Interconnected Future

What an Interconnected Future Means for Every Generation

By DeVry University

Interconnectivity and tech integration and advancements rapidly shape and reshape our digital landscape. With 34 billion devices expected by 2020, and $6 trillion spent on the Internet of Things (IoT) through 2021[1], the world is becoming increasingly connected. The interconnectivity of tech impacts each generation differently, from the Baby Boomers who had to learn to use computers, to future generations who won’t know life without technology.

Baby Boomers

This generation includes more than 77 million babies born between 1946 and 1964[1]. They have witnessed the tech evolution from 8-tracks to artificial intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and have embraced evolving technology.

Redefined retirement needs of this generation will drive growth for healthcare tech advances including fall-detection sensors, glucose and activity monitors, and interactive food logs.

Virtual assisted living may change the senior housing market with everything from pill bottles with reminders to machines automated for wound care or physical therapy.

Healthcare technologies and the IoT for healthcare are estimated to grow into a $117 billion industry by 2020[2]. Patients will find new ways to access healthcare like remote patient monitoring. Connected devices may communicate using live video, audio and data exchange.

Generation X

This generation was born between 1965 and 1980. They didn't grow up with technology but they have embraced it. Gen X will have courtside seats as the IoT transforms business in the next decade, including the digitization of machines, which is estimated to save up to $3.7 trillion for factories and manufacturing companies by the year 2025[1].

Gen X’ers embrace healthcare technology, and will also enjoy other evolving technology, such as:

●      Connected cars: Gartner predicts that smart mobility will increase to 61 million connected automobiles by 2020[1].

●      Connected homes: Smart home devices include home safety/security systems, lighting, thermostats and appliances. Business Insider estimates that 193 different smart home devices will be shipped to consumers by 2020.[2]

●      Wearable fitness: As Gen X ages, they recognize the importance of fitness. While just 47 percent of Millennials plan to invest in wearable technology, 59 percent of Gen X'ers plan to embrace it.[3]

Generation Y (Millennials)

The "Echo Boomers" make up the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. They were born into the tech evolution between 1981 and 2000 and are largely credited as the IoT creative force.

Millennials are poised to have the most sizable online presence by 2017, with more buying power than any prior generation. Tech advancements will likely be geared to appease Gen Y wants and needs. 

Generation Z

This generation, which includes anyone born after 2001, is entering the world as the most Web-savvy generation ever.

With the popularity of social media and the growing importance of the IoT, this generation needs to monitor their online identities carefully. Experts at Goldman Sachs predict that Gen Z will grow larger and more influential than Gen Y, making their demographic key for companies that create tech advancements. 

Future Generations

The generation yet to come, dubbed Generation Alpha, grows by about 2.5 million babies every week, and will grow up with mobile technology, easily integrating tech into everyday life. Generation Alpha will have "uninterrupted use of technology to perform tasks, maintain relationships and seek entertainment," according to SmartBrief.

The extent of this generation's reliance on technology may also mean less human interaction. With more accomplished virtually, they may experience more loneliness than others.

Bridging Generation Gaps

From Baby Boomers to Generation Alpha, each generation can benefit from tech innovations and the future of interconnectivity in different ways. While the boomers reap the rewards of this tech evolution into retirement, Generations Z and Alpha will lead the charge to continue the growth of technology, taking our increasingly interconnected world into a new digital frontier.

Brought to you by DeVry University. In 1931, Herman DeVry founded a university that embraced technology.  Today, we are putting technology at the core of our business, tech and healthcare programs, to help prepare our students to solve tomorrow’s problems.