Some things I learned last night at the PopTech cock tail party:
1) The early adopters of new energy efficient technologies for the home should be well heeled, well educated, builders and renovators, living say in the US Northeast. But these people are not adopting, and this, according to a venture capitalist I talked to, is because the new technologies are relatively high maintenance and high concept. The owner has to know how to run them and maintain them. This mastery of the new technology demands that they ascend a learning curve, for which they have neither the time nor the presence of mind. They are already running as fast as they can. So this new technology will enter the home only when it is as simple to run as a fridge or a toaster.
2) I talked to a guy about voice activation. Now that we are on the verge of ubiquitous, wireless computing through personal, always on, technologies, we are technologically enabled to a new degree. At our desks, thanks to a computer, an ISP, and Google, we have instantaneous access to a very large chunk of knowledge and opinion on any given subject. We all now have much larger brains and much faster recall. The wireless option allows us to take our brains with us when we leave the desk a useful thing, generally. But voice activation takes us the penultimate step. Now we may access anything in our brains without having to tap away at our PDAs. We will only have to say “Key word: Maine coast line geological formation and hey presto, data will begin streaming in our ears. (The ultimate step here will be thought activation.) The guy I talked to said that voice activation option awaits a big step in technology and the willingness of consumers to pay a higher premium. Once more consumers are proving underwhelming early adopters.
3) One guy said, “In America, 200 years is considered a long time. In Europe, 200 miles is considered a long way.