Did you see the movie The Truman Show? Released in 1998, this movie depicted the televising of the entire life of the lead character every moment of every day. In a sense, it foretold the future we are experiencing today.
Consider Facebook and how parents post picture after picture of their families. Like Truman – who was unaware he was constantly being filmed – the younger children don't realize their images are being shared with the world. Teenagers, on the other hand, happily post photos, including ones that not so many years ago would have been considered shocking.
In a previous blog, I addressed the gray line – exploring what is considered “private” and how those boundaries are shifting. Clearly that line is changing, perhaps vanishing, as a new normal is established. But what are the implications to the enterprise?
The consumerization of IT movement remains incredibly influential. Given the trends and technology today, we can clearly see the Truman Show effect, or “reality movement,” in the enterprise world in the form of Unified Communications. Technologies such as presence and videoconferencing allow collaborators to communicate and see each other in real time.
Today, it has never been easier to “share” content. Data, video, and proprietary information can be shared around the world, instantly. Enterprises are leveraging tools in significant ways to connect with consumers, promote new products, and encourage global collaboration among employees. The bigger challenge for enterprises is not learning the technology, but discovering how best to strategically use these tools, such as social media and UC.
What will the future for enterprises be like? Will it be common for live video streams to be placed in employee cafeterias? Will computer cameras always be on in office cubicles? What’s interesting is that the “always on” movement was never about privacy, but connectivity – human connectivity, making us feel closer even though we may be continents apart, making collaboration easier, and making the art of living and conducting business simply more convenient.
Diminished privacy is the tradeoff for openness and connectivity, and is indeed a consequence of the Truman Show effect in life and business today. One other significant paradigm shift is this: the perception of what is considered unique has changed. Because technology has enabled instant global communication, collaboration, and the accessibility of information, it shifts our view of the world.
Steve Jobs said it best in his biography: essentially, the younger generation doesn’t care that the best coffee in the world may come from one particular country, for example. They don’t see that as being special. That generation is exposed to the whole world, every day, and they see it as that – one world, as opposed to different parts.
Many now expect to find a Starbucks in every country in which they visit. For enterprises, this may be their biggest challenge yet – given our global culture, how can enterprises stand out and connect in relevant ways?