Before we enter into a new decade, it makes sense to start thinking about the impact that technology has had in our lives. A lot has changed in the last 10 years and we have had quite a few innovations that have promised to make our lives easier.

When thinking about the last decade, these are the most important innovations that have impacted our society (in no particular order):

  1. Voice Assistants (Siri, Google, Alexa, Cortana)
  2. Smart Speakers(Amazon Echo, HomePod, Sonos, etc.)
  3. Tablets (iPad to be specific)
  4. Streaming services (Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Apple TV+, Disney+, etc.)
  5. Tesla
  6. Fortnite (gaming)
  7. Smartwatch (Apple Watch)
  8. Coffee subscription services
  9. AirPods (and similar items)
  10. Instagram (mobile photography and social)

I’m sure you can think of a handful of others, but these are surely to be on everyone’s radar. Let’s take a quick look at each of these:

Voice Assistants

Siri, Alexa, Google, and to a much lesser extent, Cortana, are part of our culture. Voice assistants have allowed us to use our voice to interact with our world.

I use mostly Siri and Alexa in my daily life. I use them to check the weather, sports scores, enable timers, reminders and random information about important dates. It’s so natural and easy that it’s a welcome innovation.

Of course, we later learned that this innovation doesn’t come free. Our data and privacy are the “muscle” that drives this technology and we have learned how some of these devices are listening even if we are not summoning them.

Smart Speakers

I have a Sonos home theatre system with Alexa built into one of the speakers. It’s great to be able to control music, volume and playlist with them as well as using our devices to “send” music wirelessly to them as needed.

Though most smart speakers can be handled by voice assistants, you can use your device of choice to send sound to them. No more cables and physical connections needed.

Tablets (iPad)

I have always enjoyed the iPad as a computing device. Early in its existence it was very limited, but today the iPad Pro is my main mobile computer. I sold a MacBook Air a few years ago which was replaced by an iPad and I haven’t looked back.

Out of all of the innovations of the decade, the iPad may be my most important device.

Out of all of the innovations of the decade, the iPad may be my most important device.

Streaming Services

Netflix is the king when it comes to this. They “birthed” the movement, and today, we have a crowded space that allows us to pick and choose which service works best for us. With Apple TV+ and Disney+ arriving recently, this has become a good time to consider alternatives to the traditional cable approach. I have cut the cord already and live on streaming services. I welcome this innovation with open arms!

Tesla

I don’t own one, but it’s no surprise that they are the kings of innovation when it comes to electric vehicles. I like everything about Tesla and their approach of removing toxic chemicals to drive around. One day, we will all be driving electric vehicles.

Fortnite

I grew up as a gamer, and though I don’t play as much as I used to, I still pick up the controller and play when I have a few minutes of down time. One of the games that have caught our attention over the last several years is Fortnite. Kids and adults of all ages are still playing this game after 3 years and it continues to be one of the most popular games for playing and streaming!

Smart Watches (Apple Watch)

It was hard for me to decide which was the most important device of the decade. It was between the iPad and the Apple Watch. I decided on the iPad, but the Apple Watch has become almost as important.

The Apple Watch is my most personal device. It’s the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off. I rely on it for fitness and quick information via Siri. I think this will continue to grow in popularity over the next few years.

Coffee Subscription Services

I haven’t bought coffee beans in a store in 5 years. Today, we have a dozen or more coffee subscription services that will send you a fresh package of beans biweekly to your doorsteps. I love coffee and I currently subscribe to YesPlz (coffee referral) which fills my caffeine need.

AirPods

We’ve always had bluetooth headsets and pods, but the AirPods have become the example of how to get this tech right. Open the case, put in your ears and listen. Take off, put in case and done! No buttons to press, no fuzzing with connections. It’s just great!

I bought a pair of AirPods a year ago. Though I enjoyed the ease of use and sound, I had to return them. They didn’t fit my ears well and one of them kept falling out of my ear. I ended up buying Sony noise cancellation headphones which are amazing. However, I would have waited if I knew that Apple was going to introduce the AirPods Pro which do fit my ears. Oh well!

Instagram

I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. I was one of their beta users when the service was first introduced. I love them and their social component transformed the world today. When Facebook bought them, all went to crap!

The app is now filled with ads, and the way you see photos from people you follow is based on popularity instead of chronological order. It has become a privacy nightmare and due to Facebook’s business motto, it has become almost like them. Even the founders of the service departed Facebook a few years ago.

I still have an account and it’s so hard to let go, since it’s so integrated in the lives of family and friends. I’m keeping my eye on this one to see how it continues to transform.

I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram

The last decade gave us a glimpse of what technology can do to transform a culture. The examples above are just some of the most popular innovations that have become a part of most people’s daily lives.

What will the next decade have in store for us?

I have no idea, and maybe in another post, I can play prophet and try to “guess” what will become the future innovations of the 2020s. Stay tuned!