluetooth to connect automatically to a driver's smartphone are an important start in that direction.  Wearable, personal sensors are quickly growing in sophistication.  The smart watch is evolving to the point that it is a convenient alternative to looking at a smartphone’s screen for many uses.  
Devices featuring augmented reality and virtual reality will become standard in training and education for very detailed tasks (such as hospital operating room procedures), as well as for gaming and entertainment.  This is another outcome of highly miniaturized, highly advanced wearable devices.
The technology age of the near future may be referred to as the “Connected Devices Age” or perhaps the “Pervasive Computing Age,” as the Internet of Things comes into being. That is, computing devices will surround us at all times in all places, largely interconnected and communicating with both the user and the environment around the user.  
Part of this Pervasive Computing Age was pioneered by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) In the U.S.  MIT Project Oxygen ( was launched, appropriately enough at the turn of the century in 2000, to define the nature of personal computing for the near future.  It started in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science and has long been a useful way to visualize computing of the near future.  The intent of this initiative is to conceptualize new user interfaces that will create natural, constant utilization of information technology.  The project stated its goal was designing a new system that could be:  pervasive—it must be everywhere; embedded—it must live in our world, sensing and affecting it; nomadic—users must be free to move around according to their needs; and always on—it must never shut down or reboot.  
The original Project Oxygen initiative was centered on harnessing speech recognition and video recognition technologies that can be embedded in the walls surrounding us, responding to our spoken commands and actions.  (Early-on, this theory was exemplified in Microsoft’s Kinect add-on for its Xbox electronic game machine.  Kinect responds to the user’s hand or body gestures as commands, thanks to a sophisticated, built-in camera and related software.)  It is fascinating to see how accurate Project Oxygen’s vision is today, as many of its concepts have come to pass.  Today, the rapidly growing trend toward extremely accurate facial recognition technology will accelerate technology’s ability to respond to, and communicate with, individual users.
As envisioned in the original Project Oxygen, a portable interface device would provide an ultimate array of personal functions. (This has come to life to a large extent in the form of the smartphone.)  Meanwhile, stationary computers would manage communications with the user in a continuous, seamless fashion.  Interfaces would include cameras and microphones embedded in “intelligent rooms” that would enable the user to communicate with this massive computing power via voice, motion or the handheld unit.  The user’s routine needs and tasks would be tended to automatically.  (Apps are now taking care of many users’ needs in this regard.)  For example, the user would be recognized when entering a room, and the room’s systems would be adjusted to suit the user’s profile.  Most of this system’s functions would operate by downloading software from the internet on an as-needed basis.  (As in today’s software-as-a-service systems.  The emphasis on cloud computing that is growing today is a boost to this trend.  At the same time, the quickly advancing Internet of Things (IoT) is yet another enabler to Project Oxygen’s original vision.)
While a few of the goals of Project Oxygen have yet to be realized in today’s mobile computing devices, it’s clear that technology trends are stampeding in the right direction for this always-on future.  The latest leap forward in the pervasive computing trend is the advance of digital personal assistants, such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home.  Amazon’s Alexa web app is installed on a small unit called Amazon Echo that sits on a countertop, desk or shelf.  Google offers a similar device called Google Home.  All of these apps and platforms are voice-activated and use connections to other apps and systems to find information such as directions, time, date, weather and trivia, or make purchases, which are reported audibly (users can choose their device’s voice gender and language).  These digital personal assistants are so inexpensive to purchase and easy to use that their adoption is accelerating very quickly, bringing the era of ubiquitous computing even closer to realization.
Software such as word processers, spreadsheets, email and web browsers/internet 1.0 were the early drivers of the modern computer era.  Next came user-friendly databases, powerful search engines and SMS text.  For the foreseeable future, the biggest driver is going to be software of a type that is infinitely more advanced: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
In many ways, artificial intelligence (AI) is a logical extension of recent technology trends.  A combination of ever-more-powerful computer chips, cloud computing, continued miniaturization of devices such as sensors, and the growth of the big data/data analytics sector are major enablers of AI on what is now a cost-effective basis.
AI and ML will create vast changes in nearly all segments of business and industry over the mid-term.  The effect of AI on consumers and households is already in broad evidence, although the people benefitting from such technologies may not be aware of the process or the significance of what’s going on around them.  For example, utilizing machine learning, pioneered the development of advanced software that learns from a shopper’s actions online and then makes product recommendations tailored to the individual.  AI and ML are already utilized in a vast array of businesses and scientific and consumer activities, and usage will soar very dramatically.  Watch especially for big leaps forward in AI-enhanced search engines.
To gain a personal understanding of how AI and ML will change everything, test drive ChatGPT and monitor its development and adoption.  OpenAI ( created GPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3.  (The newer generation GPT-4 was planned to be launched as early as 2023.)  It uses language-processing algorithms mined from massive numbers of gigabytes of data gathered by internet crawling, enabling it study digital files (machine learning) in order to answer questions, write essays and summaries, translate languages, create memos or program computer code, among other tasks.  (This process is known as “generative AI.”)  Since the technology is cloud-based, such activities can be initiated from virtually any type of device, from smartphones to PCs to servers.
By 2023, OpenAI had accepted substantial investments from Microsoft.  Importantly, it had launched leading-edge AI interfaces, including ChatGPT that are easy to use in the automated creation of text (such as magazine articles), art (such as illustrations for websites), music and even complex computer code. 
In addition to ChatGPT, OpenAI’s other impressive AI-driven tools include Dall-E, for creation of art images and Codex, which utilizes AI to help programmers create lines of code.  (Codex is the basis for Microsoft’s popular GitHub Copilot programming aid.)
Meanwhile, SmartBots, including the ability of tools like ChatGPT to write intelligent answers and search results on-the-fly will soon go far beyond writing essays and providing customer service.  Microsoft is incorporating Chat AI into its Edge/Bing search tools, and Google plans similar search enhancements of its own.  Product suggestions and search results on websites, such as those of retailers like H&M or Saks, may become significantly more effective thanks to incorporation of these AI tools.  This will lead to systems that literally act as virtual salespeople, which will boost revenues at retailers and also increase customer satisfaction.  The ability of these tools to study massive amounts of background and reference data (machine learning) could lead to virtual teachers, counselors and business professionals in the not-too-distant future.  For example, students could ask for auto-generated textbooks tailored to their specific, personal needs and interests.  (Virtual tutors may be the first step.)  Business owners could query virtual human resources SmartBots, deeply immersed in legal material—even specific to specific job types, state jurisdictions or management problems.  The owners could obtain guidance on how to deal with (or even dismiss) problem employees.

A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics