The Speed of Life

March 4, 2011by hiebing2021

The Speed of Life

I recently received a jolting reminder of the accelerated pace of change in our lives and the value of staying attuned.

What brought this on? I had the pleasure of watching a high-level review of this year’s Consumer Electronics (CES) Show in Las Vegas. CES is the world’s largest trade show; the event itself gobbled up some 1.6 million feet of exhibition space.

One of the technologies that drew mention was a new app called Videosurf. With a mere point of a smart device—Videosurf tells you the source of the video, who is appearing, other things they’ve appeared in, etcetera, etcetera. Okay, cool.

What really floored me, though, was the headline the presenter used to explain Videosurf: “It’s like Shazam for video.”

Wow. I first met Shazam with the first iPhone in January 2007. In just four years, Shazam has become so culturally ubiquitous that it can be used to explain a new service and everyone in the room knew exactly what it meant.

Later, I decided to poke about a bit more. Shazam’s website says the company formed in 2002. Wikipedia places it at 1999 with a service in the United Kingdom called 2580.

Customers dialed the 2580 shortcode and held up a mobile phone. The service took an acoustic fingerprint of the tune and sent the result to the customer as a text.

So, if you believe Wikipedia, and I have no reason not to, here’s the progression.

In just eight years, technology so amazing as to be called Shazam morphed from a text-only service that identified tunes, to an app that lets you buy a song, share it via social media and make it your ringtone.

Now, with Videosurf, the principle of acoustic fingerprinting has jumped the gulf from audio to visual fingerprinting.

And companies, products and words like Shazam, iPhone and app have surfaced, taken root and bloomed in our culture. Who knows their lifespan? Will they continue to grow or be left by the wayside like the Newton and VHS?

We live in awesome times and the game changes quickly. It pays to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to the unfolding possibilities.

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